Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Guide to Authors

Guide to Authors

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: December 2004 - Volume 18 - Issue 3 - p 58-59
  • Free

The Journal of Physical Therapy Education considers for publication manuscripts pertaining to all aspects of education in physical therapy. Manuscripts are invited describing qualitative and quantitative investigations and descriptions of educational interventions and innovative methods used in academic, clinical, community, or patient education. The author(s) must have methodically examined the outcomes of the educational intervention or innovation and drawn conclusions about its usefulness in physical therapy education and practice.

Manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Physical Therapy Education are reviewed under one of six categories: research papers, position papers, reviews of the literature, method/model presentations, case reports, and brief reports.

Research papers should prescribe to the following format. An introduction should briefly state the relevance of the study for physical therapy education, the specific purpose of the study, and the research question(s) or hypothesis(es). The review of literature section of a research paper should briefly describe the methodology and findings from published literature germane to the study being presented (eg, justify the variables, hypotheses, sample, or methodology). A summary at the end of the review of literature section should point out the relevance of the review to the study at hand. The methods section should describe the sample, including selection criteria and process, the research design and procedures, the nature of the data, the data collection instrument(s), and methods of data collection, reduction, and analysis. The results section should give a verbal summary of the results together with any statistical summary of the data or other representations of the findings and analyses (tables, figures). The discussion and conclusion section should first state conclusions based directly on the research question/hypothesis and the results of the study, then expand with an explanation of the relationship of the findings to the review of the literature. A discussion of the implications of the findings for physical therapy education and conclusions should be included. An abstract is required (see Manuscript Preparation and Requirements).

In position papers, authors should adopt and defend a position on some issue of current concern and importance to physical therapy educators (eg, professional-level doctoral degree education). A brief introduction states the purpose of the article; the position and the author's rationale for taking that position are elucidated. Issues should be stated clearly and theoretical foundations with literature citations for the rationale stated. The logic of the argument and stance on the position should be clear. A conclusion should summarize the position relative to the concern or issue addressed. An abstract is required (see Manuscript Preparation and Requirements).

Reviews of the literature should provide a critical overview of the research on specific topics related to physical therapy education. These reviews may be qualitative in nature, providing a summary of relevant work; they may be systematic reviews following a specific analysis format; they may also be statistically based meta-analyses of relevant literature. In all cases, the authors should include an introduction (background and purpose), materials and methods (selection criteria and search strategy), results (description of studies, methodological quality and results of studies reviewed), discussion and authors' conclusions. When applicable, they should include tables and figures showing characteristics of the reviewed studies, specification of the interventions that were compared, and the results of studies. Parameters for excluding studies in the review should also be included. The value of the conclusions in guiding educational policy and practice will be a determining factor in the decision to publish the review. An abstract is required (see Manuscript Preparation and Requirements).

A method/model presentation should describe the development and implementation of an innovative approach to education used in physical therapy. Evidence of testing the reliability and validity of the method or model to education and a clear description of its elements should be included. Evidence from the literature supporting the use of the method or model should be cited. Educational outcomes related to the implementation of the method or model must be included. Essential in the summary of this method/model presentation should be conclusions about its usefulness and the feasibility and generalizability of the application of the innovation to physical therapy education. Areas for future investigation based on the method/model should be identified. An abstract is required (see Manuscript Preparation and Requirements).

Case reports are descriptions of educational practice and interventions not previously described in the literature. Case reports differ from method/model presentations insofar as they may describe an intervention or educational innovation with a smaller sample of individuals (or even an N=1). Case reports must state the purpose of the case report, citing relevant literature. Case reports should provide a clear and thorough description of the case, including the following: the rationale for and implementation of an educational intervention, methods or instruments used to evaluate the intervention, and outcomes. Since case reports cannot document efficacy, discussion of the case should include recommendations for further study (eg, method/model or research investigations). An abstract is required (see Manuscript Preparation and Requirements).

Authors are also encouraged to submit letters or brief reports of several types. Of greatest interest would be brief, but complete, research reports (perhaps of work in progress or with small samples) or “Tips From the Field” (innovative tips for classroom and clinical instruction); these Brief Reports are peer reviewed. Also welcome are more typical letters to the Editor that add data to support or refute material in the last issue, make pertinent comments on current issues, or encourage future discussion in the physical therapy education community and journal.


Articles must be written in English and should be limited to 15 typed, double-spaced pages of text. Authors should follow the style guidelines in the American Medical Association's Manual of Style (9th ed) for text and reference formats. References should immediately follow the text and be typed on a separate page, numbered, titled, and cited in the text. Please submit all illustrations, tables, figures, and photos as high-resolution, black-and-white files in JPEG, TIFF, or EPS format (300 dpi or higher). Power Point slides or images embedded in a MS Word document will not be accepted. Hard copy of all illustrations should be provided as well. Photos will be accepted in hard copy. Legends must be included with each table, illustration, or photo. Tables, figures, and appendixes should follow the text and references (in that sequence) and should be numbered consecutively. Include only one table or figure per page.

All manuscripts must include a title page, key words, and an abstract. Title page: Include title, authors' names and credentials and biographical data about the authors (see recent issues for examples of biographical data). Key words: At the bottom of the title page, provide 3 to 5 words that capture the primary content of the manuscript. Abstracts: Should be no more than one page double-spaced and include headings as follows. Research papers: Background and Purpose, Subjects, Methods, Results, and Discussion and Conclusion. Position papers: Background and Purpose, Position and Rationale, and Discussion and Conclusion or Recommendations. Reviews of the literature: Background and Purpose, Methods and Materials, Summary of the Literature, and Discussion and Conclusion. Method/Model presentations: Background and Purpose, Method/Model Description and Evaluation, Outcomes, and Discussion and Conclusion. Case reports: Background and Purpose, Case Description, Outcomes, and Discussion.

Terminology: Consistent with APTA Department of Education guidelines, the terms “physical therapist education program” and “physical therapist assistant education program” should be used when referring to particular programs. Authors should also indicate whether they are referring to professional (entry-level) programs or postprofessional education programs. If referring to education in general, for both physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, then “physical therapy education” is acceptable. For abbreviations, “PT” may be used to refer to physical therapists; “PTA” may be used to refer to physical therapist assistants. The abbreviation “PT” should not be used when referring to the profession in general or to interventions that physical therapists or physical therapist assistants provide. Finally, “people-first” language should be used throughout all manuscripts.


Mail 3 copies of the manuscript, tables, photographs, and illustrations to: Judith L Stoecker, PT, PhD, Editor, Journal of Physical Therapy Education, Program in Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064.

A cover letter must accompany the manuscript and should designate one primary author, with address, telephone number, and e-mail address, to whom correspondence should be sent. The category of manuscript submission should be noted in the cover letter.

Potential contributors wishing more specific information about a publication topic should contact the Editor. Prospective authors may also request copies of the manuscript evaluation forms that are used by our reviewers. All authors are strongly encouraged to seek external review of, and feedback on, their manuscripts by published authors prior to submission to the Editor. Such reviews and feedback can expedite the review and publication process.

Each paper is accepted with the understanding that it is to be published exclusively in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education. Authors agree to execute a copyright transfer if the manuscript is accepted for publication.

All materials submitted in accordance with the categories of manuscripts prescribed by the Journal of Physical Therapy Education are peer reviewed in a blind process by designated reviewer(s) and a member of the Editorial Board before acceptance and publication.

Copyright2004 (C) Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA