Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

Applied research deals with the real world and the practical problems that occur there. The practice environment is not primarily geared to doing research, and often the possibilities for research are limited. As a consequence, standard empirical methodologies may be used as far as possible, but strict research protocols often need to be relaxed. In general, this limits the internal and external validity of the results. On the other hand, results that are solely valid for the practice itself and the clients involved, are clearly relevant for all participants. In comparison to standard research, the use of methodology is less standardized in applied research, and it is therefore necessary to pay more attention to it and to explicate the choices in design, selection, measurement, analysis and interpretation of results. The implications of relaxing the strict rules of methodology also need explicit attention.

Applied research may have its limitations, but also offers possibilities:

  • The practice environment offers access to specific populations, such as clients and patients.
  • A practice usually forms a stable organization, is focused on a specific problem area and on long term commitment, and this also creates opportunities for specific research methods such as monitoring and other forms of longitudinal research.

This Journal seeks research articles, research reports, essays on methodological issues of relevance for applied researchers and reviews of books on applied research methodology. Specifically, we encourage submission of manuscripts that apply research methods or reflect on the application of research methods in practice environments. The journal is aimed at the Social Sciences in general and publishes about a wide range of research questions and methodological issues. The focus of the journal is the methodologies involved in this kind of research. It is not limited to a specific type of methodology, but is open for both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

In general, the journal welcomes papers of applied research studies and papers that address methodological issues in applied research:

  • Applied Research Studies. A contribution should pay sufficient attention to the methodological issues involved: selection, research design and process, description of subjects, data collection, and data analysis (quantitative and/or qualitative). Research directed at hard-to-reach samples is most interesting. Studies of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection, such as observation, interviews, the use of archived materials and tests are also of interest. Replications of applied studies are considered as most relevant. We also welcome grey research: studies which results have had no or limited distribution due to statistically insignificant results, but that have applied a sufficient methodology to study the problem at hand.
  • Methodological Issues in Applied Research. Papers which are specifically directed at the issues that arise in applied research, are especially of interest to this journal. Methodological papers directed at issues of more general relevance than applied research are also welcome; in that case we favor the use of applied examples. Contributions which present solutions to practical problems in applied research are most interesting for this journal, including the organization of research in practice environments, the motivation of professionals and the implementation of measurement methods.

To provide additional directions we distinguish the following sections:

  • Applied Research Studies
    • Quantitative Applied Research
    • Qualitative Applied research, including the application of Mixed Methods
    • Evaluation Research
    • Action Research and Application of Collaborative Research Methodology
    • Research of Complex Societal Problems
  • Methodological Studies
    • Issues in Applied Methodology
    • Developments in Applied Methodology
    • Research Comments

We welcome:

  1. Studies of applied researchers, both quantitative and qualitative applied research
  2. Methodological studies directed at key issues in the field of applied research such as design, sampling, datacollection, data analysis, interpretation and practical execution
  3. Research comments on studies in this journal, that discuss alternative methods used in similar studies, that place a study in historical perspective or compare different approaches applied in the field of the study.

Information and Discussion

The goal of this journal is to inform about and to promote the use of best possible methodological practice in applied research. We are especially interested in methodology, the way research is executed and discussions of the acceptability of applied solutions. In such research endeavors where standard methodological rules are applied adaptively, methodological qualities are more complicated to assess. Various readers may apply very different criteria concerning the admissibility and validity of the conclusions. Our goal is to inform readers in the best possible way about the methodological qualities of the presented research and about the various viewpoints that are possible.

 

Section Policies

Quantitative Applied Research

This kind of manuscripts presents research based on quantitative data and the statistical analysis of the data. The presentation of a theoretical viewpoint that guides research questions, research design and the interpretation of results is considered as most valuable. Applied research often needs non-standard adaptations to the restrictions that the practice environment imposes. This journal encourages more complete descriptions of procedural and analytic details. The goal is to maximize transparency and the possibilities for replication. Limitations of internal and external validity are to be expected when conducting applied research. Participant characteristics that are known to be related to the research questions are important and sufficient description of these characteristics can mitigate some limitations. When comparison groups are used, discussion and assessment of the equivalence of their characteristics is most relevant. Discussion of findings by other researchers may clarify the generality and strength of findings and conclusions. When treatments are applied, not only the common denominator may be studied, but also possible variations in treatments that may provide insight in the various results. Manuscripts may detail the evaluation of treatments, interventions and methods in practice environments and provide concrete examples of the application of research methods, discussion of results and practical experiences with the application of evaluation methods. The goal is to provide readers with conclusions concerning questions relevant for the field of practice and presenting the application of research methods that have led to these conclusions. Whenever possible, it is valuable to discuss how methodological improvements can be realized in future applied studies.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Gerty Lensvelt-Mulders
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Qualitative Applied Research and Mixed Methods

This kind of manuscripts presents research based on qualitative methods or on the combined use of qualitative and quantitative methods. We are interested in research that preferably verifies a theoretical point of view and which extends understanding of human behavior and the processes that lead to such behavior. Typical data collection methods are adapted to the field of study and are often applied on a focused selection of subjects. These methods can include participant observations, unstructured interviews, field notes, diaries, and analysis of documents and materials. When the field of study allows for the collection of structured data, quantitative and qualitative data may be used in a complementary manner (mixed methods). Analysis and interpretation should present the richness, variety and individuality of the findings, and is directed at verifying (or falsifying) the theoretical framework. Qualitative Research involves a large variety of different methods for selection, data collection, data analysis and interpretation. Methods that in principle can be replicated by other researchers deserve preference over unique application. The description of applied methods should be conceived in this way. The goal is to provide readers with insightful interpretations, data that verify these interpretations and a description of the methods that have led to these data and interpretations.

Editors
  • Hennie Boeije
  • Hans Landsheer
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Complex Societal Problems

Complex societal problems like large city issues, natural disasters and epidemics of infectious diseases are unstructured, dynamic and constantly changing and have a deep impact on the society. Methods to study these processes are diverse and include simulation, the interdisciplinary collection of expert knowledge, facilitating change by exchanging knowledge and the empowering of change agents. The goal of these manuscripts is to inform readers about the development of theories and methods, about the evaluation of change processes and the prediction of future developments.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Action Research and Collaborative Research Methodology

This kind of manuscripts presents procedures that have been applied in the social setting, demonstrates evaluation methods, presents results and discusses possible improvements. It discusses how to effect and evaluate social change by organizing and assisting a group of persons with a common goal or assisting organizations in change processes. The goal is to provide readers with concrete examples of research of goal-oriented actions and to inform about possible improvements, future implementations and applications.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Issues in Applied Methodology

This kind of manuscripts reviews, reflects and comments on how social science research methods are used in applied research. It can provide a meta-study of common research approaches, discusses methodological issues from a historical perspective or can provide a critical evaluation of applied methods. The goal is to inform readers about various approaches to issues in applied research, to evaluate various methods used in applied research and discuss the implications of adaptive methodology.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Developments in Applied Methodology

This kind of manuscripts presents new methods that improve applied research, discusses how social science research methods can be applied in practice environments in which these methods are seldom used, and new or alternative approaches to research in practice settings. This format is intended to stimulate future use of research methodology in applied settings.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Rejoinder

A response to an article that has been published in this paper. Rejoinders are send directly to the editor or are requested by the editor.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Research Comments

Research comments concern evaluations of studies published in this journal. They are directed at extending or broadening the publication at hand. The Research Comments can be critical, both in positive and negative sense, and may elicit further comments. The contributions may add theoretical considerations, discuss alternative approaches or can place a study in historical perspective.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Book Reviews

We invite reviews of books on the application of research methods in practice environments, books that present research results that are relevant for practitioners and books that discuss the practical implementation of research in practice environments. The review may also provide professionals with references that would help them stay current with the literature on the application of data collection and research methods in general.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Letters

Letters that provide comments on contributions are welcome, provided they contain reasonable arguments.

Editors
  • Hans Landsheer
  • Cor van Dijkum
Checked Open Submissions Unchecked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Special Issue

Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed
 

Peer Review Process

All contributed articles are screened first and then submitted to anonymous reviewers. The review is especially focused on the research methods used. Each review also concerns readability, relevance of results and methods used, but there is no specific focus on statistical significance. Other criteria for significance may be applied as well. Description of methods that would improve on significance (both statististical and otherwise) are also welcome. Each review results in a four category assessment: excellent, good, acceptable and not acceptable and provide for reasons for this assessment.

In principle, all articles are published which are acceptable or better, but each published paper is accompanied by an Editorial Review, which summarizes the review reports and review process and clarifies the strong and weak points of the study in question. Conflicting reviews of the methods used may be of special interest, as they can spark further methodological discussion and this may lead to acceptation for publication.

In the case of interesting methodological issues, experts may be invited to write a Research Comment.

 

 

Publication Frequency

The intended date for the next issue is may 1, 2015. Contributers for coming issues are invited to send their manuscripts.

 

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

 

Archiving

This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...