The Varieties of Scholarly Publications

Hanna, S. D. (2001). The varieties
of scholarly publications. Financial Counseling and Planning, 12(1),

The Varieties of Scholarly

Sherman D. Hanna


What types of articles are
appropriate for this journal? This question often arises during the review
process, especially when reviewers used to survey research with large samples
review qualitative studies. Questions are also raised about article such
as the first one in this issue, “Planning for a Secure Retirement with
Distance Learning” by DeVaney and Bechman. My decisions are based on what
might be useful, so, for instance, a clear, scholarly discussion of an
innovative educational program would be appropriate. The one aspect that
is essential for an article, though, is a review of literature discussing
relevant previous publications.

This journal has included
articles based on qualitative research before, and the Powell and Powell
article, “The Financial Transition to Mature-Age Motherhood, ” is a good
example. This is a topic of particular interest to me, since I have helped
write papers on related topics before (DeVaney & Hanna, 1991; Hanna
& Rha, 2000). The basic economic theory used in those papers and in
the Powell and Powell article is the Life Cycle Model – rational households
try to smooth annual consumption rather than letting it go up or down as
income goes up or down. Children make the picture more complicated, but
presumably rational households attempt to maintain the same relative standard
of living. So, for instance, a household that does not save before having
children and cannot borrow much after the children arrive will experience
a decrease in its level of living. Hanna and Rha (2000) explored the theoretical
implications of uncertainty about income, but Powell and Powell discuss
in their qualitative study the issue of unexpected child births. Researchers
used to large samples might object that a qualitative does not “prove”
anything, but as I will discuss below, even sophisticated statistical analyses
of large samples will not really prove anything, just suggest possible

The Powell and Powell article
reminded me of an issue that reviewers sometimes raise – what if an author
has not cited relevant previous research? If authors have written the manuscript
without seeing particular articles, they may feel they do not need to cite
those articles. I have to decide in some cases. My favorite situation is
the frequent citation of Ando and Modigliani (1963). It is possible that
this is the only article about the Life Cycle model that some authors have
read, but there are hundreds of articles written since then that have expanded
the basic model. It is negligent for an author to describe “The Life Cycle
Model” based on that one article.

On the other hand, publications
in conference proceedings, however relevant, do not have to be cited unless
the authors really used them to develop their research. Conference publications
have not been subject to the same scrutiny as journal articles. Many authors
who have submitted manuscripts previously published in proceedings can
tell you that there are typically many changes by the time a similar article
appears in this journal.

According to the standard
guidelines of qualitative research, the Bearden article “Personal and Familial
Conflicts of Interest in Providing Financial Planning to Friends, Acquaintances
and Relatives” might not qualify as qualitative research, because he discusses
only two subjects. However, I found the article to be interesting and useful
in providing me insights. I teach a financial planning course in which
most of the students work with a relative or friend in developing a comprehensive
financial plan, and the issues he discusses seem very relevant. Of course,
many new financial planners also start with their friends and relatives,
so the issues are very relevant to many planners.

Grable and Joo’s article,
“A Further Examination of Financial Help-seeking Behavior,” further analyzes
issues related to their previous article in this journal. It is an important
topic for financial planners and counselors – it is nice to know what makes
some people seek help, but it is even more important to these professions
to understand why some people seek professional help.

Hogarth and Hilgert’s “Consumers’
Choice of Financial Institutions for Home-Secured Loans” looks at an important
topic for financial counselors as well as for public policy – there are
a lot of consumers paying high rates for home-secured loans. In a rational
world, households would choose the appropriate lenders and pay appropriate
interest rates, which might be high because of their past credit history,
etc. Some of the results suggest that the market is not working that perfectly.

Kim and DeVaney’s article,
“The Determinants of Outstanding Balances among Credit Card Revolvers,”
looks at credit card balances. One of the interesting results to me was
the fact that expected income growth was not significant. If this reflected
only household decisions, the result could be interpreted to mean that
consumers do not behave rationally according to the life cycle model, as
according to that model, those who expect higher income growth should borrow
more than otherwise similar consumers who do not expect income growth.
The real world, however, reflects a complex interaction between decisions
of lenders and decisions of borrowers, so we should not be all that confident
about our interpretations of statistical results.

DeVaney and Zhang’s “A Cohort
Analysis of the Amount in Defined Contribution and Individual Retirement
Accounts” attempts to answer an intriguing question. Do different cohorts
behave differently? The dominant cohort of this century and the past century,
the Baby Boom generation, has had such an impact that it is a popular research
topic. Even though I am one of the oldest baby boomers and I suspect that
we are different, there are extremely difficult issues in drawing inferences
about cohort effects, so I am not too confident that we can really understand
whether different cohorts are different. Nevertheless, the article provides
some useful insights.

The Koonce and Mauldin article,
“Differences in the Availability of Employer-Provided Fringe Benefits Among
the Working Poor, Near-Poor and Non-Poor,” provides insights into an important
resource for most households. It has implications for both personal finance
and family economics policy.

New Manuscript Submission Process

Please see the journal web
site for the new process ( I now encourage
electronic submissions, and I also want all authors to complete a submission
form (available for downloading as a Word file) that lists all previous
publications that include some parts of the manuscript being submitted.
This does not mean that I will reject manuscripts that have been published
in proceedings, but if I accept an article, it is essential in the future
that previous publications be mentioned. Also, if an author uses a paragraph
or more from a previous publication without citation, the author technically
has committed plagiarism. Therefore, I expect authors to be more careful
in the future in citing their own related previous publications


A. & Modigliani, F. (1963). The life cycle hypothesis of saving: Aggregate
implications and tests. American Economic Review, 53(1),

S. & Hanna, S. (1991). The effect of children on savings. Proceedings
of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education

S & Rha, J.-Y. (2000). The effect of household size changes on credit
use: An expected utility approach. Consumer Interests Annual, 46,

1. Sherman D. Hanna, Professor, Consumer and Textile
Sciences Department, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Ave., Columbus,
OH 43210-1295. Phone: 614-292-4584. Fax: 603-457-6577. E-mail: