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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • I have read and followed the Author Guidelines for this article submission.

Author Guidelines

Therapeutic Recreation Journal (TRJ) / ATRA Annual in Therapeutic Recreation (Annual) Author Submission Guidelines

The Therapeutic Recreation Journal (TRJ) is a quarterly publication devoted to publishing scholarly and substantive manuscripts in the field of therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy (TR/RT). To be considered for publication the material must be (a) germane to the topic of TR/RT; (b) theoretically or empirically based with practical TR/RT implications; and (c) substantive in the sense of proposing, discovering, or replicating knowledge in the field of TR/RT. All material should adhere to the manuscript preparation guidelines that are outlined in each issue of TRJ.

The ATRA Annual is the official research journal of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. It is published as the 4th issue of the TRJ annually. The purpose of the Annual is to further advance the body of knowledge of the therapeutic recreation profession by creating new knowledge and understandings in practice and in education. Only those manuscripts that fit the purpose of the ATRA Annual in Therapeutic Recreation will be reviewed for publication.

When an article is submitted to TRJ/ATRA Annual, it is considered the property of TRJ/ATRA Annual. If the article is not accepted for publication, it will be archived in the Sagamore Management System. Authors are not paid for articles published in TRJ/ATRA Annual.

Manuscripts submitted to the Therapeutic Recreation Journal (TRJ) are considered for publication in issues 1, 2, and 3; the ATRA Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, (Annual) is published as issue 4 of the Therapeutic Recreation Journal (TRJ). All manuscripts are reviewed according to the editorial policy outlined in each issue. Review decision criteria for manuscripts submitted to all four issues are the same – accept, revise, revise and resubmit, and or reject. The Editor-in-Chief and Co-Editors (TRJ & Annual) jointly consider questions regarding these decision criteria. This practice adheres to the guidelines established by the APA, section 12.8 on p. 379, (7th ed). All submitted articles should follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, latest edition.


When a manuscript is accepted for publication in issues of the TRJ, the author(s) will prepare objectives/questions on manuscript content. A third party affiliated with ATRA will develop the objectives/questions for accepted ATRA Annual issue manuscripts. The purpose of these questions in the TRJ and Annual is to measure reader competence through issuance of CEUs by ATRA. Readers who elect to apply for CEUs from the issues have a 5-year period from the date of the issue to complete the CEU process.

CEU Instructions and Examples (pdf)

2020 Acceptance Rate 21% (TRJ/Annual)


  • All materials must to be double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

    • Include no more than 27 lines of text per page (not including the header and page number).

    • The desired manuscript length is approximately 20 pages, excluding references, tables and figures.

    • Use 12-point Times or Times New Roman font.

    • Number all pages consecutively.

    • Add line numbers via selecting Layout, line numbers, continuous for all pages.

    • Only the title should appear on the manuscript itself. The title should appear at the top of the first page and then followed by the body of the manuscript (the abstract and key words are entered in the meta data section of the Summary Menu in the Sagamore management system).

  • Prepare each table, drawing, illustration, photo, or map on a separate page. Limit these to a maximum of four. All images submitted must be 300 dpi.

  • When submitting your manuscript online, you will fill out the following information in the meta data under the Summary menu:

    • an abstract of approximately 150 words;

    • title, submission date, author(s);

    • five to seven keywords in alpha order to include RT/TR, or APIED.

    • biographical sketch of the author(s), not to exceed four (4) lines; and

    • address for primary manuscript contact.

  • Research-oriented manuscripts should contain the problem, need or purpose of the study, review of literature/related research that includes the conceptual foundation/theoretical basis for the study, inclusion/exclusion criteria, participants or data sources, research design, analytic strategy, data-gathering procedures, sample size, or description of the volume of observations or number of participants, basic findings, limitations, conclusions and implications for applying research findings to practice and conducting future research.

  • Theoretical or conceptual manuscripts should contain the need or purpose of the paper with a strong rationale for its unique contribution to the literature, review of the literature and related research, synthesis of the literature that results in a unique perspective or framework for TR/RT services, implications and applications for practice, and suggestions for future research.

  • Reference citations should adhere to APA style (7th ed.). including the doi and full url.

    • All references to books, bulletins, and articles must be identified in the text by last name of author, year of publication, and where appropriate, pagination. Depending on construction of the sentence, the citation will appear as Wise (2020) or (Wise, 2020). Specify subsequent citations of the same source in the same way as the first. However, within a paragraph, do not include the year in subsequent references to the original work as long as the study cannot be confused with other studies in the paragraph or the manuscript.

    • For direct quotations, pagination follows the year of publication, separated by a comma (e.g., Wise, 2020, p. 64).

    • If an author has more than one citation in the same year, distinguish the citations using letters (a, b, c, etc.) attached to the year in the text and the reference list (Stumbo, 2013a, 2013b).

    • When a work has one or two authors, include author name(s) in every citation in the text. When a work has three or more authors include only the name of the first author plus “et al.” in every citation, including the first citation, unless this would cause ambiguity (e.g., Hawkins et al., 2018).

    • For a group authorship, identify the author with the abbreviation in the first citation with the year (e.g., American Therapeutic Recreation Association [ATRA], 2017); in subsequent citations only the abbreviation and year (ATRA, 2017).

    • Enclose a series of references within parentheses, separated by semicolons in alphabetical order (Carter et al., 2017; Craig, 2017; Ross & Snethen, 2017; Stumbo, Zahl et al., 2013; Wilder et al., 2017)

  • Append a list of references (double spaced-hanging indent) used in the text alphabetically on a separate page at the end of the manuscript. Provide the surnames and initials for up to an including 20 authors. When there are 21 or more authors, include the first 19 authors’ names, insert an ellipsis (…) and then add the final author’s name. For books do not include publisher location.

    • Hawkins, B. L., Craig, P. J., & Anderson, L. (2018). Examining the educational requirements for entry-level RT/TR practice: The process and recommendations of the ATRA Higher Education Task Force [Special issue ATRA Annual]. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 52(4), 410-418. 10.18666/TRJ-2018-V52-I4-9164.

    • Ross, J. E., & Snethen, G. (2017). Service trends in therapeutic recreation. In N. J. Stumbo, B. D. Wolfe, & S. Pegg (Eds.), Professional issues in Therapeutic Recreation: On competence and outcomes (3rd ed., pp. 233-256). Sagamore-Venture Publishing LLC.

For gray literature i.e. government reports, research reports, codes of ethics:

  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2014). Healthy people 2020, topics & objectives, disability and health. objectives/topic/disability-and-health

  • Include the complete url, do not use a period; retrieval date may or may not be needed see 7th ed. APA, p. 290, 9.16.

  • American Therapeutic Recreation Association. (2009). Code of ethics.

  • List the complete group author name, and when publisher do not list location or repeat group author name.


The focus of the practice perspectives is to embrace different ways of knowing about the TR/RT experience and facilitating service delivery in both participant relationships and clinical, administrative, and interdisciplinary contexts. This section has two distinct components:

  • case reports that are about (a) an individual or group in TR/RT and/or health and human service or (b) an intervention, protocol, or organizational aspect of TR/RT practice and

  • personal narratives, also known as "first-person accounts" or "lived experience reports," as a thematic lesson for TR/RT practice (by a direct or indirect recipient of care or a facilitator of service delivery).

Manuscript Preparation

The manuscript should describe any of the following:

  • one or more unique practice applications of the TR/RT process with participants (assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, documentation) or programs;

  • units of practice such as implementing a protocol or therapeutic modality; and/or

  • the experience of participants, therapists, families, or colleagues with TR/RT, program design or innovation, ethical dilemmas, or management strategies.

Case reports should be written in past tense; personal narratives should be written in the first or third person appropriate to the genre (interview, letter, memoir, journal, chronology, autobiographical portrait). The recommended length for a case report or personal narrative is 10 to 15 pages, inclusive. Required components for each manuscript formatted in APA style include

  • meta data (title, abstract, key words, author information, contact of primary author

  • case report or personal narrative (see content guidelines below),

  • references, and

  • tables and figures (high-resolution digital photographs will be accepted as figures).

Case Report Content

A. Introducing the Case Report

This section sets the stage, helping the reader understand the conceptual basis of the case.

  • Begin with biographical, demographic, or situational facts that orient the reader to a specific individual or practice scenario

  • Maintain confidentiality in presenting facts by using a participant or agency pseudonym or other mock identification.

  • For reports about individuals, include (a) age (e.g., chronological/mental age estimation), (b) gender, (c) diagnosis/prognosis and relevant clinical background information that is needed to fully understand the report (e.g., relevant medications, functional levels, goals, or interdisciplinary and/or TR/RT interventions), (d) facility type (e.g., for-profit, SNF, ICF, long-term care facility), and (e) length of stay. For reports about group interventions, protocols, or other practice contexts that impact clients (e.g., strategic planning, quality improvement activity), explain the relevance to TR/RT with basic introductory definitions and explanations.

B. Content of the Case Report

This section should present content with substance.

  • Include adequate information to trace the TR/RT process through the course of the case (i.e., assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, documentation).

  • Clearly delineate the context of an intervention, protocol, or administrative strategy, revealing how and why it was chosen and whether it yielded results in TR/RT practice.

C. Author's Comments to Conclude the Case Report

This section should summarize the content with clinical or personal commentary, reflections, critique, and/or ideas for the future.

  • Avoid sentimentality in favor of new or unusual insight, sound integration with practice, or logical argument.

  • Conclude with real life-implications for TR/RT practice.

Personal Narrative Content

A. Introducing the Personal Narrative

This section introduces a practice-related experience or perspective.

  • Begin with a statement of the narrative's purpose (e.g., to recount a revealing story of practice, to illustrate a practice idea anecdotally or with scenarios, or to explain a process).

  • Exercise the author's choice to either (a) maintain confidentiality of identity to provide a level of comfort and anonymity to share the author's experience or (b) purposely reveal identity as a way to verify author's subjective experience.

B. Content of the Personal Narrative

This section elicits the reader's understanding of TR/RT-related practice and how participants, therapists, administrators, and others experience it, by conveying distinct feelings and thoughts about it.

  • Relay vivid details (by describing physical environments or features, behaviors, processes, or practice settings) to draw the reader into the experience and authenticate the author's firsthand knowledge.

  • Avoid sentimentality in place of compelling storytelling as a context for deeper understanding of a participant's perspective, a therapist's perspective, or the perspective of any party involved in the narrative.

  • Uncover and reveal inaccessible, paradoxical, or taken for granted aspects of practice by writing about an authentic experience using real-life examples such as images, scripts, letter writing, or diary entries.

  • Coherently recount practice-related experience as an ordered sequence by combining and balancing showing (in dialogue, scenarios, or procedural steps) with telling (by explanation of an event's significance) so that the importance of the experience shows for the reader and raises ethical or moral sensitivity regarding practice.

C. Author's Comments to Conclude the Personal Narrative

This section should move the reader to reflect and respond to practice in new ways. Conclude with a retrospective finale to interpret the author's experiences connected to practice.

References. As part of some case reports or personal narratives, references may help to deepen the reader's focus on the content of a practice perspective. References may include published literature sources, personal interviews or communication, observations, or unpublished material relevant to the article.

Tables and figures. As part of some case reports or personal narratives, tables or figures might illustrate theory or practice application. Tables and figures are camera-ready submissions formatted in APA style.


TRJ/ATRA Annual invite the submission of brief reports on any aspect of TR/RT theory and practice. Brief reports will be subject to double-blind review and should not exceed 10 double-spaced pages (3,000 words, excluding references and tables). Manuscripts exceeding this length should be submitted to the general call for full-length manuscripts. Examples of appropriate content for brief reports include the following:

  • preliminary findings of a pilot study, with emphasis placed on initial results, suggestions for future research, and how the author intends to further pursue the topic;

  • a specific aspect of a larger study or a replication or an extension of a previously reported study that contrasts the results of the two studies, referring to the earlier study for methodological details;

  • a summary of key findings and implications from a lengthy non-journal publication; or

  • a highlight of an unusual observation or methodological approach.

In all cases, the discussion of issues should be supported by empirical evidence, collected through qualitative or quantitative investigations. Brief theoretical reports of research are especially appropriate when a fuller report is available elsewhere or when a more comprehensive follow-up study is planned. In regard to content, authors should provide a sentence to a paragraph outlining the theoretical framework guiding the brief empirical report. The theoretical rationale should receive modest coverage in the research report (1 to 2 paragraphs) along with a brief review of the representative literature on the topic, with the main portion of the paper devoted to a thorough reporting and interpretation of the results. Unless previously published and cited as such, methodology should be fully explained as well.


TRJ/ATRA Annual also solicits practitioner and student manuscripts on intervention protocols for recreational therapy practice. The writing should convey clearly, adequately, and precisely the purpose of the manuscript. Graphics should be used appropriately and basic data presented. Grammatical aspects should be correct and sequence of thought adequate. Manuscripts must adhere to APA (7th ed., 2010) style guidelines.

Manuscript Preparation

The intervention protocol guidelines should include the following content:

  1. Introducing the Intervention Protocol

This section sets the stage, so the reader understands the conceptual basis of the protocol by describing the client population for whom the protocol is developed, the facility type, and the typical course of recreational therapy intervention for the target client population. Authors must maintain confidentiality in presenting facts by using client(s) or agency pseudonym or other mock identification.


  1. Theoretical and Evidence-based Foundations

This section should present content with substance by defining the theoretical and evidence-based foundations for recreational therapy services, client diagnostic area, and intervention area.


  1. Client and Intervention Protocol Background

Define and describe the client(s) involved in the intervention protocol. Define the purpose, structure, and format of the intervention protocol including:

  • Purpose

  • Entrance and exit requirements for client involvement in the protocol

  • Individual or group

  • Frequency and duration of intervention sessions

  • Safety considerations, facility and equipment requirements

  • Methods of implementation

  • Client outcomes


  1. Intervention Protocol Implementation

This section describes the intervention protocol within the therapeutic recreation process of assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and documentation.


Assessment: describing how clients are assessed for placement in the intervention protocol.


Planning: describing how client goals were determined, referrals, coordination and/or collaboration with treatment team professionals, etc.


Implementation: describing the exact sequence and execution of the intervention protocol with observations and data on each session content and process.


Evaluation: describing an appraisal of how the clients responded to the planned intervention, measurement of client outcomes, adaptations and revisions of the protocol, and observed unanticipated positive and negative outcomes of the implemented intervention protocol.


Documentation: describing how the client outcomes from the intervention are documented.


  1. Author Comments

This section should summarize the content with clinical or personal commentary, reflections, critique, and/or ideas for the future by providing new or unusual insights, sound integration with practice or logical argument, and concluding with real life implications for recreational therapy practice.


  1. References

All references cited in the manuscript should be appropriately referenced according to APA style (7th edition). References may include published literature sources, personal interviews or communication, observations, or unpublished material relevant to the article.


  1. Tables and Figures

As part of some protocol interventions, tables or figures might illustrate theory or practice application. Tables and figures are camera-ready submissions formatted in APA style.


Useful References

Buettner, L. L., & Fitzsimmons, S. (2006). Introduction to evidence-based recreational therapy.

Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, 15, 10-19.

Stumbo, N. J., & Peterson, C. A. (2009). Therapeutic recreation program design: Principles and procedures (5th ed.). Urbana, IL: Sagamore-Venture.

Published Example

Di Giovani, V. I., & Piatt, J. A. (2016). Guided imagery: A therapeutic intervention for clients with chronic lower back pain. Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, 24, 64-72.


All TRJ/ATRA Annual content is managed by Sagamore Publishing through a data management system, which can be accessed at Electronic submissions must adhere to the preparation guidelines (double-spaced, 1-in. margins, 12-point Times or Times New Roman font, and so forth) and must be sent in Microsoft Word format.

Step 1-Start: New Submission

ATRA Annual submissions: To submit your manuscript for the Annual, go to Sagamore-Venture’s website ( and register as an author for the Therapeutic Recreation Journal (TRJ). If you are already registered as an author for TRJ, log into your account on the Sagamore/TRJ website. In your “My Journals” section, click on the [New Submission] for the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. The next page (Step 1) will have a dropdown menu for Journal Section—choose “ATRA Annual.” This directs your manuscript to the Annual co-editors to be considered. The Annual is published as the fourth quarter issue of TRJ.

TRJ submissions: Manuscripts submitted to issues one, two, and three of TRJ may be submitted at any time throughout the year; publication of manuscripts is determined by date of final acceptance. If not registered with the Sagamore-Venture system (, please register as an author; otherwise log into your account. Select “New Submission”; Step 1, Starting the Submission, Journal Section, select the type of manuscript, complete the acknowledgements, and move to Step 2.

ATRA Annual and TRJ manuscript submissions:

Step 2-Upload Manuscript:

In the system only the manuscript is submitted under “Step 2 Original Manuscript”

Step 3-Enter Metadata:

In the system under Step 3“Meta Data” provide the manuscript title, key words, abstract, and author bios, acknowledgements, and contact to receive system emails

Step 4-Upload Supplementary Files:

In the system submit Tables, Figures, Photos, objectives and CEU questions, and author responses (without author identification) to editorial requests and revisions under Step 4 “Supplementary File”

Step 5-Confirmation

Confirm your submission, only the contact receives automatic emails generated by the system


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