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Style-Sheet and Conventions for Word-Processed Essays

1.  Format:

Use A4 (210mm x 297mm) paper.  Type your essay on one side of each page only, using double line spacing or one and a half line spacing throughout.  Leave an inner margin of 30mm and 15mm elsewhere.

2.  Lay-out and presentation:

Type your name, year group, and degree course at the top of the first page, with the full title of the question you are tackling underneath.  Make sure that each page has the page number on the top right-hand side.  So as clearly to demarcate the beginning of each paragraph, make sure that you indent the first word of each paragraph.  There is no need to justify the text.

3.  Font: 

Be consistent.  Use the same font and font-size throughout the essay.  12 point type is preferred.

4.  Tables, graphs, and charts:

If used, these should be numbered, headed, and a source cited.  Ensure that presentation is clear and that you explain the relevance of the information in the main body of the text.

5.  Quotations:

These should be used sparingly, and not as a substitute for your own words or ideas.  The words of contemporaries should be used to illustrate a particular point, and lengthy quotations from modern historians are to be avoided.  Quotations should be placed in single inverted commas.  Any quotations that appear within a quotation should be placed in double inverted commas.  Lengthy quotations (of over 60 words) should be broken off from the main text, indented and single spaced.  Always make sure that your quotations are placed in context by saying who said what to whom, when, and why.  Quotations serve no purpose at all if they are simply stuck in the text without any explanation at all.

6.  Numbers, dates, etc.:

Dates should always take the form 11 October 1996.

Numbers up to twenty should be written as a word; for larger numbers use figures.

When referring to percentages in the text use ‘per cent.’ not ‘%’.

7.  References:

These should acknowledge your use of specific figures, information or arguments.  They should take the form of EITHER footnotes (placed at the bottom of the page) OR endnotes (placed at the end of the essay).  The word-processing package will allow you to choose between endnotes and footnotes.  Do not place references in brackets within the text.  This can be an unwieldy system which serves only to deflect the reader’s attention away from the main content of the essay.  Do not use Roman numerals to number your footnotes/endnotes.

8.  Footnote/endnote citations:

When using a referencing system you need to give full details of a specific source or sources that you have used.  It is this information that is to be found in footnotes or endnotes.  When first citing a source you should give full details of the author, title, place and date of publication, and appropriate page numbers.  There is no need to give details of the publisher.  After the first use of a particular work, it is only necessary to present abbreviated details of the author and source.  The titles of all books and journals should EITHER be underlined OR set in italics throughout.  Underlining is often easier to work with if you are editing on-screen.  Titles of articles, essays, or chapters are placed in single inverted commas.  It is most important that you are consistent in the way that you structure your notes and references.  Examples are as follows, and you should follow this good practice.  Note that italics may be used in place of underlining in all cases listed below.

A. Books

  i) First citation:  Arthur Marwick, British society since 1945 (Harmondsworth, 1982), p.65.

ii) Subsequent citation:  Marwick, British society, p.73.

B. Articles

i) First citation:  David Greasley and Les Oxley, ‘Discontinuities in competitiveness: the impact of the First World War on British industry’, Economic History Review, second series, XLIX (1996), pp.82-100.

ii) Subsequent citation:  Greasley and Oxley, ‘Discontinuities in competitiveness’, pp.94-7.

C.  Essays in books

i) First citation:  Jon Lawrence, ‘The First World War and its aftermath’ in Paul Johnson (ed.), Twentieth-century Britain: economic, social, and cultural change (London, 1994), p.153.

ii) Subsequent citation:  Lawrence, ‘The First World War’, p.159.

9.  Abbreviations in footnotes:

When citing the same work in consecutive footnotes you can use Ibid. (a contraction of Ibidem, meaning ‘in the same place’) instead of the short title of the book or article concerned.  Using Ibid., p.163 now, for example, would refer to Lawrence’s article cited in the previous footnote.  Op. cit. and Loc. cit. are now not generally used so there is no need for you to worry about them.

10.  Bibliography:

You must append a bibliography to the end of you essay.  This is a list of works cited.  It must give full details (as in first footnotes above) of each book and article that you have used.  There is no need to separate books from articles.  The list must be arranged  in alphabetical order by author.

11.  Final thoughts:

Remember to use the spell checker (this can save embarrassment) and proof read your essay carefully before handing it in.  Remember also that you need to fill in a departmental cover sheet which should placed on the front of your essay.

Essays must be handed in via the Departmental Office.  There is no need to wait until the deadline day to do this!

 

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Last updated: 10 October 2002
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