Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

As the official journal of the National Rural Education Association, the mission of The Rural Educator is to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas among the rural education community. The journal aims to provide a greater understanding of the strengths and needs of rural education and to provide rural educators with resources that support their work. Three types of articles are published in The Rural Educator. Research Articles are reports of empirical research that address problems of practice in rural education.  Promising Practice Articles provide in-depth descriptions of educational practices that have shown promise to support teaching and learning in rural education. Reviews of Research synthesize and summarize existing research related to a specific topics within one of the 10 Research Priorities in the National Rural Education Association Research Agenda. Reviews of research should summarize, synthesize and identify gaps in the research as they relate to rural education contexts. In addition, the journal publishes Policy Briefs consisting updates on national and state policy of importance to rural educators written by the editors and/or invited guest columnists.



Section Policies

Research Articles

Manuscripts submitted for Research Articles must adhere to the following requirements: 1) describe research significant for rural education; 2) be based on current, appropriate literature; 3) methodology needs to be appropriate and accurate, analytical techniques; and 4) discussion is applicable to rural settings.  As with all submissions, clarity of writing (syntax, style, mechanics, organization) and overall level of scholarship will be considered.  Typical manuscripts are 20-25 pages.

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Promising Practices

Promising Practices articles are intended to highlights effective and emerging practices by and for educators in rural settings.  The Rural Educator encourages submissions from a variety of voices in educational settings with expertise about practices that hold promise to support teaching and learning in rural education including teachers, administrators, community leaders, non-profit organizations and others with experience in rural education. Promising Practices should describe the rural educational setting, the practice and its outcomes, and may include reflections on rural education practices. Educators who have found success with particular instructional practices, assessments, collaboration and partnerships, or other educational practices are encouraged to share those experiences with readers of The Rural Educator.

Manuscripts submitted for Promising Practices can take many forms, including multi-media and other forms. Typical submissions are 15-20 pages but may vary.

Promising Practices manuscripts will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

Promising Practices Review Criteria:

1)     Describes a practice significant to rural education with sufficient detail so that the reader understands the practice

2)     Describes the rural education setting or connection to rural education

3)     Description of practice is aptly described with concrete, specific, relevant examples from one or more rural education setting

4)     Describes or discusses the practice in light of current, appropriate literature (theory and scholarship)

5)     Provides a thorough discussion of implications and conclusions for rural education policy or practice

6)     The promising practice is significant for rural education

7)     Writing is clear (syntax, style, mechanics, and organization)

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Reviews of Research

Reviews of Research synthesize research related to a specific topic within the research priorities outlined in the National Rural Education Association Research Agenda—2016-2021. The purpose of the NREA Research Agenda is to identify broad areas where further study of student experiences in the rural context are essential for building capacity and advancing rural students’ educational attainment. While each priority defined by the NREA Research Agenda may not be uncommon in the field of education, there may be little research in each priority area that explicitly addresses rural education.  For this reason, the editors of The Rural Educator seek Reviews of Research that address priorities in the NREA Research Agenda. Reviews of Research should summarize and synthesize specific topics within one of the NREA Research Priorities and identify gaps in the research as they relate to rural education contexts.

Review of Research Review Criteria:

1)    Addresses a significant problem area within one of the ten priority areas of the NREA Research Agenda

2)    Establishes importance of the topic for rural education

3)    Reviews current and seminal research within the topic area

4)    Thoroughly and succinctly summarizes and synthesizes research within the topic area

5)     Explicitly identifies findings and gaps in the literature as they relate to rural education

6)     Makes recommendations for future research where further study of student and educational experiences can contribute to building capacity and advancing students’ attainment in rural contexts

7)     Writing is clear (syntax, style, mechanics, and organization)

Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Checked Peer Reviewed

Rural Education Policy Brief

  • Devon Brenner
Unchecked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Strengthening Rural Ed: Gathering Research from Around the Globe

In August 2018, over 125 rural educators and researchers from around the world gathered for the International Symposium for Innovation in Rural Education 2018 (ISFIRE 2018) at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. Throughout the meeting, attendees from rural contexts across the globe explored the theme of Communities and Partnerships: Strengthening Rural Education and celebrated the importance of rural education, discussed common challenges, explored how research informs rural practice, and shared innovative solutions to address collective concerns. For this special edition of The Rural Educator, we invite submissions of articles aligned to the theme for the Symposium which explore the various ways the international rural education community is working to cultivate research partnerships with, in, and for rural contexts. In this way the special edition aims to better understand how the notions of rurality and research interplay for schools, universities, and communities around the globe.

Submissions related to the following topics are particularly welcome:

1. Fostering Community in Rural Education

• Re-defining community (climate, capacity, culture) within schools

• Communicating effectively within and between communities

2. Cultivating Rural Partnerships

• Envisioning possibilities for potential partnerships

• Sustaining effective partnerships

3. Growing the Rural Teaching Profession

• Integrating the rural context in teacher preparation

• Supporting rural teacher recruitment, retention, and professional learning

4. Exploring Innovative Practices in Rural Pedagogy

• Optimizing teaching in multi-grade contexts and non-traditional learning spaces

• Sustaining and revitalizing Indigenous ways of knowing 5. Fostering Rural Student Success

• Understanding the rural student perspective • Integrating technology to support student learning

6. Building Capacity for Rural Leadership

• Nurturing leadership development in students and teachers

• Leading rural schools and communities to navigate change


Submission Procedure

Prospective authors are strongly encouraged to contact the special issue editors regarding potential topics of interest or any questions/suggestions regarding the special issue. Full papers must be submitted by February 15, 2019 using The Rural Educator online review submission and peer review system at http://epubs.library.msstate.edu/index.php/ruraleduca tor/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions.

Each paper submitted to this special issue will be subject to the following review procedures:

1. It will be reviewed by the two guest editors for general suitability for this special issue.

2. If found suitable, two reviewers will be selected for a rigorous double-blind peer review process.

3. Based on the recommendations of reviewers, the guest editors and The Rural Educator editorial team will decide whether the particular submission will be accepted, revised and resubmitted, or rejected.

  • Jayne Downey
  • Simone White
Checked Open Submissions Checked Indexed Unchecked Peer Reviewed

Peer Review Process

The Rural Educator seeks manuscripts that contribute to our understanding of educational issues in rural contexts at all levels of rural education, including early childhood, p-12 education, post-secondary education, and out-of-school education contexts. Submissions must explicitly address rural education by defining rural and/or by extensively describing the unique rural setting. Submissions should explicitly explain the relationship between rural education and either research methods and findings or the promising practice being presented.  Manuscripts that do not explicitly and extensively address rural education will not be considered for publication.

All manuscripts should follow submission guidelines. Authors should consider submission purpose and review criteria for each type of submission. Manuscripts submitted to The Rural Education should be original and should not have been published elsewhere, including online.  The journal does not allow simultaneous submission.

After initial screening by the editors, those manuscripts that meet specification will be sent to at least two peer reviewers. Manuscripts that do not adhere to guidelines may not be submitted for review, and authors will be notified of this decision. Manuscripts are subject to review by journal reviewers, the editorial advisory board, and editors.  Authors will be notified of editorial decisions.


Publication Frequency

Publication of the The Rural Educator occurs three times per year in the winter, summer, and fall.


Open Access Policy

The Rural Educator provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Members of the National Rural Education Association are eligible to receive print copies of The Rural Educator.


Publication of the National Rural Education Association - http://www.nrea.net

Report problems or questions about to the website to jshedd@library.msstate.edu