NSU Home  The Qualitative Report
A weekly online journal dedicated to qualitative research since 1990
ISSN 1052-0147

Article Submission Guidelines

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In 1990, we launched The Qualitative Report as a paper journal in order to give writers and researchers an outlet for expressing themselves in and about qualitative research. The world back then was not so qualitative research-friendly as it is today. It was difficult to find journals totally dedicated to qualitative approaches or ones open to publishing research utilizing such methods. We envisioned the journal as a safe haven for authors and readers to explore these new and strange approaches to discovery and exploration.

A couple of years later, we took The Qualitative Report online and reached out to a worldwide audience. We have seen our readership and paper submissions increase dramatically (see TQR "By the Numbers" for these figures). We have seen a decided improvement in the state of qualitative research as an accepted family of approaches to research and reflection. We have also been witness to the wonderful growth of quality in the field. We have found the emergence of all of these events to be quite fulfilling and rewarding.

Over these years, as we have worked with our authors, we have begun to approach them and their papers in a way that we think is different from what may be the standard procedure at other journals. We became more and more curious about our own process. We reviewed our reviews and we spoke with our authors and editorial board members. In this reflection, we began to see a mentoring pattern develop. The reviewers and editors enjoyed the emerging style and felt the authors appreciated what we were trying to do. The authors agreed the reviews they were receiving were different too. They thought The Qualitative Report feedback was richly developed, extremely helpful, and respectful of their ideas and of them.

Based upon these reflections, we introduced a new editorial process at The Qualitative Report in 2002. Our goal for this process continues to be focused on helping our authors to prepare their papers for eventual publication in the journal. In this system, all authors who submit papers are accepted as members of The Qualitative Report's community.

The hallmark of The Qualitative Report is not be built upon rejection rates; rather, we distinguish ourselves by assisting authors to improve themselves and their texts. We strongly believe all authors and their research have merit. Sometimes, that quality is not readily apparent in the text so our goal in this approach is to help authors to develop their ideas and to work collaboratively with their mentoring reviewers to help them to bring out the best in their work. The tenor of this editorial relationship will be one of respect and collaboration.

Our mission is to nurture and mentor authors who submit their papers to The Qualitative Report and to support them throughout the paper development process. In doing so, we have envisioned The Qualitative Report as a learning community, one through which we will commit our collective human and informational resources to help each and every author produce papers of excellence and distinction.

In 2004, we moved into another developmental phase of The Qualitative Report which greatly assisted authors in the improvement of their manuscripts submitted even more efficiently and effectively. We kept the manuscript as our centerpiece by focusing our attention throughout the process from initial submission to final publication on improving the text. In the manuscript development process, we, the editors in partnership with our authors, focus on embedding the collective manuscript improvement efforts into the manuscript itself. In other words, the manuscript is the centerpiece of the entire reviewing, editing, and revising enterprise. Instead of producing separate review and response documents that can move us all away from the manuscript, we work together to weave all our collective comments and responses in the manuscript to create an evolving audit trail that will ultimately produce the published paper. To do this we assume more consultative role by offering both editing and revising suggestions and recording them for your use via some special features of Microsoft Word. This creates an audit trail that eases tracking and addressing changes in revising and improving manuscripts. Please see "A Guide for TQR Authors" for more information on this innovative process.

In 2009, we introduced our online submission portal know as the MSTracker Manuscript Submission Page located at http://mstracker.com/submit1.php?jc=tqr. With advent of the MS Tracker system, we improved our capabilities to manage the manuscript development process and enhanced authors abilities to track their paper's progress and to communicate with the editorial team.

Our latest editorial innovation came in 2011, when we introduced the TQR Rubric. With the advent of the TQR Rubric, every paper submitted to the journal receives a score and preliminary review. For those author's whose papers receive a score of 13 points or higher, their manuscript continues on through the TQR manuscript development process. For those papers receiving a score below 13 points, the authors are informed of their score and are given the opportunity to revise and resubmit their manuscript until a score of 13 points or better is achieved so the next steps of the manuscript development process can continue.

Submissions to The Qualitative Report are peer reviewed. After earning a score of 13 points of higher on the TQR Rubric, each author is assigned to an editorial development team headed by one of the journal's editors, who works closely with the author as manuscript consultants in pursuit of developing the paper for publication in The Qualitative Report. The manuscript development group focuses on helping the author develop as a writer and researcher. By making this acceptance, we dedicate ourselves to creating a context in which all participants in the editorial development process can grow as authors and mentors. As a team, they work together to improve the manuscripts until the submissions become published papers in this journal.

Manuscript Criteria

Papers submitted for review to The Qualitative Report must be original works on the part of the authors, must not have been published previously, and must not be under review with another publication at any time during the review process. A wide variety of submissions are welcomed to The Qualitative Report. Given the richness and diversity of qualitative research and researchers from around the world, papers reflecting scientific, artistic, critical and clinical postures are all fitting contributions to the electronic pages of this journal. Methods depicted in these papers may be qualitative, comparative, mixed, collaborative, action-oriented, appreciative, and/or critical in nature. Papers may be qualitative research studies, commentaries about the conduct of qualitative research, prescriptive pieces on carrying out qualitative research, "back stage" essays in which authors give a perspective on how they created and crafted a particular project, presentations on technological innovations relevant to qualitative researchers and their inquiries, and any other issues which would be important for practitioners, teachers, and learners of qualitative research.

The length of submitted works may vary greatly. Since The Qualitative Report is not restricted by the economics of paper, contributors can concentrate on the particularities of their paper at hand and let those considerations shape the length of their narrative rather than an arbitrary limit of words or pages. Having said that, it is important for authors to remember TQR publishes article-length manuscripts and not book-length manuscripts so authors should give careful consideration to manuscripts over 45 pages. In such instances, the author should consider whether or not the manuscript reflects ideas for two separate papers and then edit the manuscript so the text is more focused before submitting it to TQR. In such cases, the author might consider submitting two papers after the revisions are done on the original opus.

Given the ways in which a style guide can shape the writing choices made by an author, we want to assist you as you prepare your submissions by letting you know that we use The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA; 6th ed.) as a guide for contributors to The Qualitative Report. This means that we ask authors to look to APA recommendations regarding the title, abstract, and headings used in the paper, as well as the format of references and citations within the text. We also request some writing practices we think improve the reporting of qualitative research methods and results, such as the use of active voice and the inclusion of the researcher's context as it relates to the topic under study. Otherwise, style is a matter of choice on the parts of authors. We recognize that the style of writing for contributions to The Qualitative Report is a matter of particularity for authors, and we welcome a range of writing styles.

Even though The Qualitative Report is based on a textual metaphor, nontextual forms of representation are also welcomed. Graphics, pictures, sounds, moving images, and hyperlinking may all be features in works presented in this journal.

Contributors to The Qualitative Report can also engage in a process known as "Living Documents" (Ives & Jarvenpaa, 1996) with their published works in the pages of the journal. In the "Living Documents" approach to writing, authors can nurture their published works and cultivate them as new developments arise within the scope of the paper, as hyperlinked resources located in the paper are updated or changed, and/or as the author's thinking evolves on the topic. Authors wishing to participate in this living scholarship approach with any of their writing in The Qualitative Report need only to email the editor and the process of enlivening the text can ensue.

Manuscript Submission Guidelines

Contributors submit their work electronically to The Qualitative Report by going to our MSTracker Manuscript Submission Page located at http://mstracker.com/submit1.php?jc=tqr. Once there you can submit your paper online and also track the editorial and reviewing process of your paper from submission to publication.

If you have any questions regarding the submissions process please email Managing Editor Laura Patron at lp764@nova.edu


If we are successful in our labors, we will create a sustainable learning community that will foster growth in qualitative researchers and improvement in qualitative research. We trust authors find this new beginning an intriguing opportunity to learn and consider joining us in this pursuit.


American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Ives, B., & Jarvenpaa, S. L. (1996, Spring). Will the Internet revolutionize business education and research? Sloan Management Review, 37(3), 33-41.

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The TQR Community of Nova Southeastern University publishes The Qualitative Report, a peer-reviewed, weekly open access journal. Subscription to TQR is free-of-charge. To unsubscribe please email your request to TQR at tqr@nova.edu.

For more information, please contact Ronald J. Chenail, Ph.D.
The Qualitative Report
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314 USA
Phone: 954.262.5389 | Fax: 954.262.3970
Email: ron@nsu.nova.edu
Home Page: http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/index.html

Copyright 2013 Nova Southeastern University

Revised: February 11, 2013