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Research Spotlight: Jaclyn Kettler

June 1, 2007

Baker political science/international studies major and library worker Jaclyn Kettler signed a contract with Sage to publish an essay, co-written with Dr. Bruce Anderson, in the Encyclopedia of Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior.

Kettler’s article on Louisiana’s electoral history was one of several topics Anderson approached her to write with him. Several other Baker political science students also submitted essays co-written with Anderson for publication:

Margaret E. Kisner,
Andrew D. McGregor,
Brandi N. Reese,
Jennifer N. Thierer, and
Tricia M. Wernette

Of the writing itself, Kettler explains that her research relied on historical sources. “Everything I used came from books, which is different because I’m used to using so many online articles.” Kettler explains that she didn’t really need analysis as much as she needed overviews. “Reading about the history of the state’s politics helped more than a scholarly article,” she said. Two of the sources she used were from Collins Library, including The Two-Party South, and Southern Politics in State and Nation. Another source Kettler cites is her co-author. She admits she couldn’t have written the article without him. “He gave me suggestions of what to read,” she says.

The reason the article is co-authored is that publishers are wary of contracting articles with undergraduates. Some publishers will not accept strictly undergraduate submissions. Anderson notes, however, that the students do all of the research, the outline, and the initial writing. It’s the editorial process that he controls – a process that can be repeated several times. He will also contribute to the writing if he has more experience and knowledge on a particular aspect of the paper.

Ultimately, Anderson’s goal is to “turn [the political science program at Baker] into a department that delivers people at the graduate level- to prepare [them] to become practicing political scientists.” To do that, students must publish and attend conferences, he adds. This type of publishing opportunity “gives me a pedagogical handle on that kind of writing and research.” Furthermore, he states, “it trains students to write in a certain way; it has to be general but it must be accurate.”

The Encyclopedia of Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior will be published by Sage Reference in early 2008 (in advance of the 2008 election) and sold to college, public, and other academic libraries.

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