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Instructions for NACTA Authors 
Advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning
The NACTA Journal is a professional refereed journal published quarterly by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA). It is directed toward the scholarship of teaching and learning and the professional advancement of the teacher of agriculture and related disciplines. The Journal presents papers on all aspects of teaching, including methods, problems, philosophy and rewards. The Journal offers something for every teacher in agriculture or a related discipline. Whether traditional classroom or extension-related, its primary purpose is to strengthen professional competence in college and adult teaching.

Manuscripts are submitted to the NACTAJournal electronically at the following website:
Or the submission site can be accessed through the NACTA website:


The NACTA Journal invites contributions from faculty in agriculture and related disciplines.

Contributions should deal principally with: the teachers' role as an educator and communicator; skills, techniques, philosophy and methods useful in such roles and aspects of teacher learning environment management, leadership, supervision, and administration essential to the effective performance of such roles. Manuscripts are based essentially on research in teaching, on creative thought, such as theoretical models, and on case studies in which an experience is examined through a theoretical framework and the implications for application are fully explored. Manuscripts dealing primarily with technical subject matter in agronomy, animal science, economics, etc. are better published elsewhere. 
Present material in easy-to-read language. Avoid jargon and define technical terms when necessary for clarity. Remember your audience spans several disciplines.

Preparation of the Manuscript – General Comments

Paper. Use Microsoft Word set for standard-sized paper (8.5 x 11 inch [216 x 280 mm]) with one inch top, bottom and side margins. Type and submit the first draft in double space using the Times New Roman 12-point font. Note: Add line numbers to the initial submission.
Style. Write tight! Expand on important points but do so with economy. Be direct in your statements. Most manuscripts can be condensed by up to one third without loss of quality.
Opening line. Use important statements in the first line of a paragraph, with the remainder of the paragraph explanatory to the opening statement.
Voice. Use the active voice in most sentence constructions. It lends conciseness and certitude to your sentences. The passive voice is less concise and sometimes infuses the text with uncertainty. “The student read the book” (5 words) is more concise than “The book was read by the student.” (7words)
Tabs. Use no tabs in the manuscript. Begin all paragraphs at the left margin and leave a “ragged right” margin. Set off paragraphs with a double space. Set up tables using Microsoft’s table feature. 
Spacing. Use a single space between the end of one sentence and the beginning of another. In Literature Cited, use single space between author and date, lines of the reference title and end of the title and the journal name.
Page numbers. Include page numbers on all submitted manuscripts.

Quotations. Limit quotations. Use of lengthy quotations is seldom necessary and adds excess verbiage to the manuscript. Use ellipsis to indicate you omitted words from a quotation. If the quote contains a misspelled word, acknowledge this with [sic] following the word. You are responsible for making sure your quote is accurate. Use italics on quotes more than two lines long.

Your readers are professionals. Paraphrase important passages and cite their source without quoting them verbatim.

Do not use lengthy testimonials to illustrate points. Suffice it to paraphrase student reaction to a study, etc. Testimonials are not refereed and their authenticity cannot be confirmed.


Pronouns. Use first or third person pronouns for clarity.

Subheads. Use subheadings to emphasize important areas of the manuscript. Center subheadings of the major sections of the manuscript; begin lesser subheadings flush left. Prepare subheads in 12-point bold font.
Numbers. Spell out numbers one to ten unless they are a measurement, page number, scale label in a study or a grade level; for example 2 inches, 6 miles, page 3, scale of 1 to 5, student 1, teacher 4, grade10, etc. Arabic numerals are always used for figures, tables and lists.
Metric. The Journal has international circulation. Provide the metric equivalent for measurements such as miles, inches, feet, acres, etc.
And. Always spell out and never use &.
Percentages. Use the % symbol unless the percentage begins a sentence.
Significant figures. Use two significant figures; the use of three or more is rarely necessary and makes the data difficult to interpret. Be sure your data is not more accurate than your measurements. Show significance data. You cannot state a significant difference between two numbers without statistical analysis.

Citations in the Text

Use the name and date system. Cite references as follows:

  • One author:  (Gough, 1989) or Gough (1992) depending upon context
  • Two authors:   (Gough and Smith,1995)
  • More than 2 authors:  (Gough et al.,1996)

Two citations by the same author(s) in the same year: (Gough and Smith, 1995a) or (Gough and Smith, 1995b)

Alphabetize multiple citations by senior author and separate by semicolons: (Gough and Smith,1995b; Malcom, 1936; Smith et al.,1987)

When there are multiple citations by the same author(s), arrange them in chronological order: (Gough, 1976, 1977b,1991).

When there are multiple citations with the same senior author but with different co-authors, arrange them chronologically, beginning with the earliest: (Gough and Abbott, 1977; Gough and Smith,1981; Gough et al.,1990)

When citing a quote, give the page numbers:(Abbott and Gough, 1992, p. 46-47). Do not cite the page if you are not quoting.



Figures should be clear and neat. Photos or figures should be submitted in the .tif or .jpeg format. (For more details on .tif or .jpeg images contact the Editor.) Computer-generated figures should have black symbols on white background. Do not submit shaded figure backgrounds or bar-graphs where differences are shown by various shades and hues of gray. These will be difficult to read in the hard copy.

– black and white printing. Use cross-hatching or another method to differentiate among bars.

Reference figures in the text but attach all figures to separate pages at the end of the manuscript, one figure per page. Type captions below the figure.



Make tables neat and clear. Place tables on separate pages at the end of the manuscript. Type captions above the table. Captions should be inclusive enough to allow the table to stand by itself. All captions and the tables themselves should be in 12-point Times New Roman font.

Use a minimum number of tables to support textual discussion. Tables should be numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Table titles should be in this format:

Table 1. Title of Table

Footnotes in tables should appear as superscript lower case letters beginning at the end of the alphabet, such as z,y,x etc. Use of “a”, “b”, “c”, etc. can be confused with indicators of statistical significance.

To indicate statistical significance, use a single asterisk (*) for P=0.05, a double asterisk (**) for P=0.01, and a triple asterisk (***) for P=0.001. Use small letters (a,b,c, etc.) to indicate mean separation and indicate in a footnote the level of significance (P=0.05, P=0.01, or P=0.001 level). “NS” indicates non-significance. You must state the test applied to generate significance. Explain your symbols in a footnote. For example:

1 Mean separation in rows by Gough's Multiple Range test, P=0.05

2 NS, *, **, *** Nonsignificant or significant at P= 0.05, 0.01, or 0.001, respectively using Gough’s Multiple Range test.


Documentation of Institutional Review Board

Documentation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or exemption is mandatory:

  • State explicitly that human subjects' review was approved and how informed consent or assent was obtained.
  • If the protocol was exempt from IRB approval, then indicate this.

These are examples of IRB approval statements:

  • The <insert institution name> Institutional Review Board approved the study protocol and all participants provided written informed consent prior to participation in the study.
  • This study was deemed exempt by <insert institution name> Institutional ReviewBoard.
  • This study was deemed exempt under federal regulation 45 CFR§46.101(b).

The IRB approval or exemption can be provided as a footnote to the title of the manuscript.


Major Divisions of the Manuscript

The major divisions of a research report include:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results and Discussion
  • Summary
  • Literature Cited

Authors of predominantly philosophical works may omit one or more of these divisions or may substitute more appropriate categories. Prepare division headings in bold font and type them flush left.

Title: Make this a brief and precise description of the manuscript's contents. Usually, 10 to 12 words are sufficient.

Title Page: Place the names of the author(s) from the same institution on the same line, the institution on the second and the city and state on the third line. If the manuscript has more than one author from different institutions, place the institution information beneath the author name. For example:

R. Parker and R.Rudd
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC
Provide complete contact information (department, phone and email) and, if desired, professional ranks or other titles as a footnote to the author/s name/s.

For U.S. addresses, use two letter abbreviations for states, followed by the Zip Code. For Canadian addresses, use city, province (abbreviated), postal code and country name. For other foreign addresses, give name of the city and country in English.

Footnotes: On the cover page: acknowledgments, contribution number and complete contact information (as indicated above) are provided as footnotes. Use Arabic numerals (1,2,3) for cover page footnotes.

Do not use footnotes in the text, but insert the information in parenthetical clauses.

Use of footnotes in tables as discussed under the section headed “Tables.”

Text: Prepare all text in 12-point normal TimesNew Roman font.

Abstract: Limit this to 200 words. Include only significant findings. Do not include review of literature, materials and methods, reference to tables or figures, or other information not pertinent to results. Tell what you found, not how you found it. This is meant to be an informative digest of the significant conclusions of the paper and should be able to stand alone.

Introduction: Include the review of literature here, citing only those references that are germane to the manuscript. Be concise.

Materials and Methods: You may head this section as such or simply as “Methods,” whichever is more appropriate to the manuscript. Tell how you did the work. You may cite references that explain procedures you used, such as “...using the XYZ test of Koch (1972).”

Results and Discussion: Tell what you found and discuss its importance to the field. Literature citations are appropriate in this section, as well as in the Introduction, with the difference being that here you use them to support your data. Do not use this section as an extension of the Introduction.

Summary: This is a brief restatement at the end of the text highlighting the findings and conclusions with the intent of driving home the point of the paper.

Literature Cited: Include here are all the citations referenced in the text. The Journal style allows only for a Literature Cited section. Single space the information for each citation and then double-space between citations.

Indicate personal communications with citation in the text as (Smith, A.P., personal communication).

Alphabetize citations in the Literature Cited. If multiple citations have the same author(s), list them chronologically. If multiple citations have the same senior author, list them as follows:


Journal Citations:

Gough, R.E. 2011. The use of turnips in the classroom. Journal of Applied Vegetable Culture 46(2): 56-62.

Gough, R.E. and V.G. Shutak. 2006. Blueberries are for the birds. Journal of Ridiculous Results 21(3): 1-12.

Gough, R.E., R. Ditterline and D.Cash. 2014. Judging alfalfa. Journal of Fair Judging 23: 5-10.

Note: When a reference has only two authors, the names are separated by “and” with no preceding comma. When more than two authors appear, use a comma to separate the next-to-the-last name from the “and” preceding the last name, as in the third example above.

Do not enclose journal titles in quotation marks.Do not italicize journal titles.


Digital Object Identifier (DOI): Acceptable in the following format:

Earwood, K. and M. Pace. 2016. Paying attention to adult learning online: The pedagogy and politics of community. Computers and Composition 23(1): 32-48. DOI: 10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.006.

Book citations:

Smith, R.B. 2011. The role of turnips in healthcare. 4th ed. Plentywood, MT: ABC Press.

Jones, A.B.(ed.). 2008. Using the wood lathe in shop. Roundup, MT: Two-Dot Press.

Note: Do not underline or italicize book titles.


Book chapters:

Best, J.P. 2007. Growing kumquats in Montana. In: Blank, D.P. and H. Bowman (eds.). The use of citrus in rocky mountain agriculture. Billings, MT: TheCut BankPress.


Thesis or Dissertation:

Schaff, P.A. 2013. Use of sulfur in ruminant digestion systems. PhD Diss., Dept. of Animal Science, Univ. of East Anaconda, 1100 Long Road, Anaconda, MT.

Proceedings: (Citation of the complete proceedings)

National Society for the Culture of Parsnips. 2001. Proc. 21st Annual Meeting., Sheridan, WY, June.

(Citation for a single paper in the proceedings)

Brown, J.P. and I.M. Green.2005. Okra for the ages. In: Proceedings 31st Annual Meeting of Okra Enthusiasts, Greenbow, ID: 1-7 Dec.


Gough, R.E., V.G. Shutak and R. Bates. 1999. Marketing highbush blueberries to undergraduate students. Montana Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 123.



Baker, T.J. and O. Baker. 2003 . Use of overhead visuals in the classroom. NACTA Journal 21(4): 28. (Abstract).



Parker, R.O. 2013. Using the internet for publication. (provide complete URL). Thomson Publishing. (date accessed).

For example:
Barkley, A. 2011. Academic coaching for enhanced learning. NACTA Journal. March 18, 2016.


No appendices accepted in Journal manuscripts.




These Latin abbreviations must have a period placed in the proper location:
et al.

Do not use ibid., item, op. cit., or other generally obsolete abbreviations. The construction “and etc.” is redundant and incorrect.

Endnotes: Do not use endnotes.

Font: Use 12-point Times New Roman font for the text. Do not change font size and type within a text.

Indent: Do not indent. Do not use tabs in the manuscript, but prepare everything flush left with “ragged right” margin. Do not use the space bar as you would on a typewriter. Using the space bar can cause misalignment of columns.

Margins: Use full-page text with one inch top, bottom, left and right margins. Do not arrange the text into columns and do not justify the right margin.

Spacing: Double-space the text but not the tables in the initial submission. If the work is accepted for publication you must submit the final revision single- spaced. Separate paragraphs and divisions with a double space.

Line Numbers: Using the features in word processing software, add line numbers to the initial submission.

Electronic File Format: Electronic files must be submitted in MS Word or compatible format. Do not submit manuscripts as PDFs.


Before you submit your manuscript, download this checklist to be sure your manuscript is in the best possible form for its review:


The NACTA Journal does not accept manuscripts previously published nor does it accept simultaneous submissions. Receipt of a manuscript for review will be assumed to carry with it an intent to publish. If you doubt suitability of a manuscript for the NACTA Journal, contact the editor prior to submission.

To submit a manuscript to the NACTA Journal, go to this website:

To contact the Editor:
Phone: 208-957-7001
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once a manuscript is submitted electronically the Editor creates an anonymous electronic copy for review. The submitting author will be assumed to be the corresponding author unless otherwise indicated.

Upon submission of a manuscript, the FastTrack electronic submission program assigns a submission ID number. Refer to this ID number in future correspondence regarding the disposition of the work.

The ID numbers are in the form: 2016-0102, where the first four numbers represent the year and the last four numbers represent the order of the manuscript in submission sequence.



All manuscripts undergo vigorous, double-blind peer- review prior to publication. The reviewers do not know the identities of the authors, nor do the authors know the identities of the reviewers. The manuscript is submitted to at least three reviewers who serve on the NACTA Editorial Board.

Reviewers are faculty members in colleges and universities throughout North America. Names and affiliations of current reviewers are listed inside the front cover of the Journal. All manuscripts are also reviewed by the NACTA Journal Editor, who holds final authority on the acceptance of material for the Journal. Reviews are usually completed about eight weeks after initial receipt of the manuscript from the author.

The results of the review process will be emailed to the submitting author shortly after the review process has been completed. The disposition of the manuscript will fall into one of four categories:

  1. Accept. After considering the comments and suggestions of reviewers, final, revised copies of these manuscripts are submitted as attachments to the original submission on the NACTA FastTracksite.
  2. Accept after Revisions and Addressing Reviewer Comments. These manuscripts will be acceptable for publication with some revisions suggested by the reviewers and/or Editor. When the revision is submitted in final form, authors will often be asked to submit a separate document indicating how they addressed each concern of each reviewer.
  3. Reject in Present Form but Invite Resubmission. These hold promise for reconstruction into acceptable works. The authors will be strongly encouraged to consider the comments of the Editor and reviewers and to resubmit a thoroughly revised manuscript for re- review, and resubmission to the electronic review process.
  4. Reject. Manuscripts will be rejected for publication because they deal with subjects inappropriate for NACTA Journal readers, or because the revision and resubmission of the manuscript did not sufficiently address issues from the original submission.

Return of Accepted, Reviewed and Corrected Manuscripts

Prepare all final manuscripts single spaced and without line numbers. Send final, revised manuscripts to the editor by attaching to the original manuscript at the submission site:
Also, attach any supporting documents.
The NACTA Journal does not provide preprints or reprints, but the Editor will provide an Adobe PDF of the final article as published in the Journal. Authors can use this to make their own reprints of their articles.

What is NACTA?

The North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) is a professional society that focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning agriculture and related disciplines at the postsecondary level. Members of NACTA are from two-year and four-year colleges, public and private.


Formed in 1955, the mission of NACTA is to:

  • Provide a forum for discussion of issues related to the improvement of college instruction
  • Seek to improve higher education
  • Encourage and promote excellence in instruction

Contact the Editor


Dr. Rick Parker

NACTA Journal Editor

Phone: 208-957-7001

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Updated March 2016 

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