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Abstract

2021 Recipient of a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association Winner of the 2021 Early Career Psychologist Champion Award from the American Psychological Association Research isn’t all elegant study designs, accurate data collection, and sophisticated equations. Researchers must also communicate their ideas and findings with scholarly audiences, and do so effectively. These audiences are no different from those found at your local theater: They understand each paper you write or talk you deliver insofar as it tells a compelling story. Yet, your storytelling doesn’t stop with a single paper or talk. Scholarly records span years and multiple pieces of work. Successful researchers learn to synthesize their records to tell a larger story: a research program. In this book, Andres De Los Reyes describes how narrative tools commonly used in film help you build a research program. Tailored to the lives of early career researchers, these tools reveal keen insights into working with mentors, navigating peer review, and nailing the job talk that launches your career.
THE EARLY
CAREER
RESEARCHER’S
TOOLBOX:
Insights into Mentors, Peer Review,
and Landing a Faculty Job
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
Copyright © by Andres De Los Reyes
All rights reserved.
Except as permitted by the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part
of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by
any means, including, but not limited to, the process of scanning and
digitization, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior
written permission of the author.
Cover Design: Mary Ann Smith
Back Cover Photo: Ronald Flores
Copy Editing: Caitlin Panarella
Interior Design and Typesetting: Asya Blue
Indexing: Heather Pendley
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
De Los Reyes, Andres, 1978-
The early career researcher’s toolbox: insights into mentors, peer review,
and landing a faculty job / by Andres De Los Reyes. — 1st ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
LCCN: 2019921284
Print ISBN: 978-1-7344425-0-2
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-7344425-1-9
BISAC: 1. STU015000 2. EDU046000 3. STU021000
Printed in the United States of America
The Center for Reinforcing Early Academic Training and Enhancement
(CREATE)
2300 18th St NW Lbby #21255
Washington, DC 20009
CREATE.DeLosReyes@gmail.com
i
Leading Scholars Praise The Early Career
Researcher’s Toolbox
“‘How did I get here? Do I really belong? What on earth do
I do next?’ Such are the questions that huge numbers of young
researchers constantly ask themselves. In The Early Career
Researcher’s Toolbox, De Los Reyes provides vivid and cogent
answers to these compelling professional, even existential,
questions.Usingmetaphorsfromlmandcontemporarymedia,
he lays out ‘three acts’ of actionable objectives around which
emerging investigators can make progress to embark upon their
careers. Replete with vignettes and actual early-researcher
questions and experiences, this book will provide both inspiration
and concrete tools for trainees and early-career researchers across
the sciences.”
—Stephen P. Hinshaw, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology,
UC Berkeley and Professor of Psychiatry, UC San Francisco;
Editor, Psychological Bulletin (2009-2014); Recipient, American
PsychologicalAssociationDistinguishedScienticContribution
Award (2020)
“The old adage ‘publish or perish’ has not changed, but it now
has valuable nutrition attached to its fragile bones. De Los Reyes,
feeding from his annual Future Directions Forum, provides the
diet for success. In sage and readable style, De Los Reyes leads
the novice to discover what drives them, to learn how to manage
the publishing world, and to tell a compelling story about their
work.Usingclassicandrecentlmasaparallelsetofillustrations,
and laced with personal experiences, De Los Reyes’ guidance
in The Early Career Researcher’s Toolbox is both general and
individually germane. This readable, useful, and valuable book
ii
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
demystiesearlycareertasksforfutureemergingacademics.”
—Philip C. Kendall, Ph.D. Distinguished University
Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology, Temple
University; President, Association for the Behavioral and
Cognitive Therapies (1989-1990); Editor, Clinical Psychology:
Science and Practice (2003-2010)
“Dr. De Los Reyes’ The Early Career Researcher’s Toolbox is
atruegift to oureld’sfuture.Too often, studentsreceivehigh-
quality guidance on how to gain admission to competitive doctoral
programs, only to face the more opaque challenge of ‘succeeding’
as a scientist—and determining what ‘success’ really means!—
upon arrival. This book offers a roadmap for students and early-
career researchers as they navigate this complex task. Its chapters
demystify academic systems and structures, from navigating peer
reviews to crafting job talks, and offer wise guidance on developing
a‘researchidentity’andndingaweandmeaning inone’s work.
Its inclusion of anonymous scientists’ own stories and experiences,
from graduate students to early-career faculty, renders content all
the more motivating and relatable. I will be thrilled to share this
resource with my own doctoral trainees for years to come!”
—Jessica L. Schleider, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of
Psychology, Stony Brook University; Selected as one of Forbes’ 30
Under 30 in Healthcare (2020); Recipient, National Institutes of
Health Director’s Early Independence Award (2019)
“De Los Reyes has translated his careful observations of how
to thrive in academia with humor, generosity, and a wealth of
real-world examples in The Early Career Researcher’s Toolbox. We
are lucky he has used his talents to develop and support emerging
academics and I am thrilled that he has turned many of the ideas
previously shared at the Future Directions Forum into a book
iii
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
to aid early career scholars. This book is ideal for new scholars
and their mentors alike! I plan to cover this chapter by chapter
with my students and trainees as they learn both the basics on
writingscienticarticlesandresponding topeerreviews aswell
as framing their larger questions and motivations for their work.”
—Kathryn L. Humphreys, Ph.D., Ed.M. Assistant
Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt
University; Recipient, Association for Psychological Science
Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career
Contributions (2020)
“For years, De Los Reyes has built a reputation providing
unparalleled professional mentorship and sage career guidance
to the next generation of researchers. With The Early Career
Researcher’s Toolbox, he has nally consolidated his expertise
onthis frontintoahighlyengaging bookthat’soverowingwith
invaluable wisdom, direction, and practical tools—all while
drawing on effective metaphors and captivating references to
superheroes, villains, and Hollywood magic. I wish there had been
a book like this when I was starting out. Any emerging academic
who is not reading this remarkable work is launching their career
atasignicantdisadvantage.”
—Jonathan S. Comer, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology,
Florida International University; President, Society of Clinical
Psychology (2019); Recipient, American Psychological Association
EarlyCareerAwardforOutstandingContributionstoBenet
Children, Youth and Families (2015)
“De Los Reyes has outdone himself in this compendium of
resources for the early-career academic. He draws on a wealth of
knowledge and expertise on establishing one’s research program
to provide a much-needed and easy-to-use resource. Reading this
iv
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
book early in one’s training will no doubt help students increase
theirproductivityandhaveanimpactontheeld.Itwillsurelybe
the dog-eared book on many desks around the country!”
—Susan W. White, Ph.D. Doddridge Saxon Chairholder in
Clinical Psychology, University of Alabama; Director, Center for
Youth Development and Intervention; Associate Editor, Journal
of Autism and Developmental Disorders (2014-2019)
“Dr. De Los Reyes is one of the most dedicated and successful
mentors of his generation. He’s facilitated the careers of countless
trainees in psychology, and we are incredibly fortunate for his
commitment to mentoring. This book is chock-full of wisdom about
how to succeed in academic psychology. It is a must-read for young
scholars!”
—Gregory E. Miller, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology,
Northwestern University; President, Academy of Behavioral
Medicine Research (2015-2016); Associate Editor, Psychosomatic
Medicine (2008-2011)
“If only this book had been around when I launched my career!
It could have spared me many blind alleys and clueless moments.
This book answers questions a budding academic might feel too
naïve (you aren’t!) to ask and provides information you might not
even know you need (until you read this critical compendium). Dr.
De Los Reyes’ writing is captivating, clever, comprehensive, and
contains all the elements needed to prepare for academic success.
I plan to share this book with all my mentees!”
—Mary A. Fristad, Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Health, The Ohio State University; President,
Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (2009, 2012);
President, American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent
Psychology (2011-2013)
v
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements .....................................1
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Emerging
Academics, Stories, and Tools ............................3
Act I: Your Burning Question.........................17
Chapter 2: When You Learn One Tool, You Stumble
onto New Tools .....................................18
Chapter 3: A Mentor’s Work Exists in a Scholarly Universe . 30
Chapter 4: The Shared Universe Tool ...................40
Chapter 5: Selecting a Mentor .........................61
Chapter 6: Optimizing Your Relationship with Your Mentor ...95
Act II: Your Combat Tools ...........................111
Chapter 7: Basic Training for Peer Review ..............112
Chapter 8: Peer Review Tools When the System
Treats You Fairly ...................................133
Chapter 9: Peer Review Tools When the System
Treats You Unfairly .................................157
Act III: Your Research Program .....................173
Chapter 10: Basic Training for the Job Talk .............174
Chapter 11: Selecting Scholarship for the Job Talk........184
Chapter 12: The Trilogy Tool .........................195
Chapter 13: Trilogy: Part 1 ...........................204
Chapter 14: Trilogy: Part 2 ...........................217
Chapter 15: Trilogy: Part 3 ...........................226
Chapter 16: Trilogy: Epilogue .........................240
Chapter 17: How Your Research Program Serves You
and Your Scholarly Universe ...........................249
Glossary............................................256
About the Author ....................................260
References ..........................................261
Index ..............................................278
1
Acknowledgments
To attendees of our Future Directions Forum
(www.jccapfuturedirectionsforum.com): Each year, your
feedback provides us with resources for improving our
efforts at providing the next generation of researchers the tools
to succeed in academia. Thank you so much for your ideas and
support. In fact, the motivation to prepare this book came from the
following comment by an anonymous attendee of our 2018 Forum:
“[S]omething like ‘developing your research program’ would be cool,
to help students think about each project in a more programmatic
long-term way.” Whoever you are, you started this.
3
CHAPTER 1
An Introduction to Emerging Academics,
Stories, and Tools
This book begins and ends with stories. Stories about
research. It may seem like a foreign concept to think about
research in the form of a story. But think about it: Any of us
inacademiatakeanywherefromveto10yearstocompleteour
formative doctoral training. For some of us, the training continues
after that and we complete one or more post-doctoral fellowships
before we build the scholarly record that prepares us for the
job market. For all of us, we don’t just live through our years of
training. We navigate these years, and overcome them. The long
hours and sleepless nights. The setbacks and rejections. The years
invested in building the foundation for a career in research. If you
picked up this book, I would bet that, on occasion, you ask yourself:
Why am I doing this? This question strikes at the core of why
each of us choose to pursue a research career, and one tool can
help you answer this question: story. You deliver your research to
an audience of colleagues through various formats like talks and
manuscripts. If you deliver your research clearly to an audience,
story is the active ingredient; it is the reason why your audience
understands you. Delivering your scholarly work in the form of a
story allows you to make plain to your audience what keeps you up
at night and gets you out of bed in the morning. During our time
together, you will learn to leverage story as a tool for delivering
your own compelling account of your work. You will learn about
discovering the burning question that drives your work. On the
road to disseminating your work, you will encounter struggles,
namely with the peer review system that governs the publication
4
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
of scholarly work. And so you will acquire tools for conquering
this system and publishing your work. In the end, I will teach you
how to use story to build your research program. If you master the
tools described in this book and learn to tell a compelling story
about your work, scholars with little to no background in what
you do will nonetheless understand what your research program
has to offer.
Emerging Academics: Dened
This book contains stories for those in their formative years of
academic training, a group that includes those who seek admission
to a doctoral program, those enrolled in doctoral programs,
and scholars in post-doctoral fellowship programs. This group
accounts for a large part of academia that, in the United States
alone, numbers in the hundreds of thousands (National Center for
Science and Engineering Statistics, 2018; Okahana & Zhou, 2018).
In this book I use the term Emerging Academic to collectively
refer to these various training stages in academics’ careers. What
do I mean by this term? I am a clinical psychologist by training,
and I direct a laboratory where I train students enrolled in a
doctoral program in the discipline of Clinical Psychology. Much
of my research deals with how to measure and understand the
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of children and adolescents. As
many of us know from our own lives and those of our loved ones, in
your youth the way you think, feel, and react to the world around
you profoundly shapes your path to developing into an adult. But
we all know that we don’t stop developing when we graduate high
schoolor start our rst job. And so inrecent years many of my
colleagues and I began using a term to encapsulate that period
after adolescence when we are sure that people continue to develop
at a furious pace: emerging adulthood (Fincham & Lucier-Greer,
2018).
5
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
The lived experience of an Emerging Academic differs from
that of an emerging adult. Clearly, Emerging Academics exert a
considerable degree of independence in selecting their discipline
and the training programs in which they enroll. At the same time,
an Emerging Academic kind of feels like they are reliving all of
the developmental periods that precede adulthood, and on a much
shorter timescale. In just a few years, an Emerging Academic
lives through the good (and bad) of all of the developmental
periods that allow someone to “gear up” for life as an independent
scholar. The beginning of doctoral training at times feels like early
childhood:adevelopmentalperiodtypiedbyrapidchangesacross
numerous biological, cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional
systems (Rao & Wong, 2018). Professors in doctoral programs
expect Emerging Academics in their programs to undergo a swift
metamorphosis, learn the lingo of their discipline, and become a
card-carrying member of this discipline. This often takes the form
of ingesting material from copious amounts of coursework. Make
no mistake, this is an exciting time! We share new ideas. We learn
what it’s like to collaborate with like-minded individuals. And
these experiences manifest in intimate settings: one-on-one and
small-group meetings that look nothing like the relatively large
classroomsfromourundergraduate days.Wealsondthistobe
a stressful time. Professors expect you to meet degree milestones,
and quickly. Throughout the process of proposing and defending
a master’s thesis, sometimes it feels like you have to sprint before
you learn to walk!
Before you know it, the formative years of an Emerging
Academic beget even more advanced stages of development. When
I was an Emerging Academic, at times I felt like I was in a perpetual
looprelivingmyrst day of sophomoreyearinhighschool. The
rapid pace of graduate training, coupled with the exceedingly
high expectations held by graduate programs, often felt quite
6
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
overwhelming. Wait, a short while ago I learned a bunch of stuff.
Now, you want me to develop an identity, an expertise, based on
the stuff I just learned? You want me to: (a) read, understand, and
interpret a body of literature; (b) identify gaps in its knowledge
base;and(c)cogentlyteaseoutanareaofexpertisethatbothlls
those knowledge gaps and forms the basis of huge portions of my
doctoral training, like my dissertation? I am feeling all the feels
here, can I have a moment, please?
Much of the Emerging Academic period feels like being stuck
in adolescence for much longer than you want to be. During
adolescence, in addition to continued development in all aspects
of our bodily, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning, we
encounterabountyofnovelsocialexperiencestypiedbyconfusion,
frustration, and uncertainty (Benner, 2018). Emerging Academics
encounter novel social experiences of their own. The confusion you
encounter when someone provides feedback on your paper that you
do not understand and get stuck trying to address. The frustration
youexperiencethersttime—andthesecondtime,andthethird
time—a manuscript of yours receives a rejection notice from a
scholarly outlet like a journal or book publisher. The uncertainty
you feel when someone asks you to complete a task that you have
never been asked to complete, but you receive little guidance on
how to do so. It’s these “adolescent issues” that embody some of
the most crucial elements of the Emerging Academic period. They
also encapsulate some of the biggest issues educators encounter in
graduate and post-graduate studies. They deal with the production
of scholarship. Not term papers written to meet the requirements
of courses offered at institutions of higher learning, but pieces of
scholarly work. Work for which the ultimate goal is to disseminate
its contents to those who reside well outside the campus walls
where Emerging Academics receive training.
7
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
The Tools to Produce Scholarship and
Launch Your Career
Scholarship—both the amount we produce and the quality
of what we produce—is what makes or breaks research careers.
Producing multiple, high-quality pieces of scholarship and building
the record for a research career requires an academic toolbox.
This toolbox contains tools for effectively communicating ideas
andscholarlyndings.Formakingtimetoproduce scholarship.
For securing funding for scholarly work. For identifying where
and when scholarly job opportunities arise. For getting the
offers to start a job and building the record to keep that job. And
the perennial barrier is that at institutions of higher learning
generally, there simply do not exist methods for building these
toolboxes. Why? Because you do not have time. Neither do graduate
programs. Program curricula at institutions of higher learning
are already stretched beyond their means to cover the coursework
necessary to ensure that graduates attain the “book smarts” that
all researchers need to become socialized into their respective
disciplines. But book smarts only get you so far. You also need the
tools—the “street smarts”—to survive in research. Without this
training, the most gifted of researchers nd the most mundane
of research activities—from staying productive to navigating the
peer review system—mystifying.
I have grown frustrated by the reality that the next generation
ofscholars—ourcurrentcadreofEmergingAcademics—oftennd
themselvesmystiedbythetasksnecessarytogetanacademicjob
and keep that job. And I think educators—myself included—often
allow this to happen because when we were Emerging Academics,
we too found these tasks mystifying. Do we know any better
than those who educated us about how to convey professional
development tools to our Emerging Academics? I think we
do. Some of these tools lie in plain sight. As academics, we use
8
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
them every day, and what we need to do is describe these tools
within consumable formats like books (Olson, 2015; Prinstein &
Patterson, 2013; Silvia, 2007, 2018) and workshops (e.g., De Los
Reyes, 2018a, b). Sometimes, the process of acquiring a tool for
mastering an academic task appears quite opaque. Educators can
only demystify such tasks for Emerging Academics and describe
the tools for mastering them by thinking outside of the box and
turning to industries that have the solutions to perennial problems
in scholarship. Informed by narrative tools that have their origins
inlm,thisbookprovidesEmergingAcademicswiththetoolsto
master the three crucial questions germane to pursuing a research
career. To be fair, a research career consists of many tasks and
questions for consideration. Yet, if you cannot answer the three
questions listed below and outlined in Figure 1.1—where I also
list the sections of the book (i.e., Acts) and chapters that focus on
eachquestion—Isuspectyouwillencounterdifcultyonthepath
to pursuing a research career:
Where do you t within academia, and what burning
question drives your work?
On the path to publishing your work, how do you respond
to reviews of your work?
How do you connect pieces of your work to build a
research program?
Why Filmmaking Tools?
Let us tackle a key issue before we proceed. You might have
read this previous sentence with a fair degree of skepticism:
Informed by narrative tools that have their origins in lm….” I
began this book by arguing about the importance of communicating
scholarly work in the form of a story. Now, I just conveyed the idea
thatlmmakershavetheanswerstocrucialquestionsgermane
9
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
to scholarly work? We researchers embrace equations. We strive
to make observations of our world that replicate, such that when
other scholars follow in our footsteps and conduct scholarly work
in the same way we did earlier, they observe things as we did
(Schekman, 2016; Schmidt, 2009). We live and die by “active
ingredients” that, when installed, applied, or otherwise scaled
up and disseminated to the masses, produce predictable results.
Permit me to make a bold statement:
No other industry on this planet has the capability to
reveal robust, replicable storytelling principles than the
lm industry in its current form.
To be fair, plenty of other industries know storytelling and do it
well. However, the lm industry is in a league of its own when
it comes to how much it invests in storytelling. Great lms tell
coherent, compelling stories (e.g., Olson, 2015). Thus, much like the
National Institutes of Health invests in science to improve public
health,collectivelythelmindustryinvestsconsiderableresources
in order to optimize use of story as a communication device.
Figure 1.1. Three questions about academia addressed in this book,
and the chapters addressing each question.
10
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
Themoney behind producing lms ramps up the industry’s
ability to use storytelling tools to communicate. Granted, we
have all seen our share of bad lms; the industry isn’t perfect.
Nevertheless, lmmakers who produce nancially successful
lms leverage story with surgical precision. I suspect some of
you might be thinking: But it’s been years since the lm industry
produced a lm that I found memorable, let alone good. A key
reason why you might be thinking this is precisely why tools from
lmmaking inform the tools described in this book. Specically,
thelmindustryinitscurrent formisfrustratingly risk-averse.
Justabouteverylmyouhavetheoptionofviewinginbrickand
mortar theaters has its basis in: (a) previously produced lms
(e.g.,sequeltoanearlierlm);(b)widelyknowncharacters(e.g.,
from classic animation or comic books); and/or (c) genres with
mainstreamappeal(e.g.,action/adventure,sciencection).These
lmsoftengeneraterevenueson gargantuan scales. But hereis
the thing: These lms also require considerable funds to write,
cast, direct, produce, and distribute.
The lm industry is risk-averse because even low-budget
projects are costly, risky ventures. Yet, as an Emerging Academic,
the industry’s risk aversion works in your favor. Filmmakers use
storytelling to avoid risky outcomes, like producing a lm that
bankruptsthelmstudiothatfundedit.Thestudioneedscertainty
that their storytelling not only helps them avoid bankruptcy but
adds to their bank account. Similarly, you would benet from
certainty in your own scholarly work. You need concrete tools
for communicating your scholarly work that achieve predictable,
positive outcomes, like publishing your work, nailing your job
talk,andlandingyourrstjob.Yourneeds andthose ofthelm
industry are one and the same, so why not capitalize on what the
industry has learned from all the money they spend to perfect
their storytelling?
11
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
So, what do lmmakers buy to avoid risky outcomes? They
buydata,andlotsofit.Salesestimatesforpreviouslmswithin
thesame genreasanewlmproject.Focusgroupsconsistingof
asample ofatarget audiencetowhich lmmakerswishtopitch
ideas and solicit feedback on their lm project. Test screenings
thatlmmakersusetomakesurethataudiencesenjoythelatest
draftofthelm.Allofthesedataserveoneboss:thestorytelling.
Data help lmmakers understand whether the product of
their hard work successfully reproduced the equation of clear,
compelling storytelling. If these data come up short of expectations,
it’s time to revise the product or otherwise risk monumental (and
costly) failure. Filmmakers refer to this equation as the three-act
structure. In fact, I organized the book using this exact structure,
andIdowhateverymemorablelmyou haveever seendoes.In
Act I, I create a universe for you to house your scholarly work. In
Act II, I upend your newfound scholarly universe by creating a
conictthatmakesithardforyoutoproducescholarlywork.Act
IIIservestoresolvetheconictthatyouencounterinActIIand
return your scholarly universe to homeostasis. At its core, you will
ndineachActaconcretesetoftools.Toolstomakesenseofyour
scholarly universe, meet the challenges all researchers invariably
encounter, and overcome these challenges to launch your research
career.
Which Filmmaking Tools Help You Tell Your
Story?
Beginning a research career involves providing solid answers
to the questions outlined in Figure 1.1. Indeed, these questions
focus on developing your Research Program: the story that you
tell others who seek to learn more about your work. Your research
program is what you show colleagues when you discuss your work
at job interviews for faculty positions. You know you answered
12
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
these questions well if you can tell a cogent, compelling story about
your work to other scholars, even when they have little background
in what you do. The crucial test of your story manifests as perhaps
the most vexing, mystifying, and stress-inducing academic task of
them all: the academic job talk.
If you hang around an academic setting long enough, you
will attend countless academic talks. You will see great talks by
Emerging Academics and seasoned researchers alike. You will
also learn that any scholar, regardless of career stage, can deliver
an unclear, even cringe-worthy talk. Scholars need a variety of
tools to deliver a great academic talk. Yet, all academic talks have
a primary objective: to organize multiple pieces of scholarly work
into a coherent narrative or story of the speaker’s scholarship.
In this book, I chose to describe a particular set of academic
tools.IdesignedthesetoolstotthelivedexperiencesofEmerging
Academics. In Table 1.1, I summarize their use in this book. Over the
course of their training, a successful Emerging Academic produces
several pieces of well-thought-out scholarship. This work is not a
solo effort. Emerging Academics think about, develop, and complete
scholarship under the supervision of a relatively more experienced
professional—a Mentor. Scholarship in this space tends to occur:
(a)inarelativelyshortperiodoftime,(b)withintheconnesofan
area of study often at the discretion of the mentor, and (c) without
a clear view from the outset of how each of the pieces of scholarly
work connect with one another thematically. Within this context
of scholarship, the approach to scholarly work described in this
bookhas itsoriginsintwolmmakingtools.Therst isthetool
of the Shared Universe:aninnovativelmmakingtoolthatIuse
as a metaphor for the scholarly relationship between mentor and
Emerging Academic. This metaphor allows me to conceptualize for
you an adaptive perspective on mentored scholarship. The second
is the tool of Trilogy: a method for integrating a small number of
13
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
related yet independent bodies of work into a compelling story.
I elaborate on how these tools yield an approach tailor-made for
Emerging Academics, who have just a few years to (a) develop an
area of expertise; (b) produce scholarly work in this area; and (c)
develop a compelling story about this work that positions them
well for a career in research.
14
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
Overview of Our Strategies for Success
Throughout the book, I use three strategies to help you
successfully master the academic tools described in Table 1.1.
First, I cite contemporary and classic examples in lm to both
distill storytelling principles and connect these principles to
scholarly work. Second, I describe elements of both my work and
that of one of my own doctoral students, using a feature of the
book I refer to as Modeling Moments. These Modeling Moments
provide you with examples of how to apply the academic tools to
produceandrenescholarlywork,aswellasdescribethisworkto
audiences of interest (e.g., faculty at an academic job talk).
Third, an additional feature, Anonymous Accounts,
includes narratives from Emerging Academics and early career
professionals. In unique ways, each Anonymous Account details
experiences with work linked to the three questions in Figure
1.1. Some accounts provide you with useful tidbits of advice to
complement the tools described in the main text. Others detail real-
world experiences with struggles that all academics encounter,
from those that precede the advent of doctoral training to those
Figure 1.2. Structure of the book by
content, chapter, and act.
15
THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER’S TOOLBOX
encounteredduringtherstyearsonthejob.Stillotheraccounts
reveal in lucid detail inspirational experiences that exemplify
what makes a research career worth pursuing. Collectively, the
three strategies breathe life into the academic tools described in
the book, and reveal their functional properties when applied to
scholarly work.
Organizational Structure of the Book
In this chapter, we discussed the rationale for the book,
our focus on Emerging Academics like you, the academic tools
for building a research program, and the strategies to facilitate
learning the tools. How do we package all this knowledge to
optimize its utility? As seen in Figure 1.2, I organized the book
so that each chapter builds on material from previous chapters.
Chapters2and3focusontherationaleforlearningtherstofthe
two academic tools revealed in the book, the Shared Universe tool.
Chapter 4 covers all of the principles underlying the tool, and in
Chapters 5 through 9 we apply these principles to the academic
tasks germane to Acts I and II of the book (i.e., mentoring and
peer review). With Act III, we repeat this process for the Trilogy
tool. Chapters 10 and 11 present the rationale for learning the
tool; Chapter 12 covers its underlying principles; and in Chapters
13 through 16 we learn how to apply the tool to developing a
compelling account of your work (i.e., research program).
I want to close this chapter with two comments. First, as with
all readers of this book, I suspect that some of the tools I reveal
to you may be catching you at just the right time. Perhaps you
picked up this book as you await the decision on a manuscript
you submitted to a publication outlet. You might be on the cusp
ofbeginningyour rstjobsearch.Some ofyoumighteven beat
the beginning of your journey in doctoral training, applying to
graduateprogramsforthersttimeorjuststartingyourgraduate
16
ANDRES DE LOS REYES, PH.D.
program. For each of you, only some of the tools we discuss may
be of relevance to your work right now. What this means is that,
on occasion, you may feel the need to take a break from our time
together and wait for the right moment to return. That is ne,
and I constructed the chapters with this possibility in mind.
For instance, later chapters include reminders of key concepts
presented in earlier chapters, so as to reduce the need to return to
earlier material to understand the tools we discussed where you
left off.
Second, please read the whole book. A prevailing theme in
our time together involves the interconnected nature of scholarly
work. If only some of the material is of relevance to you right now,
I guarantee you that all of the material will be relevant to people
with whom you meet and work during your career. I am asking
youtoreadthewholebookbecauseifyoundithelpful,myhope
is that you will pay it forward. Permit me to explain. I see many
of the students I mentor in my academic work—my own Emerging
Academics—more often than I see close family and relatives. They
comprise key components of my scholarly Galaxy: a metaphor I
leverage throughout this book to describe mentored scholarship.
Ifyou ndsuccessinacademiaandbeginaresearchcareerthat
involves raising your own Emerging Academics—creating your
own scholarly galaxy—then please impart the tools in this book to
your students. Don’t wait until they graduate and look for work.
To those who will eventually see you as their mentor, reveal these
tools to your students early and often. We begin our journey with
learning about Burning Questions: the topic of inquiry that propels
a scholar’s research program.
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