Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Friday, January 18, 2008: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Blue Room (Omni Shoreham)
[RD/M] Publishing Empirical Studies in Social Work: Writing Articles That Matter
Speakers/Presenters:Michael R. Sosin, PhD, University of Chicago
Rebecca L. Hegar, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington
Jeffrey M. Jenson, PhD, University of Denver
Bruce Thyer, PhD, Florida State University
Abstract Text:
Peer-Reviewed journals publish a good share of the empirical research conducted by social work investigators. Accordingly, the journals perform a critical service in disseminating etiological and practice-relevant information on a diverse array of topics. To provide that service, the scholars who edit social work journals must meet the daunting challenges of quickly and accurately identifying, improving, and publishing relevant and rigorous studies that advance the breadth and depth of knowledge.

This workshop includes a distinguished panel of four editors of eminent generalist social work journals who will discuss the topic of journal publication. Selected to encompass representatives of the gamut of high quality journals, the editors work for association and private journals, national and international journals. They will describe their respective journals, offer submission guidelines, explain the editorial decision-making process, and provide their best advice on the article creation process. In keeping with the conference theme, the panel will provide editors' takes on the issues involved in writing publishable work that is rigorous, theoretically informed, and relevant to policy and practice. The authors will examine how peer-reviewed publications contribute to the larger goal of expanding the profession's empirical knowledge base.

The editors will discuss a range of topics. 1) They will explain how to target the appropriate journal for a publication. Panel members will discuss the purposes, histories, and philosophies of the represented journals, identifying the types of manuscripts generally favored by each. In the process, they will highlight the distinguishing characteristics of the four journals. 2) The editors will discuss the review process. They will explain how reviewers are selected, how editors treat reviews, and how authors can make their intent and contribution clear to the reviewers and the editors in submissions and re-submissions. 3) The editors will discuss key features of highly-rated articles. They will explain some of the important characteristics that distinguish the manuscripts that tend to be accepted for publication and also will highlight the characteristics of the most highly valued works. 4) They will discuss publication priorities. Panel members will consider research topics that are of high priority to their respective journals. 5) The editors will discuss the importance in publishing of providing knowledge that matters. Panelists will consider the role of the research question, theory, design, and implication sections in creating and evaluating scholarship. In keeping with the long-standing interests of panel members, they will debate the relative roles of theory and substantive focus, general and specific application, descriptive and didactic presentation. 6) The panel members will discuss the implications for journals and authors of advances in electronic submissions, publication, and journal ranking.

During a ninety-minute session, the editors will each address each of the above topics in prepared statements. They then will take audience questions and lead a discussion.

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