Instructions for Authors


The Elementary School Journal (ESJ) is a forum for disciplined inquiry into issues that affect the quality of education. For more than 100 years, ESJ has served researchers, teacher-educators, and practitioners interested in education in the elementary and middle grades. Over the years, articles appearing in ESJ have included high-quality studies of teaching and learning processes, school leadership and policy, instructional methods and programs, assessment practices, and advances in learning technologies.

 publishes peer-reviewed research articles dealing with theory and empirical data that probe important questions of relevance to elementary and middle grades learning and teaching. In addition, ESJ presents articles that relate learning and teaching to theoretical and empirical advances in closely related disciplinary fields such as anthropology, child development, cognitive psychology, linguistics, or sociology.

 does not publish articles that have appeared elsewhere, nor does it consider for publication manuscripts that have been concurrently submitted to or are already under consideration for publication in other journals.  The editors encourage the submission of a variety of manuscripts: reports of empirical research, including experiments, quasi-experiments, case studies, ethnographies, design research, and surveys; philosophical or historical analyses; integrative literature reviews and theoretical analyses.

Articles accepted for publication in ESJ must address an important question concerning education in the elementary or middle grades, use research methods appropriate to investigate the question, and be written in a manner that is clear, concise, and coherent.  An accepted manuscript must be of interest to ESJ readers and make significant contributions to the field. The study should address a significant question that is linked to relevant theory and related research; the study design should be sound, and the research methods must be appropriate for answering the research question; conclusions should be warranted by an explicit chain of reasoning in the manuscript.

Peer-review process

After a manuscript is submitted to ESJ, the editor first checks to see if it is within the journal's domain of interests and meets the journal's requirements for style and quality. If the manuscript is not appropriate for ESJ, it is returned to the author without further consideration. If the manuscript is within the journal's domain but does not meet its requirements for style or quality, the manuscript may be returned to the author for revision before processing can continue.

If a manuscript is deemed eligible for review and evaluation, the editor sends the author notification that the manuscript has been received and is being processed for review, and an evaluation is requested from at least two reviewers. Reviewers are chosen for their scholarship and expertise relative to various aspects of the paper. ESJ uses a double-blind review.

When the reviewers' evaluations have been received, the editor notifies the author of the decision to do one of the following:

  • accept the manuscript for publication in ESJ, usually conditional upon some revision by the author
  • express willingness to reconsider the manuscript following substantial revision by the author and further evaluation by reviewers
  • reject the manuscript


The editor communicates the decision to the author, including suggestions for a revision or an indication of the reasons for a rejection. Authors also receive copies of the reviewers’ comments and recommendations.

The ESJ editorial office attempts to process manuscripts expeditiously. The goal is to complete the reviewing process within four months. Occasionally, a longer time is required.

Manuscript submission and preparation

To submit your manuscript for publication consideration, please use ESJ's Editorial Manager system at All submissions should include an abstract of no more than 150 words, a cover page (with the title only, no authors’ names or institutional affiliations), and a completely blinded version of the manuscript. Submissions should be no more than 45 manuscript pages in length (including the article’s text, reference list, appendices, tables, and figures), unless there are extenuating circumstances, in which case please contact the journal office before submitting.

Manuscripts must be prepared following the guidelines given in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), including the reference style (APA Order Dept., P.O. Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984; e-mail: Manuscripts (including quotations, footnotes, references, and figure legends) should be submitted as a double-spaced Microsoft Word document. The first page of the manuscript should include the title of the manuscript but not the authors’ names or institutional affiliations. Authors should make every effort to see that the manuscript (both initial submissions and revised manuscripts) contains no clues to their identities. However, this does not preclude authors from citing their own works. Instead, the anonymous review system dictates that authors cite their works in a manner that does not make explicit their identity. 

: “Smith (1999) has argued that . . .” 

: “Some scholars have argued in the past that . . . (e.g., Smith, 1999; Johnson, 2001)” 

: “As we have argued elsewhere (Smith, 1999), . . .” 

: “In a previous study (Smith, 1999), I argued that . . .” 

Conflicts of interest

Any potential conflict of interest should be disclosed to the editors or included in an authors’ note.


Footnotes should be numbered consecutively and placed on a separate page titled "Notes" following the text. Any general note about the manuscript (acknowledgments, grants, etc.) should be unnumbered and should precede numbered notes. Footnotes should be kept to a minimum; the most important information should be presented in the text.


Each table should begin on a separate page. Use no vertical rules and no leaders anywhere. Number tables consecutively as they appear in text, and place them after the References. Footnotes to a table should be placed at the bottom of the table and cited by the symbols a, b, c, and so on. For further details about preparing tables, please see


Figures must be numbered consecutively according to their appearance in text. Figure legends should be on a separate page and placed at the end of the manuscript with figures. For further details about preparing figures, please see

Open Access Policy

Paid Open Access. Authors have the option to make their accepted paper freely available online immediately upon publication (“open access”). The fee is $2,500. Contact the managing editor at the editorial office for more information. UK authors should note that this option cannot be used to comply with RCUK regulations for “gold” OA, because the University of Chicago Press requires permission for commercial reuse. UCP does comply with the RCUK regulations for “green” OA.


"Green" Open Access. UCP supports green OA for all articles, as defined by the RCUK Open Access Policy. See UCP’s Guidelines for Journal Authors’ Rights.