I am writing a review article on dialectical behavioral therapy. If in the article, there are technical terms related to behavioral therapy, so, should I define each of the terms while writing the article or should I assume that the readers/editor/reviewers of the psychology journal know all these terms. For example: A term, cognitove behavioral therapy (CBT). Should I explain what is CBT or should I assume that readers know this type of term.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. This may be more of an opinion-based question that wouldn't be a good fit for this forum. I believe it's common practice to define terms that are important to the main content (like CBT), and for other terms (like conditioning), link to their definitions elsewhere. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Dec 8, 2020 at 18:57

1 Answer 1


This question may be better directed to academia.se.

In the first instance, you should check the editorial requirements of the journal you are targeting. Most journals prescribe that it is mandatory to spell out acronyms with first usage. It is possible that some very specific technical journals will allow common terminology through without being specific.

Your question is interesting in that you have used the acronym CAB for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, for which I use the acronym CBT. I personally associate CAB with Clinical Assessment of Behaviour. Clearly the acronyms CAB and CBT are not as well established as I had understood.

  • $\begingroup$ My question is not about spelling out the acronym. I want to ask that while writing an article, what type of reader should be kept in mind. The reader of journal or the reader of other field or both? If I am considering the reader of thag target journal, I may not have to expalain about every term that I may expect from the reader of that journal that they know about the term. $\endgroup$
    – jai
    Dec 7, 2020 at 18:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @jai Have you read papers in the journal you are submitting to? If not, why not? and why would you submit to a journal you have not read from? If yes, why can you not use those papers you read as a guide for what is normal? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Dec 7, 2020 at 19:10

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