Journal of Family Theory & Review
© 2014 National Council on Family Relations
The Journal of Family Theory & Review (JFTR) publishes original contributions in all areas of family theory, including advances in theory development, critical analyses and reviews of existing theory, new applications of theory, new interpretations of conceptual positions or concepts once thought to be distinct, essays in the conduct of theory construction, and analyses of the interface of theory and method. In addition, we are equally committed to publishing integrative reviews of existing research. Unlike many neighboring disciplines we have paired publishing integrative reviews with new developments in theory because they are so intimately tied together in the generation and interpretation of knowledge about families.
The overall design, method and focus of reviews can vary widely but generally takes one of several forms. Reviews can center on a particular question and critically evaluate the available evidence. Integrative reviews can develop new models for organizing and interpreting a literature, compare the application of several existing models, or assess the support for a particular theoretical model. In addition, reviews can direct future inquires by offering a critical analysis of a particular topic, evaluating the available evidence, the kinds of questions that are addressed or not addressed, the range of methods utilized, and the kinds of data generated. Whatever the purpose or method the most useful reviews are theory-based, well balanced, organized, comprehensive, critical, and written for a broad audience. The most useful reviews advance understanding rather than reiterate what is already known. Comprehensive work that provides a historical review of theory development or a historical review of a particular research area is only appropriate to the extent that the work presents new knowledge, or a new understanding of existing knowledge.
The architectural themes underlying our mission are rooted in a firm commitment to developing the field of family studies with innovations in theory and critical reviews leading to the integration and full development of a cumulative knowledge base. This architecture also permits an opportunity for innovation in creating new methods for developing theory, as well as new methods for directing the conduct of literature reviews. The journal welcomes publishing advances in the methods of theory development, as well as advances in the methods for conducting integrative reviews. Although we wish to encourage meta-analyses where appropriate, for some purposes empirically based meta-analyses are ineffective. Narrative reviews, or what are often called systematic reviews, are particularly useful when the interest is in critically evaluating a research literature and especially from the viewpoint of one or more theoretical positions, as well as in cases where diverse methods are applied or where changes in methods have occurred over time. In either the case of an empirically based review or a narrative review, two essentials are important. Reviews should have a strong conceptual basis and aim to advance theory, and secondly reviews should be based upon a systematic analysis and clear statement of method (e.g., how articles for review were selected). The journal welcomes publishing innovations in the development of the methods for conducting reviews as well as pedagogical contributions that describe best practices in the reporting of reviews.
Other than meta-analyses, the journal does not publish articles in which the focus is largely upon the presentation of empirical data. No doubt there will be exceptions. I can imagine an empirical work that directly assesses the use of theory in a particular substantive domain as appropriate for the journal; for instance an analysis of how theory is used or not used to drive inquiries of relationship quality. Such inquiries are likely to be of special interest to the journal when they clearly demonstrate the impact of theory on the generation of knowledge, while purely descriptive analyses would be of less interest (e.g., whether theory drives research on relationships quality).
Potential authors are encouraged to contact the editor with any questions regarding the development of potential contributions.
JFTR considers book reviews as an important part of our mission. Authors who wish to have their books reviewed, or those who wish to write a review are encouraged to contact the book review editor.
Manuscripts should be submitted online at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jftr. Full instructions and support are available on the site and a user ID and password can be obtained on the first visit. Support can be contacted by phone (+1 434 817 2040 ), or by email vis the red, Get Help Now link in the top right-hand corner of the login screen.