Call for 2021 Print Journal Submissions

The Public Purpose Journal, the School of Public Affairs’ peer-reviewed academic journal for graduate students, is excited to announce the 19th edition of its annual print journal: Whose America?

The theme year of this year’s print journal, “Whose America?” is a way for us to reflect on the events of recent months and years. Whose America is it? Who gets to decide what happens, or what “a more perfect Union” means? Who gets to tell the story of what America is or what it should be? When we look around our spaces and places, who seems to be represented?

The PPJ invites you to reflect on this question in whatever your subject area or discipline. Law, policy, politics, justice, technology, communications, security—whatever your focus, we want to hear from you about what America is and who it belongs to. Pieces from Master’s and PhD students enrolled in the School of Public Affairs are currently being accepted. Types of submissions can include (but are not limited to):

  • Original qualitative study, quantitative study, or case study – approximately 3,000 words/10-15 pages
  • Comprehensive literature review and analysis – approximately 2,000-3,000 words
  • Commentary, comparison, or critique of policies, theories, or ideas – lively and short, approximately 1,000 words
  • Photos or digital media

Submissions should:

  • Contain an abstract (200-300 words)
  • Follow APA style formatting. Please use in-text citations and list references at the end of the piece. If the piece is currently following a different citation style, you may submit it but will be required to reformat if the paper is selected for print. See APA’s guide for reference.
  • File type – Email to in both .docx (so reviewers and editors are able to make track changes) and .pdf (to preserve the intended format of tables, images, and template).
  • Be submitted by February 5, 2021


In this time of fast-changing news headlines, thought-provoking journalism has never been more critical. The Public Purpose Journal is excited to announce the inclusion of visual media, beginning with the 18th edition of its annual print journal, and continuing today. Please share the images of important moments, places, or people you have captured in DC and elsewhere. Images submitted should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • At least 300dpi
  • At most, lightly edited
  • Include commentary – a 300-500 word prose description or interpretation (written by you or somebody else) or a short quote that aligns with the image
  • Consent – Ex: By submitting this image, you are confirming that it is not the property of somebody else. You are also agreeing for it to be printed in the 19th edition of the Public Purpose Journal. You will still retain the rights to the image, and the image will not be used for any other purpose by the PPJ without your permission.

Original Research

  • Approximately 10-15 pages, in the range of 3,000 words
  • Term papers, independent studies, or adaptations of a student’s previously written papers with an added policy analysis, case study of a policy implementation
  • Policy implementation example

“Secondary Source” Piece

  • In the range of 3,000 words
  • Literature review of an issue with added policy analysis, case study analysis of a policy implementation
  • Issue analysis example

Argumentative, Perspective, Opinion, or Commentary Pieces

  • Lively and relatively short, around 1,000 words
  • Scholarly analysis, critique, and/or comparison of ideas and practices in the policy field, discussion of an issue of high importance and immediate interest to peers, or critique of an existing peer-reviewed source. For example, commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of a theory or approach
  • These by default are critical in nature but must be written respectfully and authors’ arguments must be backed by sound evidence
  • Policy commentary example