Last updated May 10, 2016
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Chapter 4: Journal Descriptions

Social Work

Social Work, established in 1956, is the top-rated social science journal in the world, ranked first in its category by the Information Sciences Institute (ISI). It is provided to all NASW members as a membership benefit. In addition, individual nonmembers, libraries, and institutions subscribe to Social Work. It is a professional journal dedicated to improving practice and advancing knowledge in social work and social welfare. The editorial board welcomes manuscripts that expand and evaluate knowledge of social work practice, social issues, and the social work profession.

Manuscripts are selected on specific topics from the pool of accepted articles. On rare occasions, a call for papers may be issued on topics of major importance to the profession.

Topics of interest:

  • research on social problems
  • evaluation of social work practice
  • advancement of developmental and practice theory
  • culture and ethnicity
  • social policy, advocacy, and administration
Articles

Manuscripts for full-length articles may not exceed 20 pages, including all components. The entire review process is anonymous. At least three reviewers critique each manuscript, after which the editor-in-chief makes a decision, taking those reviews into account.

Columns

Practice Update presents perspectives, innovations, reports, and updates related to social work practice. The purpose is to inform practitioners of methods to expand upon existing practice. Case vignettes are welcomed; however, the major emphases should be placed on analysis of practice and evidence of effectiveness. Manuscripts may be more descriptive than analytical and do not require the depth of documentation necessary for full-length articles. Manuscripts are reviewed anonymously in the same process used for articles. The maximum length for Practice Update submissions is seven pages.

Commentary offers writers an opportunity to present their critical observation on current professional issues, social problems, or policy matters. Submissions are expected to build on existing literature in the topic area. The editor-in-chief reviews manuscripts anonymously. The maximum length for Commentary submissions is six pages.

Points & Viewpoints provides readers with an opportunity to respond substantively to an article previously published in the journal and to challenge the premises, results, or intellectual positions in that article. It was created to stimulate dialogue within the profession. The editor-in-chief reviews all manuscripts anonymously. If a manuscript is accepted, the author of the original article will be asked to respond to the viewpoints expressed in it. If the original author declines to respond, a manuscript may be shortened and included as a Letter to the Editor. The maximum length for Points & Viewpoints submissions is seven pages.

Letters to the Editor. Readers are encouraged to send comments on articles published in the journal or other points of interest to the profession. Although we acknowledge and read all letters, not all can be published. Selected letters may be shortened to fit the space available. The maximum length for Letters to the Editor submissions is two pages.

Health & Social Work

Health & Social Work, established in 1976, is a professional journal committed to improving social work practice and expanding knowledge in health care. It is written for workers in all areas of the physiological, psychological, social, cultural, and environmental health sciences. Health is defined broadly to include both physical and mental health. The editorial board welcomes manuscripts on all aspects of health that are of professional concern to social workers. The journal carries articles on practice, social policy and planning, legislative issues, innovations in health care, and research.

The editorial board of Health & Social Work strives to include articles that appeal to its broad constituency, addressing both practice and policy issues. Related articles are often grouped in an issue. A call for papers on special themes may be issued on topics of major importance to the field, such as substance abuse or mental health.

Reviewers look for submissions to

  • be important to social work and relevant to health
  • contain a clear statement of purpose and a consistent focus
  • expand current knowledge
  • build on the work of others
  • contain a current and appropriate literature review
  • include relevant medical information, such as etiology, prognosis, and hereditary factors, if disease specific
  • present complete methodology for a research article
  • be well organized, with a logical, orderly presentation
  • support conclusions with data or a logical argument
  • contain a clear explication of the implications for social work.
Articles

Manuscripts for full-length articles may not exceed 20 pages, including all components. The entire review process is anonymous. At least three reviewers critique each manuscript, after which the editor-in-chief makes a decision, taking those reviews into consideration.

Columns

Practice Forum offers authors the opportunity to describe practice innovations and action research. It is designed to publish material that is important to and written by practitioners. Submissions should describe new and effective programs, techniques, or policies. The editor of the Practice Forum may assist authors in developing articles for the column. Practice Forum submissions may be no longer than eight pages.

National Health Line reports current legislative and political issues that have implications for social work practice in health settings. It provides a link between social work practice and health care policy. Written by the column editor, National Health Line presents contemporary issues that could have the greatest impact on social work clients. Suggestions for topics to be covered are invited.

Viewpoint features readers’ comments and opinions on current issues in the profession. It offers writers an opportunity to express their opinion on issues that may have an impact on social work or social work clients in health or mental health settings. Viewpoint submissions may be no longer than seven pages.

Letters to the Editor enhance professional dialogue by providing readers the opportunity to comment on issues covered in the journal or other points of interest to social workers in health or mental health settings. Although we acknowledge and read all letters, not all can be published. Letters selected by the editor-in-chief may be shortened to fit the available space. Letters to the Editor submissions may be no longer than two pages.

Children & Schools

Children & Schools, established in 1978 as Social Work in Education, publishes professional materials relevant to social work services in education. Journal subscribers include school social workers, health and mental health agencies, educational institutions, the juvenile justice system entities, and others concerned about child welfare, child development, and education.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts related to early intervention programs; preschool, elementary, and secondary education; and transitions to adulthood. The editorial board particularly encourages practitioners to share their practice knowledge and welcomes articles on innovations in practice, interdisciplinary efforts, legislation, policy, planning, and administration. Research articles that include quantitative studies, such as single-subject designs, group designs, and program evaluation, and qualitative studies, such as case studies, ethnographic interviews, and focus groups, are encouraged.

As a practice-oriented journal, Children & Schools represents the broad spectrum of educational activities; controversial manuscripts that will encourage dialogue are welcomed. The editorial board particularly invites manuscripts that emphasize practice and cultural diversity.

The editorial board of Children & Schools strives to include articles that appeal to the journal’s broad constituency, addressing both practice and policy issues. Related articles are often grouped in an issue. A call for papers on special themes may be issued on topics of major importance to the field.

Articles

Manuscripts for full-length articles may not exceed 20 pages, including all components. The entire review process is anonymous. At least three reviewers critique each manuscript, after which the editor-in-chief makes a decision, taking those reviews into consideration.

Columns

Practice Highlights describes exemplary social work services in educational settings. Authors are encouraged to submit descriptive case studies of their direct work with individuals and families. The editorial board encourages a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Intended as a practitioner-to-practitioner resource, the column is more relaxed in style than are the regular articles. Manuscripts should be short—no longer than six pages. The Practice Highlights editor may assist authors in developing potential articles for this column.

Resources for Practice identifies books, films, videotapes, software, and other professional resources of interest to school social workers and their colleagues. The editor of this column selects materials for review and solicits topics either related to articles or to social work practice. The journal does not accept unsolicited reviews.

As Readers See It provides a forum for letters and comments from readers. The editorial board welcomes opinions of interest to the field as well as comments on articles published in the journal. These comments or letters should not exceed two pages.

Social Work Research

Social Work Research is a professional journal concentrated on advancing the development of knowledge and informing social work practice. It is one of the chief outlets for primary research articles in social work and social welfare. As a repository for an evolving body of knowledge, the journal makes an important contribution to the quality of educational materials and social work practice.

From 1977 to 1993, Social Work Research was a section of Social Work Research & Abstracts. In recognition of the growing need for social work research, NASW separated the two sections in 1994, and the Press now publishes Social Work Research and Social Work Abstracts as independent journals.

Articles include analytic reviews of research, theoretical articles pertaining to social work research, practice-based research, evaluation studies, and diverse research studies that contribute to knowledge about social work issues and problems. Criteria for acceptance include readability, sound methodology, and utility for practice.

Articles

Manuscripts for full-length articles may not exceed 28 pages, including all components. The entire review process is anonymous. At least three reviewers critique each manuscript, after which the editor-in-chief makes a decision, taking those reviews into consideration.

Columns

The Instrument Development column publishes psychometric research establishing reliability or validity of instruments relevant to social work. It also includes critical reviews of multiple instruments in a particular area. Instrument Development submissions may be no longer than 12 pages.

Research Notes presents brief reports on research findings that do not lend themselves to full-length articles. Reports may examine the results of a study, methodological issues, or works in progress and should include information on the research questions and the general methodology. The column also provides a forum to present research findings and ideas from studies that are in their early stages. Submissions are selected through the standard review process. Research Notes submissions may be no longer than 12 pages.

Letters from readers are strongly encouraged. Readers may react to articles published in the journal or comment on contemporary issues in social work research that have not been covered in the journal. Although space constraints preclude publishing every letter received, all will be considered. Letters may be no longer than two pages.


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