As any graduate student will tell you, writing a thesis is one of the most difficult aspects of their time at a university. It is a major accomplishment when they are able to publish their work.
Lashanti Brown ’16, M.S. ’19, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in criminal justice, said the hardest part of completing her thesis—“Do College Students’ Perceptions of the Police Differ by Education Level and Major?”—was the literature review. “I found this to be challenging because there is not enough research on college students’ perceptions of the police,” she said.
Brown was ultimately able to find enough research to finish her thesis and publish in March. In addition to submitting it to ProQuest’s Dissertations and Theses database, available only to those connected to a university with access, Brown also decided to make her work available to everyone through Illinois State’s institutional repository, ISU ReD.
Brown decided to take the extra step of submitting her research to ISU ReD because she wanted students, instructors, and researchers to get an idea of how students at Illinois State University perceive the police. “I also would love to see this research or similar research in this area be further explored to see what results are produced from future students, instructors, and researchers.”
Because her work was published in ISU ReD, it is freely available to the public, rather than being hidden behind a paywall, and can be found just from a Google or Google Scholar search. More people will be able to find and read her work, including future scholars writing their own literature reviews and university law enforcement officers trying to improve relationships with their student population. Brown said public access to her research could possibly lead to greater public trust, effective policing, safety on college campuses, and improved police relations among college students and the public in the future.
Brown also sees a more practical advantage to making her thesis openly available to the public: It will help her with future job prospects. “Having an openly accessible version of my thesis in ISU’s repository will help in my transition into the employment field. I believe this access will continue to help me in my career search and throughout my career journey.”
Another great benefit to including work in ISU ReD is that the repository accepts works in multiple formats. While Brown took a more traditional approach with her thesis, graduate students are not limited by the format of an article if they want to publish their work with ISU ReD. Video and audio recordings can also be included in a research project submission. If a thesis includes supplemental datasets, those could also be submitted and made available in the repository.
Read Brown’s thesis, or the scholarship of hundreds of other Illinois State students, in the Theses and Dissertations collection on ISUReD. For more information about submitting any of your work to ISU ReD, contact Milner Library’s Scholarly Communication Team.