Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Navigating the Publication Process II: Further Recommendations for Prospective Counselors

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Navigating the Publication Process II: Further Recommendations for Prospective Counselors

Article excerpt

Professional School Counseling (PSC) is considered to be the premier journal for publishing articles germane to professional school counselors, school counselor educators, and a variety of other professionals interested in school counseling. As such, PSC relies upon the submission of quality manuscripts, which are largely theoretical or research oriented in nature and intended to further the knowledge base of the school counseling profession. Prospective contributors to PSC are the greatest assets to the journal, and it is because of them that this publication continues to flourish. As part of its mission, PSC's editor and editorial board strongly encourage potential contributors to work collaboratively with them to produce relevant and informative manuscripts.

In the April 2000 issue of PSC, Sink provided various suggestions for maneuvering through the publication process. Included in his article were publication strategies for first-time contributors and possible topics for PSC manuscripts. For instance, Sink recommended these ideas: (a) familiarization with the general publication procedures and sections of PSC, (b) inclusion of a cover letter with the submitted manuscript, and (c) close adherence to the writing style presented in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 1994). In addition, he described the process by which submitted manuscripts are reviewed by PSC editorial board members and the range of possible decisions by editorial board members and the PSC editor. In the search for possible topics of PSC manuscripts, Sink suggested (a) selecting topics that had not been "extensively considered in the journal" (p. iii), (b) narrowing the range of possible topics by conducting a search of current literature reviews within the educational and counseling fields, (c) investigating current counseling and educational trends, and (d) continuing knowledge and issues important to school counseling (e.g., professionalism and ethical behavior; diversity; the day-to-day activities of school counselors, including counseling, coordination, and consulting).

The recommendations proposed by Sink (2000) can be useful for potential contributors to PSC to develop a clear understanding of the publication process and are generally applicable when considering publishing in a variety of other refereed journals. Would-be contributors to PSC might also benefit from understanding other significant areas to be addressed when developing and writing manuscripts to submit to the journal. Thus, the purpose of this article is to delineate specific and common "pitfalls" of submitted manuscripts to PSC from our vantage point as two editorial board members. Described here are familiar themes that have emerged from more than 100 article reviews and evaluations. Careful consideration of the following suggestions, in conjunction with those offered by Sink (2000), will we believe, greatly enhance the overall quality and presentation of submitted manuscripts, as well as increase the likelihood of acceptance for journal publication.

Specific Suggestions for Writing Manuscripts

In an overall review of submitted manuscripts to PSC over a 3-year period, common themes and recommendations for revision can be grouped within the following categories: (a) adherence to APA format; (b) language usage (e.g., syntax, grammar, and punctuation); (c) support and clarification; (d) organizational and presentation issues; and (e) research design, method, and data analyses.

Adherence to APA Format

By far, the most common suggestion for manuscript revision concerns adherence to APA (1994) format for writing. PSC as well as most professionally refereed counseling and education journals requires submitted manuscripts to closely conform to this writing style. The following are some of the more technical aspects of APA style and format that garner significant attention by reviewers of PSC manuscripts. …

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