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The evolving research tradition in Counselor Education and Supervision.

In previous inaugural editorials, incoming editors of Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) have traditionally commented on becoming editor and have presented their perceptions of the journal. Some have discussed the journal's identity (Fong, 1991a; Ritchie, 1994), its focus (Brown, 1989; Fong, 1991b; Smaby, 1997), visions for its future (Brown, 1989; Fong, 1991a), and the purposes and principles that guide the publication process (Brown, 1989; Ritchie, 1994; Smaby, 1997). Editors have also commended their predecessors and the high standards they have established and sustained for CES. Incoming editors have also affirmed their commitment to continue the journal's tradition of high standards and, in some cases, revitalize or maintain the relevance of the journal. The following comments address many of these topics and present some issues the journal and the profession now experience as they accommodate the increasing presence of qualitative research in the counselor education literature.

From its inception, CES has been dedicated to printing research that meets high publication standards. For many reasons--their training and experience, norms regarding what constitutes valid research, or perhaps the prevailing research tradition--the editors and editorial board members of CES have produced a journal emphasizing the publication of quantitative research. Undoubtedly, the quantitative presence in CES relates to the kind of research counselor educators conduct and, historically, to counselor educators' research training. The publication of quantitative research has served and continues to serve an important function in the field of counselor education. In general, this research has provided the profession with the results of "systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation[s]" (Kerlinger, 1986, p. 10) that exemplify quantitative research. These investigations have offered the profession valuable information and versions of specific insights into counselor education and supervision practices.

Despite its strengths, the continuing quantitative research tradition has not provided contextually sensitive and detailed descriptions of the experiences of counselor educators, counselor education students, supervisors, and supervisees. The obvious reason for this is that quantitative research, because of its fundamental assumptions, is not designed to describe such uniquely human and unquantifiable phenomena as social construction processes, consciousness, and emotional experiences; rather its purpose is to isolate facts, causes, and "truth." Because of this, the quantitative research tradition has limitations when it comes to understanding human experience. Despite these limitations, it would be heresy not to recognize the contributions of the research tradition in counselor education. It is rich in its persistence and depth of inquiry. Rather, the point is to identify Limitations in the research tradition that has taught counselor educators that only researchers who use a detached, objective methodology can obtain meaningful results. Simultaneously, there is ever-increasing recognition within the profession that qualitative research offers a credible alternative approach that can provide important information to counselor educators.

Along with this recognition, there are a growing number of qualitative manuscripts submitted to CES. Because of this, the journal faces some immediate problems. Up to this time, the critical roles of authors and editorial board members were based on widely understood and specifically defined criteria for conducting and evaluating valid and reliable quantitative research. This journal has always maintained a highly effective evaluation process that involved editorial board members who are extremely competent evaluators of this form of research. However, as increasing numbers of qualitative articles are submitted to the journal, the traditional criteria have become irrelevant and even the usefulness of a revised qualitative manuscript evaluation form is limited. Qualitative research presents tremendous challenges for the editorial review process. Unlike quantitative research, which maintains an essential set of core assumptions, qualitative research includes philosophically and methodologically diverse approaches. As Schwandt (2000) put it, qualitative research is an area that includes "a wide variety of scholars who are seriously at odds with one another" (p. 190). In short, this means that generic criteria that recognize generally but not universally accepted aspects of quality in qualitative research establish the basis for the content of the evaluation form. The task of the editorial board members is thus more complex and demands experience in, and specialized knowledge of, the numerous forms of qualitative approaches and methods. Because of this complicated task, a selection criterion for some of the I0 incoming editorial board members was training and experience in qualitative research. It is essential that the editorial board include a sufficient number of qualitative researchers.

Qualitative research has arrived as a "new" member of the counselor education research tradition because of what it offers counselor education research. In brief, it offers a contextually sensitive approach that gives voice to the persons who are researched. This means that qualitative research can explore, for example, supervision in the supervision context (i.e., in the setting in which supervision is occurring) from supervisees' perspectives. At this point in the development of counselor education research, forecasting the potential implications of an ongoing systematic qualitative research agenda in counselor education is an exciting prospect. For example, having access to how supervisees perceive their relationships with supervisors might unearth information that could significantly expand knowledge of supervision processes and clarify how supervisors can more effectively supervise. If they are given access to systematic explorations and analyses of students' narratives about their developmental experiences as counselors, counselor educators might be able to develop better informed conceptualizations of counselor development and counselor education curriculum. Because of the potential contributions that qualitative methodologies offer to research in counselor education, this journal will take an active stance in nurturing qualitative researchers.

In addition to its focus on research, CES also has a tradition of including manuscripts that offer innovative methods and position papers on contemporary issues in the field of counselor education and supervision. This will continue. This means that the continuing tradition of CES will be "[to] continue, as it has since 1961, to be an instrument for the improvement of training and supervision of counselors" (Brown, 1989, p. 198). This journal will publish research, both qualitative and quantitative, that contributes to knowledge in the field of counselor education and supervision. High standards of quality will continue for quantitative research and will be articulated and used for qualitative manuscripts. In addition, well-documented, evaluated, and detailed presentations of innovative methods will appear in the journal's pages, as will relevant, well-developed, and thoroughly documented position papers.

The previous editors and editorial board members of CES deserve enthusiastic commendation for the standards they have set and the tradition of quality they have established. The task of meeting these standards and upholding the traditions of CES is intimidating. Successfully completing this task will require the shared efforts of the editor and the editorial board members. A quality journal depends on rigorously conceived and conducted research, carefully composed submissions, and an editorial board committed to quality. These factors are in place.

--William B. Kline, Editor


Brown, D. (1989). Beginning the editorship of Counselor Education and Supervision. Counselor Education and Supervision, 28. 197-198.

Fong, M. L. (1991a). A new decade and a new editor. Counselor Education and Supervision, 31, 9-10.

Fong, M. L. (1991b). The scope of Counselor Education and Supervision. Counselor Education and Supervision, 31, 98-99.

Kerlinger, F. N. (1986). Foundations of behavioral research (3rd ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Ritchie, M. H. (1994). Editorial. Counselor Education and Supervision, 34, 2-3.

Schwandt. T. A. (2000). Three epistemological stances for qualitative inquiry: Interpretivism, hermeneutics, and social constructionism. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualttative research (2nd ed., pp. 189-214). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Smaby, M. H. (1997). Counselor Education and Supervision: Publishing purpose, categories, and principles. Counselor Education and Supervision, 37, 3-5.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Kline, William B.
Publication:Counselor Education and Supervision
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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