Call for Papers: The Discipline of Family Science

Special Issue in Marriage & Family Review

Marriage & Family Review invites journal article submissions by Feb. 1, 2023, for a special issue themed "The Discipline of Family Science," the goal of which is to "describe the value of Family Science and the state of the discipline of Family Science, and to promote discussion of future directions."

Types and topics of manuscripts could include historical reviews; content analysis; analysis of academic programs; identification of employment opportunities; surveys of students, scholars, or professionals; assessment research related to curricula or pedagogy; or discussion of the relationship between human development and Family Science.

The special issue will be guest-edited by Kathleen D. Dyer, Ph.D. Marriage & Family Review is edited by NCFR member Anthony G. James, Ph.D., CFLE.

See the full call below, and email Dr. Dyer with questions or to discuss submission ideas.

Marriage & Family Review
Theme: The Discipline of Family Science

Guest Editor: Kathleen Dyer
Submissions due: Feb. 1, 2023

Purpose of special issue: To articulate a clear identity for family science and to forge a direction for the academic discipline

Goal of special issue: To describe the value of family science and the state of the discipline of family science, and to promote discussion of future directions.

Brief Background  

Much of the early published work on the discipline of Family Science focused on the “problem” of the ambiguity of our identity (Burr & Leigh, 1983; Brock, 1985; NCFR Task Force, 1987; NCFR Task Force, 1988; Beutler, Burr, Bahr & Herrin, 1989; Menaghan, 1989; Jurich, 1989; David, 1993; Hans, 2014). It seems that “famology” did not take off as a new name for what may or may not have been a new discipline, but family science continued and is no longer in the tentative adolescent stage of its development as an academic discipline.  

There have been sporadic yet tantalizing publications exploring the Family Science discipline with less existential angst and more practical utility. A 2005 special issue of Journal of Family Psychology catalogued the research methodologies that help to define Family Science (Snyder & Kazak, 2005). Work has been published on strategies for training family scientists (Ganong, Coleman, & Demo, 1995) and the professionalization of family life education as the applied dimension of the discipline (Darling, Fleming, & Cassidy, 2009). Hamon and Smith (2014) described the curricular content of our academic departments. Hagenbuch and Hamon (2011) identified some of the reasons that college students are drawn to our discipline. Walker and Blankeyer (2013) have provided our first systematic glimpse at the careers pursued by the college students who graduate from our programs. 

However, much of this work was preliminary and tentative, and all of it is dated at this point. The status of the Family Science discipline deserves a fresh look. Family science flourishes as an academic discipline, though additional clarity is needed explaining the relationship between Human Development and Family Science (the academic unit where many family scientists are trained). The COVID-19 pandemic shone new light on the importance of issues that family scientists have been studying, behind the scenes, all along. Any of that earlier research might be replicated so we can see what has changed and what has stayed the same. New work needs to be done to describe where we are now. What is the work that family scientists do? How do we train family scientists? What research are we producing, and how is that research being used? What is needed for our discipline as we move into the future?

Specific types/topics of manuscripts that might be submitted. Manuscripts can be empirical studies, literature reviews, or position papers.

  • Historical reviews of family science, its academic standing, its professional organizations, and the content of its research
  • Content analyses of published science, textbooks, and other artifacts of the discipline
  • Analysis of existing academic programs in family science and their curricula
  • Identification of employment opportunities in family science
  • Surveys/interviews with students, alumni, faculty, department chairs, and working professionals in the field of family science
  • Assessment research related to curricula and pedagogy in family science
  • Clarity on the relationship and distinctions between the areas/fields of human development and family science, which mirrors the academic major of family science.

Manuscripts should not exceed 35 double-spaced pages including references and appendices. Please note in the cover letter that the manuscript is being submitted to the special issue “Discipline of Family Science”. For manuscript preparation guidelines and to submit a manuscript, go to

Please email guest editor Kathleen Dyer with questions or to discuss submission ideas.