The Journal of Extension -

October 2020 // Volume 58 // Number 5 // Editorial // v58-5ed1

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Style Update and October JOE Highlights

With this issue, we begin the transition to current APA Style as outlined in the latest edition of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. In my Style Update section, I comment on associated changes and their implications and issue a directive to learn more by reading the manual. In October JOE Highlights, I focus on articles in which JOE authors tackle the array of challenging circumstances we find ourselves in today.

Debbie Allen
Editor, Journal of Extension

Style Update

Release of the latest edition of a style manual sparks excitement in an editor but also prompts the need to pore over the tome to identify and absorb what has changed; align author resources with new, refined, or expanded rules; and apply updated style standards to manuscripts already in progress. With this issue of JOE, we begin the transition to current APA Style as outlined in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (APA manual). At 427 pages versus the previous edition's mere 272 pages, the new APA manual is packed with practical content, such as expanded guidance on writing without bias, sample tables and figures for myriad data types, and over a hundred new examples of reference section entries. For many topics, clarifications and explicitness replace vagueness and voids. Guidelines presented in new content range from minute (e.g., directives regarding use of superscript spaces with superscript letters) to monumental (e.g., a groundbreaking section on journal article reporting standards for qualitative research). Such comprehensiveness is good news for scholarly writers because much less is left to author and editor interpretation.

More good news for JOE authors is that release of the updated manual has presented the opportunity to streamline JOE editorial style. Historically, JOE style has included many exceptions to APA Style. Although some differences still exist, their number is small, and they are defined in the newly revamped JOE Submission Guidelines. Furthermore, because the APA manual is now more of a one-stop source for prospective JOE authors, we have been able to simplify the author resources provided in the Guidance for Authors section of the JOE website.

The substantially expanded nature of the new APA manual has implications for those of you who submit manuscripts to JOE. Although several what's-new-in-APA-Style documents exist, such resources actually provide just a sampling of what's new. The only way to know what you need to know is by reading the manual. In doing so, you'll not only gain a grasp of rules for submissions to JOE and other journals but also encounter a richness of information useful for improving your research reporting and academic writing expertise. Whether you're a veteran scholar or a novice, before your next submission to JOE, you should familiarize yourself with all aspects of current APA Style.

October JOE Highlights

A pandemic persists. Feelings of isolation and disaffection fester. Fires rage in the West; hurricanes slam the South. And protesters coast to coast plead for equity. Even an eternal optimist (yours truly) reels from the current unprecedented predominance of wicked problems. There is hope, however. Throughout this issue, Extension professionals and others explore the roles Extension can, should, must play in addressing these conditions.

In the issue's opening Feature, "Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Community Partners in the Agriculture Industry in Hawai'i," the authors present qualitative data emphasizing the psychological effects of the ongoing pandemic and suggest actions JOE readers can take to combat associated distress within the communities they serve. Other articles describing potential responses to impacts of the pandemic include the Ideas at Work offering "Adapting to Provide Innovative In-Person Extension Programming During a Pandemic" and the Tools of the Trade articles "Extension Programming Resource for Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience" and "Effectively Conducting Field Days While Responding to Unprecedented External Restrictions." As noted in a couple of these articles, Extension professionals are finding that adaptations enacted to confront COVID-19 restrictions can be carried forward as innovative ways to expand services to Extension's clientele.

With images of fire, wind, and flood assailing us daily, the Feature "Disasters Happen: Identifying Disaster Management Needs of Cooperative Extension System Personnel" could not be more timely or important. Its authors warn of expert predictions regarding continued increase in extreme weather events and present findings revealing "a critical need" for relevant Extension programming and professional development for those who will deliver it. Another article, the Research in Brief "How to Talk With Ranchers About Drought and Climate Resilience: Lessons From Knowledge Exchange Workshops in Montana," speaks to the value of using the familiar and uniting topic of weather as a basis for discussions on climate trends and associated management adaptations that can improve resiliency of agricultural operations.

Recent events also have highlighted yet again the need to address the complexities of race relations in the United States, and JOE authors offer input for how Extension can help meet that need. In the Commentary "We (All) Need to Talk About Race: Building Extension's Capacity for Dialogue and Action," Extension thought leaders identify action items for confronting racial inequities extant not only across communities but also within Extension itself. The authors of the Tools of the Trade entry "Decision-Making Tree for Prioritizing Racial Equity in Resource Allocation" situate disparities faced by people of color within the context of Extension's core program areas and present a tool Extension professionals can use to ensure that decisions regarding assistance for community organizations are equitable.

Overall, the varied content in this issue offers something for everyone. For example, the issue's five Research in Brief articles cover the gamut of subject matter areas of importance to JOE readers: agriculture and natural resources, family wellness, youth thriving, community and economic development, and organizational development. Read on to find the information most meaningful to you.