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ACA Best Practices in Research, Counseling Practitioner Award

The ACA Best Practices in Research, Counseling Practitioner Award recognizes a best practices research project conducted by a practicing counselor.

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Background and Purpose

Research projects completed within the last two years that further the evidence base for counseling practice will be considered for this award. Eligible projects may include original research or a synthesis of the research literature supporting a particular practice or approach.

A total of five Best Practices in Research Awards, inclusive of all categories (Counseling Practitioner, Faculty, Student), may be awarded.


February 15, 2021, 11:59 PM EST


Winners chosen and announced the week of March 15, 2021


ACA Research and Knowledge Committee


Complimentary registration for the 2021 ACA Virtual Conference Experience, and recognition during the virtual event. Winner will receive further information at the time of award notification.

Sponsor: The American Counseling Association Foundation

Eligibility, Rules and Criteria

Any ACA member whose primary professional activity involves counseling practice is eligible for this award. Research topics can include areas of counseling practice, assessment, consultation or advocacy.

Award Consideration

  • Research projects must have been completed within the previous two years and must further the evidence base for counseling practice.
  • Eligible projects may include original research or a synthesis of the research literature supporting a particular practice or approach.
  • Nominations must come from an ACA member.
  • The awardee must be an ACA member.
  • An individual can only be nominated for one award per year. 

Nomination Guidelines

The total submission package for this award may exceed 16 pages in length. All nomination materials must be combined into one document (all formats accepted), with the nomination letter first.

Nomination letter: In the letter, identify the nominee and the specific award. Explain why you believe the nominee should receive the award by responding to the specific criteria outlined in the nomination guidelines. Keep in mind that the awards reviewers are relying on the information you provide to choose the most deserving recipient for the award. Please address each nomination guideline and make sure your nominee meets the award criteria and requirements. Brevity, clarity and specificity are most important here.

All applications must include:

  • A description of the project using a standard Abstract form: Background, Research Question, Methods, Results and Conclusions. The detailed abstract should be no more than 1,000 words.
  • A 300-word justification of why this research should be given a Best Practices in Research Award.
  • Recommendation letters from individuals with knowledge about the contribution of the research (no more than two pages in length). Two letters of recommendation should be included, one verifying that the individual is a professional counselor and another from someone familiar with the work.
  • Recommendation letters should not be written by the nominee or co-authors of an article unless the nomination stems from a dissertation and the co-author is the dissertation chair (please disclose if this is the case).
  • Acknowledgment from the publisher of any work accepted for publication.

Supporting materials: Include a nominee biography. If there are additional materials (news reports, journal articles, etc.) that you feel help support the nominee’s achievements, please include a copy of them. You may also include a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resume of no more than four pages, highlighting the nominee’s relevant accomplishments, if available.


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