Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS)

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Supplemental Resource on the Ethic of Transparency in JARS

This page provides supplemental information about the ethic of transparency in APA Style JARS. This text is meant to supplement Chapter 3 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition.

For more information on JARS, please consult the following APA sources:


Transparency is a central issue across APA Style JARS.

JARS provide a degree of comprehensiveness in the information that is routinely included in reports of empirical investigations, be they quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods in nature. Thus, transparency in reporting permits readers to better comprehend the way methods were carried out, to replicate methods in varied contexts, and to locate findings within the published article.

Quantitative Standards

The APA Style JARS quantitative standards (JARS–Quant) were first published in 2008. The JARS–Quant standards were amended in 2018 in a number of ways. For example, researchers must register clinical trials so hypotheses can be recorded prior to a study's implementation. In addition, researchers must differentiate their planned analyses from unplanned analyses.

Qualitative Standards

The APA Style JARS qualitative standards (JARS–Qual) were first published in 2018. In the JARS–Qual standards, researchers should include reflexive descriptions of their relevant identities, positions, values, and expectations and how they were managed or influenced the research.

Many qualitative traditions use rhetorical styles that situate analyses within the researchers' perspectives (Rennie, 1995), and reflexive descriptions of researchers are common within qualitative studies (Levitt et al., 2017). Following from this practice, for example, is a preference for researchers to use the first person and personal narratives to convey their ideas and actions. Considering and managing researcher perspectives in data collection and analysis can increase methodological integrity by strengthening fidelity (the process by which researchers seek verisimilitude in understanding their subject matter) and enable its assessment (Levitt et al., 2017).

When researchers are transparent about setting aside their perspectives (e.g., in phenomenological bracketing; Giorgi, 2009), this transparency also enhances the trust in the report because it demonstrates the efforts by the researchers to remain open to the phenomenon being studied. In addition, by recognizing their own viewpoint and positionality in relation to the topic of the research and the population under study (e.g., Harding, 1992), researchers enhance the credibility of their claims by simultaneously pointing out their contextual embeddedness and its role in the interpretative process (e.g., Hernández et al., 2013).

In these cases, the efforts toward transparency speak to the researchers' commitments to be aware of the ways their perspectives might influence their study.

Mixed Methods Standards

The APA Style JARS mixed methods standards (JARS–Mixed) were also first published in 2018. In mixed methods research, the thoughtful integration of qualitative findings and quantitative results leads to a deeper understanding of the data and enhanced insights. Standards for transparency allow readers to understand not only how the qualitative and quantitative methods contribute to the study goals but also how they enhance one another to provide a greater depth of understanding or further the research aims.

Although expressed differently — in keeping with the distinctive rhetorical styles that typically characterize quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods — a value of transparency is at the root of JARS.

References

Giorgi, A. (2009). The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology: A modified Husserlian approach. Duquesne University Press.

Harding, S. (1992). Rethinking standpoint epistemology: What is "strong objectivity?" The Centennial Review, 36(3), 437–470.

Hernández, M. G., Nguyen, J., Casanova, S., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Saetermoe, C. L. (2013). Doing no harm and getting it right: Guidelines for ethical research with immigrant communities. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2013, 43–60. https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20042

Levitt, H. M., Pomerville, A., Surace, F. I., & Grabowski, L. M. (2017). Meta-method study of qualitative psychotherapy research on clients' experiences: Review and recommendations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64(6), 626–644. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000222

Rennie, D. L. (1995). On the rhetorics of social science: Let's not conflate natural science and human science. The Humanistic Psychologist, 23(3), 321–332. https://doi.org/10.1080/08873267.1995.9986833

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