Following are some notes that may be useful for authors wishing to have their manuscripts considered for publication in the printed, peer-reviewed Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research (JEQR).
There is no "hard science" regarding the protocol for how papers are accepted. However, we do begin with proper APA form. That is, having your paper in flawless APA style does not guarantee its publication, but having incorrect form in places makes its selection less likely. Be sure to have others read and critique your work, checking it for form and style, prior to submitting it for professional review. The editors will wish to engage content issues, not make APA corrections.
Per APA style, papers should never begin with a heading such as "Introduction," or "Literature Review." Instead type the title as a major heading, then begin the literature review.
Internal validity issues need explicit attention for articles published in JEQR. Including components such as references from your field notes, describing participant observations, validation of conclusions from triangulated sources, member checking, review by an independent researcher, generating an audit/data trail, and other validity rigors will strengthen the conclusions you are making in the paper.
A number of manuscripts sometimes have not been accepted due to failure in providing an adequate rationale for qualitative data analysis. For example, suppose you state something like the following: "We analyzed the transcripts using a constructivist model as our guide...." The reader is left with many questions as to why you selected that paradigm and why other approaches were not chosen. Specifically, did you also consider other models or a completely inductive (atheoretical) interpretive approach? You will find the journal editors to be very open to a variety of perspectives—but authors must be clear and convincing in their rationale for why they adopted particular methods and analysis paradigms.
Journal readers may not be familiar with narrow phrases or the nuances of meanings you use via idioms. As one concrete example, avoid phrases such as "alternative-deconstructionist perspective." Rather than using ambiguous "lingo," write straightforwardly so that the widest array of readers can benefit from your work.
State your conclusions in a forthright manner. The reader needs to be able to set down your paper, close his/her eyes, and clearly repeat the main points of your results. JEQR editors desire that you explicitly enumerate your points in the manuscript narrative. The reader should be able to explain to another colleague what you concluded from the research study. The results section should not contain discussion, and the discussion section should not report new findings.
Be sure you include a rationale for your sample selection. A manuscript generally does not start with an affirmative review when the writer states something such as the following: "We selected 13 individuals from a local elementary class...." Provide a rationale for the sample. A study truly does rise or fall on its sample selection. For the rest of your paper, the reader will be connecting your conclusions with the sample selection. Begin strong by convincing the reader that you had apt reasons for selecting these particular individuals—they were not selected simply because they were close by or convenient—and the participant selection strengthened your qualitative methodology rigor.
JEQR acknowledges that the research focus and availability of participants for certain studies limits the extent to which authors can secure relatively large numbers of participants (for instance, a study involving, say, elderly women in rural communities who use or abuse, say, methamphetamine). Authors should not assume, however, that the readership understands the challenge in indentifying and recruiting participants for such studies. Authors should provide explicit discussion about the potential difficulty of enlarging their sample and how they attempted to resolve it, if this occurs.
Samples that use 8 or less individuals as participants should use the phrase "case studies" in the title of their manuscript. Also, indicate a rationale for such small samples as previously noted.
For example, if you have, say, 6 in your sample—what is your justification for this? How will information regarding these 6 people make a difference in the empirical research world? Small sample sizes obviously are not inherently poor, but you will need to convince the reader as to the study's merits in the grander context of the construct being studied. To say, for example, that such a small sample allowed the author to generate "thick descriptions" only states the obvious. Why would researchers want to know such detailed accounts of these people's experiences?
Saturation generally is considered the norm for qualitative research sample size justification, so provide an adequate rationale if alternative protocol was used when determining the study's sample size.
The total pages (excluding title page, abstract, references, tables, and the like) should not exceed 35 full pages. Use only Times New Roman, 12-point font with one-inch margins. The entire manuscript must be written in narrative form, free from bullets or abbreviated forms of communication typically used in handouts. Tables and charts must be placed at the end of the paper, following the APA manual's instructions of "insert figure 1 about here." Do not use footnotes for any reason. Papers are not published in JEQR without a limitations and future research section.
There is no cost for submitting manuscripts for peer-review and publication consideration. All authors will receive a complimentary copy of the journal issue in which their published article appears as well as a PDF of their respective article.
Manuscripts successfully screened by the journal editors will be routed for blind-peer reviewers. The reviewers use a scoring rubric and provide narrative feedback to the managing editor regarding recommendations for accepting/rejecting the manuscript for publication. Suggestions typically also are offered for strengthening the article's overall quality. View a copy of the evaluative rubric.