Calls for Papers

ISTR Third Sector Research Webinar Series / Deadline: Rolling


Doctoral Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (SEPHI) in Liège / Deadine: 30 APRIL


ANSER-ARES 2020 Virtual Conference / Deadline: 4 MAY


China Review: COVID-19 / Deadline: 10 MAY


10th International Interdisciplinary Conference, Kenya / Deadline: 30 MAY


The Foundation Review: Call for Papers Shifting Power / Deadline: 31 MAY


Brazilian Journal of Public Administration: Governmental Responses to COVID-19 / Deadline: 1 JUNE


Special Issue on Cultivating and Retaining Donors, Members, and Volunteers / Deadline: 15 JUNE


Nonprofits and Public Policy:A special issue of the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy / Deadline: 1 JULY 2020


2020 Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference / Deadline: 10 AUGUST


Geneva Centre for Philanthropy, Taxation and Philanthropy / Deadline: 26 NOVEMBER


Critical theory, qualitative methods and the nonprofit and voluntary sector / DEADLINE: 1 APRIL 2021



ISTR Third Sector Research Webinar Series

Deadline to apply:  Rolling

In service to our members, ISTR is announcing a new webinar series to share member research and to engage in scholarly conversation with our peers.

ISTR invites members to submit proposals for the following types of webinars:

  1. Papers, panels, and roundtables initially planned for presentation at the ISTR Conference in Montreal 2020. This may be especially useful for (although not limited to) those presentations that are necessary for the timely fulfillment of tenure applications, grant-funded project requirements, doctoral programs, and similar obligations (note: you will still be able to present at the ISTR Conference in 2021, if you present online).
  2. Panel discussions that present a variety of international perspectives on the third sector response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We especially encourage panels organized around a common third sector sub-field, such as volunteering, philanthropy, law and regulation, gender, social enterprise, advocacy, etc.  Regional discussions are also invited.  Panels should be limited to 4 or 5 speakers.
  3. Professional Development topics. Do you have a skill or expertise that you could share with others? Professional development webinars can cover a range of topics, including research methods, professional writing, data visualization, big/open data sources, mentoring approaches, internet identity, and more!
  4. Other new research that is timely and of general interest to a broad range of our international members.

To submit your proposal, send an abstract to Margery Daniels at Webinars are invited in multiple languages.

Please include your contact details, a description of what you would like to present, information on co-presenters or speakers, and an indication of your preference for the day/month you would like to present.

Submissions will be reviewed by ISTR staff with support from the ISTR Conference Academic Committee.


APRIL 30,  2020

The ESSEC Business School Paris, HEC Liège Management School and emlyon business school are jointly organizing the third edition of the Doctoral Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (SEPHI) in Liège on the 8 and 9 September 2020. The seminar will gather about 20 doctoral students from different countries working at the intersection between social entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

The seminar will feature presentations by doctoral students of their work and lectures by three guest speakers:

Jacques Defourny, Professor of Economics at HEC Liège, Liège University

Danielle Logue, Associate Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, UTS Business School

Nevena Radoynovska, Assistant Professor in Strategy, emlyon business school 

Interested candidates should send a sample research paper or outline of their research in attachment to an email motivating their participation. The application should be sent by Thursday 30 April 2020 to Nathalie Jourdan :

More information on the scope and format is available here


MAY 4,  2020

The 2020 ANSER-ARES virtual conference call for proposals is being re-opened to invite you to submit a proposal for what we believe will be an engaging and provocative virtual conference June 3-5, 2020.

The Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER) is a dynamic growing association that is organizing its thirteenth annual conference. ANSER-ARES brings together leading academic researchers, students, practitioners, consultants, policymakers and community organizations from Canada and across the world to discuss current and emergent issues, debates and challenges in the fields of civil society, social economy, and nonprofit research and practice.

Submission and Decision of Proposals

Submission link:

The conference is an opportunity to welcome and explore the power of ideas to connect people and communities, encourage discussions and debates and to create knowledge and change. Within this context, nonprofits and other social economy organizations are well poised to lead these discussions. We invite you to submit proposals for individual research papers, panels of research papers, or roundtable discussions that fit into any of the following areas, broadly defined:

● Nonprofits and Volunteer Organizations

● Social Economy

● Management and Leadership Education

● Co-operatives and Credit Unions

● Social Enterprises, Social Entrepreneurship, & Social Innovation

● Community Economic Development & Community Organizing

● Volunteering & Citizen Engagement

● Advocacy & Social Movements

● Collaborations, Partnerships & Mergers

● Communication, Networking & Digital Media

● Finance, Governance & Accountability

● Indigenous Perspectives in the Nonprofit Sector and Social Economy

● Leadership & Management

● Research Methodologies

● Community-University Engagement

● Public Policy, Government Relations & Contracting

● Theoretical Perspectives

● Knowledge Transfer & Mobilization

● Other


We also accept proposals of wider relevance, which may not fit the categories listed above. We welcome papers, panels and roundtables involving collaboration between academics and practitioners.

Proposal abstracts, in either official language, should be submitted by Survey Monkey link at by May 4, 2020. If you have any problems, please send an email to

Proposal Guidelines

Proposal Submission Deadline: May 4, 2020

Three types of proposals will be considered: individual papers, panels, and roundtables, all of which are subject to peer review.


1) Paper Proposals

Paper proposals normally present research findings with some link to or reflection on theory, but they could also be “think pieces,” discussions of research-in-progress, including theses or dissertations, or reflections on practice. They could also be case studies, research results, or learning arising from work done by nonprofit workers, consultants, or other community practitioners.

Each paper is provided 10-12 minutes for a presentation.

A paper proposal should include:

1) a title;

2) the ANSER conference theme being addressed;

3) a 100-word summary of the presentation for publication in the program if accepted;

4) a 250-word summary of the paper proposal with attention to the following elements:

· Research question(s) the paper addresses

· Research problem and purpose

· Review of the relevant literature, citing key works

· Research methodology

· Research findings or preliminary findings, if appropriate

· Implications for theory and practice, if applicable

5) name, institutional affiliation and email address for each of the authors.


2) Panel Proposals

Panels are collections of three papers on a related theme. Ideally, these papers build upon each other, thereby adding to the coherence of the panel. Each individual will be expected to speak for no longer than 10-12 minutes.To allow adequate time for questions and discussion, the panel chair should ensure that presenters do not exceed the time limit.

A proposal for a panel should include:

1) a title;

2) the ANSER conference theme being addressed;

3) 250-word overview of the panel as a whole, including the coherence of the individual papers around this focus;

4) for each paper, a 100-word summary for publication in the program if accepted;

5) for each paper, a 250-word summary with attention to the following elements:

· Research question(s) the paper addresses

· Research problem and purpose

· Review of the relevant literature, citing key works

· Research methodology

· Research findings or preliminary findings, if appropriate

· Implications for theory and practice, if applicable

6) name, institutional affiliation and email address for each of the authors. Please indicate which author is the panel chair.


3) Roundtables

Roundtables are well suited to: the discussion of the implications of an issue for practice; the discussion of research needs or research in progress around specific topics; or the presentation of contrasting perspectives on an issue with a designated facilitator. Roundtable presenters are not expected to provide written papers. It is expected that a roundtable will have 3 or more participants.

A proposal for a roundtable should include:

1) a title;

2) the ANSER conference theme being addressed;

3) a 100-word summary of the roundtable for publication in the program if accepted;

4) Insert a 250-word summary of the topic/question/problem the roundtable addresses, participant contributions, and relevance to research and/or practice in the areas of interest to ANSER/ARES and/or theme of the conference.

5) name, institutional affiliation and email address for each of the participants. Please indicate which participant is the roundtable chair.

For more information, please contact

Yvonne Harrison or Laurie Mook, ANSER-ARES 2020 Conference Co-Chairs,


MAY 10, 2020

The China Review  is calling for paper ideas and abstract for a special issue on the COVID-19 pandemic. (Guest editors: Fengshi Wu and Xiaojun Yan) We welcome evidence-based research articles from humanity and social science disciplines on relevant topics in the greater China region (the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) and beyond, particularly the following:

1) mechanisms behind and dynamics of the mainland Chinese government's decision making

2) comparative study of societal responses to and the impact of COVID-19 policies on state-society relations in the greater China region and beyond

3) Comparative study of state propaganda and public information campaign during the epidemic in the greater China region and beyond

4) possible changes in the relations between China and the outside world after the pandemic 

Please send abstracts (up to 200 words) for consideration to before 5pm (Hong Kong time), May 10. The announcement of selected abstracts will be on May 15 and the deadline for submission for peer review on August 15.

Reviews of selected papers will be expedited, with the goal of having the special section/issue published in Issue 21.2  (February 2021).


MAY 31, 2020

TFR Call for Papers Shifting Power

In recent years there has been increasing emphasis on how foundations can balance maintaining a strategic focus with ensuring that the knowledge of grantees and community members is valued and included in the grantmaking process. For this issue of The Foundation Review we invite articles on foundation practices that shift power for strategy and grantmaking decisions to these stakeholders. These participatory grantmaking practices might include ways to include grantees and community members in any or all phases, from strategy development to the selection of organizations to be awarded funding.

You may submit abstracts of up to 250 words to by May 31, 2020. If a full paper is invited, it will be due Nov. 15, 2020 for consideration for publication in June 2021.


Please view the Call for Papers for details.


Call for short papers: Governmental responses to COVID-19 pandemic

RAP, Brazilian Journal of Public Administration

The deadline for paper submissions is June 1, 2020.

Full call available here


  • Alketa Peci (Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil)
  • Claudia N. Avellaneda (O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs Indiana University, USA)
  • Kohei Suzuki (Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University, the Netherlands)

The new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) posed an unprecedent challenge to governments worldwide. Indeed, within three months, the virus traveled in a borderless world, and challenged public and private health systems in more than 196 countries, leading the World Health Organization to declare a global pandemic.

As a highly contagious virus, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to skyrocketing numbers of death and contaminations, imposing simultaneous massive public health campaign such as social isolation. The differences in virus outbreak and victims are rather striking among countries as Italy or EUA whether countries like Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea seem to have done very good job. Although we do not know the answer yet and this may change in the future, such differences demand deep reflections.

As the virus spread worldwide, it poses additional challenges not just to health systems, but also to education (children on distance learning), vulnerable segment, public security, mental health, and economic depression. The three months of COVID-19 have also indicated that governments react with a variety of responses in terms of degree of innovativeness, flexibility, bottom-up or bottom-down approach.

This call for short papers aims to gather reflexive, timely and relevant contributions of different governmental approaches to COVID-19 pandemic. We acknowledge that the timing of the call may pose challenges to the rigor and relevance of academic contributions – as we all are learning along the way. However, we believe that the field of public administration as applied field should respond to this type of emergency more quickly and offer more vigorous insights.

We invite short papers (up to 4.000 words) to explore how different countries have responded to the emergency, by focusing on concrete strategies, actions and timing of responses taken by specific governments.

We are interested in creating a knowledge base of comparison of government approach and measures against Coronavirus from public administration and public policy point of view, by exploring those issues include but not limited to:

  • Why do some countries handle the virus outbreak more effectively?
  • Cross-national, cross-regional, within-regional comparison, etc.
  • Analysis of specific policies (e.g. massive versus focused testing) that have failed or succeed in different contexts.
  • Political and administrative leadership in handling the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Consequences of the pandemic for vulnerable communities.
  • Impacts of pandemic on education, public security or economic institutions.
  • The role of specific public institutions in handling the emergency.
  • Good local or community level practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Coordination and cooperation mechanisms between international, national and subnational governments in responding and handling the health crisis.

Papers will be reviewed by the editorial team. For any questions, please contact Alketa Peci ( Claudia Avellaneda ( or Kohei Suzuki (


MAY 30, 2020

Call for Papers for the 10th International Interdisciplinary Conference, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on June 24 to 27, 2020 at Multimedia University of Kenya

General conference theme: “Sustainable Development in Africa”

Conference Venue: Multimedia University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya

Sponsors: Multimedia University of Kenya, Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA), Centre for Democracy, Research and Development (CEDRED) and Multimedia University of Kenya and African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA)


The world needs proper strategies to ensure sustainable development so that future generations find the world a better place to live. Global environmental changes brought about by degradation and effects of climate change, destruction of forests, increasing desertification, war and conflicts, migration and terrorism have combined to lead to clamour for sustainable development. The destruction of carbon sinks and water towers have made sustainable development more urgent given the manner in which uncontrolled exploitation of resources has led to serious effects on the globe. Why has sustainable development become critical in the world today? What are the causes of climate change and how do they affect the quality of life on earth? How have various governments and the international community responded to effects of climate change? What are some of the efforts being deployed in saving the globe against effects of climate change? What are some of the efforts being made by various academic disciplines to address this? These are some of the issues that the conference will be seeking to address.

Conference Website:


Organized and hosted byMultimedia University of Kenya, African Interdisciplinary Studies Association (AISA) and the Centre for Democracy, Research and Development (CEDRED), this 10th International Interdisciplinary Conference will be held on June 24 to 27, 2020 at Nairobi, Kenya. The conference will bring together scholars from all over the world to make presentations on matters that touch on Africa. Submission of abstracts: Send abstracts of between 250 and 500 words, including full contact details (title, name, address, email-address, and telephone) as well as institutional affiliation by March 30, 2020 to Prof. Maurice N. Amutabi at or or or  or 


The deadline for submission of full papers or PowerPoint presentation (one of them is adequate) is May 30, 2020

 To read the full call, please click here


JUNE 15, 2020 

International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing 

Call for papers: Special Issue on Cultivating and Retaining Donors, Members, and Volunteers

Guest Editor:  Professor Walter Wymer, University of Lethbridge, Canada


Submission deadline: June 15, 2020

Charities and other nonprofit organizations rely upon marketing to cultivate and maintain relationships with supporters, without which most nonprofit organizations would not have resources to fulfill their missions.  Given the mission-critical need for effective marketing strategies and tactics in order to attract and retain supporters such as donors, members, and volunteers; this special issue is especially timely. 

Manuscripts that further our knowledge on cultivating and retaining support from donors, members, and volunteers are encouraged.  A wide variety of related topics are desired beginning with identifying prospects to deepening the commitment of supporters.  Theoretical, empirical, and literature review articles (including meta-analyses) are welcome.

Manuscripts should be prepared following the normal guidelines for the journal and should be submitted through the journal’s online system.  Please be sure to submit your manuscript for this special issue when submitting through the online system.

For more information, refer to the journal’s website at


AUGUST 10, 2020


2020 Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference

7-8 September 2020




11 May 2020

Deadline for abstract submissions

13 July 2020 @ 17.00

Early bird rate ends

10 August 2020 @ 17.00

Deadline for full paper submissions

7-8 September 2020

The conference


Call for papers             

Leading and changing in critical times: civil society responses to external and internal challenges

The voluntary sector and wider civil society are currently facing complex pressures. One is to respond to wide social challenges of increased inequality and poverty, tensions from rapid social change, and multi-faceted conflicts within international politics. At times these challenges have seen the sector lead as an innovator at a local and global level, and perhaps a growing sense of agency as it seeks a stronger voice in defining its own role in society. At the same time, the sector is facing intense internal critique around its apparent inability to challenge power structures, which hold voluntary organisations back as spaces for true diversity and inclusion, revealed by campaigns such as #aidtoo and #charitysowhite.


This conference invites participants to explore these issues. Each year, the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference - organised by the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) - provides a unique opportunity for academics, policy makers and practitioners from the UK and further afield to come together to share findings and discuss the implications of research for the sector's future as a site of social leadership and social justice. This year we are delighted to also be collaborating with Aston Business School as our hosts, and BVSC who will help to ensure the conference is relevant for both academics and practitioners.


Our 'Conference Track' invites contributions focused on how civil society is offering leadership, innovation, and agency in redefining how it responds to challenges, and how the voluntary sector and volunteering can challenge the inequality that currently shapes them. These could include, for example: local voluntary sectors as spaces of place leadership; inequalities in volunteering participation, charity trusteeship and workforce; the presence of and challenges to racism, sexism, classism and other inequalities; the changing relationship to public service delivery and partnership with other sectors; the sector as social pioneer and innovator; and many others.


Aims and streams

The conference aims to:

  • Contribute to evidence and theory-building in the field
  • Develop emerging research ideas
  • Inform and be informed by the work of practitioners
  • Inform and influence policy

We welcome submissions for individual papers, panel sessions and workshops. We are particularly keen to receive proposals for the Conference Track that address external and internal challenges, but we do also welcome papers that address a range of issues relevant to volunteering and the voluntary sector, aligned to the following streams:

1. The Conference Track - Leading and changing in critical times

2. Democracy and grassroots voluntary action

3. Diversity, race, (in)equality and inclusion

4. Volunteering, participation and social action

5. Advances in theory and methods

6. Resources, including funding, fundraising, philanthropy, social enterprise and social investment

7. Organisational management and governance, including law and regulation

8. Historical perspectives on civil society, the voluntary sector and volunteering

9. Civil society at the boundaries: relationships with the state and/or private sector

10. Measuring civil society: outcomes, impact and social value

11. New Researchers stream


Submitting an abstract

You can find out how to submit your proposal here. When submitting abstracts, authors will be asked which streams they feel their paper will fit best within. We welcome contributions from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, geography, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. Submissions are encouraged from across the UK, and indeed from around the world, particularly those that offer international comparative perspectives. You don’t need to present a paper to attend.


New researchers

The Conference is an ideal opportunity for new or early career researcher looking to meet, discuss and present their research with other new researchers in a supportive setting. A special series of parallel sessions will be run as part of the conference for ‘new’ researchers. Attendance at this part of the conference is subsidised, and is intended for all early career researchers in the field of voluntary sector studies, whether postgraduate students or working/volunteering in the voluntary sector. For more details about how the New Researchers session works, please click here


Best paper prizes

Campbell Adamson Memorial Prize

Presenters who submit a full paper by the 10th August deadline will automatically be considered for the Campbell Adamson Memorial Prize for best paper, which includes a £500 prize.

New Researchers Prize

Participants in the New Researchers sessions who submit a full paper prior to the start of the conference will automatically be considered for the New Researchers Prize for best paper, which includes a £100 prize.

Voluntary Sector Review Best Article Prize

The conference will also see the inaugural Voluntary Sector Review Best Article Prize awarded, with the authors of the winning article receiving a voucher from the publisher Policy Press and a year's free subscription to the journal.


Plenary sessions

Alongside the paper sessions and workshops, the programme will include plenary sessions at the start and finish of both days. Alongside an exciting line up of soon-to-be announced keynote presentations, these will include roundtable sessions were participants will have the opportunity to meet and share ideas with new and experienced researchers in their field, developing social and professional networks and agendas for future research and practice.


The conference will also feature an exhibition, highlighting the latest publications, events and activities associated with voluntary sector and volunteering research.


Want to find out more?

Booking for the conference will open shortly. In the meantime you can email us for more information or visit the VSSN website for more details


NOVEMBER 26,  2020

Conference « Taxation and philanthropy »
Geneva Centre for Philanthropy, University of Geneva
CALL FOR PAPERS for Junior Scholars Workshop


Conference « Taxation and philanthropy »

Geneva Centre for Philanthropy, University of Geneva

CALL FOR PAPERS for Junior Scholars Workshop,

26 November 2020


About the Conference

Organised by the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy (the “GCP”), University of Geneva, the conference will gather the most prominent scholars, as well as government representatives and other important stakeholders in the field of philanthropy and taxation to discuss the fundamental justification, different forms, measurement, and possible improvements of tax incentives for philanthropic activities.

What: GCP International Conference on Taxation and Philanthropy

When: 26-27 November 2020

Where: Geneva, Switzerland


About the Workshop

In addition to convening international experts on philanthropy and taxation, the GCP seeks to enrich the current body of research. The Workshop of Junior Scholars will be the first scientific event of this conference and will take place on 26 November 2020. The GCP invites junior scholars (graduate and PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and untenured junior faculty) to submit papers that explore the opportunities and challenges of tax incentives for philanthropic activities. The objective of this workshop is to highlight the work of emerging scholars and to advance the GCPs mission studying the domain of philanthropy in an interdisciplinary perspective. Therefore, perspectives from any discipline, such as humanities, social sciences, including therefore economics, law, economics, sociology, and business studies are encouraged. Papers can be either empirical – using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed method approaches – or theoretical.

Prize for the best paper of junior scholars

We are pleased to announce that the Lombard Odier Foundation will be awarding a prize of CHF 5,000 to honour the best paper presented during the junior scholars’ workshop. In order to be considered for the prize by the prize jury, it is important that the paper, which you will submit by 30 September 2020, be as close to final as possible. The prize jury will determine the winner according to the following criteria: soundness of the conceptual development, originality and new contribution, methodology and relevance to practice and policy. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will be publicly presented with a commemorative certificate and recognition at the Conference. Uni Dufour - 24 rue Général-Dufour - CH-1204 Geneva Tel. + 41 22 379 76 18 - 2


What: GCP Junior Scholars Workshop on Taxation and Philanthropy

When: 26 November 2020

Where: Geneva, Switzerland

Call for Papers: We are accepting papers related to one of the scientific topics listed below. If your paper focuses on a topic that does not fall into any of those categories but you consider that it could be of interest in the general framework of the conference please submit your abstract with a brief explanation. Papers selected for the workshop will be pre-circulated and read in advance by all participants. We aim to select 10-15 papers, which will be placed in sessions complementary to the research focus. The scientific topics are as follows:

 Justification of tax incentives for philanthropy

 Forms and efficiency of tax incentives for philanthropy

 Cross-border philanthropy and tax barriers

 The role of tax incentives in corporate philanthropy and social entrepreneurship


For more information about the conference and its scientific scope, please visit our conference’s website at

For the GCP Junior Scholars Workshop on Taxation and Philanthropy, submissions of a short abstract and the full working paper are required. Please submit your abstract at:

 Language: English

 Length: max. 500 words (excluding title, author information, and references)

 Structure: Abstracts do not have a set structure. However, an outline of the purpose of the research, research questions, methods, data sources, a brief description of the results, and its importance and contribution to existing research is highly appreciated.

 Format: Microsoft Word


Key deadlines:

Abstract deadline: 31 May 2020

First draft of paper: 30 September 2020



Practical information and further instructions:

Dates of the Conference: 26 and 27 November 2020

Date of the Workshop: 26 November 2020

Venue: University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland


APRIL 1, 2021


Critical theory, qualitative methods and the nonprofit and voluntary sector

A special issue of Voluntary Sector Review


Guest Editors

Dr Jon Dean (Sheffield Hallam University, UK) |

Dr Kim Wiley (University of Florida, USA) |



Over recent years, there have been moves to take what scholars have labelled a more ‘critical’ approach to studies of nonprofit organisations, philanthropy and giving behaviours, and the wider voluntary sector. Such a move has come from a view of the subject area as failing to examine political, systemic, and structural issues that may be shaping organisations and behaviours, and instead tries to ‘reveal the most profoundly buried structures’ (Bourdieu, 1996: 1) of the nonprofit world.


By taking a critical approach, perhaps drawing on feminist, queer, post-colonial, or postmodern theories, we can identify sources of discrimination and injustice in the sector and elevate ways of tackling them. Practically, these are messages that certain sections of the nonprofit sector – due to crises in safeguarding revealed by the Oxfam Haiti abuse scandal, or challenges to the lack of representation of people of colour in nonprofit leadership roles – are increasingly aware of and indicate some increased willingness to act on. At a time of interlocking social crises – of welfare, democracy, inequality, and more – theory can move from aloof observer to engaged friend (Law, 2015), helping us understand how what may be happening in a voluntary organisation today links to wider historical trends and social structures (Mills, 1959).


At the heart of much of this shift towards critical approaches has been a wider and greater belief in the value of qualitative research. Sometimes unhelpfully seen as a challenge to hegemonic academic ideas, especially in certain disciplines where nonprofit studies are generally located, applications of qualitative methodology supported by critical theory are used by some to pay attention to the everyday realities which produce statistical relationships between quantitative variables (Alasuutari, 2010). Others however view qualitative methods as merely different methodological tools that serve to answer different research questions. Ontologically positioned to help reveal the socially constructed nature of social relations, and epistemologically critically realist or interpretive ways of knowing, qualitative methods provide researchers with the tools to better reveal the ‘verstehen’ of people’s experiences and practices and make direct links between action occurring within and outside nonprofits.


Fundamentally, such approaches argue that if we know differently about society and its structures, then we are more likely to do differently (Eikenberry, Mirabella and Sandberg, 2019). Despite this, and as revealed by multiple panels at leading nonprofit research conferences, doctoral candidates and newer researchers especially have been frustrated by the lack of support for qualitative work in their disciplines, and that the value of this work gets overlooked. This is despite some of the most highly recognised scholarship in the field in recent years utilising both qualitative methods and critical theory, such as Eliasoph’s (2011) ethnography of volunteering and Krause’s (2014) interview-based exploration of aid agency’s logics of practice.


Further, while all researchers should be reflexive (Dean, 2017) qualitative studies are generally better at providing researchers with scope for reflexive work examining issues of positionality within data collection and analysis. The intimacy and embedded nature of qualitative work (Khan, 2011) creates ethical quandaries and dilemmas for researchers which can themselves be explored and solutions realised through applications of critical theoretical frameworks. Finally, qualitative methods frequently offer better opportunities for non-hierarchical research relations, including participant and community-led research approaches, meaning we shift from ‘research on’ to ‘research with’ relationships. Such principles underpin efforts to decolonise research methods (Chilisa, 2019; Smith, 2013) and to employ accessible methods (Gauntlett, 2007) that ensure all people can take part in research projects.


Call for papers

For this special issue of Voluntary Sector Review we are looking for articles that fit within such a brief. Any form of rigorous qualitative method can be utilised (e.g. interviews, focus groups, ethnography, visual methods, participatory methods, and others), as long as the project data is interrogated and understood through the application of suitable critical theory (e.g. feminist, post-colonial, queer, Marxist, critical race, postmodern, intersectional, and others). We aim to include about six articles including a geographic and demographic spread of authors and issues discussed, qualitative methods used, and critical theories applied.


If you are interested in submitting a proposal for this edited collection, please email an abstract of up to 500 words, outlining the article’s contents, including its methodology, critical approach and application of theory, and fit with such a special issue, alongside a 50 word author biographical statement, to both editors. All submissions must be received by Friday 17th July. Authors of accepted abstracts will be informed of the decision by 1st August. Full papers are due 1st April 2021.


All submissions elected by the editors will be invited to submit a full article through the Voluntary Sector Review submission system, which will then be subject to the journal’s usual double-blind peer review procedures. Invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee publication, and all decisions are ultimately those of the journal editors.


If you have any questions about potential submissions please contact the special issue editors, Jon Dean ( and Kim Wiley ( If you want to submit an abstract, but the current COVID-19 crisis is causing you significant problems in this regard, we understand - please do liaise with us about this.



Alasuutari, P. (2010). The rise and relevance of qualitative research, International journal of social research methodology, 13(2), 139-155.

Bourdieu, P. (1996) The state nobility, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Dean, J. (2017) Doing reflexivity: An introduction, Bristol: Policy Press.

Chilisa, B. (2019). Indigenous research methodologies. Sage Publications, Incorporated.

Eliasoph, N. (2011) Making volunteers: Civic life after welfare's end, Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Gauntlett, D. (2007) Creative explorations: New approaches to identities and audiences, Abingdon: Routledge.

Law, A. (2015) Social theory for today: Making sense of social worlds, London: Sage.

Khan, S. (2011) Privilege: The making of an adolescent elite at St Paul’s School, Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Krause, M. (2014) The good project: Humanitarian relief NGOs and the fragmentation of reason, London: University of Chicago Press.

Mills, C.W. (1959) The sociological imagination, New York: Oxford University Press.

Eikenberry, A., Mirabella, R. and Sandberg, B. (2019) Reframing nonprofit organizations: Democracy, inclusion, and social change, Irvine: Melvin & Leigh.

Smith, L. T. (2013) Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples, London: Zed Books.




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