8: Writing, Style and Documentation,
Section 3 of 5, STYLE AND DOCUMENTATION, page 2 of 4.
STYLE AND DOCUMENTATION
These are the types of things that are prescribed in a publication manual:
Documentation is probably the first thing that comes to mind when the topic of style is raised. The publication manual you follow, combined with any specific requirements/preferences of the instructor, will determine what types of in-text citations are used. It will also determine if the paper includes foot notes or end notes; a bibliography and/or a references list; and what the lists at the end are titled, e.g., References, Works Cited, or Bibliography. The topic of documentation is covered in greater detail beginning on the next screen of this tutorial.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN, INCLUDING
- Front matter, e.g., the title page and table of contents
- Rear matter, e.g., list of tables, illustrations, abbreviations, or a glossary
- Page headings
- Page numbering
- Line and paragraph spacing and indentation
- Typeface and size
- Presentation of tables and illustrations
SPECIFICS OF WRITING, INCLUDING
- How numbers should be presented, e.g., spelling out versus the use of numerals
- How to present titles of publications within the body of the paper, e.g., if/when/how they are capitalized, put in quotation marks, underlined, etc.
- When and how to abbreviate certain classes of words, e.g., professional titles, times and dates, or geographic terms
- How to present direct quotations, especially how to use block quotes to present long quotations
- Various aspects of punctuation, grammar, etc.
A brief discussion.
While some graduate students may use only one style throughout their entire degree program, it is a virtual certainty that undergraduates will be required to use more than one. Instructors typically request that their students use a style with which the instructor prefers—a style they believe is well-suited to the subject being studied.
A word of advice: Style isn't the kind of thing writers learn once by memorizing and recalling at will. Even the most prolific writers keep their style manual (along with a dictionary and other writers' aids) handy. A good practice is to write and place notes in your manual, and even to make yourself a style notebook, noting what sections or pages cover topics you encounter frequently, or those you find troublesome.
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