About This Journal
A New Beginning
by Ronald J. Chenail, Sally St. George and Dan Wulff
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.
In 1994, we took The Qualitative Report online and reached out to a worldwide audience. We have seen our readership and paper submissions increase dramatically. 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 pattern. 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 reviews were richly developed, extremely helpful, and respectful of their ideas and of them.
Based upon these reflections, we continue to develop a unique editorial process at The Qualitative Report. Our goal for this process is to help all 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. 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 can successfully work together to improve the manuscripts until the submissions become published papers in this journal.
The hallmark of The Qualitative Report will not be built upon rejection rates; rather, we want to 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. The goal of this approach is to help authors to develop their ideas and to work collaboratively with their mentors 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 environment, one through which we will commit our collective human and informational resources to help each and every author produce papers of excellence and distinction.
Now in 2004, we are moving into another developmental phase of The Qualitative Report which will assist authors in the improvement of their manuscripts submitted even more efficiently and effectively. We want to keep the manuscript as our centerpiece, that is, the focus of our attention throughout the process from initial submission to final publication. In the manuscript development process, we, the editors and reviewers in partnership with authors, want to 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 will 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 have asked reviewers to act more in the role of a consultant by offering both editing and revising suggestions and recording them for your use via some special features of Microsoft Word. This will create an audit trail that we think will ease tracking and addressing changes in revising and improving manuscripts. Please see "A Guide for TQR Authors" for more information on this innovative process.
To facilitate this process, each author will be assigned to a manuscript development team headed by one of the journal's editors, who along with the reviewers, will work closely with the author as manuscript consultants in pursuit of developing the paper for publication in The Qualitative Report. The manuscript development group will also focus 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 can successfully work together to improve the manuscripts until the submissions become published papers in this journal.
This editorial review as learning community will also benefit the editors and reviewers. Each encounter with the authors will be an opportunity for the members of the team to reflect on the reviewing process and to gain great insight into the ways papers can be improved and authors can grow. Reviewers as manuscript consultants will receive feedback on their reviews and commentary from the authors and editors. The goal is for all members of the manuscript development team to learn from the experience of working together.
Editorial Board Interns will have the opportunity to apprentice with The Qualitative Report. They will learn from the experiences of the authors, editors, and reviewers. The interns will support the manuscript development team in the reviewing process and will learn how to review papers and how to mentor authors. As the interns establish their skills and knowledge in reviewing qualitative research texts and supporting authors through the editorial process, they will be able to join the ranks of the Editorial Board and take a leading role on the manuscript development teams.
Lastly, the editors have the rewarding task of helping the whole process come together so all members of the team learn from the experience. This learning opportunity will not be isolated to the particular manuscript development team. The editors will work together to share knowledge across the array of all teams. What is learned with one team will be shared with all teams. In this role, managing editors are charged with not only managing the teams, but also managing the knowledge generated from the teams and their work.
As we learn from this knowledge management process, we will publish papers on reviewing, mentoring, and emerging trends in the practice and understanding of qualitative inquiries. In this way, we will give back to the world of qualitative research. We help our readers and future participants in our editorial development teams to benefit from what we have garnered from these experiences.
If we are successful in our labors, we will create a sustainable learning system that will foster growth in qualitative researchers and improvement in qualitative research. We trust you find this new beginning an intriguing opportunity to learn and consider joining us in this pursuit.