A Rigorous Review of JOLE Manuscripts

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.”  The same in undoubtedly true in the context of blind peer-reviewed scholarly journals: their quality and rigor are based as much on the quality and rigor of manuscript review as the quality and rigor of manuscript construction.  Given this, the Editorial Board of the JOLE provides the following guidelines for our JOLE reviewers to ensure the rigor and relevance of manuscripts that are accepted within the Journal to be published under its name.  Within the JOLE, the review of manuscripts should be a careful balance between rigorous critique and constructive feedback.

Manuscripts accepted into the JOLE should include:

A Significant Contribution to Leadership Education Scholarship

  1. To what extent does the manuscript add to the body of knowledge related to the process of leadership teaching and learning?
  2. How likely will other scholars in our field be interested in reading and applying the tenets advanced within the manuscript?

Rigorous Literature/Data Collection

  1. How comprehensively has the author(s) of the manuscript included relevant theories, models, or conceptualizations of leadership education or related disciplines?  Have they cited the appropriately seminal work?
  2. Does the manuscript comprehensively connect theory to their own contributions?
  3. If it is a research manuscript, to what extent does the manuscript describe the process of data collection, including the authors’ own role within the process?

Appropriate Literature/Data Analysis

  1. Has the author adequately described and applied suitable methods for incorporating theoretical elements (if a theory, application, or idea) and/or collected data (if a research manuscript) in which to draw valid conclusions?
  2. If a research manuscript, has the author adequately described and justified their methodology as appropriate for answering their research questions?
    • If a quantitative manuscript, has the author used appropriate inferential statistics and ensured adequate statistical power?
    • If a qualitative manuscript, has the author adequately illustrated coding and theme-building techniques, as well as how they reduced individual bias?

Logical/Justified Conclusions

  1. Has the author adequately analyzed the appropriate literature and, if a research manuscript, their data to determine justified conclusions?
  2. Are the provided conclusions not overstated, and appropriate for the degree, depth, or scope of the analysis?

As leaders often need coaches and mentors to help guide their decisions and path, the Editorial Board feels strongly that the process of preparing and writing a manuscript should be positively and constructively guided by those who serve as anonymous reviewers. Comments made to authors should be helpful to improving the manuscript, indicating weakness to a chosen approach while also pointing to reasonable ways to enhance its quality.  Assumptions made regarding the position, experience, or training of anonymous authors are unhelpful and often detrimental to the unfolding process of manuscript improvement.  If the design and structure of a manuscript is such that it has little to no potential for inclusion within the JOLE, rationale, including potential suggestions for future scholarship should be made to the author.  The field of leadership education is still emerging; as reviewers we owe a rigorous and constructive critique to those authors who are seeking to advance it.

© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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