Submission guidelines

CDQ publishes four types of content:

  • Original research. Articles that cross disciplinary boundaries and focus on various aspects involved in designing and communicating information (6-8,000 words not counting references).
  • Experience reports. Articles that present project–or workplace–focused summaries of important technologies, techniques, methods, pedagogies, or product processes (3-5,000 words not counting references).
  • Book reviews. Short reviews of books you think may be of interest to the communication design field
  • Field Perspectives & Industry Insights. Opinion-based articles about topics in communication fields (UX, technical communication, communication studies, rhetoric, etc.), including academic and industry issues. These articles can be written in a less formal style than traditional academic articles and may highlight or question trends, introduce the audience to emerging technologies, advocate for changes in practice, or draw attention to overlooked topics, to name a few possibilities. These articles do not require abstracts and will go through editorial review rather than full peer review. Please reach out to the associate editor ( about your idea before submitting a full article. Field Perspectives & Industry Insights should be ~ 2,000-3,000 words long.

All original research and experience reports should be submitted directly to CDQ’s editor at All original research and experience reports go through a full double-anonymous peer review process, and everyone is welcome to submit their work for consideration.

Book reviews go through editorial review, and you should query CDQ’s book review editor–Erika Sparby (–before submitting a book review.

Special issue proposals

We are also interested in proposals for guest editing special issues. As a guest editor, you would be responsible for providing three to five peer reviewed articles on a specific topic along with an article-length introduction to the issue’s topic. You may propose special issue individually, or as a group. Your proposal should demonstrate expertise on the topic being proposed and demonstrate the topic’s current interest to members of the design community. Each proposal should include a résumé/CV for proposed guest editors and a draft call for submissions. Guest editors are responsible for publicizing calls for papers, recruiting subject matter experts as peer reviewers, coordinating double anonymized peer reviews, corresponding with authors and reviewers, editing final drafts, and submitting final drafts and any necessary forms to the CDQ editor. We strongly suggest you reach out to CDQ’s editor ( before submitting a full proposal.

CDQ manuscript submission guidelines

As you finalize your submission, feel free to look at CDQ’s reviewer guidelines . All submissions that are sent out for review will be reviewed anonymously by at least two reviewers using these guidelines. Additionally, we ask that all authors read our policy on inclusivity, anti-racism, and research ethics before submitting.

Please use the following guideline to format all original research and experience reports.

  • Abstract: ~100 words
  • Keywords: 3 – 5 words that will help readers locate your article
  • Article length: For original research articles, 6,000 to 8,000 words (not including “References” or Appendices). For experience reports, 3,000-5,000 words (not including “References” or Appendices). Individuals can submit slightly longer or slightly shorter manuscripts, but they should contact the CDQ editor before submitting
  • Margins: 1″ margins on all sides
  • Font: 11 or 12 pt. Times New Roman for body text, Euphemia 14 for headings
  • Spacing: Single spaced; do not use tabs to indicate a new paragraph; instead, use a blank line between paragraphs
  • Pagination: Provide a page number in the upper, right-hand corner of all pages – e.g., pg. 2
  • Citation style: American Psychological Association (APA) 7 – for examples of APA citation style, see Purdue OWL’s page on APA style
  • Avoiding oppressive language (credit to Technical Communication Quarterly for inspiring these guidelines):
    • Make sure to read CDQ’s policy on inclusivity and anti-racist language before submitting.
    • Do not assume an author’s pronoun unless you can confirm pronouns with the author or on their website. If you can’t confirm pronouns, just try to avoid using “he” or “she” when referring to a specific author.
    • CDQ follows the AP style guide’s policy on capitalizing racial and ethnic groups, meaning you do not capitalize “white,” but you should capitalize Black, LatinX, and Indigenous.
    • Avoid gender binaries if possible. In other words, avoid phrases like “men and women” that imagine gender as a binary with only two choices.
  • Accessibility:
    • Authors must provide descriptive alternative text for each image. Here is a guide on how to write good alt text, and here is how to add alt text to an image in Microsoft Word.
    • Provide tables as marked-up text, and not as images
    • Provide automated lists, and not manual lists
    • Use “styles” in Microsoft Word to mark each heading. Using Microsoft Word styles makes your article far more accessible to assistive screen readers. Here is a guide to using heading styles.
    • Check accessibility of Word documents before submission using the “Check Accessibility” tool
  • Headings:
    • Primary-level headings = Centered, bold text with initial capitals (Example Primary-Level Heading).
    • Secondary-level headings = Left-aligned, bold with initial capitals (Example Secondary-Level Heading)
    • Third-level headings = Left-aligned, italics with initial capitals on first word of heading only (Example tertiary-level heading)
    • Fourth-level headings = Left-aligned, bod with initial capitals on first word of heading only, and in-line with the text (Example fourth-level heading. Sentence then starts here)
    • All headings MUST be assigned using Microsoft Word styles to help improve accessibility. Here is a guide to using heading styles.
  • Visuals:
    • Integrate visual elements into the pages/text of the related manuscript for initial review. (Authors of manuscripts accepted for publication will submit image files separately for layout, and receive additional formatting guidelines for visuals upon notice of acceptance.)
    • Identify all visual elements (e.g., tables, graphs, charts, and figures) via a corresponding, descriptive label (e.g., Table 1, Figure 1, etc.)
    • Provide a corresponding descriptive caption for each visual element and format captions as follows: e.g., Table 1: Sample Table Entry
    • Provide a corresponding in-text reference for each visual element and format as follows: e.g., The researchers collected extensive data on this topic (see Table 1).
    • Make sure that, for any visual elements that are not the your own creation, you have the express, written permission of the related copyright holder to include the visual element in the manuscript at the time the manuscript is submitted for initial publication consideration. You must also provide a corresponding citation or reference noting the origin of the visual element (e.g., Figure 1: Example Interface for Reference (Smith, 2014))