Book Review Guidelines

The Journal of College Student Development seeks to keep its readers apprised of new books related to student development and professional practice in college student affairs. As a means to that end, books that are related to student development theory and student affairs practice, research on college students or higher education environments, and issues and practices in higher education germane to the student affairs profession are accepted for consideration for review.  (Psychological instruments and computer programs are not currently being accepted for review.) Three kinds of reviews are provided: (1) summary book reviews, (2) critical essays, and (3) book notices.

Reviewers are solicited by the associate editor. Unsolicited reviews are not accepted by JCSD. Invitations to review and selection of reviewers and decisions about whether to review a work or to publish a reviewer's manuscript are made solely at the discretion of the editors

Summary Reviews

Summary reviews are intended to inform readers about works of interest to student affairs practitioners, preparation program faculty, and researchers. These 750-to-1,000-word reviews briefly and objectively describe the contents and the author's/editor's stated objectives. (If it is an edited work, the authors and the content of each chapter are identified.) The review should also include:

* evaluations of how well the author/editor accomplished his or her stated purposes;
* references to other works that have treated similar subject matter;
* how this work differs from previous works;
* the relative quality or contribution of the work to the field.

Book Review Essays

Critical essays are intended for major works in the field. Textbooks and comprehensive or extended treatments of subjects of importance to the field-such as, student subcultures, organizations, subpopulations, or environments; professional practice issues; intervention strategies and techniques; data-based research studies; and theoretical expositions. Critical essays are limited to between 1,200 and 1,800 words. Works of a controversial nature or of major significance to the field may receive more than one review.

Essays should:

  • identify the purpose(s) of the work stated by the author(s)/editor(s)
  • provide an objective description or summary of the contents
  • place the work in the historical and/or theoretical context of previous works and/or general practices in the field
  • point out theoretical assumptions, presuppositions, significant factual errors, and evidence of bias
  • identify strengths and weaknesses in areas such as:
    • topic coverage (originality, depth, and sophistication); logic; organizational structure; theoretical foundations; research methodology, and/or scholarship
    • writing style and clarity
    • potential uses or practical implications;
  • succinctly present the reviewer's evaluation of the work's worth, potential impact on practice, professional preparation, or research methods, and overall contribution to the field.

Reviewers may also present their evaluation of what is needed in the field that this work failed to provide and make proposals for further research or theoretical exposition.

Book Notices

These are short summaries of the contents of books that are of interest to the field, but that are not directly focused on student affairs. The Associate Editor writes these short (about 100 words) descriptions of the works with an evaluation of the contents.

Requests for Review

To request a review of a book, send one copy of the book to:

Dr. Sherry K. Watt
Associate Editor, Journal of College Student Development
Professor, Higher Education & Student Affairs Program
Educational Policy and Leadership Studies
    The University of Iowa, College of Education
    N485 Lindquist Center
    Iowa City, IA 52242


Because of space limitations in the Journal, not all materials will be reviewed. Materials submitted for review will not be returned.