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Submission guidelines - Set

Our readers are primarily teachers and principals, but also include students, lecturers, parents, and members of boards of trustees. We need articles that will attract and hold the attention of busy teachers. They may be based on one research project or on a review of several studies in one area. They should be easy to read, and relevant to the classroom. They should provide practical ideas, and suggestions for further reading.

Referees. All articles are refereed by two academics or other recognised experts in the field. All refereeing is double blind.

Editing. All articles are professionally edited.

Length. 4,500 words maximum. This must be strictly adhered to.

Content and style. Articles for Set should be based on quality educational research.

  • Please keep the audience in mind—stress the implications of your research and its relevance for teachers. if possible, include suggestions about how the findings could be put to classroom use.
  • The research procedures/methods must be visible, but not necessarily described in detail. avoid complex statistics, but highlight the implications of them.
  • Articles should be inclusive of Māori students wherever possible.
  • Include one or two diagrams and/or simple tables, charts or graphs, if required.
  • Keep details for the notes section.
  • Articles may be submitted in English or te reo Māori.

Abstract. Include an abstract of about 100 words.

Key points. Include 4–6 brief bullet points outlining the key points of your article.

Acknowledgements. Include the names of colleagues who have peer reviewed your article. it is recommended that you seek feedback on your manuscript from a colleague or academic supervisor prior to submission.

References. Use the APA 7 style for references. Please take care to ensure that all references are complete and accurate.

Biographical details. Include a sentence or two about yourself and indicate your current position.

Copyright. Copyright belongs to individual authors, but is managed by NZCER. It is expected that articles will  be original and not published elsewhere. Authors will be given an agreement to sign.

Graphics. Please supply graphics and photos  electronically as tiff, eps or jpeg files in a high resolution (c. 600dpi). Please do not solely supply them embedded in your article.

Copy. Please email an electronic copy (in MS Word format) to:

Josie Roberts


You can download a pdf of submission guidelines here


Set's Tips for Success

Writing for set’s audience can be tricky. The rejection rate for articles is higher than we would like it to be. The following set of tips is designed to help you craft a submission with the best likelihood of meeting set’s aims and gaining support from peer reviewers.

Set’s subtitle is “research information for teachers”. We want articles that engage and enthuse busy teachers and school leaders. Our aim is to support them to develop their thinking and practice as they draw inspiration from robust yet digestible research. This is quite a demanding agenda. So, in the spirit of helping a wider range of writers succeed, here are our tips:

  • Keep it short and sweet: While our maximum word count is 4500 we prefer shorter submissions. A busy teacher is far more likely to read a 2000 word article that focuses one clear topic, cleverly synthesises key ideas, and centres on what practitioners might do.
  • Think carefully about the story you want to tell: First step back and take a bird’s eye view of your project in relation to the education context of the day.
  • Keep implications for teachers and/or school leaders in mind at all times: Why will they care? What will draw them into what you have to share? What can they do with it? How can you make it both accessible and critical? What don’t they need to know? The answers to these sorts of questions should guide your writing.
  • Keep it personal: How can you give your writing a personal touch and help readers to connect with your ideas? Decisions about style and content can offer glimpses into who the authors/researchers are and what motivates them. It helps if readers can see themselves in the picture as well. Perhaps you could write using the first and second person. Consider other ways to make your research findings come alive for readers.
  • Consider alternatives to the standard academic structure of ‘introduction, background, literature, methodology, findings, and conclusion’: Could you structure your writing around key ideas? Perhaps you could use a fiction device, or find a more narrative storyline such as putting teachers’ experiences before (or woven throughout) referenced literature. Could you write a Q&A interview…? This is not a definitive list of course but will give you an idea of the type of creative thinking we are seeking.
  • Use exciting, self-explanatory headings: Please avoid headings such as “background”. What is the idea, practice or conundrum a section will unpack? Use that to title it.
  • Use literature sparingly: Carefully select a small number of papers that support the key ideas related to your topic. Put the ideas in the foreground and the authors in the background. 3-6 citations may be sufficient to tell your story and preferably these references will be accessible to teachers themselves. If you believe a literature review is important can you put it within an insert box at the end of the article and refer on readers who are interested in that level of detail?
  • Keep the methodology short and simple: If your study is published elsewhere refer readers to the original. Give the bare bones information necessary for readers to understand the basis for your ideas and recommendations. Rather than an extended methodology section in the centre of your article consider weaving it into the storyline or placing it in an insert box at the end of your article.
  • Use visuals: What photos, diagrams, images, cartoons, student samples, etc could you include? Be aware that we can only print in greyscale.
  • Use hyperlinks freely for our online readers.