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.

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


Community service and volunteer activities that are not directly linked with a course, independent study, senior or honors thesis, and/or research project mentored by an instructor do not fall within the scope of this journal.

By submitting a manuscript here you are affirming that it has not been or will not be published elsewhere, and it is not currently under review anywhere else.  

In each category, a published piece will contribute to existing knowledge in a particular subject area and/or in the scholarship on service learning, community-based research, and all related curriculum- and/or research-based community partnerships.

The journal will publish written work by undergraduates in the following six categories. Please note that the categories are meant to be a guide for various kind of intellectual and creative work. The editorial team realizes that the categories overlap. The examples provided below are among many, many possibilities. If you are uncertain about the category for your work, 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!


Read through the published articles in Volume 1 and Volume 2 for examples in each category.

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 editoral team should know regarding the submission. 

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.

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 CBR took place, and will ideally be grounded in readings from the course.

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 submission must be accompanied by a reflective essay that follows the above description for Reflective Essays.

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.

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.

Responses to Previously Published Articles

The responses will engage in intellectual dialogue with previously published articles in the journal. This category is new for Volume 2.

Author Guidelines by Type of Submission:

  1. Authors must be undergraduates or recent graduates (within six months of graduation) when the manuscript is submitted.
  2. All manuscripts must be submitted by the student author(s) through the online system.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Indicate the category for which you are submitting your manuscript. 
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Approximate Length Requirements

Reflective Essays

Submissions should be 4-10 double-spaced pages, size 12 points, font Times New Roman.

Analytical Essays

Submissions should be 4-10 double-spaced pages, size 12 points, font Times New Roman.

Research Done in Partnership with a Community Organization, and Reflective Analysis

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.

Research Articles

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

Open Category

Submissions should not exceed the equivalent of 12 double-spaced pages, size 12 point, font Times New Roman.

Responses to Previously Published Articles

Submissions should be 4-20 double-spaced pages; size 12 points, font Times New Roman.

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.

  1. All submissions will first be read by the editor.
  2. The editor will send submissions that fit the journal's general specifications 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. 
  3. The faculty mentor will make one of four decisions: Accept, Accept with Minor Revisions, Revise and Resubmit, or Reject. 
  4. If a decision is Accept, the manuscript moves to the editorial stage. The author will be contacted with instructions.
  5. 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. Upon submitting a revision, authors should also email a letter to the editor detailing what changes have been made to the submission.
  6. Submitters should be aware that most published articles will undergo rigorous and deep revision before being accepted for publication.