Spectra, UNLV's Undergraduate Research Journal

About Spectra

Spectra: UNLV’s Undergraduate Research Journal by the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is a bi-annual (i.e., fall and spring issues), peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, open-access journal primarily dedicated to the publication of undergraduate student research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. If and when possible, Spectra also publishes well-qualified undergraduate research from other institutions.

Spectra is committed to advancing responsible and ethical conduct of research, academic integrity, civil discourse, open and critical inquiry, and fair and unbiased representation of undergraduate student research across the academic spectrum.

Workshops

OUR offers workshops on how to write abstracts, annotate bibliographies, cite properly, prepare manuscripts for publication, and review manuscripts for publication, encompassing many stages of the writing spectrum.

To sign up for these workshops, please go to OUR’s RSA page.

Aims

The main objectives of SPECTRA are to:

  1. Develop and improve research publishing skills by means of peer review process whereby scholarly feedback received,
  2. Provide undergraduate authors with the opportunity to engage in collaboration with their peers and faculty members, both in their research and during the publication process,
  3. Promote, expand, and enhance undergraduate student research participation at UNLV,
  4. Support and reward undergraduate students’ research involvement and add value to their overall education, professional development, and career readiness,
  5. Elevate the status of undergraduate research education at UNLV.

Scope

As OUR defines research in the broadest and most inclusive way, SPECTRA invites submissions from the following disciplines:

  • Engineering, Health Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Sciences including Math, Geoscience, and Life Sciences, (STEM)
  • Fine Arts, Business, Education, Hospitality, Liberal Arts, Urban Affairs (NON-STEM)

We encourage submission of original research that is well written and accessible to a wide audience and accept the following forms of literary and empirical work:

  1. Primary research articles
  2. Primary review articles
  3. Research protocol articles
  4. Thesis-based research articles from laboratory and field work, term papers (with the approval and endorsement of the instructor), or other faculty-supervised projects.
  5. Creative writing including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prose
  6. Visual arts and photography

Editorial Board

  • Levent Atici, Editor-In-Chief
  • Rafael Oganesyan, Senior Managing Editor
  • Susan Hall, Managing Editor
  • Kira Tran, Design and Copy Editor
  • Corla “C.C.” Carpenter, Undergraduate Senior Editor
  • Emily CarterUndergraduate Senior Editor
  • Natalie Martinez, Undergraduate Senior Editor
  • Caitlin Reynolds, Undergraduate Associate Editor
  • Aaron Cheng, Undergraduate Associate Editor
  • Xavier Lawruk, Undergraduate Associate Editor
  • Ava Platt, Undergraduate Associate Editor

Instructions for Authors

General Guidelines

  • As we publish two issues in fall and spring semesters, we encourage undergraduate researchers to submit manuscripts for review on an ongoing basis with no specific deadlines.
  • For all manuscript submissions, students must be under the supervision of a faculty member or gain approval from the appropriate faculty member prior to submission.
  • Authors will retain the rights to their original work.
  • Submitted articles must be original work that has not been published or accepted or under review for publication elsewhere. Conference papers presented orally or poster presentations do not count as publications and are eligible for publication.
  • OUR does not charge submission or processing cost to authors to publish in Spectra.

Formatting Guidelines

  1. Please name your submission as follows: LastName-Field-Date (e.g., Doe-HealthSciences-3-4-2020.docx)
  2. All manuscripts must be submitted in Microsoft Word format only (DOC, DOCX).
  3. All manuscripts should have 1-inch margins on all sides
  4. All text should be formatted in single column and double-spaced
  5. Limit manuscript sections and sub-sections to 3 heading levels. Make sure heading levels are clearly indicated in the manuscript text
  6. Please cite primary and secondary sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books and book chapters, government reports, and other legitimate published data etc.) and avoid grey literature (e.g., websites, blog posts, working papers, newsletters, social media posts, meeting notes, and personal notes)
  7. Times New Roman font type and 12 point font size should be used
  8. All text must be left-aligned and all paragraphs must be indented
  9. All pages must include page numbers (top, right-aligned) and continuous line numbers

Style Guidelines

  • Primary research articles, primary review articles, research protocol articles, and thesis-based research articles must use “APA style,” following The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition for specific guidelines provided below:
  • Authors submitting creative writing including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prose should use “MLA style” and consult the following links for specific guidelines and instructions: 
  • To help with your reference management, consider using some of the tools listed below:
    • Zotero: A free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research
    • Mendeley: Generate references, citations and bibliographies in a whole range of journal styles with just a few clicks

Avoid Plagiarism

Avoid Plagiarism

Please consult the resources below to learn more about writing with integrity and avoid plagiarism:

Organization and Structure Guidelines

Manuscripts for the following submission types should contain the sections listed below:

  1. Primary research articles
  2. Primary review articles
  3. Research protocol articles
  4. Thesis-based research articles
1 Full Title Page The title of the article
2 Full names and credentials First M. Last, BSc Student [1]*, First M. Last, PhD [2]
[1] Department of X, University of Y, City, State, Country, Postal, Email Address
[2] Department of W, University of Z, City, State, Country, Postal, Email Address
3 Corresponding author *Corresponding author’s email address goes here
4 Author ORCID ID# Full Name: https://orcid.org/0000-0000-0000-0000
5 Abstract Not to exceed 250 words
  Introduction Concisely describe the context and purpose of your research
  Methods Concisely describe how the research was conducted and quantitative or qualitative methods and techniques used without details
  Results Summarize your most important and main findings
  Discussion Concisely describe the study implications and future directions
6 Keywords keyword1; keyword2; keyword3; keyword4; keyword5; keyword6
7 Introduction  
  Research objective(s) Describe the main objective(s) of your research
  Conceptual/theoretical framework(s) Embed your research within relevant and pertinent theoretical or explanatory framework(s) and note any relevant controversies or disagreements in the field
  Literature review and background Include a brief review of the key literature and provide background that puts the manuscript into context and allows readers outside the field to understand the purpose and significance of the study
  Significance and contribution(s) Define the problem addressed and why it is important
  Research question(s) Present your specific research questions
8 Methods  
  Design and protocol Provide enough detail to allow suitably skilled investigators to fully assess and replicate your study
  Materials and sampling Provide details about your materials, sample size, and sampling strategy
  Types of analysis Provide details about your analytical framework and techniques
9 Results Present your results and describe your key findings
10 Discussion Interpret your results
11 Conclusions  
  Main conclusions Describe the conclusions that can be drawn and/or can be generalizable
  Importance to the field Explain how the results relate and contribute to your field
  Broader implication and future directions Provide a succinct explanation of the implications of the findings, particularly in relation to previous related studies and potential future directions for research
12 List of abbreviations used If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use written in full with the abbreviation in parentheses. A complete list of all abbreviations used should be provided in a section called List of Abbreviations directly following the Conclusions section.
13 Conflicts of Interest The “Conflicts of Interest” section should declare any real, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest between the duties or responsibilities related to research, and personal, institutional or other interests associated with each author. Conflicts of interest can exist when an author’s interpretation of data or presentation of information may be influenced by their personal or financial relationship with other people or organizations. If all authors have no conflicts of interest, please state “The author(s) declare that they have no conflict of interests.”
14 Ethics Approval If the study reported in your manuscript required review by your institution's review board (IRB), please provide the details in this section. If your study involved human participants, please describe the steps taken to gain the consent of the study participants.
15 Authors’ Contributions According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to:
  1. Conception and design, analysis and interpretation of data
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content
  3. Final approval of the version to be published.
Please outline the contributions made by each author marked by their initials:
  • ABC: contributed to the research design, collected and analyzed data, drafted the manuscript, and approved the version to be published.
  • DEF: contributed to the research design and planning, assisted with data collection and analysis, approved the version to be published.
  • GHI: substantially contributed to the research design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, revised the manuscript critically, and approved the version to be published.
16 Acknowledgements Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article but did not meet the criteria for authorship. Examples of such contributors include those who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, a department chair who provided only general support, or those who contributed as part of a large collaboration group. Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.
17 Funding Please include all funding sources associated with your study. If the study was unfunded, please state “This study was not funded”.
18 References

Primary research articles, primary review articles, research protocol articles, and thesis-based research articles must use “APA style” and authors submitting such work should consult The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition for specific guidelines and instructions.

Authors submitting creative writing including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prose should use “MLA style” and consult the following links for specific guidelines and instructions.

19 List of Figures Figures should be provided where it should be displayed in the word document text file. Each figure should be able to fit on a single page in portrait format, and they should be numbered in the order in which they appear cited in the manuscript (i.e. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Each figure must be accompanied with a caption directly below it. Please note that Spectra only publishes articles in online formats, and therefore, there are no additional charges for the use of color figures. Important: It is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures that have previously been published elsewhere, which should be scanned and emailed to the editorial office in case of acceptance together with your Publication Agreement Form.
20 List of Tables Tables should also be provided where it should be displayed in the word document text file. Each table should be able to fit on a single page in portrait format, and they should be numbered in the order in which they appear cited in the manuscript (i.e. Table 1, Table 2, etc.). Each figure must be accompanied with a caption directly above it. All tables should be formatted using the “Table object” (i.e. Insert > Table) in a Microsoft Word to ensure that columns of data are kept aligned when the file is sent electronically for review. Important: It is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce figures or tables that have previously been published elsewhere, which should be scanned and emailed to the editorial office in case of acceptance together with your Publication Agreement Form.
21 Additional Files For figures and tables that are too large to be included with the manuscript file, please upload them as multimedia appendices. Other additional file types that you wish to accompany your manuscript may include research instruments (questionnaires), movie files, original/raw data (SAS/SPSS, Excel, Access database, etc.). Important: It is the responsibility of the author(s) to obtain permission from the copyright holder to reproduce any additional file that have previously been published elsewhere, which should be scanned and emailed to the editorial office in case of acceptance together with your Publication Agreement Form.

What to Submit

  • Please submit a cover page to spectra@unlv.edu, including the following information and copy your faculty mentor: 
  • Author(s) full name, institutional affiliation (i.e., University, College/School, and Department), and rebel e-mail address
  • Author(s) role(s) and contribution(s) to the manuscript
  • Research mentor’s name, affiliation information, and e-mail address.
  • Keywords (4-6) to enable successful database searches. Be strategic to make your work easily detectable with widest accessibility.
  • A 100- to 250-word abstract of the manuscript, typed double-space, not indented, and with the same type and style of language found in the original manuscript. Summarize the study’s contribution to the scientific literature
  • Please submit your manuscript in Microsoft Word format only (DOC, DOCX).
  • Manuscripts may be 3000 - 5000 (maximum) words or longer if approved by Spectra editors. The world limit must include all text including acknowledgements and references.
  • Camera-ready graphics and photographs are welcome. 
  • An endorsement from the faculty mentor who attests that: 
    • They have read the manuscript 
    • The planning, execution, and writing of the manuscript represent primarily the work of the undergraduate student(s).
  • The use of human subjects or animals for research purposes is regulated by the federal government and individual institutions. All authors of manuscripts in this journal describing research involving human subjects or animal experimentation should obtain approval from their Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), as appropriate, prior to manuscript submission. A statement of IRB or IACUC approval must be included in the Materials and Methods section. Documentation of IRB or IACUC status must be made available upon request.

Sample Manuscripts

Please consult the sample manuscripts to help with your manuscript preparation.

Open Access

Spectra is an Open Access publication; all articles are freely available online immediately upon publication. With few exceptions, articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, where readers may reuse the materials with proper citation to the original.

Publication Agreement

Articles in Spectra are freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) which allows others to re-use the work without permission as long as the work is properly cited. For more information, visit the Creative Commons licenses page. Copyright is retained by the author(s). Where an author is prevented from being the copyright holder (i.e., U.S. government employees), the copyright line and license statement in individual articles will be adjusted. Please contact the editors during or immediately after submission of your paper.

General Terms and Conditions of Use

Users of the Digital Scholarship@UNLV website and/or software agree not to misuse the Digital Scholarship@UNLV service or software in any way. The failure of Digital Scholarship@UNLV to exercise or enforce any right or provision in the policies or the Submission Agreement does not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any term of the Submission Agreement or these policies is found to be invalid, the parties nevertheless agree that the court should endeavor to give effect to the parties' intentions as reflected in the provision, and the other provisions of the Submission Agreement and these policies remain in full force and effect. These policies and the Submission Agreement constitute the entire agreement between Digital Scholarship@UNLV and the Author(s) regarding submission of the Article.