Mental Health Services Research primarily focuses on quantitative research, favoring experimental and quasi-experimental designs. However, qualitative research that aids in the understanding of services and their effects is welcome. The journal emphasizes effectiveness, as opposed to efficacy oriented research. That is, the journal focuses on research that occurs in the natural environment as opposed to laboratory studies. However, for important aspects of services that can not be studied in a natural environment, both simulations and laboratory studies are acceptable for review.
The journal especially seeks articles that address the relationship between the organization and financing of services and service quality, cost and outcome. Specifically research on managed care and its effects are a priority. Manuscripts that focus on measurement issues and instruments that are practical to use are also relevant. Manuscripts on services for children and adults are equally welcome. While studies that focus on substance abuse or use are not a priority for the journal, those studies focusing on co-occurring disorders are gladly received. The Journal will contain primarily original research. However, reviews, especially meta-analyses are welcome. Book reviews are a regular feature. Letters to the editor are acceptable. Essays that present theoretical or conceptual frameworks or discuss current issues in services research are desirable.