Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

FQS is a peer-reviewed multilingual online journal for qualitative research established in 1999.

FQS is interested in empirical studies conducted using qualitative methods, and in contributions that deal with the theory, methodology and application of qualitative research. Innovative ways of thinking, writing, researching and presenting are especially welcome. On request, we will endeavor to organize Internet-specific forms of interaction between authors and readers, such as online discussions. We favor contributions with an inter-disciplinary and/or multinational perspective which was already manifest at the conceptualization stage, for example through co-authorship.

With regard to empirical work, authors are encouraged to provide more detailed information about the research process such as field notes and details of coding procedures. If lengthy transcript excerpts are provided, then it is necessary to prove to the editors that data protection/privacy standards have been adhered to.

FQS Issues are published tri-annually. Additionally, selected single contributions and contributions belonging to the rubrics FQS Debates, FQS Interviews, FQS Reviews and FQS Conferences are published immediately after they go through the peer review process.

FQS is covered by various indexing/abstracting services: for example, in Accredited Open Access Journals - South Africa (AOAJSA), Cabell's Directories, Directory of Open Access Journals, Cabell's Commendable Journal, ICAAP, Intute: Social Sciences, SCOPUS, and SocioSite; abstracts in CSA Sociological Abstracts, CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, IBSS: International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Hinari, Open J-Gate, Psyndex, and Solis, full texts in ProQuest Social Science Journals and SocINDEX.

Why FQS? Qualitative Research and the Internet

When FQS was started up in 1999 there were few (online) discussion venues: The various discipline areas existed more or less independently of one another. And, in addition to disciplinary boundaries, national boundaries also worked in a very restrictive way. On the one hand, for example, the American qualitative research communities' reception of theoretical approaches written in German more or less ceased with the works of early phenomenological writers. Methodologies and methods such as the narrative interview, the problem-centered interview or objective hermeneutics were largely unknown in non-German-language contexts. On the other hand, only a few methodological developments from abroad reached the German-speaking research community.

Furthermore, back in 1999 German-language qualitative research was hardly present on the Web at all. While English language on-line journals and forums, such as the highly-frequented mailing list QUALRS-L had been in existence for many years, there had been few comparable efforts within German-language qualitative research. Nevertheless, a growing interest was perceptible. However, routines for the creative use of the unique Internet resources for the social sciences were still lacking at that time. In a way, this was also the case for established English-language online journals. Here, too, traditional media and their way of functioning were merely transferred to the Net.

Internet: New Potentials for Scientific Exchange

Since 1999 the situation described above has improved considerably, due also to our own efforts. This is evident when one takes a look at back issues of FQS, or at the continuously increasing number of accesses to our server. FQS will continue to play a part in promoting the development of qualitative research by linking interdisciplinary and international discourse and by using different Internet tools. In so doing, it will follow the standards of the traditional print media and use their potential, while at the same time endeavoring to systematically harness the resources and advantages of the Internet. These include:

  • Flexible publication time: Using traditional print media often means that quite a long time elapses before contributions can be published. In FQS, however, articles can be made available as soon as they have passed the peer-review and copy-editing process and have been adapted for the Internet.

  • Flexible publication space: Traditional print media generally work within an exactly defined space. FQS, on the other hand, can handle space in a much more flexible way. This is also in the interests of scientific quality control. Due to limited space and in the interests of concision, traditional media must generally dispense with a detailed description of the research process and the presentation of the empirical basis of the individual contributions. FQS, by contrast, is able to provide access to more detailed information about the research process and even to the original data, thereby facilitating scientific quality control and offering a broader basis for further discussion.

  • Direct interaction among authors, editors, members of the editorial board and readers: Readers can contact authors, members of the editorial staff or members of the editorial board directly via e-mail.

FQS—Current Status

In its first two years, the development of FQS depended more or less on private efforts. This was not enough to maintain it on a long-term basis. That is why we decided to apply for financial support from a public funding organization for academic research. The application was approved and since July 2001 two pilot projects had been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

Thanks to this funding and the technological improvement, all full texts in FQS will remain accessible free of charge. In other words, we were able to dispense with our former fee-paying subscription-model. When we started FQS, we decided on access fees because, at the time, this seemed to be the only way to finance certain basics such as server, domain, Internet access etc. However, from the very beginning we considered the fee-paying model to be anachronistic in view of the most valuable potential of the Internet, i.e. worldwide cooperation and mutual information on qualitative research across disciplinary and (sub-) cultural boundaries.

Because FQS is an explorative project, it has an open forum in which the content and formal design of the journal are developed in cooperation with all of its stakeholders—readers, authors, editorial board members and editors alike. Questions, suggestions, and all possible types of support are welcomed and appreciated, just send us an e-mail.

 

Section Policies

Thematic Issue

In order to open the forum up for meaningful discussion about the development and status of qualitative methods in the individual disciplines, FQS thematic issues present traditional stances, current research methodologies, empirical emphases and disciplinary perspectives. Previous thematic issues have focused, for example, on Cultural Sciences, Psychology, Criminology, and Sport Sciences, while other issues have been devoted to topics of interest to researchers regardless of their disciplinary and national backgrounds (see back issues).

FQS thematic issues are published tri-annually (in January, May and September). They are edited by guest editors who organize the review and publishing process in close collaboration with the FQS staff. Contributions for a thematic issue are usually submitted in response to a Call for Papers published in our Newsletter (and in certain mailing lists). In addition, selected authors are invited directly to participate in a thematic issue.

If you are interested in guest editing an FQS thematic issue, or if you have any suggestions for possible topics, please feel free to send us an e-mail.

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Single Contributions

Every thematic issue also contains, along with the contributions which directly have to do with the respective thematic emphasis, selected individual contributions from different fields of qualitative research.

Single contributions can be submitted at any point in time. We are especially interested in

  • contributions in which the results of a qualitative empirical study are presented;

  • theoretical and/or methodological contributions that discuss the state or development of qualitative education and research for selected countries or (sub-) disciplines. Also preferred are contributions that deal with the current status of (social) sciences e.g. in Philosophy of Science, Sociology of Science, History of Science or Psychology of Science.

For single contributions see the publication guidelines.

Editors
  • Katja Mruck
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FQS Debates

FQS Debates aim to support the continual and controversial discussion of issues, important for qualitative researchers.

Section Editors: Franz Breuer, Carlos Kölbl, Jo Reichertz, Wolff-Michael Roth

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FQS Interviews

In the rubric FQS Interviews we will publish interviews with individuals engaged in qualitative research. As FQS is an interdisciplinary and international forum for qualitative researchers, and as one of our aims is to contribute to a vivid exchange beyond disciplinary/national frontiers, we hope that by including interviews we will be supporting the initiation of further exchange and discourse.

With FQS 5(3)—published in September 2004—we opened the rubric FQS Interviews. This special issue contains many examples of different interview methods and approaches; including numerous types of presentations and conversations. But with this diversity we have yet to exhaust all of the possibilities; we will expand the rubric FQS Interviews step by step. You are invited to support us.

Section Editors: Günter Mey, César A. Cisneros Puebla, Robert Faux

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FQS Reviews

FQS Reviews produces timely reviews of books, book series, films, CD-ROMS and on-line journals. This section contributes to an area at least partially neglected by today's journal market. FQS is an international and interdisciplinary forum that supports the ideal of lively, enthusiastic and discursive social sciences, fuelled by discussion and debate. Therefore the goal of FQS Reviews is not only to inform about new publications, but also to ignite dialog amongst researchers in the wide field of qualitative social research.

Section Editors: Günter Mey

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FQS Conferences

In the section FQS Conferences we would like to provide important space for reports on conferences, workshops, symposia and meetings of working groups. The goals of FQS Conferences closely adhere to the concept of FQS: Our hope is that the conference reports will provide current information and contribute to a lively, discussion-driven social science. In regard to this, it is necessary to go beyond merely providing the dates during which a conference was held, and to meaningfully discuss the content of presentations, and the issues that may have emerged; thus allowing for the initiation of new dialogs between researchers in the vast field of qualitative social research.

Section Editors: Günter Mey, Robert Faux, Aldo Merlino

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Peer Review Process

Contributions, submitted to be published within the sections FQS Interviews, FQS Debates, FQS Reviews, FQS Conferences are reviewed directly by the respective rubric editors. If a contribution is submitted to be published in a thematic issue, the editors of the respective issue are responsible for organizing the peer review process; if necessary, the FQS editors provide support through external reviewers.

Single contributions are made anonymous and sent to two independent reviewers (double blind review). Most of the times these reviewers belong to the FQS Editorial Board, in some cases we also consult external reviewers. Contrary to the practice of some other scientific journals, we usually do not accept author's suggestions to select reviewers.

Usually, the peer review process takes about 3-4 months. Principally three different responses are possible: accepted for publishing, rejected in the current form (minor/major revisions necessary), and rejected. Based on the reviewers' recommendations, the main editor (in the case of single contributions) or the issue editors (when contributions submitted for thematic issues) decide whether a contribution will be published or not, and the authors are informed of the decision and its reasons. If major revisions are needed, the revised version will be reevaluated by at least one of the reviewers.

 

Open Access Policy

FQS provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

 

Publishing Process

Contributions accepted for publication may also be submitted for publication in one of the other three FQS languages (English, German and Spanish) upon the consent of FQS editors. If a contribution should only be published as a full text in one language, title, abstract and key words should also be provided for the other two languages; if necessary, FQS will assist or take care of the translation.

Full texts and abstracts are copy-edited by native speakers and prepared as HTML files. The authors are then asked to check these files using provisional URLs. To inform the authors about changes made during the copy-editing process, all changes are marked and additional questions/suggestions from our copy-editors are also included. Since during the transport from a Word file to the HTML file minor changes can occur, authors are asked to check this version thoroughly and to make final revisions if necessary (this is the online version of the conventional proof reading done for print journals). Once the author has accepted the final version, the final HTML file as well as a PDF file is created.

Contributions, belonging to a thematic issue, are available as soon as the respective issue is published. All other contributions—single contributions and contributions, belonging to the FQS rubrics—are published directly after the editing process is completed. (Technically these contributions would then belong to the upcoming thematic issue.) Once a month the subscribers of our newsletter (19.060 subscribers currently) are informed of all the texts, recently available on-line.

Additionally, the availability of thematic issues (contributions, belonging to the respective topic, single contributions, and contributions, belonging to the FQS rubrics) is announced in different mailing lists.

 

Cooperation

From the very beginning, FQS tried to establish close interaction among different partners to share experiences and to avoid a duplication of resources.