Submission Guidelines

Theory to Practice

JSARP seeks to publish practice articles that are firmly grounded in research and literature and research articles that speak to practice. We seek to review manuscripts and publish articles that are innovative, imaginative, and forward thinking regarding issues that impact the student affairs field.

While the JSARP Editors appreciate traditional scholarship, we also welcome and will publish articles that move audiences beyond the commonly accepted or expected discourses. Especially encouraged are manuscripts that are unconventional in nature, as well as those that blend conventional and unconventional scholarly approaches that challenge the traditional paradigm of research methods, analyses, and presentation of data. We will experiment with scholarship that interrupts the traditional higher education dialogue; publish unique and sometimes unsettling ideas; and discuss topics that challenge the traditional higher education perspectives.

Areas of Emphasis

Authors are encouraged to consider the foci outlined below as they prepare and submit manuscripts to JSARP:

Innovations in Research and Scholarship Features: Manuscripts submitted for review in this area may include qualitative and quantitative manuscripts that clearly provide a theory-research-practice connection. The manuscripts should be methodologically sound with a clearly defined practice section in which the author(s) shares how the research relates to college or university functioning (e.g., policy issues, community engagement, management, organization, student engagement) and/or how the findings can be used in the practice of administrators, faculty, and students. The manuscripts should provide a unique perspective on current issues impacting our institutions and students. Literature reviews and essays that connect current issues with practice, propose creative models for student affairs practice, or discuss innovative uses of theory are welcome.

International Features: The traditional boundaries of the higher education and student affairs field are rapidly expanding with international trends and developments. Definitions of internationalization and globalization are evolving in complexity and perspective, demanding a continual examination of how students are prepared to work and thrive in ever-changing climates. Manuscripts submitted for review in this area should include cutting-edge research on current international issues impacting higher education and student affairs. A clearly articulated relationship among theory, research, and practice is encouraged. Findings and recommendations should provide new knowledge on ways to internationalize campuses. We invite manuscripts that challenge readers to examine and embrace global competencies and skills needed to become active participants in the worldwide transformation.

Innovations in Practice Features: Manuscripts submitted for review in this area of emphasis should describe high-quality illustrations of effective, creative, and collaborative practices, programs, or policies. These illustrations are to be grounded in theory, research, and/or pedagogy as well as convey relevance beyond the institution(s) of the author(s). Evidence of innovation must go beyond simple measures of satisfaction and, instead, illuminate effectiveness and usefulness. Connections to and implications for student learning outcomes, campus missions, strategic plans, and government/ governing board mandates or initiatives are especially helpful. We invite manuscripts offering bold vision that challenge readers to think critically and reflectively about student affairs practice.

Media Features and Reviews: An evolution of the book review format, manuscripts are invited by the Associate Editor and solicited directly from authors that comment on the wide variety of media currently available to student affairs educators. Authors are encouraged to comment on the implications for practice of Internet resources, blogs, newsletters, books, films/videos, presentation materials, and other available media resources.

Audience

The NASPA membership represents a broad constituency of entry-level, intermediate-level, and senior-level professionals who are practitioners, scholars, policy makers, faculty, and executive leaders, among others. These educators have responsibility for a wide variety of institutional responsibilities. JSARP seeks to publish articles that speak to student affairs educators across this broad range of levels and experiences. While the Editors recognize that published articles must be relevant and useful to practitioners, JSARP also serves faculty, researchers, scholars, and academic leaders. Not all articles will speak to all constituencies all the time. But the Editors are committed to publishing an array of articles that, at some point, will speak to all educators who work in student affairs and higher education.

Types of Manuscripts

JSARP is interested in publishing innovative, interesting, and relevant articles that span the full range of possible forms. Please consider the following suggested manuscript types* to convey your topic. Any and all of the following manuscript types can be utilized in any area of emphasis. This delineation of manuscript types is not meant to limit but rather assist you to craft a manuscript that is successfully reviewed and published.

Theoretical Manuscripts are papers in which the "authors draw on existing research literature to advance theory" (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 10) in student affairs and higher education. Similar in structure and form to review manuscripts (see below), theoretical manuscripts are different in that they rarely present data or findings. Theoretical manuscripts may be a review and critiques of existing theories or research findings; extension of existing literature; theoretical critique of practice; or innovative and forward-thinking expositions of current or future state(s) of student affairs and higher education.

Review Manuscripts "are critical evaluations of material that has already been published" (APA, 2001, p. 9). These manuscripts can be meta-analysis of qualitative or quantitative research, policy analysis, or compilations of existing theories or models in student affairs practice. Review manuscripts often include a) issue being considered, b) summary of previous research and literature, c) identification of relationships, "contradictions, gaps and inconsistencies" (p. 7), and d) implications for practice, policy, and next steps. Review manuscripts that speak to practice in the student affairs and higher education field at large are particularly welcome.

Reports of Empirical Studies are "reports of original research" (APA, 2010, p. 10). The standard form for empirical reports is introduction, method, results, and discussion but authors may adapt that form to fit the parameters of their research method. Reports of Empirical Research manuscripts submitted to JSARP must stress the link between research and practice. Several ways authors can achieve this is by addressing the underlying issues or problem related to practice that inspired the research; reveal the methodology (i.e., name and describe the specific methodology used) and discuss its relevance to the student affairs and higher education field; and/or offer a full discussion of results, implications, and conclusions that relates to practice in student affairs and higher education.

Methodological Manuscripts discuss new, modified, or applied methodologies in the context of student affairs and higher education. These manuscripts can discuss methodological procedures that are practice-oriented (e.g., assessment, evaluation) or theory-oriented (e.g., research). Data are discussed in these manuscripts only as a way to illustrate the use of the methodology in theory and/or practice.

Case Studies are "reports of case materials obtained while working with an individual, a group, a community, or an organization" (APA, 2010, p. 11). This type of manuscript is often used to present qualitative research findings, discuss an issue or problem in practice (e.g., policy analysis) and solutions to the same, reveal the use of or potential for a research approach, apply theory to practice, or analyze and/or apply an innovative practice. Case studies, whether they are analyzing data or illustrating practice, are grounded in theory.

Media Reviews summarize and analyze the full range of resources (e.g., blogs, websites, video, books, reports) available to student affairs educators. Media Review manuscripts, informative and critical, allow student affairs educators to learn of media useful to their work. Media reviews, invited and solicited by the Editor, should not exceed 1,200 words, and are to be discussed with the Associate Editor for Media Reviews in advance of submission. NASPA members are invited to suggest cutting edge and novel media to be reviewed in JSARP.

*See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010), 6th edition, for further discussion of these manuscript types.

The Editorial Review Process and Criteria

Exclusive journal review: Manuscripts under review by JSARP should not be under consideration by other journals.

Blind review: Any identification of the authorship MUST be removed prior to submitting the manuscript. To assure blind review, ALL identifiers must be removed: names on the cover page, identification embedded in the electronic document properties, references to institutional affiliations, and citations that identify some or all of the authors. The cover page must include only the title of the manuscript. Manuscripts with obvious and/or subtle identifiers will be returned to the author for redaction prior to beginning the review process.

Review criteria: Manuscripts will be reviewed by up to three JSARP Editorial Board members. The criteria all relate to the student affairs and higher education field and include:

  1. Exceptional, creative, and relevant application to the wide range of thinking, practices, and perspectives in student affairs and higher education;
  2. Thorough and sound discussion of the practice, theory, issue, policy, and/or topic;
  3. Inclusion of far reaching, relevant, and insightful implications and breakthroughs which go beyond the relevance of the institution(s) under study;
  4. Regarding research manuscripts,
    • accurate and appropriate description of the methodology,
    • method aligned with and suitable for the focus of the study,
    • findings clearly and skillfully communicated,
    • implications for practice and/or theory clearly communicated, and
    • quality measures obviously indicated and discussed;
  5. Evidence of high quality, readable, and rigorous writing (e.g., coherent, cohesive, cogent);
  6. Presence of practice implications in theoretical or research-based manuscripts and theoretical implications in practice-based manuscripts;
  7. Rigorous treatment of the ways the theory, research, and/or practice under discussion can make a difference in the field;
  8. Presence of a timely, significant, and appropriate topic;
  9. Evidence of a profound and meaningful level of analysis (theoretical or practical) addressing the concerns, interests, and needs of student affairs educators;
  10. Apparent contribution to current knowledge, literature, scholarship, theory, and practice; and
  11. Research, theory, or practice findings connected to larger areas of concern (e.g., policy, decision making, leadership, student development).

Technical Requirements

  • Manuscripts must be submitted in .doc or .docx format.
  • Length: 7,000 words maximum (inclusive of references, cover page, tables, appendices, and all materials). The length of manuscripts is limited to 7,000 words because the editors are committed to increasing the accessibility of the journal to a wide range of authors. The number of words and pages the Journal can publish are limited by a number of factors related to cost and publication limits. Longer articles decrease the accessibility of the journal to as wide a range of authors as possible.
  • Format: American Psychological Association (2010) (6th Edition)
  • Spacing and Fonts: Double-spaced, including references, block quotes, tables, and figures, consistently applied throughout the manuscript. Standard 12 point font throughout.
  • Abstract: 75 or fewer words.
  • Figures: All figures must be submitted as a PDF document or EPS or uncompressed Tiff (600 dpi) file in black and white or grey tones.
  • Language: English or with translations to English included. Writing free of prejudiced, biased or disrespectful language.
  • Voice: Active voice and research findings reported in past tense.
  • Professional preparation: Manuscripts exceeding the length limits or requiring additional proofreading, formatting, and/or reference checks will be returned to the author(s) for further editing.
  • Submission: All manuscripts must be submitted through http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/naspa_jsarp

Editorial Review Process

  1. Upon receipt, the Editorial Assistant will briefly review the manuscript to ensure that it meets the above minimum requirements.
  2. A unique number will be assigned to the manuscript to enable the blind review process. Editorial Board members are also assigned a number to assure the integrity of the blind review process.
  3. Manuscript submission and revising, communication, and the review process are conducted online through the JSARP website. When the manuscript is received, an automatically generated acknowledgement email is sent to the first author. It is the first author's responsibility to forward these communications to other authors.
  4. The manuscript is assigned for review based on areas of professional and research expertise. The first review is expected to be completed in four weeks but may take longer.
  5. Editorial board members complete their reviews online. Upon completion, these reviews are available through the JSARP website for authors to access.
  6. At the completion of the review, each reviewer makes one of the following recommendations: Not to Accept, Major Revisions Required, Accept Pending Minor Revisions, or Accept. The Executive Editor and/or appropriate Associate Editor examines the reviews and renders a final decision. The first author is sent an email outlining that decision with links to a decision letter from the Editors and instructions on how to access the reviews.
    • Not to Accept/Not Accepted After Initial Review: The manuscript does not meet one or more of the criteria in regard to the scope and direction for publication in JSARP.
    • Major Revisions Required: The manuscript has potential for publication, but must be revised before publication can be considered. The author is to address the editorial comments and make appropriate changes within one month. Authors will submit a revised draft for a second round of editorial review. The second review is expected to be completed in 6 weeks but may take longer. The resubmission and second review does not guarantee acceptance. A third revision is often required.
    • Accept Pending Minor Revisions: The manuscript is considered worthy of publication pending the successful completion of minor revisions. Authors are requested to make the revisions and return the revised manuscript within one month. The Editorial Assistant and Executive Editor review the final manuscript submitted to ensure that the suggestions have been appropriately addressed.
    • Accept: The manuscript is considered appropriate and timely for JSARP. An email is sent to the author confirming its acceptance.
  7. After a revision from the author is accepted, the final manuscript is forwarded to a Copy Editor who edits the manuscript. The Copy Editor will contact the author, when necessary, about changes.
  8. The Executive Editor works with the authors and publisher to compile the issue.

JSARP is available online four times each calendar year. Subscriptions are also available through the JSARP website.

Exceptions to any of the above instructions should be discussed with the Executive Editor prior to submission. Questions about the submission and review process can be directed to the Editorial Assistant.