Our goal at Transformations is to publish work that speaks to a broad community of advocates, academics, and policy makers. We want to honor how each of these communities creates, produces and shares knowledge. For this reason, we believe that Transformations should publish work in a variety of voices, genres, and formats. This is the only way that all voices can join the discussion. And it is the only way we, as a community, can discover new and important ways to develop and share our work.  

To achieve this goal, we have developed a peer-review system that acknowledges the need to assess work according to its goals, according to the individual or community submitting the work. Below we have attempted to highlight how typical genres of submitted work are reviewed. Importantly, these are not the only genres accepted for publication. So please write us if you have any questions about submitting. 

As always, we welcome your insights and advice. 

Steve Parks 
Lori Shorr 

Editors, Transformations: A Journal of Advocacy, Research, and Dialogue   

Transformations Review Process


Another word for audio-documentaries is “podcast.” These are works that use a combination of interviews, dialogues, community sounds, and music, to express an important point about a pressing public issue. In general, these works should not be over 10-12 minutes long. We will also need documentation that features individuals have given their permission to be included. When reviewing this work, we ask experienced “podcast” creators to consider the arc of the story told, the strength of the shifts from a person speaking to music to narration. We also ask them to consider the sound quality. And as you might expect, we also always listen for how this work speaks to the interests and goals of our readership.

Once reviewed, you will receive a written report that discusses how we believe your work speaks to the themes of our journal. Here we might also make suggestions on how to integrate certain themes to make the work align more with the journal or already accepted materials. You will also receive notes on the structural aspects of the work as well, such as notes on music choice, possible edits to the narrative, etc.

At this point, we can meet with you if you are interested in working to have the piece included in the journal. You can express your thoughts on the suggestions and offer alternatives. Working together, we will develop a plan towards publication.

Community Writing
There is no standard “genre” for community writing. Communities can use poetry, photography, art, personal narrative, and research writing to express their understanding of an issue.. We ask individuals who define themselves as writing from and for a community space to read any work submitted as Community Writing.  We sense that other community writers will understand better why certain ways of speaking were used, and why particular stories are important. Only after this initial review, do we, as Editors, engage with the essay. Here our role is to consider what type of background information will be necessary for our readers to see the depth and importance of the work. Then we work directly with the author (or authors) to write this background. Our goal is to ensure that the widest variety of voices, communities, and insights find space in the journal. So please do not hesitate to submit writing that emerges from your experience, your projects, or your community.
Project Case Studies
If you are someone who manages or organizes a project designed to intervene in a conflict, human rights tragedy, or local public issue, you have probably had to write a “report” on your work. We would call these reports “project case studies.” Such studies would provide background on the issue, the goal of your project, results, and lessons learned. Often these studies are short, somewhere between 5-7 pages. We believe such reports can inform our readers on how to pragmatically address important issues, as well as document important work occurring globally. So, we hope you will submit such case studies. As with other submitted materials, we will probably ask an expert on the topic to review the case study. We will also review the case study to see what information might be added to ensure our entire readership can understand the importance of the work. After we have done this review work, you will receive a report suggesting revisions for publication (assuming the case study will speak to issues of concern for our readers.) We can then meet and formulate a revision plan towards publication.
Video Shorts/Photo Essays/Graphic Novels
What each of these genres have in common is a focus on the “visual.” Each uses images (hand drawn, computer generated, or captured on film) to make an argument about an important public issue. We welcome such materials. Given the labor associated with creating videos and graphic novels (however brief in length), we recommend that you send us a “rough cut” with a note on what you will do to fully finish the piece. Doing so will allow you to make any suggested revisions before having dedicated significant hours to the project. When reviewing such materials, we call upon experts in such visual work to provide us guidance. We also review the work for what additional information our readers might need to fully understand the work. If after receiving a report from the reviewer, we decide the piece will align with the interests of our readers, we will send a report detailing possible revisions. We will also meet with you to discuss a path forward for publication. 
Book Reviews
The goal of a book review is to alert our readership to important academic, community, or policy publications which speak to the interest and goals of our readership. Book reviews are typically less than 1000 words, often featuring a summary of the book, a statement of its use for our readers, and a sense of what work might follow. You can suggest a book for review by contacting our Book Review Editor Emily Warwick (email). Or you can simply offer to review a book that we have already selected. Finally, book Reviews are good “first publications” for individuals who want to practice writing for publication, since they tend to be short. All Book Review writers will work directly with Emily on revisions for publications.


Personal Testimonies
Personal experience can be an important way to express insight and fundamental truths about a public issue. For that reason, we welcome such work. When reviewing this work, our primary goal is to understand how the author is connecting their experience to larger public issues. We also read the work to ensure that the author has provided enough detail about the issue to the readers, specifically how this issue might also speak to them. We will also often send the piece to other authors who have written similar personal narratives. Here we should also highlight that given this is a personal essay, we do not expect that the “authorial voice” will be standardized. There will almost certainly be local phrasings, terms, and dialect patterns. We welcome such richness. Our role would be to work with the authors to create footnotes to ensure that the work is accessible to readers from outside the local context.
Research Essays/Policy Papers
Many “journals” were created to review and share research essays and policy papers. Such materials are known for drawing together important research on an issue and providing a context to understand that research. The author then provides insights on a current issue through the lens of that research – often pointing to the need for additional studies. These essays are reviewed by other research and policy experts to ensure the author has fully engaged with the current research and that the methods used in the essay are appropriate. Review of these essays can take up to eight weeks, since reviewers are often in the process of writing research themselves. Once a report is received, as is our usual practice, we will meet with the author to plan a path towards publication (again if the piece was found to speak to our readership.) The revision period can also take up to eight weeks. As with other authors of other genres, however, we provide support through the revision process.