Rigour and Relevance


Scaling the Twin Peaks of Rigour and Relevance, Special issue of Journal of Social Marketing, Edited by Mike Ewing, Fiona Newton and Joshua Newton; Deadline 31 Jan 2015

Scaling the twin peaks of rigour and relevance

Ameliorating complex social problems require the development and testing of frameworks that can help to explain the complex interactions between intrapersonal, interpersonal, and macro-level agents. The field of social marketing has significant potential to contribute to developing, implementing and evaluating programs designed to improve the social welling of individuals and communities. However, as Craig Lefebvre (2012) recently noted: “[t]he field needs to evaluate what works, and more importantly for it to prosper and remain relevant, it must discover and incorporate concepts and techniques from other disciplines that are aligned around core ideas of people-centered and socially orientated.”

The issue of evaluation speaks to the heart of funding body and policy makers’ demands for rigorous evidence. Indeed, “[p]roviding this evidence is challenging, not least because it is difficult to prove that many kinds of complex social interventions work” (Gordon, McDermott, and Hastings, 2008, p. 334). As such, this special issue seeks papers that will advance rigour and relevance within the field of social marketing.

Topic areas include but are not limited to:

  • Research that explores the integration of new theories (particularly from the behavioural and economic sciences) into social marketing.
  • Research exploring the implementation and evaluation of intentions leveraging cognitive architecture to bring about social change and/or improved consumer wellbeing.
  • Papers that explore the theoretical and/or applied utilisation of innovative marketing principles (e.g., social entrepreneurship) to bring about sustainable improvements in individual (or community) level wellbeing.
  • Exploration of ways to maximise the efficiency of research programs involving academics and practitioners from different disciplinary backgrounds.
  • Papers that explore ways to facilitate efficiencies in the transmission of theoretical and evaluation-related knowledge between academics and practitioners with the view to maximising best practice and diffusion of cutting edge theories and interventions.
  • Papers that explore ways to measure the value of social marketing initiatives beyond the individual level (e.g., measuring value to other stakeholders in the market place at the meso and/or macro level).
  • Research that examines ways to measure for ‘boomerang effects’/unintended consequences/ attenuation in individual/community-based interventions.
  • Research exploring the interface between explanatory theories and theories that deal with the nature of change.
  • Methodological papers exploring the issues associated with measuring behavioural modification (i.e., sustained adoption of change) across time, thus acknowledging that it is not so much the change in and of itself that leads to the most impact, but rather the sustained engagement of the targeted behaviour.
  • Theoretical papers that examine ways to bridge the theory and practice divide in relation to meso and macro level social marketing programs.
  • Research that addresses ways to establish evidence-based best practice within the divergent field of social marketing.
  • Methodological papers that provide novel insights into controlling for extraneous variables in community based interventions and/or collecting hard evidence as opposed to self-report measures of behaviour.

Early expressions of interest and enquiries can be directed to the special issue Guest Editors: Mike Ewing (michael.ewing@monash.edu), Fiona Newton (fiona.newton@monash.edu), and Joshua Newton (joshua.newton@monash.edu).


The submission process is as follows:

Step 1: Authors need to adhere to the guidelines of JSOCM. As a guide, articles should be between 3000 and 5000 words in length. For other information about the journal, including specific Author Guidelines, please visit


Submitted papers should not have been previously published, nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Step 2: All articles aimed at JSOCM should be submitted via Scholar One:


Please select the “Scaling the twin peaks of rigour and relevance” special issue (SI) rather than the regular issue when submitting. More information about submitting an article via the Scholar One platform can be found in the Author Guidelines at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/journals/journals.htm?id=jsocm.

The deadline for submissions is 31st January 2015.

Step 3: Manuscripts will undergo a blind peer review process. We hope to notify authors of the review outcome in May 2015. Some authors may need to revise their paper following the initial review.

Step 4: Submit the final paper by 31 July 2015 for inclusion in Volume 5, Issue 3 of the Journal of Social Marketing.


Lefebvre, R. C. (2012). Transformative social marketing: co-creating the social marketing discipline and brand. Journal of Social Marketing, 2(2), 118-129.

Gordon, R., McDermott, L., & Hastings, G. (2008). Critical issues in social marketing: A review and research agenda. In A. Sargeant and W. W. Wymer (Eds.), The Routledge companion to non-profit marketing (pp. 333-346). New York, N.Y: Routledge.

The Hardware and Software Behind ELMAR Is Paid for with AMA Dues
Please Support ELMAR by joining the AMA or renewing your membership