Guidelines for Authors

Guidelines for Authors

The Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences (JFCS) is the official publication of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Its purpose, expressed by the mission statement, is "To be the premier journal in the family and consumer sciences profession and to embody the mission of AAFCS." As such, the JFCS publishes peer-reviewed articles and practical information that promotes the well-being of individuals; strong, resilient, and sustainable families; and supportive communities. The JFCS is published four times per year: February, May, August, and November. The acceptance rate is 60%.

A list of themes for each issue is published in the November issue each year and is posted on the AAFCS website. Authors who are submitting for a specific theme issue should identify that issue in their cover letter. (Submitting for a specific theme is not required.)

Contributions of original research/evaluation, practice, and strategies for success related to the five cross-cutting themes in the updated body of knowledge are encouraged: 1) wellness; 2) resource development and sustainability; 3) global interdependence; 4) capacity building; and 5) appropriate use of technology. See Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences 102(2), 7-13.

JFCS accepts manuscripts in the categories listed below. All submitted manuscripts should be reader friendly. Write in a clear, direct, concise style, avoiding wordiness and jargon. To build upon FCS knowledge, it is appropriate that manuscripts include references. Reviewers evaluate each manuscript on the basis of content, originality, scientific accuracy, clarity, and contribution to family and consumer sciences. References must be in APA style (6th ed.). Manuscripts in all categories that exceed the word limit may be returned to authors for rewrite.

1. Scholarship section (Peer Reviewed) 2,500-word limit. ($45 review fee required.)

The following manuscripts with a basic or applied focus are sought: original research, program evaluation, issue papers, or theory or philosophical papers. Manuscripts should include:

  1. Abstract;
  2. Introduction stating the purpose and relevance of the study;
  3. Clear and full description of hypotheses or objectives, interventions, and methods, including criteria for sampling;
  4. Presentation of appropriate findings or results;
  5. Discussion (for greatest value, compare results with data from related studies of a similar nature) and limitations; and
  6. Applications/conclusions.

2. Practice (May be Peer Reviewed) 750-1,000 word limit.

Invited manuscripts for Practice are usually not peer reviewed. A maximum of two illustrations (tables, figures, or drawings) may be included. No review fee required.

3. Strategies for Success (Two types of manuscripts will be accepted)

a. Scholarship section (Peer Reviewed) 2,000-word limit (shorter manuscripts preferred). The same guidelines as presented in Category 1 Scholarship section will be used except for the word limit. ($45 review fee required.)

b. Brief Paper (Peer Reviewed) 750-word limit ($45 review fee required.)

4. Reviews of New Books (Not Peer Reviewed) 500-word limit. Books should relate to family and consumer sciences and should be recent titles. Their primary intent should not be course texts. (No review fee required.)

5. Reflections (Not Peer Reviewed) 500-word limit. Readers are invited to respond and share their perspectives to previous articles or issues within FCS. (No review fee required.)

6. Did You Know?. . . 40-word limit. News briefs, "factoids," or research findings that impact the lives of individuals, families, and communities served by FCS professionals. (No review fee required.)

7. Features (Invited) 800–3,500 words

Features are in-depth, rigorous presentations of breakthrough thinking and applications in FCS, and typically are based on the theme of each issue. Features may also be theory and philosophy papers. To determine potential interest in a topic, prepare a two or three page summary answering the following questions. 1) What is the central message of the proposed manuscript? 2) What is new, useful, and important about the idea? 3) What are the real-world implications? 3) What research supports the logic in the proposed manuscript? 4) What academic, professional, or personal experience will be drawn upon to make the argument convincing? Submit summary electronically to the editor. (No review fee required.)

8. JFCS Legacy Series (1500-3000 words). Modified peer review. No fee required.
Contribute to the recording of the profession’s history! Do you know a living FCS professional who could be considered a legacy builder? Are you interested in researching the legacy of someone and writing an article for publication in the JFCS? In the Winter 2013 (Vol. 105, 1) issue of the JFCS, the first installment of the JFCS Legacy Series was published; it featured Elizabeth G. “Bess” Haley. The article, written by Dr. Kathleen A. Heiden and Dr. Virginia B. Vincenti, was well-received and the editors would like to line-up future installments of the series. If you are interested in researching/interviewing/writing about the legacy builders or if you know someone who should be profiled in a future issue, please send an email to Managing Editor Debra Bass at

The JFCS uses the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (see pages 174-192 and 193-224 for instructions and examples on citations/references, respectively).

Manuscripts are to be prepared in Microsoft Word or rich text; leave at least a one-inch margin on all sides. Use 12-point font size and double-space. Do not insert page breaks. Single-space the references, using the Hanging Indent feature (In Word, under Format/paragraph/special). Number pages sequentially. Avoid unnecessary use of ALL CAPS, underlines, boldface and italics. Avoid excess formatting as it may have to be undone. Plain text without boxes, borders, shading etc. is preferred. (Use of italics in references to comply with APA style is acceptable.)

Authors Page—for all submissions
This page includes: the title of the manuscript; word count excluding abstract and references; full names, academic degrees (doctoral only), certifications related to FCS such as CFCS, and affiliations (position title, organization, address, telephone number, home and cellular numbers, fax number, E-mail address and AAFCS membership number) for each author; indicate which author is corresponding author. Type authors' names in the order they should appear in the published article.

The manuscript title needs to be specific, informative, conveying the findings or relevance of the article. Titles serve two purposes: they describe the content and make locating an article in a database easier. The title should appear on the abstract, the first page of the manuscript text, the author's page, and in all correspondence. Avoid lengthy titles.

Abstract (for Scholarship section only) 100-word limit.
The abstract states the purpose and primary conclusions of the paper.

Tables, Figures, and Illustrations, Footnotes
Include tables, figures, and illustrations including photographs only if they are necessary to clarify a manuscript. Each table or figure should be understandable by itself and not require the reader to refer to the text. Avoid footnotes and avoid repeating the table information in the manuscript, if possible. Obtain permission to reprint if necessary and include copy of permission with manuscript. (See Sections 5.06, 5.29, and 6.10 of of APA Manual, 6th Edition for additional information on permissions.)

MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION (for all manuscripts)

All items except the payment of review fee can be submitted electronically via email. Submit the entire article in one document that includes the authors’ page, main article references, abstract, figures and tables (Word/Rich Text). If certain graphics/illustrations (PowerPoint, etc.) cannot easily be embedded in the main article file, they can be in a separate document. Submit the cover letter as a separate document. All submissions must include an authors' page (see above).

The cover letter should include the article title, its category, focus, and relevance to JFCS (including the cross-cutting themes, if applicable), with a statement on human subject review/approval and other appropriate elements. Note the cover letter section in APA Manual, 6th Edition Section 8.03 for details. Identify one author who will handle correspondence regarding the manuscript. Provide a complete address, telephone numbers (work, home, and cellular), fax number, and e-mail address for this author. Identify the article title, its category, focus, and relevance to JFCS and the field of family and consumer sciences.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are submitting to the Scholarship section and your submission includes data, you must download, complete and include the verification form along with your submission. It can be attached to your email as a separate file. If the form is not included, the manuscript will not be processed or reviewed. Scholarship section authors must verify that all items on this form can be answered in the affirmative.

Before submitting your manuscript, use our checklist to determine if it's ready!

SEND all submissions via email to Debra Bass, Managing Editor:

SEND a $45 processing and review fee (if applicable) made payable to AAFCS as soon as possible after submitting the manuscript for Scholarship or Strategies for Success manuscripts for peer review. Processing of manuscripts cannot begin until the fee is received.

MAIL the $45 review fee along with a copy of the Author’s page to the Managing Editor:

Debra Bass, Managing Editor

Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences

American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences
400 N. Columbus St. #202
Alexandria, VA 22314-2752

Authors will receive in 2-3 weeks a notification of receipt of the manuscript. A formal acknowledgment/copyright transfer letter will be emailed to authors upon receipt of the Review Fee (if required.) Authors will be instructed to print out the letter, sign it and mail it back to the Managing Editor.

Before a manuscript is sent out for peer review (if required), an initial screening is performed. This may result in the manuscript being returned to the author(s) if relevance is not clear, guidelines are not met, if it is incomplete or if the editors believe that further work or development is necessary before it is sent out for peer-review. Manuscripts undergo a blind review process. Manuscripts are accepted at the discretion of the Journal editors. If plagiarism is suspected, the author will be contacted.

Manuscripts submitted for consideration or published elsewhere may not be submitted to or published by JFCS. Theses and dissertations published in hard copy, microfiche, and/or electronic formats are not considered to be previously published. Manuscripts developed from theses and dissertations regardless of the publication format are eligible for submission to the JFCS if not submitted to another journal. Manuscripts are considered with the understanding that they have not been published previously in print or electronic format and are not under consideration by another publication or electronic medium. Findings previously presented in an oral report or in an abstract in conjunction with a scientific or professional conference may be submitted for consideration. Copies of possibly duplicative materials that have been previously published or are being considered elsewhere must be provided at the time of manuscript submission and may preclude consideration by the JFCS.