Publishing Quantitative Manuscripts in Counselor Education and Supervision: General Guidelines and Expectations

Article excerpt

When John West and Cynthia Osborn assumed coeditorship of Counselor Education and Supervision (CES), they articulated their vision for the future of the journal in an editorial in the December 2006 issue. They spoke of a desire to publish data-based manuscripts "that describe research conducted in a disciplined, systematic, and rigorous manner (vs. research conducted simplistically, quickly, and conveniently)" (West & Osborne, 2006, p. 83). For manuscripts that contain results of quantitative research, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA; 2001) outlines specific criteria to meet the standards of rigor and discipline. These include (among other criteria) a research design that "fully and unambiguously test[s] the hypothesis ... [and a sample that is] representative of the population to which generalizations are made" (p. 6).

Manuscripts that present the results of quantitative research make an important contribution, both to the journal and to the field. Quantitative research, in tandem with and often informed by, qualitative research, helps counselor educators, supervisors, counseling students, and practicing counselors make informed choices about what interventions they choose to use or avoid in their work. The impact of research published in CES can be significant, and it can serve as the foundation for much of the work in the field of counselor education. Thus, all potential contributors to the journal have a responsibility to ensure that the research contained in their manuscripts is of the highest quality and can be relied on to provide up-to-date and accurate information to the journal readership. What follow are some general guidelines and reminders about the foundations of quality quantitative research. The list of topics was generated at the request of the coeditors of CES and in consultation with them. The list is not intended to be exhaustive nor to inform actual statistical methodology, but to outline basic parameters that are used to guide editorial decisions about manuscripts submitted to the journal and to encourage and support the work of potential authors of quantitative manuscripts. This editorial is intended as both an overview of expectations for beginning scholars and a reminder for more seasoned researchers.

Editors' Note. Darcy Haag Granello is CES associate editor for quantitative manuscripts.

Darcy Haag Granello, Counselor Education Program, School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, The Ohio State University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Darcy Haag Granello, Counselor Education Program, School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, The Ohio State University, 448 PAES Building, 305 West 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 (e-mail: granello.1@osu.edu).

Topics to Consider in the Development and Publication of Quantitative Studies

The Abstract

The abstract is an "accurate, succinct, quickly comprehensible, and informative" (APA, 2001, p. 15) summary of the manuscript. Authors sometimes mistakenly withhold results of their research from the abstract, using it instead as a "teaser" to encourage readers by telling them what the manuscript will contain, instead of simply summarizing all the contents. However, according to APA guidelines, abstracts should be self-contained, and readers who have access only to an abstract should have a basic understanding of all components of a manuscript. For quantitative manuscripts, this means that an abstract includes the problem that was investigated, the participants, the experimental methods, the results, and the conclusions and implications (APA, 2001). Admittedly, incorporating all of this information in 50 to 100 words is challenging, but it can be done with a succinct and well-written abstract that is typically written after the rest of the manuscript has been completed, thus allowing the author to identify and highlight the major points. …