Failed Adventures in the Professional Literature

Flipping the Question It doesn't always get published. The above links to a paper that was submitted to a particular science education research journal, because I thought the idea that it discusses (having students use answer choices to construct questions as a way of helping them think about topics and recapitulate their misconceptions) was a useful one. The submissions editor was very enthusiastic. The reviewers...not so much.

Reading negative peer review feedback is never maximum fun-time. I'd post it here, but I think that's a violation of the terms of submission. Instead, here are the major complaints about the paper:

  1. Use of the term "flipping": It was confusing to several reviewers, as it was conflated with the "flip class" movement. Probably my own fault. I should have realized that one can't use the word "flip" or its derivatives anymore without speaking to that particular mode of pedagogy.
  2. Jeopardy in Disguise: By having students develop questions in response to answers, this seemed to approximate Jeopardy-style review. This one is on the reviewers. The "questions" in Jeopardy are not really questions in the way that the questions in this activity are. In any way, shape, or form.
  3. The perception of false advertising: One reviewer felt that the activity would not really uncover misconceptions in the way that I described. The same reviewer then noted that they had no idea if this was true or not, as they had never tried the activity. Not the most scientific way of reaching conclusions.
  4. Too long: The activity seemed too time-intensive to one reviewer, who felt that many items would have to be read per misconception uncovered. Though, since this was the same reviewer who made comment #3, I think we can all agree that they based this on nickels and wishes.
  5. Too vague: Several reviewers suggested that the activity would be better if students were constrained as to the possible topic for the questions they are creating. Maybe, but maximized constraints is not really how I approach my practice.

In any event, being that I have my own little publishing platform here, I thought I might use it to share this reject with the larger world, even though it will never have the imprimatur of a research journal. Sigh. At least some folks might find the concept as useful as I have.