Special Issue "Personal Essays in Social Science"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Pooja Sawrikar

School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University, Gold Coast 4223 Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social psychology; racism; sexism; mental illness; child protection; social service delivery
Guest Editor
Prof. Donna McAuliffe

School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University, Gold Coast 4223 Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ethical decision making; e-professionalism and social media; ethical activism; ethical literacy; professional conduct; professional ethics; social work practice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Social science gives value to qualitative research, emic/insider perspectives, and participatory action; knowledge- and truth-seeking tools that concurrently strive to use the privileged power of academia responsibly. But what happens when the researcher is the participant? Is there now just too much subjectivity? Can there be such a thing? And if so, is the personal essay of an academic reflecting on their own experiences an opinion that science should reject as invalid? If it does this, why is it doing this? Whose truth do we really value? Who is a real knowledge-bearer?

If you have wondered why the ‘personal opinions’ or ‘comments’ sections of scholarly journals are small, and wished they gave more value to your voice as both a person and professional at the same time, then this Special Issue invites your submission of a full-length personal essay. It is dedicated to the belief that “our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge” (Audre Lorde). It does not value the truth (objectivity), a truth (subjectivity), but truth (authenticity).

The peer-review process will (i) vet for pro hate-speech and self-harm; while such things may be your authentic truth, articles that aim to address social issues in an ethical manner will be accepted for publication; (ii) check for accuracy, so that false claims such as generating ‘new’ knowledge are not made; (iii) assess readability, such as whether your thoughts, ideas, insights, concepts, and recommendations for future research and practice are interesting, cogent, and well-structured; (iv) ensure articles cite scholarly references, as a demonstration of being informed in your area of expertise; and (v) assess degree of critical reflection, including awareness of the strengths and limitations of autoethnographic-type research methods. The process will accept rebuttals to comments made by reviewers as a sign of respect to authors and request that clear explanations be provided.

Essays reflecting on experiences within any of the four main areas of academic work—research, teaching, clinical practice, and service/administration, and related to the broad/overarching topic of social science, are invited. Sub-disciplinary topics may therefore include anthropology, criminology, economics, education, geography, history, law, linguistics, political science, psychology, social policy, social work, sociology, and other related areas.

Essays may reflect on a specific experience or make a general comment about several experiences within their work, such as the following:

  • What it has been like for you to do a PhD, what you have learned, and what you would recommend to PhD students, schools/departments, and universities in the future;
  • Your experiences as a staff member or manager of field education/clinical placement;
  • Unexpected learnings as a Dean, Head, or Deputy Head of School, or Journal Editor;
  • Clinical cases that have taught you the most about your role in your profession/field of study;
  • Lessons learned from students while teaching courses or supervising PhD, Masters, Honours, and Graduate Diploma students;
  • Ideas for improving pedagogy by reflecting on what has or has not worked in the past;
  • New or controversial ideas that have been generated from research you have conducted in your specific field;
  • Resistances you have experienced within your academic work, why you think you experienced them, and what you wished you had experienced instead;
  • Hopes and aspirations for your own academic career, or the business of academia itself, into the future;
  • Musings about being an autoethnographic researcher in your field of study; and
  • Ethical dilemmas or crises of conscience you have encountered while conducting research in your niche field.

This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a sample of what is being sought. Submissions from research teams are also welcome, such as compilations of personal reflections or letters of communication that contain discussion of important issues or the birthplace of new ideas. A contribution to this Special Issue requires braveness on the author’s part—to just speak as a (knowledgeable and informed) person—but loyalty to authentic truth is the means to find it.

Dr. Pooja Sawrikar
Prof. Donna McAuliffe
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Social science
  • Critical reflection
  • Introspection
  • Autoethnography
  • Higher education
  • Academia
  • Authenticity
  • Informed opinions
  • Power and privilege
  • Truth, knowledge-production, and research methods.

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Soc. Sci. EISSN 2076-0760 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top