Review Criteria 11: The manuscript’s cross-cultural applicability

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Social work values include “respect for the dignity and worth of all people” and “promotion of social justice.” Our research and literature should reflect these values. Further, this is an international journal of social work values and ethics, so authors should write with an international audience and perspectives in mind.

When reviewing manuscripts for cross-cultural applicability, consider whether authors are writing from an ethnocentric perspective. For example, if an author is talking about social work values, does the author reference just one code of ethics, and is that code of ethics specific to just one country? In providing feedback, you might note that the author could reference multiple codes of ethics or could reference an international code (e.g., that of the International Federation of Social Workers).

Whenever possible, authors should consider how their research, theory, or findings apply in a cross-cultural context. When reviewing a literature review, for instance, does the author consider articles that take nationality, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, and other aspects of diversity into account? When determining an appropriate research sample for a study, did the author consider whether and how to ensure that people from different cultural backgrounds were included in the study? When developing research instruments, did the author ensure that the questions and language were free of cultural bias and judgment? When reporting research findings, did the authors consider whether and how the findings are generalizable or transferable to different countries, populations, or cultural groups?

Not all manuscripts need to focus on cross-cultural issues. For example, an author may have chosen to study people from a particular cultural, national, or religious group. In the conclusions, however, the author might note how future research could be conducted to take different cultural groups into account. Consider a manuscript pertaining to the ethics of child abuse prevention strategies employed in Kenya (or another particular country). The majority of the article could relate to the context of the particular country. In the conclusion section, the author might include examples of how the lessons learned from that country may be relevant (or different) for other locations and cultural contexts.

If an author describes lack of cross-cultural applicability in the limitations section of the manuscript, the author could add suggestions for future research or analysis (in the conclusion section), demonstrating how cross-cultural issues could be taken into account.