Posts Tagged 'Voluntary Sector Review'

What makes for a strong Voluntary Sector Review paper? Eight points to consider

Rob Macmillan, Nick Acheson and Bernard Harris, editors of the international Voluntary Sector Review journal, present 8 tips for submitting a strong paper. 

Rob Macmillan, Nick Acheson and Bernard Harris

As editors of Voluntary Sector Review (VSR), we attract a wide range of international article submissions, covering the whole range of topics around voluntary and community action, non-profit organisations and civil society. We often reflect on what makes for a strong paper.

Full-length research articles in VSR, normally no longer than 8,000 words in length, may focus on empirical findings, methodological issues, scholarly or theoretical inquiry, and applied analysis of relevance to practitioners and decision makers. We welcome submissions from all parts of the globe, and encourage all of our authors to highlight the international implications of their work.

We know that the whole process of submitting a paper can be daunting and onerous for authors – something you’ve been working on for a while has finally been given over for an external judgement of its potential value. Preparing a good paper for submission is an art rather than a science, and through our experience as editors and authors we have drawn together a list of eight helpful points to consider before you submit your paper.

1. What is the paper about and why is it important?

Be very clear on what the paper is about, starting with a clear statement of the issue that it addresses, together with an explanation of why the issue is of interest to and important for readers of the journal. You need to provide good reasons for readers to read on and subsequently remember your article.

2. Critical understanding of the literature

Embed the issue the paper addresses in the relevant literature, with a critical understanding of the most important and influential previous articles and books in this area.

3. Intellectual, theoretical, policy or practice context

Make sure you set out clearly the intellectual, theoretical, policy or practice context that informs the article.

4. Methods

Where you are reporting empirical findings, make sure the research design, data collection methods and analysis techniques used are described in sufficient detail for readers to be able to understand how the study might be replicated, and on what basis the conclusions are being drawn. Where prior literature provides the basis for the article (in addition to or instead of empirical findings), explain how it was sourced, selected and reviewed.

5. Key findings

Set out the key findings relevant to the issue addressed in the article in a systematic way, relating them to earlier work covered in the literature review. Authors often try to say too much here, overloading their submission with empirical findings such that the point of the article is obscured in empirical detail.

6. Contribution to knowledge

Identify the extent and ways in which the findings and discussion contribute to new empirical knowledge about the issue or better theoretical understanding of the topic. There is a balance to be struck here: be confident in the conclusions you draw, but don’t overstate the case.

7. Implications for future research, policy or practice

Draw out the implications of the study for future research, policy or practice – in the country which is the primary focus of the article, but also more broadly where appropriate.

8. Argument, structure, and signposting

Finally, check to see whether there is a clear, well-signposted, structure and thread of argument running through the paper, so that readers can quickly gain a secure sense of the paper’s development from introduction to conclusion.

On receipt of a submission, we will always make an initial editorial judgement before we send a paper out for review, and we may ask you to revise the paper before doing so. We encourage reviewers to provide constructive feedback to authors in order to help improve papers, and we will provide guidance on how to proceed if the decision is one of ‘revise and resubmit’. The peer review process can be exacting but it is rigorous and invariably leads to better quality papers.

We would encourage you to get in touch if you have an idea for a paper but are not sure of its suitability. We’ll always aim to provide helpful guidance, though, of course, we cannot provide any guarantees of publication.

If you would like to submit a paper you can find the Journal’s aims and scope, and instructions for authors on the Voluntary Sector Review website. You will also find further information about submitting Policy and Practice articles, along with details of the relevant editors for these sections.

 

More about Voluntary Sector Review

To submit an article consult our instructions for authors.

For news about all the latest issues and free articles sign up for our e-newsletter and follow the journal on Twitter @VSRjournal

Ask your librarian to subscribe or sign up for a free institutional trial.

Is the idea of an independent third sector still relevant?

Ahead of the #ARNOVA16  conference, authors Valerie Egdell and Matthew Dutton discuss third sector organisations’ struggle for independence and how this struggle affects the delivery of the various services that these organisations provide. 

valerie-egdell

Valerie Egdell

matthew-dutton

Matthew Dutton

Government outsourcing of public services through competitive tendering has created significant new opportunities for third sector organisations to expand the range of actions they undertake but has also threatened their independence.

The third sector is a trusted partner because of its independence of purpose, voice and action. The third sector itself values its independence from political influence in representing the needs of service users. However, does the third sector’s role in the delivery of government funded services compromise its independence? Is the idea of an independent third sector still relevant?

“To survive, some third sector organisations have had to adapt to deliver services that are not core to their function”

Continue reading ‘Is the idea of an independent third sector still relevant?’

Celebrating #ARNOVA16 – Free articles on this year’s conference theme from Voluntary Sector Review

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The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organisations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is meeting in Washington, D.C., 17-19 November 2016. This year’s conference focuses on policy and partnerships between the non-profit and philanthropic sectors and government in an era of change.

Why not get in the mood with a free article collection from Voluntary Sector Review? The below articles are free to access and download 13-24 November 2016.

Third sector independence: relations with the state in an age of austerity
Authors: Valerie Egdell, Dutton, Matthew

Is this a new golden age of philanthropy? An assessment of the changing landscape
Author: James M. Ferris

From ‘contractors to the state’ to ‘protectors of public value’? Relations between non-profit housing hybrids and the state in England
Authors: David Mullins, Tricia Jones

Collaborating across sector boundaries: a story of tensions and dilemmas

Author: Carol Jacklin-Jarvis

The combination of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ strategies in VSO–government partnerships: the relationship between Refugee Action and the Home Office in the UK
Authors: Derek McGhee, Claire Bennett, Sarah Walker

New ‘new localism’ or the emperor’s new clothes: diverging local social policies and state–voluntary sector relations in an era of localism
Authors: James Rees, Nigel Rose

 

   vsrInterested in Voluntary Sector Review?

 Submit your article to the journal or consult the instructions for authors.

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Follow the journal on Twitter @VSRjournal.

 

 

Celebrating #ISTR2016: Four FREE articles on this year’s conference theme ‘Third sector in transition’

waterviewn-photoThe International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR)’s 12th International Conference is now well under way at Ersta Sköndal University College, Stockholm, Sweden.

We’ve been rather inspired by this years’ theme – ‘The Third Sector in Transition: Accountability, Transparency, and Social Inclusion’ –  to make a handful of articles free* on the same subject and share them with you.

And here indeed they are….Happy ISTR conference and happy reading!

1) The rise and fall of Australia’s first independent regulator for the not-for- profit sector: a missed opportunity for philanthropy (Vol 5.3, November 2014) by Elizabeth Cham Continue reading ‘Celebrating #ISTR2016: Four FREE articles on this year’s conference theme ‘Third sector in transition’’

How is the activity of volunteering changing? #volunteersweek

In today’s guest blog post Sue Kenny shares findings from research about the changing nature and shape of voluntary action and active citizenship is taking with the next generation…

Sue Kenny2.1There are many forms that contemporary active citizenship can take. It can be an expression of civic and civil commitment as well as a form of activism.  

Similarly, volunteering can be an expression of active citizenship in each of these forms.  For example, membership of  local council committees is a form of civic commitment; helping out in a community centre is a form of civil commitment and organising a protest march involves the activist form of active citizenship. Volunteering plays an important role in generating social capital through these different ways of participating in society.

All these types of active citizenship are familiar aspects of participation in civil society. Yet as we discuss in Challenging the third sector: Global prospects for active citizenship, an alternative paradigm of active citizenship and volunteering is emerging, largely out of the gaze of public scrutiny. Continue reading ‘How is the activity of volunteering changing? #volunteersweek’

What I learned from volunteering for Policy Press….

Jennifer Bell, English Literature MA student at the University of Bristol, has just spent the past eight months volunteering at Policy Press as part of the Editorial Commissioning team. Today is (sadly!) her last day with us. 

Jen’s learned that ‘it takes a village to raise a book’, there’s more to Friday’s than cake (really?!) and she tells us how the experience has influenced her future career plans. Read on for more insights….

Jennifer BellHow did you hear about volunteering at Policy Press?
I heard about the volunteer scheme run by Policy Press from my department at the University of Bristol. Continue reading ‘What I learned from volunteering for Policy Press….’

Volunteering and the Voluntary Sector Review #volunteersweek

It’s #volunteersweek 1st – 12th June and to celebrate we’re making our Voluntary Sector Review (VSR) journal completely FREE to view and read for the entire 12 days! Simply click here to access the journal – happy reading!

We’ve also asked one of the journal editors, Bernard Harris, to share his thoughts how the Voluntary Sector Review has offered a crucial space for analysis and review of the sector in the six years since it first published…

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Bernard Harris, co-editor of Voluntary Sector Review

Volunteers’ Week highlights the role which volunteering plays in contemporary life. Volunteering is seen as an important activity in its own right and as a way in which individual citizens can contribute to the welfare of others.

The ‘voluntary sector’ is seen as a partner to statutory services and – in some quarters, at least – as an alternative to them, and the boundaries between the voluntary and private or commercials sectors have become increasingly porous.

The importance of the role played by volunteering and the complex nature of the voluntary sector reinforce the need for independent critical analysis of the many different activities which these terms cover.

A unique space

The Voluntary Sector Review provides a unique space for this analysis. It presents the results of the latest academic research alongside discussions of new policy initiatives and contributions from practitioners commenting on practical developments within their own organisations and the sector more generally. Continue reading ‘Volunteering and the Voluntary Sector Review #volunteersweek’


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