Views of Reference List Accuracy from Social Work Journal Editors and Published Authors

  • Scott E. Wilks
  • Christina A. Spivey
Keywords: APA, publication, reference, reference list, reference list accuracy


Objective:The study’s purpose was to answer two research questions: (1) In the opinion of social work journal editors, how important is reference list accuracy? and (2)Who is primarily responsible for the accuracy of reference lists published in social work journals? Method: A sample of 119 authors and 26 journal editors was surveyed to ascertain their views on the above questions and additional items. Results: Regarding the importance of reference list accuracy, editors’ responses (Likert scale) averaged between moderately and extremely important. Fifty-three percent of responding editors and 36.5% of authors reported that responsibility is shared between the editor/staff and manuscript authors; the remaining 47% and 63.5%, respectively, responded that responsibility falls upon manuscript authors. Responses from authors, mostly educators, revealed a greater-than-moderate importance (Likert scale) given to instructing students on the accurate construction of reference lists. Implications for social work education and journal publishing are discussed.