Submitting a Rigorous Manuscript to JOLE

While each manuscript is unique, quality articles that are published in the Journal of Leadership Education possess several characteristics that are shared among them.  As an author potentially interested in submitting to the Journal, we suggest you attend to these characteristics prior to finalizing your submission in advance of its blind review.

A Significant Contribution to Leadership Education

Whether your manuscript is a feature or a brief, it should make a significant contribution to our understanding of the process or practice of leadership teaching and learningWe suggest the core of your writing be focused on the educational process of leadership development. ,

In addition, we are interested in manuscripts that are informed by and founded upon the larger field of leadership education.  We suggest you explain early in your manuscript how your research, theory, application, or idea is connected to previous scholarship, both seminal and emerging.  If your manuscript is focused on educator self-identity as a tool for leadership education effectiveness, for example, we suggest including a literature review that comprehensively treats each of the areas of scholarship relevant for understanding how your own contribution fits within and builds upon our common knowledge base.

Collection of Literature and/or Data

If you are planning on a research-based submission, we suggest you clearly and succinctly describe how you have collected data that informs your manuscript.  For example, if you have collected data from an academic course, we suggest you fully describe the course and its learning outcomes, its duration, the most relevant population in which its participants hail, and if you as a researcher have a role within the class. 

  1. What was the context in which participants provided data?  What opt-out procedures did you include?  How did you account for missing data or under-represented participants?
  2. What instrumentation did you use, which may include quantitative surveys or qualitative protocols?
  3. How were these instruments either developed for your research or implemented in the past and validated?

If you are planning a theory-, application, or idea-based submission, we suggest you comprehensively describe the process you used to include your chosen theoretical foundations within your manuscript. 

  1. What is its history related to areas of scholarship relevant to your submission?
  2. How does this theoretical foundation fit within the advancement of knowledge related to leadership education that you plan to make?

Analysis of Literature and/or Data

Your collection of data and/or literature should then lead to a rigorous analysis from which conclusions are drawn.  If your submission is based on contributing a theory, application, or idea, we suggest you describe how your included literature informs your analysis.  If you plan a research-based manuscript, we suggest you comprehensively describe how the data you have collected were analyzed to provide a foundation for rigorous conclusions. 

  1. For quantitative research articles, we suggest you describe not only your analytic techniques, but also how those techniques are justified.  For example, a simple comparison of absolute mean values across sub-samples does not justify any findings of difference across these groups.
  2. For qualitative research articles, we suggest you illustrate your coding and triangulation schemes, as well as how you reduced potential researcher bias through rigorous techniques.  For example, for a thematic analysis, we suggest including representative examples of how responses were coded and how codes were grouped to create the themes.

Logical and Justified Conclusions

Once you have appropriately included relevant analysis (and if you are contributing a research-focused manuscript, any data-driven findings that stem from them), conclusions and applications should follow logically and explicitly from your analysis. 

  1. Are your conclusions explicitly connected to the data and literature that you have presented earlier in your manuscript?
  2. How are your conclusions focused on the process or outcomes of leadership teaching and learning?
  3. What are the limitation of your conclusions, based on the limitations inherent within the context and boundaries of your own individual context?

Clarity, Parsimony, and Grammar

Once each of these steps is complete, authors often feel internal (and potentially external) pressure to quickly submit their manuscript for the blind review process inherent to the JOLE.  However, the most successful manuscripts also:

  1. Have been reviewed for clarity and parsimony.  Have you used active language to advance a narrative that is logical and justified without including extraneous information?
  2. Have been cleansed of grammatical and typographical errors.  Have you (or a trusted colleague) edited the manuscript to cleanse it of language-based inaccuracies and potential bias?

Authors who attend to these five principles are not guaranteed the acceptance of their manuscript to the JOLE, but they do significantly increase its chances for acceptance.  

© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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