New Directions For Evaluation: Proposal Submission Guide

This webpage has recently been updated to provide current information on the process involved in publishing in New Directions for Evaluation.

General Information About NDE Proposals: The best proposals exhibit the following characteristics.

  • Audience: The issue must be written for an audience including practitioners, theorists, and/or methodologists. The audience for the proposed issue should be clearly identified in the proposal. Guest editors should keep in mind the varied constituencies of the American Evaluation Association in considering the target audience for the issue. Methodological and statistical contributions should be understandable to a wide audience.
  • Sufficient Detail: Each issue of NDE examines a single topic or theme, developed through the individual chapters. Proposals need to provide adequate content to ensure that the reviewers understand what is being proposed. This is especially important for individual chapter descriptions. The authors who propose chapters in the form of reflective narratives should be prepared to include a description of how the information presented in the chapters was gathered and summarized.
  • Level of Presentation: Guest editors must balance rigorous, detailed explication of the issues with the need for a readable, understandable presentation.
  • Quality: The material presented in NDE must represent state-of-the-art, quality work in program evaluation.
  • Novelty and Timeliness: NDE is an ideal venue for presenting new work in evaluation. The emphasis should be on recent developments. Issues can provide a vehicle for new and diverse voices to present and test their ideas on a broad audience. Submissions are encouraged about topics not covered in the journal for a number of years. Submissions by evaluators internationally are also encouraged.
  • Qualifications: Proposals should identify the contributing authors and present evidence of their qualifications to address the topic. Guest editors must secure the commitment of the guest authors prior to submission of the proposal.

In addition to these general characteristics the Proposal Review Guidelines provide specific requirements that will be considered in the review of the proposal.

Types of Issues: An NDE issue includes between 37,500 and 42,500 words. It consists of a brief editorial introduction and usually of 6 to 8 chapters that address and develop the topic, method, or theme. Inclusion of at least one practical example or application is required. The presentation of original research on evaluation, including a brief description of methods and a presentation of the relevant results, is encouraged. The following list illustrates formats that have been used, though other innovative approaches are encouraged.

  • Substantive Focus: An issue may have an emphasis on a specific area of evaluation within a broad context such as health, education, criminal justice, policy analysis, mental health, and so forth. This type of issue should relate the broad applicability to other substantive areas of interest to the evaluation audience.
  • Methodological Focus: An issue can be directed towards a specific methodological issue or approach. A portion of the issue might focus on the theoretical and technical background of the methodology, followed by an example illustrating the use of the method.
  • Professional Practice: Topics that build capacity in the practice of evaluation will find a receptive audience in NDE. This type of issue provides a structured and informative approach to a relevant topic.
  • Symposia: Often new directions in evaluation first surface at a conference. The hosting organization does not necessarily have to be directly associated with the field of evaluation to have a relevant topic for evaluators.
  • Theoretical Focus: The development of a broad issue in the theory of program evaluation could address use, influence, implementation, ethics, assessment of outcomes, stakeholder involvement, cultural competency, or one of many other theoretical issues. Applications and examples should be included to bridge the theory to practice.
  • Exemplary Evaluations: Certain evaluations provide crucial exposure to a field of practice or exemplary application of an innovative methodology. An issue of this type might present a series of exemplary evaluations with a common methodological or substantive tread, followed by critical commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of the evaluation method or approach.

Proposal Development and Review: Proposals are developed iteratively through ongoing review, negotiation, and revision. The following are typical steps, though each issue may differ depending on the topic and format.

  • Pre-proposal Discussion: This is the initial phase of discussion and is largely informal. Editors interested in editing an issue for NDE should discuss their ideas by telephone or e-mail with the Editor-in-Chief. Often a short discussion can help determine if an idea is appropriate for the series and how it is most likely to proceed. Typically, the Editor-in-Chief will request a one-to-two page informal pre-proposal. If all or part of a manuscript is available, it may also be included; however, it does not replace the need for a full proposal in the format specified.
  • Submitting a Proposal: Every prospective Issue Editor must develop and submit a single-spaced proposal using the Proposal Format. Proposals are to be submitted upon the formal invitation of the Editor-in-Chief at the journal's online ScholarOne Proposal Submission website. Complete proposals will receive prompt attention. Agreement to participate in the issue should be obtained from all potential contributors prior to submitting a proposal. A Previously Accepted Proposal is provided as an example along with the Proposal Review Guidelines and Issue Preparation Task List.

Common Causes for Revision or Rejection:

- Proposals are submitted in incomplete form.
- Chapters lack sufficient detail (abstracts should be 1-2 pages).
- The topic is not developed in a manner that relates to broad audience.
- An example of how the topic can be used or applied is weak or missing.
- The topic does not focus sufficiently on evaluation or make connections to evaluation explicit.
- The topic does not provide an original contribution or perspective.

  • Editorial Review Process: The Editorial Review Process is comprised of three steps:

Initial Editorial Review: The NDE Editor-in-Chief reviews each proposal. Incomplete proposals or those that do not comply with the Proposal Format, will be returned for revision prior to distribution for formal review.

Final Editorial Review: Once a complete proposal is submitted for formal consideration, Editorial Advisory Board members (see a current NDE issue for a list) will be selected and asked to review the proposal, comment on its strengths and weaknesses, and make summary recommendations regarding acceptability for the journal. Reviewers are asked to address the questions in the Proposal Review Guidelines.

Editorial Summary Review: The reviews from the Advisory Board members are assembled, and the Editor-in-Chief prepares a summary review, adds any comments of his own, and makes a recommendation to accept, revise, or reject the proposal. The ultimate goal is to produce a valuable source for the evaluation field. Prospective guest editors should expect that the review will emphasize constructive critique and collaborative feedback designed to help shape their ideas into a high-quality and influential final publication.

  • Proposal Acceptance: The Editor-in-Chief will work with the Issue Editor on accepted proposals to provide feedback on the chapters and develop a timeline for submission of the manuscript. A stipend of $500 is provided to the issue editor.

The manuscript is submitted to the NDE Editor-In-Chief for final review and transmission to Wiley Publications.

Questions and Contacts:

Editors-in-Chief, 2017-2020
Leslie Ann Fierro
Assistant Clinical Professor of Evaluation
Claremont Graduate University
PO Box 1661
Topanga, CA, 90290
Phone: 1-404-290-4482

Todd Michael Franke, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Social Welfare
UCLA - Luskin School of Public Affairs
3250 Public Policy
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone: 1-310-825-5932 | 1-310-206-6102