Manuscript Submission Guidelines

Action Research Action Research

  1. Peer review policy
  2. Article types
  3. How to submit your manuscript
  4. Journal contributor’s publishing agreement
  5. 4.1 SAGE Choice and Open Access
  6. Declaration of conflicting interests policy
  7. Other conventions
  8. Acknowledgments
    7.1 Funding acknowledgement
  9. Permissions
  10. Manuscript style
    9.1 File types
    9.2 Journal style
    9.3 Reference style
    9.4 Manuscript preparation
    9.4.1 Keywords and abstracts: Helping readers find your article online
    9.4.2 Corresponding author contact details
    9.4.3 Guidelines for submitting artwork, figures and other graphics
    9.4.4 Guidelines for submitting supplemental files
    9.4.5 English language editing services
  11. After acceptance
    10.1 Proofs
    10.2 E-Prints
    10.3 SAGE production
    10.4 OnlineFirst publication
  12. Further information

Action Research is an international, interdisciplinary, refereed journal which is a forum for the development of the theory and practice of action research.

Please refer to the Notes for Authors page for the journal’s purpose, vision and mission, and the Information About the Editors page for more details on the Editors.


1. Peer review policy

Upon initial receipt, the editors will either quickly return manuscripts they believe unsuitable for publication in the journal or pass them along for blind reviews from at least two additional sources. The blind reviews, along with a recommendation by the Associate Editor, will be passed back to the Editor-in-Chief for a final editorial decision with regard to acceptance, revision or rejection. The Editor-in-Chief will then contact the contributor. We expect this process to take around 10 weeks.

For further detail on the quality criteria used for assessing manuscripts submitted to the journal, please see the page on Quality Criteria.

For additional information on the collaborative process through which the Associate Board agreed on the quality criteria, please click here.

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2. Article types

The journal publishes quality articles on accounts of action research projects, explorations in the philosophy and methodology of action research, and considerations of the nature of quality in action research practice.

All papers submitted ought to link theory and practice, in whatever way the author deems appropriate. It is assumed that the author, in seeking to share their work more broadly will consider the issue of how their contribution builds upon and advances the theory and practice of action research. In most cases we prefer to see theoretical and practical insights intertwined. The journal will include:

  • A strong editorial comment column
  • An Open Forum for readers to initiate and sustain debate (see also the Action Research Community blog:
  • Peer reviewed articles that contribute to the practice, theory and method of action research

Articles should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words inclusive.

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3. How to submit your manuscript

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you carefully read and adhere to all the guidelines and instructions to authors provided below. Manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned. Double check, also, that you have removed all identifying information from the manuscript. Only your cover letter to the EIC should contain identifying information.

Action Research is hosted on SAGE Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne� Manuscripts. Please read the manuscript submission guidelines below, and then simply visit to login and submit your article online.

IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created. For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

All papers must be submitted via the online system. If you would like to discuss your paper prior to submission, or seek advice on the submission process please contact the Editor-in-Chief, Hilary Bradbury, at the following email address:

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4. Journal contributor’s publishing agreement   

Before publication SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is a exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway.

4.1 SAGE Choice and Open Access

If you or your funder wish your article to be freely available online to non subscribers immediately upon publication (gold open access), you can opt for it to be included in SAGE Choice, subject to payment of a publication fee. The manuscript submission and peer review procedure is unchanged. On acceptance of your article, you will be asked to let SAGE know directly if you are choosing SAGE Choice. To check journal eligibility and the publication fee, please visit SAGE Choice. For more information on open access options and compliance at SAGE, including self author archiving deposits (green open access) visit SAGE Publishing Policies on our Journal Author Gateway.

Action Research and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of articles published in the Journal. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the Journal against malpractice.  Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article (removing it from the journal); taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; banning the author from publication in the journal or all SAGE journals, or appropriate legal action.

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5. Declaration of conflicting interests                  

Within your Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement you will be required to make a certification with respect to a declaration of conflicting interests. Action Research does not require a declaration of conflicting interests but recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway

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6. Other conventions

None applicable.

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7. Acknowledgements                                                         

Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.

All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, writing assistance, or a department chair who provided only general support. Authors should disclose whether they had any writing assistance and identify the entity that paid for this assistance.

7.1 Funding Acknowledgement
To comply with the guidance for Research Funders, Authors and Publishers issued by the Research Information Network (RIN), Action Research additionally requires all Authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading. All research articles should have a funding acknowledgement in the form of a sentence as follows, with the funding agency written out in full, followed by the grant number in square brackets:

This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number xxx].

Multiple grant numbers should be separated by comma and space. Where the research was supported by more than one agency, the different agencies should be separated by semi-colon, with ‘and’ before the final funder. Thus:

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]; the Natural Environment Research Council [grant number zzzz]; and the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number aaaa].

In some cases, research is not funded by a specific project grant, but rather from the block grant and other resources available to a university, college or other research institution. Where no specific funding has been provided for the research we ask that corresponding authors use the following sentence:

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Please include this information under a separate heading entitled “Funding” directly after any other Acknowledgements prior to your “Declaration of Conflicting Interests” (if applicable), any Notes and your References.

For more information on the guidance for Research Funders, Authors and Publishers, please visit:

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8. Permissions

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway..

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9. Manuscript style

9.1 File types
All submissions should be made online at the Action Research SAGE Track website.

Please ensure that you submit editable/source files only (Microsoft Word or RTF) and that your document does not include page numbers; the Action Research SAGE Track system will generate them for you, and then automatically convert your manuscript to PDF for peer review.

9.2 Journal Style
Action Research conforms to the SAGE house style. Click here to review guidelines on the SAGE UK House Style.

9.3 Reference Style
Action Research adheres to the APA reference style. Click here to review the guidelines on APA to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

9.4. Manuscript Preparation
The text should be double-spaced throughout and with a minimum of 3cm for left and right hand margins and 5cm at head and foot. Text should be standard 10 or 12 point.

9.4.1 Your Title, Keywords and Abstracts: Helping readers find your article online
The title, keywords and abstract are key to ensuring readers find your article online through online search engines such as Google. Please refer to the information and guidance on how best to title your article, write your abstract and select your keywords by visiting SAGE�s Journal Author Gateway Guidelines on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online.

9.4.2 Corresponding Author Contact details
Provide full contact details for the corresponding author including email, mailing address and telephone numbers. Academic affiliations are required for all co-authors. These details should be presented separately to the main text of the article to facilitate anonymous peer review.

9.4.3 Guidelines for submitting artwork, figures and other graphics
For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit SAGE’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines.

If, together with your accepted article, you submit usable colour figures, these figures will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. If a charge applies you will be informed by your SAGE Production Editor. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from SAGE after receipt of your accepted article.

9.4.4 Guidelines for submitting supplemental files
This journal is able to host approved supplemental materials online, alongside the full-text of articles. Supplemental files will be subjected to peer-review alongside the article. For more information please refer to SAGE’s Guidelines for Authors on Supplemental Files.

9.4.5 English Language Editing services
Non-English speaking authors who would like to refine their use of language in their manuscripts might consider using a professional editing service. Visit for further information.

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10. After acceptance           

10.1 Proofs
We will email a PDF of the proofs to the corresponding author.

10.2 E-Prints

SAGE provides authors with access to a PDF of their final article. For further information please visit

10.3 SAGE Production
At SAGE we place an extremely strong emphasis on the highest production standards possible. We attach high importance to our quality service levels in copy-editing, typesetting, printing, and online publication ( We also seek to uphold excellent author relations throughout the publication process.

We value your feedback to ensure we continue to improve our author service levels. On publication all corresponding authors will receive a brief survey questionnaire on your experience of publishing in Action Research with SAGE.

10.4 OnlineFirst Publication
Action Research benefits from OnlineFirst, a feature offered through SAGE’s electronic journal platform, SAGE Journals Online. It allows final revision articles (completed articles in queue for assignment to an upcoming issue) to be hosted online prior to their inclusion in a final print and online journal issue which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. For more information please visit our OnlineFirst Fact Sheet.

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11. Further information

Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Editor-in-Chief, Hilary Bradbury, at the following email address:

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