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NVSQ Special Issue

Tuesday, January 5, 2016   (0 Comments)
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*Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly* is sponsoring a Special Issue on the topic of  "Exploring the Dimensions of Volunteering."  You may find a copy of the RFP for the Special Issue at:


Call for Paper Proposals for a Special Issue of
Nonprofit And Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Exploring the Dimensions of Volunteering  

By their titles studies of “volunteering” appear to study the same phenomenon, thus suggesting that volunteering is a unitary concept. Yet, research also shows that the diversity among volunteers, volunteer involving organizations, and even the activities that constitute volunteering is substantial. Exploring the diversity of the volunteering concept is the driver for this special issue of NVSQ.
The Special Issue recognizes and demonstrates the conceptual breadth of volunteering, and asks researchers to present empirical studies of the phenomenon that are grounded in a particular definition of volunteering. The aim is to develop a more complete understanding of how knowledge about volunteering in one context or situation might -- or might not -- be more generally or broadly applicable.

This Special Issue is concerned with extending our knowledge of volunteerism,
volunteering, and volunteer management by focusing on four critical dimensions of volunteering. These four elements differ from the four dimensions of volunteering that normally appear in the  literature (see Cnaan, Handy, & Wadsworth, M. (1996), “Defining who is a volunteer: Conceptual and empirical considerations,” NVSQ
25(3), 364-383.), as they refer not only to the definition but also much more to the overlapping of  individual and organizational perspectives on volunteering. Each of the four dimensions represents different categories or aspects of volunteering.    

1) The time devoted to volunteering refers to the time that an individual spends on volunteering ranging, for example, from seconds (micro volunteering, social media, twitter, etc.), to days (a national day of service) and projects (episodic
volunteering) to a set amount of dedicated time (“regular” volunteering). community service, the involvement of government, the legal context, etc.

2) The nature of volunteering, which refers to the way that the volunteering is conducted, for example, having aspects of virtual versus in-person, direct contact with clients or organizational support roles, within one geographical area or across many locations, based in a single organization or in multiple organizations, etc.
3) The object of volunteering, here, the focus is on the organization which is the
conduit for the volunteering: organizations that are membership organizations, client-serving organizations, organizations with clients that can give feedback versus organizations with clients that cannot give feedback (for example, animals), organizations that perform a service or that mainly advocate, etc.
4) The environment of volunteering, which refers to the broader ecosystem of the volunteering, such as third-party volunteering through place of employment, community service, the involvement of government, the legal context, etc.

Authors should indicate how their research adds to the conceptualization of volunteering along these four critical dimensions, and speculate on the domain of generalizability of their study.  
This NVSQ Special Issue is open to the study of any aspect of volunteering along the four dimensions. For example, you may examine volunteer motivation, recruitment, retention, cost, evaluation, management, performance, etc., but you will need to indicate clearly where on the spectrum along the four dimensions above you consider the example of volunteering to fall.  
The purpose of this Special Issue is to examine whether there are commonalities to the volunteering experiences studied according to how, where, for whom, and when it is practiced. Thus, by categorizing your research question along the articulated dimensions, we hope that empirical research indicates patterns of how various aspects of volunteering are similar (or different) along these four dimensions.

Please submit a proposal or abstract of no more than 500 words that gives a clear
indication of the research question(s) to be addressed, methods to be used, the data
for analysis, and contribution to the research literature by January 31, 2016.   
Please submit your proposal to

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