Online Journal Features Best of Undergraduate Student Research

A screenshot of the third volume of the Instars journal.

A screenshot of the third volume of the Instars electronic journal that was launched recently.

Students in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University now has another way to display their research as the third edition of the Instars student-edited online journal was just released this june.

Since its inception two years ago, the Instars open access online journal has grown from a handful of journal articles from various undergraduate student research projects into a place to where students could have a place to easily showcase their research to the public.

Articles in the third volume include a variety of undergraduate projects such as surveys of mosquitoes in several areas around Bryan/College Station and Snook, adult longevity studies on Chrysomya rufifacies flies, a survey on cockroach species infesting homes in the Houston area, a study on the effects of black pepper on killing ants, and the efficiency of common household products as suitable repellents for fire ants.

Students in the class serve as peer editors during the planning stages each semester. Brundage said the students were placed in small groups of two to three and tasked with reviewing each submission for proper content, format and grammar by using a standardized rubric for submitting papers professionally.

After the review session, each group then submitted a written article analysis on each of the submissions given to them, basing their critiques on grammar, style and content. The completed article analysis was then passed onto three different groups with a final publication decision after the third review. She said that at the end of the semester, the students voted on 15 to 20 papers that were submitted to the journal as their final project.

Brundage said the participation has grown to more than 170 submissions reviewed.

“The issues keep getting better and better,” she said “We were fortunate this year to have a record number of submissions and it was very difficult to narrow down to just a few.”

She also said that the editing process has become a little more streamlined with each issue published.

“It has gotten easier to format the papers with the students, and I’ve had the student assist me in clarifying the author guidelines,”  she said. “We refine things each issue, so it’s a work in progress.”

Brundage hopes to get even more exposure after she presents the journal to the National Forensic Entomological Association’s annual meeting later this summer.

“We’ve started to get some good traction, and students from all over the country are starting to submit their work,” she said.  “In a few weeks I’ll be presenting the journal at the North American Forensic Entomological Association meeting, so I anticipate even more high quality work in the future.”

The third volume can be viewed at: https://journals.tdl.org/instars/index.php/instars/issue/view/5/showToc while the journal’s past issues can be viewed at the main page located at: https://journals.tdl.org/instars/index.php/instars/index

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