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Author Guidelines

The Journal of Improvisation in Professional Practice publishes two kinds of articles: narratives/reflections and scholarly research. 


Narratives and explorations in improvisational work

These are shorter works with a maximum of 2000 words.  They do not require research or references.  This is where practitioners from all fields can invite us into an understanding of what is improvisational in their work.  One of the goals of the journal is to become a source and provide a forum for practitioner voices.  We want to hear from the practitioner what it means to work.  We are interested in hearing from all professions and welcome submissions from unpublished writers and writers who don’t typically write scholarly work.  As far as improvisational practice is concerned, you do not have to try to explain every aspect of your work in terms of improvisation, particularly if it doesn’t fit that description.  Rather, consider how you can bring the reader into what is unique about the thinking and acting processes involved in your work, past or present.  You may use the following questions as prompts for narrative submissions:

How do you figure out what decisions to make when more than one choice is feasible and appropriate?

What aspects of your work demand a “thinking on your feet” kind of approach?

If you’re a seasoned veteran in your field, what are some of the key lessons you’ve learned about in-the-moment decision making for your work?  How did you learn them?

If you’re beginning in your field, in what ways does the job itself teach you how to make decisions?  Are there mentors, formal or informal, who guide you and if so how?

We’re also interested in hearing from those who act as professional inductors within their organization and in inquiries such as:

How did you come to have this role? 

What are the rewards and struggles of this role? 

How, if at all, do you guide newcomers to an understanding of the fluid, improvisational aspects of your profession? 

Narratives on applied improvisation: we would like to hear from practitioners of applied improvisation on any of the following inquiries:

In what ways do you enable people to encounter the process of improvisation?

In what ways has your work teaching improvisation helped people in their work?

To what extent is their struggle and success involved in teaching people the importance of improvisation in their work?

What particularly draws you to improvisation?  What in your past experience might account for devoting your professional self to improvisation? 

Narratives go through a process of double-blind peer review.  Submissions must not include any identifiers for the author or anyone else included in the narrative. Please alter the name of your place of work and of the people who might be included in your narrative. 

Scholarly research articles

These submissions are long-form research articles of about 4000 to 8000 words or 15 to 30 typed, double-spaced pages.  The aim of these articles is to contribute to the emerging field of improvisation as it pertains to any aspect of professional practice. Professional practice is defined broadly to include the activities of professionals, the education of professionals and the conceptualizing of professions. These articles will preferably be qualitative research that delves deeply in the discussion and analysis of the research.  Given that this is an interdisciplinary journal focused on a theme of emerging interest, with a plethora of creative potentials, we’re excited to receive scholarly work that pushes the boundaries of standard approaches.  Conventions such as abstracts, section headings, explanation of methodology are valued but not required.  Articles should address one or more of the journal’s broader inquiries:

How do we learn the improvisatory practices of a profession?

How well can the complex and conflicting definitions of improvisation help us gain insights into how we work and how we learn to work?

How does practice happen?

How do we learn the practice of a profession?

How does education for the professions happen?

How can we understand the on-the-job education as well as pre-service, university-based education?

How do our values as educators within our profession inform and get informed by our role as educators? 

To what extent is work an aesthetic experience?

How does creative expression and individuality in one’s work influence crucial issues facing the world of work right now?

Pop-cultural analysis of improvisation in work:

It is also possible to write about professional practice as it is portrayed in film, literature, and television.  A critical analysis of the professional practice of characters in film and literature and the ways in which improvisation is or isn’t part of their practice would provide an interesting shared text to further the discussion of improvisation in work. 

Please use APA citation format for all submissions. 

Submissions go through a double-blind peer review process.  Please make sure there are no personal identifiers in the submission for either the author(s) or any participants or people otherwise mentioned in the article. 



Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  2. The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, RTF, or WordPerfect document file format.
  3. Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  4. The text is double-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  5. The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines, which is found in About the Journal.
  6. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.
  7. Read the Author Agreement. The author(s) agree to the terms of this Author Agreement, which will apply to this submission if and when it is published by this journal (comments to the editor can be added below).
  8. If you are a high school student or are under the age of 18, please include the parental consent form (available here) with your submission.  Have your parents sign it, then scan it and upload it as an attachment with your submission.  Even if you are 18 or over, if you are enrolled in high school, the form is required for consideration.

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