- Content guidelines for submission type
- Manuscripts: secondary research, literature reviews, critical essays
- Book reviews
- Evidence summaries
- Style guide & formatting
How to Apply to SRJ: Format & Content
Before submitting to the journal, please ensure compliance with our scope, content guidelines for submission type, and style guide found on this page, as well as our policies. Submissions that do not meet the style guide or content guidelines will be returned immediately to authors for corrections.
SRJ welcomes submissions of original research (primary and secondary), critical essays, academic book reviews, and evidence summaries covering theory, policy, application, or practice which advance intellectual inquiry in the field.
Research manuscripts should investigate an original idea, set of ideas, or circumstance, and may be empirical, critical, or theoretical in nature.
Critical essays should analyze and offer an interpretation, analytical perspective, or new concept to a theory or body of work, and may address a collection of published scholarship.
Book reviews should address scholarly works published within the last three years that represent current research in LIS, archival studies, or records management. Reviews should identify the core question of the work, summarize the answer posited by the author, and contextualize the work within current academic research or practice.
Evidence summaries should follow the specific format as identified by the ET via EBLIP, and concisely discuss a current piece of research.
Content guidelines for submission type
Manuscripts: secondary research, literature reviews, critical essays
Research manuscripts should investigate an original idea or set of ideas or circumstance, and may be empirical, critical, or theoretical in nature. Critical essays should analyze and contribute an interpretation or analytical perspective, or new theme or concept to a theory or body of work, and may address a collection of published scholarship, and should avoid description or summary of research. A manuscript should move toward new directions in LIS/MARA work by critically analyzing the research.
- Cites relevant, authoritative and/or leading scholarship
- Sources are appropriate to the manuscript regarding currency and topic
- Any non-scholarly sources are justified and contextualized
- The manuscript offers a meaningful, original contribution to the scholarly conversation, addressing a current gap in the research/literature. The writing persuasively articulates a current debate, theory, or practice with critical analysis.
- Manuscripts should be between 3000 and 7000 words in length, excluding reference page, tables, figures, and any appendices.
- Manuscript submissions should include an abstract (50-150 words), which
includes the following:
- The manuscript’s core question or problem statement, contextualized against the previous core question or problem statement
- Main arguments—a preview or announcement of sub-topics to be discussed
- A summary of findings
- The author’s original and new thesis statement
- Manuscripts should be written in a formal/academic style using the following
headings as appropriate:
- Background and introduction to the paper and why the work was carried out
- Core question and thesis statement
- Introduction of key concepts and an outline of what will be addressed in the body of the paper
- Headings that provide meaningful organization
- Synthesizes a critical evaluation of the related literature
- Avoids a list or annotated bibliography
- Paraphrases as opposed to using block and/or direct quotes
- Research methodology, if present, is justified and applied
- Theoretical foundation, if present, is clearly explained
- Thesis (direct answer to core question)
- Major sub-topics, categories, and supporting work summarized
- Gaps/omissions in current scholarship identified
- Indicates what is valuable for future study
Book reviews should address scholarly works published within the last three years and represent current research in LIS, archival studies, or records management. Reviews should identify the core question of the work, summarize the answer posited by the author, and contextualize the work within current academic research or practice. Book Reviews should be written in a formal, precise, and economical style.
- Work reviewed is current (published within 3 years), is topically relevant to the scope of the journal, and does not duplicate existing reviews. While we accept reviews from books of the author’s choosing, we direct authors to our recommended booklist, linked here
- Book Reviews may be between 500-1500 words in length, excluding reference, tables, figures, and any appendices.
- A concise summary of the content.
- Identifies the work’s core question(s) and thesis/theses, and any important sub-theses (arguments).
- Summarizes key findings and the author’s conclusion.
- Offers a faithful representation of the author’s project, distinct from the reviewer’s critique.
- Includes relevant details about the author.
- The work is contextualized within current LIS scholarship.
- Critical assessment of the content
- Assesses evidence provided by the author to support conclusion(s), analyzing the strengths and weaknesses.
- Identifies gaps in the work.
- Uses examples where appropriate.
- Reflects a critical reading of the work reviewed.
- The author’s voice is distinct from that of the author being reviewed.
- Maintains a critical tone appropriate for scholarly review.
- Whether or not readers would value the work overall for
- Its relevance to LIS practice or practical application,
- its distinct elements,
- its authenticity and overall quality,
- the author's ideas and arguments, as well as
- practical issues, such as, readability and language, organization and layout, indexing, and the use of non-textual elements.
- Whether or not readers would value the work overall for
Evidence summaries offer a concise, analytical summary of an article, providing an overview of the best available evidence on a defined question, and indicate where existing knowledge would benefit from further research. Evidence Summaries require students to write with concision within a defined structure and evaluate the quality of a study, providing a useful summary of important research and suggestions for its use in practice.
To encourage the submission of evidence summaries to the SRJ, support materials were developed by editorial team members Claire Goldstein, Stephanie Akau, Stacy Andell, Priscilla Ameneyro, Lisa Lowdermilk, and Rob King, under the guidance of Managing Editor, Kelly Pollard.
A special thank you to Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) who has created these author guidelines. EBLIP encourages students to consider submitting Evidence Summaries to EBLIP for publication, post-graduation.
- Work summarized is current (published within 3 years), is topically relevant to the scope of the journal, and does not duplicate existing evidence summaries.
- Evidence summaries should be between 550 and 1100 words
- Evidence summaries follow a specific format and contain each of the
- A descriptive title of fewer than 25 words, with no subtitle. Avoid beginning the title with such phrases as “research demonstrates that…” or “study concludes…” EBLIP suggests including one of the following elements in the title: population, setting (geographic region), methodology (only if unique), important findings/conclusion(s).
- Citation for the article being reviewed. Use APA format and include the DOI if available. If the DOI is not available, use a stable URL.
- Reviewer’s name and contract information. Please remove with initial submission, and re-insert once accepted for publication.
- A brief and accurate Structured Abstract, which summarizes
information from the research article to support the statement made
in the descriptive title, provides a description of the main points of
the study without additional analysis. It is between 200 and 700
words and includes each of the following components:
- Objective – The objective of the study in one or two sentences.
- Design – Type of research study design used. This does not need to be a full sentence, e.g., a survey questionnaire, an observational study, a randomized controlled trial
- Setting – Environment and geographic region in which the research took place. This does not need to be a full sentence, e.g., a large public library in San Jose, California, a law information center in the United States,
- Do not provide the specific name of the institution or organization. The setting is provided to help the reader determine if they can use the research for their purposes.
- Subjects – The number and characteristics of the subjects/participants/respondents in the study. This does not need to be a full sentence, e.g., 75 senior citizens who were homebound. For subjects, the exception to the rule of beginning sentences with a numeral is made. Especially for surveys, note that “subjects” and “respondents” are not equivalent (e.g., a survey is distributed to 100 subjects, but only 83 respond by completing the survey).
- Methods – A brief paragraph on the research methodology. Do not restate the design, setting, or subjects, from above.
- Main Results – State the main outcome(s) of the research study, e.g., e-books were preferred two to one over print books by young adults participating in the focus group. This should be a few sentences, possibly a paragraph.
- Conclusion – State the conclusion and practice implications for this research study (as reported by the study authors), e.g., Based on the research results, signage in the library was improved and replaced. A follow-up study will be conducted to further examine the impact of the change.
- Commentary – The Commentary is meant to provide the
Evidence Summary writer with the opportunity to critique the
original research study and report and suggest further implications
for practice. The suggested word count is 350 to 450 words.
- The first paragraph should place the research/article in the wider context of research available on this topic. Writers are encouraged to include citations to the literature and previous studies to support statements made in this paragraph.
- The next several paragraphs should address the strength of the evidence presented. Writers should refer to a critical appraisal checklist or tool, and include a citation to it, to ensure all important elements of assessment have been taken into consideration.
- The commentary section should not restate the main results or conclusions of the study. It should provide a balanced and fair critical appraisal of the important elements of the methodology that impact the reliability, validity, and applicability of the results. Please avoid the temptation to identify and criticize every potential flaw in the study’s design.
- The last paragraph, most importantly, should address the significance of the research/article to library and information practice as well as the practical implications for librarians and information professionals. This should be more thoughtful than, for instance, “this research has implications for school librarians” and instead should provide some insight into how the evidence could be used. This may also include, for example, the usefulness of the method or the originality of the research.
- References – Only sources other than the article being critically appraised are included in the list of references, with a maximum of five. Do not use in-text citation to the article being reviewed. Instead, refer to the original article as “the study” and the author(s) as “the author(s)” or “the researcher(s)” rather than using their names in order to avoid confusion.
Style guide & formatting
Please format your submission according to these guidelines. All other style and formatting should comply with the latest edition of the APA style guide.
- MS Word (preferred) or RTF. Submit your manuscript, including tables, figures, appendices, etc. as a single file.
- Do not include a title page or abstract in the file. Begin the document with the introduction. The abstract will be entered separately during the submission process, and a title page will be generated by the editors.
- Do not include page numbers, headers, or footers.
- Margins: 1” top and bottom, 1.5” right and left
- Text is to be single spaced, including the reference page, with no extra spacing between paragraphs except surrounding either a block quote or section heading (6-pt spacing before and after both block quotes and headings)
- Indent the first line of each paragraph, except for any paragraph following a section heading
- Paragraph text is justified, with the exception of headings and references, both of which should follow the latest APA formatting guidelines as to alignment and indentation
- Use Times for the entire manuscript (including headings) except where a special symbol is needed that is not offered in Times
- Text should be 12-pt, with possible exceptions for tables and image captioning (10-pt)
- All text should be black in color, which the possible exception of hyperlinks
- Use italics for foreign terms, emphasis, and titles of works as per APA guidelines. Usage of underlining is discouraged. Bold text should be confined to section headings.
- All source citations should appear in-text and be in APA format. Works cited (References) should be in APA format.
- For book reviews, include a full APA citation for the work being reviewed.
- All tables, charts, graphs, and diagrams should be positioned in the body of the manuscript. For figures or data that cannot be supplied in MS Word, contact the Editor-in-Chief for guidance.
- Authors must ensure their name does not appear anywhere in the document, including the document file name, the abstract, or the main body of the paper. All identifying features that may be lined to author identity (e.g. reference to author’s workplace, publications, events, and accomplishments easily associated with the author) should be blacked over or eliminated from the text.
- Author name and contact information may be included only on the cover page (this is distinct from a title page) if one is submitted.
- English (American). Except for common foreign words and phrases, the use of foreign words and phrases should be avoided. Authors should use Standard English grammar.
- Where not otherwise specified, manuscripts should conform to APA style and formatting. Current APA is 7th edition.