The Journal of Special Education Preparation (JOSEP) is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that features research-to-practice information and materials for special education faculty in higher education settings. Published bi-annually, JOSEP brings its readers the latest on evidence-based instructional strategies, technologies, procedures, and techniques to prepare special education teachers and leaders. The focus of its practical content is on immediate application.
JOSEP has an open submissions policy; we accept manuscripts from the field throughout the calendar year on topics related to the professional development of preservice special education teachers and administrators.
JOSEP publishes feature length articles (18-25 pages in length including abstract, tables, figures, and references). As a research-to-practice journal, all manuscripts should be grounded in an appropriate research base or founded upon a strong understanding of recent legislation. The key to successful manuscripts for JOSEP, however, lies in the author’s ability to translate content into actionable guidance for practitioners. Prospective authors are advised to consider the following guidelines prior to the development of a manuscript for JOSEP.
Appropriate Content for JOSEP
Manuscripts should be well organized and provide an explicit connection to the current, professional literature on evidence-based practice in the field. Manuscripts that have a simple message with immediate application to practice and provide detailed guidelines that enable practitioners to immediately and easily implement the suggested practices in their own settings work best for JOSEP. Many manuscripts include scenarios or examples (commonly referred to as “fictional vignettes”) illustrating how suggested practices might be implemented with one or more individuals or in different contexts. Specifically, successful manuscripts for JOSEP:
- Have a specific research-to-practice focus. The focus of JOSEP is on translating research into practice guidelines. Therefore, authors should provide a direct link between offered recommendations and empirical research. Lengthy reviews of the literature, however, are not appropriate for JOSEP. The typical structure of a JOSEP manuscript begins with a presentation of a problem of practice followed by a brief synthesis of relevant, recent empirical research. The bulk of the manuscript is then devoted to the delineation of detailed practice guidelines supplemented with tables, figures, and examples.
NOTE: JOSEP does NOT publish original research (e.g., action research, pilot studies, qualitative/quantitative studies).
- Reflect a direct focus on preservice special education teachers and/or administrators. JOSEP’s target audience is special education faculty and other professionals who work directly with preservice special education teachers. As such, manuscripts should focus on the unique needs of faculty preparing special education teachers and/or administrators.
- Include graphic elements to facilitate content understanding and application. Tables and figures are used within JOSEP manuscripts to provide checklists, sample materials, examples, definitions, etc. Tables and figures should be referred to within the narrative (e.g., “see Table 2 for a list of common terms used”) and potential placement indicated by a notation such as <insert Table 1 here>
- Reference current research. As a general rule, references should reflect work published within the past decade. Older references to seminal research or that demonstrate an extensive research history can be included but should be used sparingly. In addition, strong references come from research journals. As such, the majority of references used within a manuscript should not come from textbooks or research-to-practice journals.
- Are masked (i.e., “blinded”). An important aspect of the double-blind, peer-review process is that reviewers do not know the identity of authors and vice versa. For JOSEP, authors should properly cite and reference their own work but should not use phrases such as “In our previous work (Smith, 2011), we presented…,” which identifies the author. Such work should be referred to in the third person, e.g., “Previously Smith (2011) presented…”.
- Reflect original work. If manuscripts include several tables or figures that have been published elsewhere, their inclusion within the manuscript may reflect a redundancy in the literature—consider their inclusion carefully. Authors who wish to use material for which they do not own the copyright must obtain written permission from the copyright holder.
JOSEP does not publish manuscripts that present descriptive, experimental, or applied research projects, general overviews, literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, book or media reviews, unsolicited editorials, conceptual papers, position papers, program or product descriptions, term papers, theses or dissertations, personal experiences or stories, media portrayals, or poetry. JOSEP cannot publish manuscripts that contain content that has previously been published elsewhere or that is primarily designed to advertise a commercially available product.
JOSEP is interested in publishing articles that highlight special education preparation practices from around the globe. The International Spotlight is tailored for article contributions that discuss country specific special education preparation policies and practices. International Spotlight submissions will need to provide readers with country specific context and laws before discussing current issues pertaining to special education and teacher preparation in that country/region. International Spotlight submissions may outline interesting local initiatives that can generalize to historical, social, and global trends.
Hallmarks of APA style are objectivity, precision, and clarity. For JOSEP, these principles are applied when authors:
1. Use formal, academic language. Although JOSEP is a practitioner-friendly journal, the tone of the manuscript should reflect formal, academic language. To make the content accessible to a large audience, authors should avoid relying on jargon to communicate information. Technical terms, if used, need to be clearly defined with examples provided. Similarly, the excessive use of long, complex sentences inhibits readability. Short, direct sentences facilitate readability and complement the presentation of longer, more complex content. Further, explanation, the use of examples and non-examples, tables and figures, employment of a fictional vignette to serve as an exemplar, etc. facilitate reader understanding of the material.
2. Present data-based information, not emotionally charged position statements. JOSEP does not publish persuasive essays or thought pieces. Although it can be assumed that authors feel strongly about the topic of their manuscripts, readers are more likely to “hear” the message if it is presented in neutral terms with appropriate data to support the claim or recommendation.
3. Consider perspective. First, it is myth that first-person perspective is prohibited under APA guidelines. For JOSEP, first person point of view (I, we) can be used effectively (e.g., “We recommend a three-step process for…”). However, use of the editorial or royal “we” is not permitted (e.g., “We, as a field, need to do a better job of…”; APA, 2010). Second-person perspective (you, your) can be effective for helping readers connect the content to their own settings and experiences, but more frequently than not, the repeated use of “you” throughout a manuscript creates an authoritarian tone to the manuscript, which can be off-putting for readers. Third-person perspective tends to be the “Goldilocks” point of view for manuscripts for JOSEP.
4. Maintain a consistent voice. If multiple authors contribute to a manuscript, have an independent, third-party reader review the manuscript to ensure a consistent voice and tone are presented across sections. Similarly, the excessive use of direct quotes can impede readability, create an uneven voice, and demonstrate authors’ inability to translate the content into a cohesive narrative. As such, direct quotes should be used sparingly.
5. Employ “economy of expression”(see p. 67, APA, 2010). Reduce wordiness, redundancy, excessive use of metaphors, and overuse of passive voice to create precise, clear communication.
6. Avoid bias in language. In particular, when writing about individuals with exceptionalities, use people first language. People first language refers to both the placement of the person prior to the disability (e.g., “student with a learning disability” rather than “LD student”) and avoidance of sensational or demeaning language (e.g., “suffers from ADHD,” “is wheelchair-bound”). Avoid the use of gendered pronouns (he, she, his, hers, he/she, etc.) by making the sentence plural or dropping the pronoun (e.g., “a teacher can call on students” rather than “a teacher can call on her students”).
Within the publication manual, explicit guidelines for formatting a manuscript are provided. Manuscripts that vary dramatically in presentation from APA will not be sent out for review. To avoid common errors in formatting, authors should:
1. Adhere to basic, APA formatting conventions. Double space all content within the manuscript (e.g., title page, abstract page, body, quotes, fictional vignettes, references) and use one-inch margins. The preferred font for APA publications is Times New Roman.
2. Create a concise title. Titles should contain no more than 12 words and include key terminology.
3. Develop a brief, focused abstract. Manuscripts for JOSEP offer a research-based solution to a problem of practice; the abstract should reflect this focus.
4. Use formatting tools within Microsoft Word or other document processing software. Manuscripts produced without the use of appropriate formatting tools often lose their formatting when translated into the portable document format (PDF) and can make the document difficult for reviewers to follow or create an unprofessional look to the document that can be off-putting to reviewers. For example, when formatting a manuscript, use page breaks rather than hard returns, hanging-indent paragraph formatting for references, and alignment tools for centered titles rather than the Tab key.