Peer Review Guidelines

The following peer reviewer guidelines provide detailed information to assist reviewers in the thorough and systematic review of manuscripts submitted for potential publication in InSight:A Journal of Scholarly Teaching. InSight is a peer-reviewed publication highlighting the scholarly contributions of post-secondary faculty; as is the nature of refereed journals, acceptance and publication of original manuscripts is a competitive process. As a reviewer, your task is to provide a complete, fair, thoughtful evaluation of manuscripts to ensure all published articles are of acceptable quality.

The primary mission of the journal is to provide an avenue for the dissemination of practical, teaching-oriented pieces; as such, your review and recommendations should emphasize the value of all work for the enhancement of teaching and learning. The goals of InSight are to:

  1. showcase faculty work in the scholarship of teaching and learning (with particular focus on theoretical pieces, case studies, classroom activities/examples, and instructional resources); and
  2. provide a resource and guide for faculty exchange of ideas that may be used across the disciplines.

Scope & Focus

The goal of InSight is to feature theoretical and empirically-based research articles, critical reflection pieces, case studies, and classroom innovations relevant to teaching, learning and assessment. While a broad range of topics and issues are applicable for publication in InSight, all manuscripts should be supported with brief theoretical justification, evidence, and/or research (all methods and approaches relevant to qualitative and quantitative research are acceptable); all manuscripts must be appropriately grounded in a review of existing literature.

Audience

InSight emphasizes the enhancement of post-secondary education through the professional exchange of scholarly approaches and perspectives applicable to the enrichment of teaching and learning. InSight values scholarly contributions to the enhancement of classroom instruction via the dissemination of practical, applicable information to facilitate instructional practices. As such, manuscripts should be geared toward post-secondary faculty and administrators; included in this audience are full-time and adjunct faculty; face-to-face, hybrid and online faculty; tenure and non-tenure track instructors; trainers in corporate, military, and professional fields; adult educators; researchers; and other specialists in education, training, and communications. Recognizing the cross-disciplinary readership of InSight, manuscripts should present material with relevance to post-secondary instructors from a range of disciplines.

Review Process

All submissions are evaluated by a double-blind, peer-review process. As a reviewer, you will be anonymously evaluating manuscripts submitted by post-secondary faculty. The task of each reviewer is to provide impartial evaluation, feedback and decisions concerning the quality and relevance of each manuscript. Manuscripts will be coded and sent electronically to all reviewers. Reviewers then have 4 weeks to complete evaluations and return to the Editor.

Peer Review Board

The Peer Review Board consists of faculty, administrators and professionals selected by FCI for their commitment to post-secondary teaching and learning. Reviewers for InSight commit their time and expertise to the fair, conscientious, and thorough review of all submitted manuscripts. The InSight Peer Review Board is held to the same demanding standards put forth by the American Psychological Association (Calfee & Valencia, 2001); reviewers must:

  • present a clear decision regarding publication;
  • support the recommendation with a detailed, comprehensive analysis of the quality and coherence of the study’s conceptual basis, methods, results, and interpretations;
  • offer specific, constructive suggestions to authors; and
  • maintain the confidential nature of all submitted material.

Focus of the Review

Prior to dissemination to reviewers, the InSight Editor will have conducted a preliminary appraisal for content, substance, and appropriateness to the journal; reviewers will not receive any manuscripts that are clearly inappropriate to the journal. Manuscripts will be electronically sent to a minimum of two reviewers for blind evaluation. While the Editor will attempt to match manuscripts and reviewers according to content, interests, and topical relevance, the broad focus of the journal dictates that papers be written for applicability to a wide audience. As such, reviewers may not be content experts in a relevant, matching academic discipline.

The manuscript must be reviewed and evaluated according to the following dimensions:

  • Relevance – The most important feature of a manuscript is its relevance; the decision to accept or reject a manuscript is typically based on the substantive core of the paper. As such, manuscripts should introduce the substance of the theoretical or research question as quickly as possible and follow the main theme throughout the article in a coherent and explicit manner. In recognition of the teaching-centered nature of InSight, the emphasis of the review should focus on the relevance of manuscripts for promoting the scholarship of teaching and practical application for instructional enhancement.
  • Significance – Related to relevance, significance refers to the value of a manuscript for substantially impacting the enhancement of post-secondary education relevant to the target topic. Significant manuscripts will clearly highlight the value, importance and worth of a relevant topic within a context relevant to the teaching oriented mission of Park University.
  • Practical Utility – As highlighted previously, the goal of InSight is to enhance teaching and learning through the exchange of scholarly ideas. With this purpose in mind, all manuscripts should emphasize the practical value, relevance or applicability of information to teaching and learning.
  • Originality – The most effective articles are those that inspire other faculty through innovative practices, approaches and techniques or via the thoughtful self-reflection of the purpose, value and function of educational strategies. Thus, manuscripts that highlight original approaches or perspectives will be given priority. Per the nature of published work, all contributions should be the original work of the author or provide explicit credit for citations.
  • Scholarship of Teaching – Contributions to the enrichment of teaching and learning should be grounded in relevant theoretical concepts and empirical evidence. As such, articles should be free from flaws in research substance/methodology and theoretical interpretation. All empirical-based studies be substantiated with theoretical or practical applications; personal classroom experiences and critical reflections should be framed within a structure of existing literature.
  • Generalizability – The broad goals and varied audience of InSight mandate that manuscripts be written for consumption across a range of disciplines that allows generalizability of findings and implications. Thus, while classroom techniques may be developed, tested and reported for a specific discipline or student population, the manuscript should go on to highlight the implications for other populations.
  • Clarity – All manuscripts must be written in a clear, professional manner free from grammatical flaws and errors in writing style. The purpose of the manuscript should be clearly defined, relevant and supported by the evidence provided. All manuscripts should be structured in a manner that promotes a clear, cohesive understanding of the information presented. Be sure that manuscripts are free from organizational, stylistic or “sloppiness” barriers that would prevent effective communication of the work.

Review Outcomes

Based upon the feedback and recommendations of the anonymous reviewers, the Editor will make a final publication decision. Decisions fall into the following categories:

  • Reject – Rejected manuscripts will not be published and authors will not have the opportunity to resubmit a revised version of the manuscript to InSight. All rejections will be handled in a courteous manner that includes specific reasons for rejection.
  • Accept Pending Revisions – A manuscript accepted-pending-revisions meets all the major requirements for publication but may need improvements in substantive, mechanical or methodological issues. Once these issues are adjusted for, the manuscript will receive an additional review by the Editor prior to publication. Very rarely is an article accepted with no changes required; as such, most manuscripts are accepted in this category.
  • Accept – Accepted manuscripts will be published “as-is” with no further modifications required.

Review Tips and Guidelines

There is no mandatory format for InSight articles; rather authors should organize and present information in a manner that promotes communication and understanding of key points. The organization and style of the manuscript will be largely dictated by the type of submission (e.g., theoretical, empirical, critical reflection, case study, classroom innovation, etc.). Thus, accepted manuscripts should utilize clear, effective communication that highlights the significance and implications of the work to post-secondary teaching and learning in relation to the target topic.

Within the body of a manuscript, information should be organized and sub-headed in a structure that facilitates understanding of key issues. Since there is not a mandatory format, authors should use professional guidelines within their discipline to present information in a manner that is easily communicated to readers. For example:

  • Empirical investigations should be organized according to the traditional format that includes introduction (purpose, literature review, hypothesis), method (participants, materials, procedures), results, and discussion (implications).
  • Theoretical articles and literature reviews should include an introduction (purpose), subheadings for the relevant perspectives and themes, and a detailed section(s) on conclusions (applications, recommendations, implications, etc.).
  • Classroom innovation and critical reflections should be organized via an introduction (purpose, problem, or challenge), relevant background literature, project description, evaluation of effectiveness (may include student feedback, self-reflections, peer-insight, etc.), and conclusions (applications, implications, recommendations, etc.). If describing classroom-based work, please include copies of relevant assignments, handouts, rubrics, etc. as appendices.

The limited length of InSight articles requires authors to focus on the most significant, relevant factors and implications. Relevant to this issue, authors should select references carefully to ensure that citations include the most current and relevant sources; preference should be given to published sources that have proven pertinent and valuable to the relevant investigations.