1. Henly, Susan J. PhD, RN

Article Content

In recent years, in all walks of life, the ubiquity of the Internet has changed the nature of human communication and access to information across the globe (Hassan, 2003). In the spirit of these changes, Nursing Research now uses the Letters to the Editor tab on the Editor's Web page ( to provide a mechanism for timely dialogue about the content and methods of nursing research and rapid response to articles published in the journal. In addition, the Letters to the Editor section is a platform for "opening up" the editorial process as questions about submission, review, and selection of papers are posted and answered.


Most letters posted on the Web site are concise commentaries about some aspect of a recently published feature paper, methodology piece, or brief report. Others support or oppose an editorial stance, assess current issues and trends in nursing research, or are calls to action based on findings from nursing research.


Recent posted correspondence illustrates representative topics. Correspondence between reader Dr. Huey-Shys Chen and authors Drs. Hsiu-Ju Chang and Kuan-Chia Lin about The Mediating and Moderating Roles of the Cognitive Triad on Adolescent Suicidal Ideation (published in 2007) provided an opportunity for explication of the quantitative untangling of theoretical relationships among three observed variables. In another posting, Jennifer Brown, neonatal intensive care unit nurse and pediatric nurse practitioner student, raised questions about generalizability and clinical application of findings from Dr. Cheryl Tatano Beck's 2006 article titled, The Anniversary of Birth Trauma: Failure to Rescue. Dr. Diana Mason wrote in support of Associate Editor Mary Blegen's 2006 editorial titled Safety of Health Care: An Amazing Possibility and delineated specific actions to be taken in follow-up. Letters about the editorial process focused on citation of electronic sources, the rationale for rejecting a quality manuscript, and even a comment on misuse of the words its and it's.


Quality letters are brief, usually emphasizing a single important point that is well stated and supported with data. Most letters involve persuasion. Letter writers should make all effort to avoid obvious logical fallacies such as hasty generalizations, unwarranted either-or constructions, or arguments that are off the point. As in all scientific communication, the tone should be balanced and fair. Although the contemporary Web site is used to circulate the letters, the traditional format for business correspondence is preserved.


Letters should be sent as an e-mail attachment using contact information on the Editor's Web page. The editor-in-chief moderates the Letters to the Editor section. She reads all letters, decides which letters are worthy of posting on the Web site, and invites authors to respond to questions and critiques of their published work.


Scientists as authors, reviewers, readers, and editorial staff benefit from a lively Letters to the Editor section. Be an engaged reader. Let us know what you think. Write a letter to the editor.


Susan J. Henly, PhD, RN


Associate Editor


Methods Director


Minnesota Center for Health Trajectory Research




Hassan, R. (2003). Chronoscopic society. Globalization, time, and knowledge in the network society. New York: P. Lang. [Context Link]