The 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.

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

Are we a good fit for you? 

One thing that is really important when considering if a journal is a good fit for your work is looking at their aims and scope page. Our aims and scope page describes exactly what type of work we are interested in publishing and what goals our journal aims to meet. Check out our aims and scope page here. 

Here at the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research, we feel that faculty-student relationships are essential to developing publishable undergraduate work. Due to this belief, community service and volunteer activities that are not directly linked to a course, independent study, senior or honors thesis, and/or research project mentored by an instructor are not published by this journal. 

Additionally, we do not accept manuscripts that are published or will be published elsewhere. This also means it cannot be currently under review by another journal or publisher.  

Furthermore, we believe that a published piece in each category of this journal will contibute to existing knowledge on a particular subject area and/or offer knowledge that contributes to the scholarscholarship on service learning, community-based research and all related subject areas such as community based partnerships. 

Yet, we recognize that some categories are likely to overlap and that is okay. We hope that these categories serve more as a guide for various forms of intellectual and creative work. Don't feel too limited by our categories, as we are most interested in sharing work on service learning and community-based research from undergraduates. In the section below, we have linked some examples of each category we publish under. If you are uncertain about the category for your work or if your piece works for this journal, please talk to your professor and/or contact the journal editor, Jill Waity, at 

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!


Note: Each submission should include a letter to the editor detailing the topic of the submission, contact information for the author and any additional information the editorial team should know regarding the submission. For an example letter to the editor, click here. 

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 EducationMichigan Journal of Community Service LearningJournal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, and Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

Submissions should be 12-20 double-spaced pages, size 12 points, font Times New Roman.

For examples of Research Articles, click here and here.

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. In short, we want to hear about your experience in an engaging and critical way. Submissions should be 4-10 double-spaced pages, size 12 points, font Times New Roman. For an example of a reflection, click here. 

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.

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 community based research took place, and will ideally be grounded in readings from the course. Submissions should be 4-10 double-spaced pages, size 12 points, font Times New Roman. For an example, click here. 

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 could be in a number of different mediums and formats such as an infographic, a PowerPoint presentation or an acadmic poster. This submission must be accompanied by a reflective essay that follows the above description for Reflective Essays. Submit research in the form given to the organization. Accompanying reflective essay submissions should be 4-10 double-spaced pages, size 12 points, font Times New Roman.

For an example of a published submission for Research Done in Partnership with a Community Organization, click here.

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. Submissions should not exceed the equivalent of 12 double-spaced pages, size 12 point, font Times New Roman. Also, in your letter to the editor please be sure to explain why your submission is best suited for the open category than the other categories. For an example, click here

Author Guidelines

Authors must be undergraduates or recent graduates (within six months of graduation) when the manuscript is submitted.

All manuscripts (doc or docx) must be submitted by the student author(s) through the online system in English.

Once the student manuscript has been submitted, the instructor must email a note to the editor ( stating that the essay was written by the student(s). 

All submissions that cite sources must follow the American Psychological Association Style 6th Edition for documenting sources in the text and in the References page.

Manuscript submissions should be double-spaced, size 12 points, Times New Roman font. Exceptions to this guideline include Research Done in Partnership with a Community Organization as well as Open Category submissions in diverse formats.

Author(s) must include an initial letter to the editor outlining the article and why it is a good fit for this journal.

Indicate the category for which you are submitting your manuscript. 

Include the author's name, address, institutional affiliation, e-mail address (make sure you can be reached at this email if you are graduating) and phone number with your submission.

All authors/researchers utilizing human subjects in their research must have obtained informed consent from the participants. The Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research encourages undergraduate researchers to discuss with their faculty mentors how their projects can be structured to safeguard the rights and privacy of individuals involved as research subjects.

Review Process

The editorial team at Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research is committed to a professional, efficient, and fair review process. So you know what to expect when you submit a manuscript for publication consideration, we have outlined our procedures below.

All submissions will first be read by the editor or assistant editor.

If it is determined your work meets the journal's general specifications, it will be sent to a faculty mentor, a scholar-teacher familiar with service learning and community-based research. When possible, the editor will send a submission to faculty mentors in the student's discipline, however this is not always guaranteed. The author and the reviewer do not know each other's identity to keep in line with the double blind review process.

The faculty mentor will make one of four decisions: Accept, Accept with Minor Revisions, Revise and Resubmit, or Reject. If a decision is Accept, the manuscript moves to the editorial stage. The author will be contacted with instructions.

If a decision is Accept with Minor Revisions or Revise and Resubmit, the author will have the opportunity to revise the manuscript in accordance with the faculty mentor’s revision feedback. Revise and Resubmit is a common response by reviewers, and even well-known scholars frequently receive this response, so don't fret. Upon submitting a revision, authors should also include a letter to the editor detailing what changes have been made to the submission.

Submitters should be aware that most published articles will undergo rigorous and deep revision before being accepted for publication.

To watch a webinar recording of the review process and frequently asked questions, click here.

If you have any questions about our journal, categories we publish under or other general questions, please contact us at