1. General guidelines
- Papers are accepted in English with Australian spelling and punctuation used consistently throughout – please consult the Macquarie Dictionary if in doubt.
- A typical research or theoretical article is between 5000 – 7000 words in length (exclusive of figures and references). Practice articles are usually 3000 – 5000 words. Papers that greatly exceed the suggested limits will be critically reviewed with respect to length.
- Abstracts of 200-250 words are required for all papers submitted.
- Each paper should have 3 to 6 keywords.
- The referencing style is that of the American Psychological Association Version 6 (APA6) in keeping with other music therapy publications (http://apastyle.apa.org)
- In writing your paper, you are encouraged to review articles in the area you are addressing that have been previously published in the Australian Journal and, where you feel appropriate, to reference them. This will enhance context, coherence and continuity for our readers.
- Given that this is a music therapy journal, we seek to champion the articulation of the musical encounters in a way that clarifies the characteristics of what happened in music therapy. Authors should explain who did what, why, when and how in order for other music therapists to benefit from their experience.
- Non-discriminatory language is mandatory for all manuscripts. Sexist or racist terms should not be used.
All authors are asked to aspire to achieve fluency and economy of expression and to follow established scholarly principles of orderly and clear presentation.
2. Review Process
Two anonymous reviewers who are either music therapists registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association, or international experts who have knowledge about either the field of practice, the methods being described, or the orientation of the author will review all articles. All reviewers have published in refereed journals and most have a post-graduate research qualification. For this reason, the identity of the author must be removed from the first manuscript that is submitted. Please use the following steps in ensuring a blind review of your submission.
- The authors of the document have deleted their names from the text, with “Author” and year used in the references and footnotes, instead of the authors’ name, article title, etc.
- With Microsoft Office documents, author identification should also be removed from the properties for the file (see under File in Word), by clicking on the following, beginning with File on the main menu of the Microsoft application: File > Save As > Tools (or Options with a Mac) > Security > Remove personal information from file properties on save > Save.
- With PDFs, the authors’ names should also be removed from Document Properties found under File on Adobe Acrobat’s main menu.
(Steps taken with permission from www.voices.no)
3. Genre CharacteristicsThe Journal publishes empirical, theoretical and practice-based articles, with different guidelines and expectations being associated with each. Each article is considered to offer a perspective on research/theory/practice because the Australian Journal values and actively seeks diverse contributions that represent a range of theoretical influences and local practices. The use of the term ‘Perspectives on’ affirms this commitment to publishing articles written by many different voices, with a range of practice and academic skills and knowledge.
- Perspectives on Research (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodology studies)
- Perspectives on Theory (integrating theoretical perspectives from allied disciplines, or proposing novel theoretical concepts)
- Perspectives on Practice (contextualising local practice within the international literature)
3.1 Perspectives on Research
This genre includes reports of original research that are clearly located in relation to paradigmatic stance. Subsequent to this, diverse methodologies may be utilised, including qualitative, quantitative, musical and mixed methodologies. As a general guide for all types of research, we urge authors to follow the IMRaD principle whenever relevant, or to explain otherwise. IMRaD (Introduction, Methods, Results [and] Discussion) is a mnemonic for a common format used for academic research papers and is also known as the APA format.
Introduction: Develop the focus of the investigation, review pertinent literature, and state the aim of the work.
Method: Locate the methodology within, or across paradigms and describe the method used in detail so that the author/s relationship to the data is clarified either through transparency or calculation and so that readers are able to grasp exactly how the study was conducted.
Results: Present sufficient representative empirical material to provide adequate justification for the interpretations that will be drawn out in subsequent discussion.
Discussion: Discuss principles and relationships and point out exceptions. Show agreement or disagreement with published research work. A conclusion and statements about the significance of the work may be presented at the end of the discussion or in a separate section.
All research articles should convey a strong sense of audience “giving the reader the information they need in a logical sequence that anticipates their questions, thereby facilitating their ability to effectively and efficiently critique and interpret the information.”
Please see the APA Publication Manual for a detailed explanation of the structures and expectations of articles using quantitative methodologies. Alternatively, please see ‘Towards an Agenda for Evaluation of Qualitative Research’ in Qualitative Health Research (By Stige, B., Malterud, K., & Midtgarden, T., 2009). Copies available upon request.
3.2 Perspectives on Theory
This genre includes papers that prioritise theoretical reflections as the focus of the article. This is most commonly appropriate for two types of articles – literature reviews, and original theory.
Literature reviews may make an original contribution to the music therapy discipline by integrating scholarly writing from the interdisciplinary literature and developing original perspectives on how this might influence music therapy practice. Literature reviews should be systematic and comprehensive within the established focus for the article. They may incorporate case descriptions from music therapy practice to illustrate how theoretical perspectives influence our understanding of practice, however they should be concerned with existing literature in the main.
Original theoretical contributions may be grounded in data collected through research, or may be an informed reflection on music therapy practice that is clearly located in an expert perspective. Original theoretical contributions are expected to include an elaborate rationale for the proposal of new ideas and make adequate reference to existing, contemporary theories – either within or beyond music therapy literature.
3.3 Perspectives on Practice
This genre includes case reports and reflections on music therapy methods that convey practice wisdom and local knowledge. In order to ensure that perspectives on practice are scholarly, the following guidelines have been developed as a guide for new authors, or for those who are considering the development of an article that meets the expectations of this genre. These guidelines are used by reviewers in considering the article for publication, and are different to the expectations of research or theoretical articles. It is hoped that the development of this genre will encourage insightful and engaged music therapists to reflect on their work and to share their experience and knowledge about music therapy practice with our readership.
3.3.1 Overall Structure:
In order for the article to be accessible to readers, it is important to have an overall structure that clarifies the purpose of the article. The use of headings and sub-headings are very useful for readers/reviewers and should be used to highlight the different sections of the text. The purpose of the article should be clearly stated in the abstract and the introduction, and referred to frequently within the text. The author’s perspective on practice will usually be a part of this purpose.
3.3.2 Orientation to Music Therapy
Because this genre values the author’s perspective of their practice, it is important that this is made clear in the article. An important way of achieving this clarity in perspective is through the use of music therapy literature, and theories in particular. When writing the article, describe what literature has influenced your thinking about this topic. Explain how your ideas match the existing literature or challenge it. Your orientation is made transparent by the ways that you describe the literature. The use of phrases like, ‘surprisingly’ or ‘consistently’ provide a sense of your opinion about the literature and help the reader to understand why you find it relevant. For example
“Strangely, McFerran and Teggelove (2010) have only sparsely referenced the abundant literature about trauma when discussing their music therapy work with young people after the bush fires. This literature provides a useful perspective on working with people who have been traumatised. Brown (2009) describes the ways that the creative arts can provide an avenue for expression of unconscious issues, which has been particularly helpful in understanding the case described in this article.”
3.3.3 The Literature
It is important to explain your practice with reference to current literature on music therapy. Current is usually understood to be material published in the last 10 years, unless it is considered to be seminal, and have lasting implications for the field. It is common to have at least 20 references to the literature in your article, but you should be selective, not exhaustive, in choosing studies to cite in your article and in deciding on the amount of detail to include. In general, the more relevant an article is to your study, the more space it deserves and the later in the Introduction it appears. You should identify what contemporary literature is the most relevant and use it as one way of explaining the context of your practice. If the reviewers are aware of material that you have not included, they will recommend that you include it when they ask you to do further work on the article.
3.3.4 The organisational context
Because you are offering a perspective on music therapy practice, it is important that you outline the institution or community context that you work in so that the reader is able to understand the everyday influences on your thinking. Cultural context also has an influence on the way you present your work, whether this is related to a particular country, the cultural backgrounds of the people you work with, or the organisational culture that you work within. Reflecting on how this influences your thinking is important in offering your perspective.
3.3.5 Description and Explanation of Practice
Descriptions of music therapy practice need to provide sufficient depth for the reader to be able to understand the experience. This may be through a single case study or through the description of a music therapy method that has been used with a range of people. In any case, it is important that the story is conveyed in way that clarifies your interpretation of how music therapy happened, and what it meant. It may be relevant to describe the music therapy experience in depth and then provide a separate explanation of what was interesting or meaningful about that experience for you, for the people involved, or for the reader. It is important to distinguish between personal beliefs about practice, and ideas that have developed from the literature in this section. Be clear about what are your opinions and what are the opinions of the other people involved. If this is not clear, the reviewers will provide you with suggestions about how to gain greater clarity in writing this section.
Provide a distinct closing to the paper that summarises what the paper has proposed, discussed and concluded. Your opinions should be restated and the most important points reiterated.
Each of the peer-reviewed research and theory articles published in the journal are accompanied by a short 500-word commentary written by a prominent international researcher whose work is in a similar field. The commentaries are not a critique of the article in the manner of a peer review, but more a “comment” on the manuscript, to offer an alternative perspective, or just comment on its relevance to the broader field. These are solicited after the article has been submitted and author’s are welcome to make suggestions about what international author may be in a position to do this, although the Editor will make the final decision on this matter.
You are required to sign over copyright to the Australian Journal of Music Therapy in order for your publication to go to press. This is a legal agreement between yourself as author and the Journal as publisher. As author, you agree that that you are the sole author/s of the article; that the article is original, unpublished and does not infringe upon any statutory copyright or upon any common law right, propriety right, or any other right whatsoever. In return, you are granted limited rights to use all or part of the article in future non-journal works of your own publication, such as lectures, book reviews and textbooks. Any extensions upon this need to be renegotiated through the editor of the journal.