Print Guidelines

Call for Print Submissions

The Public Purpose Journal, the School of Public Affairs’ peer-reviewed academic journal for graduate students, is excited to announce the 18th edition of its annual print journal. 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

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 January 20, 2020


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 in the 18th edition of its annual print journal. This is the first time visual media is being accepted for publication by the Journal. 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:

  • 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 18th 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

  • 10-15ish 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


Themes and Inspirations*


  • American Dream vs. American Reality 
  • Goal of international relations vs. what is happening 
  • Living in an information age, when information in undervalued 
  • “Liberty and justice for all” vs. the current justice system
  • Lack of a paid parental leave policy despite the changing family model


  • Left-right political party paradigm in politics
  • United Nations 8 rules of good governance
  • Understanding of elections, voter behavior, and polls pre and post 2016
  • New Public Management
  • Emerging (or re-emerging) best practices
  • Environmental policy – what is needed, compared to what has traditionally been the model
  • Pax Americana/America’s future role as the global lion tamer


  • “Justice for who?” (inequities in the justice system)
  • Legal deserts
  • Prison industrial complex, for-profit prisons  
  • Lack of media attention for minority victims 
  • Youth offenders being tried as adults
  • Free Speech and First Amendment Rights
  • Reproductive rights
  • Cannabis decriminalization
* These are general ideas and suggestions. We will be accepting submissions on any topic!

All submissions are due January 20, 2020!