Education researchers have studied the design, implementation, and impact of education policy. Much of the existing research has studied policy issues at a macro level (e.g., studying professional behaviors of teachers and administrators, descriptively examining program structures, etc.). This approach has been informed by contemporary understandings of education policy implementation and analysis (Cibulka, 1995; Honig, 2006; Odden, 1991). McLaughlin (1987) noted that there have been two generations of education policy research – the first focused on policies and programs; and the second focused on policy and practice. We suggest that a third generation of research is needed to move us closer to an understanding of policy as demonstrated in education discourses.

Recent research has fueled this research. Weatherly and Lipsky (1977) informed our current understanding by noting the central role that “street-level bureaucrats” play in shaping the implementation of special education policies. Honig (2003) revisited the salient role of front-line policy implementers in central offices. Research has also focused on “sensemaking” behaviors in understanding how educators s think about the implementation of policy in their work (Spillane, 2006). While this work has helped us understand how policy is implemented and understood, much of this research has neglected discourses which reflect understandings of policy ideas.

While the landscape of discourse analysis is vast, researchers from a range of approaches hold that talk and text do not neutrally reflect the world, one’s identify, or social relations (Howarth, 2000). Rather, the discourse analyst presumes that language is always doing something with consequence (whether intended or not). In policy, such a methodological focus allows for the study of everyday interactions; for instance, an analyst may look carefully at how teachers construct (through their talk) an understanding of accountability expectations within the context of their teaching practices, or the ways in which school leaders articulate conflicting constructions or descriptions of learning improvement needs across organizational contexts.

A particular aim of this special issue is to demonstrate the potential that discourse analytic approaches have for the study of education policy. We invite authors to submit manuscripts examining education policy using both micro-analytic traditions (e.g., conversation analysis, discursive psychology, etc.) and macro-analytic traditions (e.g., poststructural discourse analysis; critical discourse analysis) to discourse analysis. We are particularly interested in analyses that focus on the ways in which policy comes to be known, understood, or interpreted through formal and informal interactions, including: classroom talk, professional conversations, and public conversations among and between policymakers and the media. We welcome submissions that are empirical, theoretical, and methodological in scope, as well as submissions connected to education and/or education-related settings. Further, we encourage scholars from both the United States and international contexts to contribute. 


About the Journal: Celebrating its 23th year, EPAA is a peer-reviewed, open-access, international, multilingual, and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and development analysts concerned with education policies. EPAA/AAPE accepts unpublished original manuscripts in English, Spanish and Portuguese without restriction as to conceptual and methodological perspectives, time or place.


Submission Information: All manuscripts should be submitted electronically through the EPAA website and follow the Journal’s submission guidelines: We will not consider manuscripts submitted for publication or published elsewhere.



Deadline for Initial 500-1000 word manuscript proposals due by October 15, 2015;

Notice sent to authors invited to submit a full manuscript by November 15, 2015;

Deadline for receiving full manuscripts by March 15, 2016;

Editorial decisions and revision request sent to authors by June 1, 2016;

Expected publication date of September 2016

Early submissions are encouraged.


Guest Editors: Jessica Nina Lester, Ph.D Assistant Professor, Inquiry Methodology, Indiana University, School of Education

Chad R Lochmiller, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Indiana University, School of Education


Rachael Gabriel, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education



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