Victoria Walker, Ph.D.
Stephen Bruce, M.A.
Stephen Parker, Ph.D.
Glendon Moriarty, Psy.D.
Guidelines for Reviewers
Faith and Therapy publishes articles relevant to assist leaders in the field of counseling and psychology help those entrusted to their care. Our primary requirement for publication is that the paper be a resource for counselors, pastors, and other people-helpers integrating their faith with meeting the needs of those in their care.
Please read through the following guideleines as they will provide you with valuable information about reviewing articles for our publication.
Comments for the Author:
Identify the major contributions of the paper as well as other important presentation concerns. What are its major strengths and weaknesses, and its suitability for publication? Please include both general and specific comments bearing on these questions, and emphasize your most significant points.
General comments should address the following:
- Importance and interest to this journal's readers
- Organization and clarity
- Length relative to information content
- Conciseness and writing style
- APA guidelines
For research articles:
- Scientific soundness
- Degree to which conclusions are supported
- Cohesiveness of argument
Support your general comments, positive or negative, with specific evidence. Remember that a review lacking substance will generally have less impact than a review that is well-reasoned and rich in content. You may write directly on the manuscript (or embed comments in a digital copy of the manuscript), but please summarize your remarks in "Comments for the Author(s)." You can remain anonymous, please see the Anonymity section below. Comment on any of the following matters that significantly affected your judgment of the paper:
- Topic – Is this topic appropriate for the targeted journal?
- Presentation – Does the paper tell a cohesive story? Is the writing strong for the type of article the author is providing? Is a tightly reasoned argument evident throughout the paper? Where does the paper wander from this argument? Do the title, abstract, key words, introduction, and conclusions accurately and consistently reflect the major point(s) of the paper? Is the writing concise, easy to follow, interesting?
- Spelling and Grammar – Are there significant spelling errors? Is grammar a concern?
- Length – What portions of the paper should be expanded(?), condensed(?), combined(?), and deleted? (Please don't advise an overall shortening by X%. Be specific!)
- Methods – Are they appropriate(?), current(?), and described clearly enough(?) that the work could be repeated by someone else?
- Data presentation – When results are stated in the text of the paper, can you easily verify them by examining tables and figures? Are any of the results counterintuitive? Are all tables and figures necessary(?), clearly labeled(?), well planned(?), and readily interpretable?
- Statistical design and analyses – Are they appropriate and correct? Can the reader readily discern which measurements or observations are independent of which other measurements or observations? Are replicates correctly identified? Are significance statements justified?
- Errors – Point out any errors in technique, fact, calculation, interpretation, or style. For style we follow the "APA Style Manual, Sixth Edition".
- Citations – Are all (and only) pertinent references cited? Are they provided for all assertions of fact not supported by the data in this paper?
- Overlap – Does this paper report data or conclusions already published or in press? If so, please provide details.
Fairness and Objectivity:
If the research reported in this paper is flawed, criticize the science, not the scientist. Harsh words in a review will cause the reader to doubt your objectivity; as a result, your criticisms will be rejected, even if they are correct! Comments directed to the author should convince the author that (1) you have read the entire paper carefully, (2) your criticisms are objective and correct, are not merely differences of opinion, and are intended to help the author improve his or her paper, and (3) you are qualified to provide an expert opinion about the research reported in this paper. If you fail to win the author's respect and appreciation, much of your effort will have been wasted.
It is crucial that you tell the author what the problems are and how these problems can be addressed (where possible). This advice should be in the form of specific comments, reactions, and suggestions. The more specific you can be, the more helpful your review. It is also helpful to the author (and action editor) if you number your points or paragraphs to facilitate communication in the Action Editor's letter.
Even if a paper appears beyond salvation, it is still important that your review be constructive. If the problems cannot be fixed in the current study, try to suggest how the authors could improve their chances in their next research venture.
While it is important to identify critical weaknesses, it is equally important to identify major strengths. One of the most important tasks for a reviewer is to distinguish between limitations that can be fixed in a revision and those that definitely cannot. You are doing a great service to the field any time you can help an author shape a mediocre manuscript into an insightful contribution.
Timeliness of Reviews:
We take deadlines for returning reviews seriously at Faith and Therapy because we know that timely feedback is important to our authors.
- Quick Feedback: We all know how anxiety-provoking the wait for a decision letter can be. The sooner you return your review, the sooner the authors can hear from us about the fate of their submission, and the more the authors will appreciate Faith and Therapy.
- Late Reviews: If one reviewer out of three is late, it can ruin the on-time work of the other reviewers. Thus, we hope you will be able to review the paper as requested and return the review within the expected time frame. If, however, you cannot make a review deadline, please let the editors know. We would prefer that you retain manuscripts for which your review will be only slightly delayed (i.e., one week or less) because it takes time to find alternative reviewers. If occasionally you feel that you will be seriously late with a review (more than 2 weeks after the due date), please notify the editors of Faith and Therapy know immediately so that a substitute reviewer can be found.
Anonymity of Reviewers:
You may sign your review if you wish. If you choose to remain anonymous, avoid comments to the authors that might serve as clues to your identity, and be careful about annotating the manuscript (see below). Unless you indicate otherwise (such as by signing your remarks for the authors), we will assume you wish to remain anonymous.
- IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS and want to make comments directly on the pdf with the Note tool, you will need to be sure you remove your identity from the properties. This is easiest completed before adding your comments.
- IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS and use track changes in Word, you should (before putting in the comments!) remove your identity by going to the Tools/Options/User Information. (In Word 2007 go to Review>Track Changes>Change User Name/add Anonymous.) You can restore it after saving and sending the document. (This is not necessary if you tell us that you choose to waive your anonymity.)
- Open a document that has been saved with comments that you want to make anonymous.
Annotating manuscript after adding identifiable information in Word 2007
- Click the Microsoft Office Button , point to Prepare, and then click Inspect Document.
- Click Inspect.
- Click Remove All next to Document Properties and Personal InformationImportant - Do not click Remove All next to Comments, Revisions, Versions, and Annotations, which will permanently delete all of the comments from the document.
- Click Reinspect, and then save the document.
When you reopen the document, all comments that appear in the document will appear without names or initials.
This manuscript is a privileged communication. Please do not show it to anyone or discuss it, except to solicit assistance with a technical point. If you feel a colleague is more qualified than you to review the paper, do not pass the manuscript on to that person without first requesting permission to do so. Your review and your recommendation should also be considered confidential.
Conflicts of Interest:
If you feel you might have difficulty writing an objective review, please return the paper immediately, unreviewed. If your previous or present connection with the author(s) or an author's institution might be construed as creating a conflict of interest, but no actual conflict exists, please discuss this issue in your confidential comments to the editor. If in doubt, feel free to contact the Subject-matter Editor who requested your review.