Categories for Submission

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Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research invites undergraduates to pursue their own intellectual projects and advance knowledge in service learning, community-based research, and all related curriculum- and/or research-based community partnerships. These go by many additional names, such as community-based learning, community-based writing, public scholarship, publicly-engaged learning/teaching, etc.

The journal is committed to undergraduate involvement in academic and community partnerships.


Community service and volunteer activities that are not directly linked with a course, independent study, senior or honors thesis, and/or research project mentored by an instructor do not fall within the scope of this journal.

All submissions must adhere to the Submission Guidelines.

In each category, a published piece will contribute to existing knowledge in a particular subject area and/or in the scholarship on service learning, community-based research, and all related curriculum- and/or research-based community partnerships.

The journal will publish written work by undergraduates in the following six categories. Please note that the categories are meant to be a guide for various kind of intellectual and creative work. The editorial team realizes that the categories overlap. The examples provided below are among many, many possibilities. If you are uncertain about the category for your work, please talk to your professor and/or contact the journal editor, Julia Waity ([email protected]).

If the editorial team believes your submission would fit better in a category different from the one you selected, we will let you know. We will never turn away a submission simply because we don't think the category selected is the best fit!


Read through the published articles in Volume 1 and Volume 2 for examples in each category.

1. Reflective Essays

When we speak of the reflective essay, we are discussing the practice of 'reflecting on experience learned from participating in service-learning activities and/or research with other community partners and leaders.' Reflective practice is the ability to review an action so as to engage in continuous learning (Dewey, 1933; Schon, 1983; Eisner, 1998). The purpose of the reflective essay is to provide a forum for critical and creative attention to the values and beliefs which inform the writer?s service-learning experience. By examining one's practice deeply and broadly, practice-based professional learning, rather than from formal teaching or knowledge transfer, becomes an equally significant source of personal professional development and improvement.

Dewey, J. 1993. How We Think. Boston: D. C. Heath.

Eisner, E. W. 1998. The Enlightened Eye: Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Educational Practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Schon, D. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action. New York: Basic Books.

2. Analytical essays

Analytical Essays that draw on the intellectual work of the course but are not extensively researched. These are most likely essays written for the class in which the service learning or CBR took place, and will ideally be grounded in readings from the course.

3. Research done in partnership with a community organization

Research done in partnership with a community organization should be submitted in the precise form given to the organization for its use. This submission must be accompanied by a reflective essay that follows the above description for Reflective Essays.

4. Research articles

Research articles advance knowledge about service learning, community-based research, or another related curriculum- and/or research-based public/community engagement activity. These articles will include a thorough literature review and implement one specific methodology or several methodologies (e.g. case study, empirical research, extensive theoretical investigation, textual analysis, etc.). Some students may have done this kind of research project as an honors or senior thesis. Other students may have written research articles for classes.

This category models the kinds of research articles published in such journals as Journal of Public Scholarship in Higher Education, Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, and Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

5. Open category

The Open Category includes intellectual work that fits within the journal's scope but does not fit neatly into any of the other categories.

6. Responses to previously published articles

The Responses will engage in intellectual dialogue with previously published articles in the jorunal. This category is new for Volume 2.