Manual of Style

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The Manual of Style is WOI Wiki's official guidance for authors writing articles. While the WOI Wiki is considered to be a collection of research articles, the audience should not be considered experts in the subject or people with years of experience. The 7 C's of effective technical communication should be adhered to:

  • Clear;
  • Concise;
  • Consistent;
  • Correct;
  • Considerate;
  • Convincing; and
  • Complete.

The WOI Wiki primarily follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition. With notable exceptions in "See also," Footnotes, Further Reading, and External Links Sections, Levels of Heading, Preferred Spelling, Abbreviations Used Often in Final Fantasy XV, Numbers Expressed in Numerals, Policy on Metrication, Citing References in Text, and Data Sets, Software, Measurement Instruments, and Apparatus.

"See also," Footnotes, Further Reading, and External Links Sections

"See also"

"See also" sections is a bulleted list of internal links to related WOI Wiki articles. The list should be sorted either logically, chronologically, or at least alphabetically. The links in the "See also" section might be only indirectly related to the topic of the article because one purpose of "See also" links is to enable readers to explore tangentially related topics. Editors should provide a brief annotation when a link's relevance is not immediately apparent, when the meaning of the term may not be generally known, or when the term is ambiguous.

Whether a link belongs in the "See also" section is ultimately a matter of editorial judgment and common sense. The links in the "See also" section should be relevant, should reflect the links that would be present in a comprehensive article on the topic, and should be limited to a reasonable number. It is also not mandatory, as many high-quality and comprehensive articles do not have a "See also" section.

The "See also" section should not link to pages that do not exist (red links), nor to disambiguation pages (unless used for further disambiguation in a disambiguation page). As a general rule, the "See also" section should not repeat links that appear in the article's body or its navigation boxes.


Content footnotes supplement or amplify substantive information in the text; they should not include complicated, irrelevant, or nonessential information. Because they can be distracting to readers, such footnotes should be included only if they strengthen the discussion. A content footnote should convey just one idea; if you find yourself creating paragraphs or displaying equations as you are writing a footnote, then the main text probably would be a more suitable place to present your information. Another alternative is to indicate in a short footnote that the material is available online as supplemental material. In most cases, an author integrates an article best by presenting important information in the text, not in a footnote.

If a higher canon supersedes a lower canon's material, a footnote should be made addressing the conflict. However, if there is a conflict between material of the highest canon, it should be noted in the text, not a footnote.

Further Reading

An optional bulleted list, usually alphabetized, of a reasonable number of publications that would help interested readers learn more about the article subject. Editors may include brief annotations. Publications listed in further reading are cited in the same citation style used by the rest of the article. The Further Reading section should not duplicate the content of the External links section, and should normally not duplicate the content of the References section unless the References section is too long for a reader to use as part of a general reading list. This section is not intended as a repository for general references or full citations that were used to create the article content.

External Links

A bulleted list of recommended relevant websites, each accompanied by a short description. These hyperlinks should not appear in the article's body text, nor should links used as references normally be duplicated in this section. "External Links" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item. This section may be replaced by a "Further reading" section.

Writing Clearly and Concisely


Before beginning to write, consider the best length and structure for the findings you wish to share. Ordering your thoughts logically, both at the paragraph and at the sentence levels, will strengthen the impact of your writing.


Excessively long articles should usually be avoided. Articles should ideally contain less than 50,000 characters of text. When articles grow past this amount of readable text, they can be split into smaller articles to improve readability and ease of editing, or may require trimming to remain concise. The headed sub-section should be retained, with a concise version of what has been removed under an italicized header. Otherwise, context is lost and the general treatment suffers. Each article on a subtopic should be written as a stand-alone article—that is, it should have a lead section, headings, et c

When an article is long and has many sub articles, try to balance the main page. Do not put undue weight into one part of an article at the cost of other parts. In shorter articles, if one subtopic has much more text than another subtopic, that may be an indication the subtopic should have its own page, with only a summary presented on the main page.

Levels of heading

  1. Heading. The name of the article page. Uppercase and Lowercase Heading (Title Case).
  2. Sub-heading 1. Uppercase and Lowercase Heading (Title Case).
  3. Sub-heading 2. Lowercase paragraph heading (sentence case).
  4. Sub-heading 3. Lowercase paragraph heading (sentence case) ending in a period.
  5. Sub-heading 4. Lowercase paragraph heading (sentence case) ending in a period.


Just as the heading structure alert readers to the order of ideas within the paper, seriation helps the reader understand the organization of key points within sections, paragraphs, and sentences. In any series, all items should be syntactically and conceptually parallel.

Separate paragraphs in a series, such as itemized conclusions or steps in a procedure, are identified by an Arabic numeral followed by a period but not enclosed in or followed by parentheses. Separate sentences in a series are also identified by an Arabic numeral followed by a period; the first word is capitalized, and the sentence ends with a period or correct punctuation.

The use of "numbered lists" may connote an unwanted or unwarranted ordinal position (e.g., chronology, importance, priority) among the items. If you wish to achieve the same effect without the implication of ordinality, items in the series should be identified by bullets. Symbols such as small squares, circles, and so forth, may be used in creating a bulleted list. At the time that an article accepted for publication is typeset, the bullet notation will be changed to the style used by that journal. Within a paragraph or sentence, identify elements in a series by lowercase letters in parentheses. Within a sentence, use commas to separate three or more elements that do not have internal commas; use semicolons to separate three or more elements that have internal commas.

Alternatively, you may use bulleted lists within a sentence to separate three or more elements. In these instances, capitalize and punctuate the list as if it were a complete sentence.

Writing Style

The prime objective of technical reporting is clear communication. You can achieve this by presenting ideas in an orderly manner and by expressing yourself smoothly and precisely. Establishing a tone that conveys the essential points of your study in an interesting manner wilt engage readers and communicate your ideas more effectively.

Continuity in presentation of ideas

Readers will better understand your ideas if you aim for continuity in words, concepts, and thematic development from the opening statement to the conclusion. Continuity can be achieved in several ways. For instance, punctuation marks contribute to continuity by showing relationships between ideas. They cue the reader to the pauses, inflections, subordination, and pacing normally heard in speech. Use the full range of punctuation aids available: Neither overuse nor underuse one type of punctuation, such as commas or dashes. Overuse may annoy the reader; underuse may confuse. Instead, use punctuation to support meaning.

Another way to achieve continuity is through the use of transitional words. These words help maintain the flow of thought, especially when the material is complex or abstract. A pronoun that refers to a noun in the preceding sentence not only serves as a transition but also avoids repetition. Be sure the referent is obvious. Other transition devices are time links (then, next, after, while, since), cause-effect links (therefore, consequently, as a result), addition links (in addition, moreover, furthermore, similarly), and contrast links (but, conversely, nevertheless, however, although).

Smoothness of expression

Technical prose and creative writing serve different purposes. Devices that are often found in creative writing—for example, setting up ambiguity; inserting the unexpected; omitting the expected; and suddenly shifting the topic, tense, or person—can confuse or disturb readers of scientific prose. Therefore, try to avoid these devices and aim for clear and logical communication.

Because you have been so close to your material, you may not immediately see certain problems, especially contradictions the reader may infer. A reading by a colleague may uncover such problems. You can usually catch omissions, irrelevancies, and abruptness by putting the manuscript aside and rereading it later. Reading the paper aloud can make flaws more apparent.

If, on later reading, you find that your writing is abrupt, introducing more transition devices may be helpful. You may have abandoned an argument or theme prematurely; if so, you need to amplify the discussion.

Abruptness may result from sudden, unnecessary shifts in verb tense within the same paragraph or in adjacent paragraphs. By using verb tenses consistently, you can help ensure smooth expression. Past tense (e.g., "Smith showed") or present perfect tense (e.g., "researchers have shown") is appropriate for the literature review and the description of the procedure if the discussion is of past events. Stay within the chosen tense. Use past tense (e.g., "anxiety decreased significantly") to describe the results. Use the present tense (e.g., "the results of Experiment 2 indicate") to discuss implications of the results and to present the conclusions. By reporting conclusions in the present tense, you allow readers to join you in deliberating the matter at hand.

Noun strings, meaning several nouns used one after another to modify a final noun, create another form of abruptness. The reader is sometimes forced to stop to determine how the words relate to one another. Skillful hyphenation can clarify the relationships between words, but often the best approach is to untangle the string. One approach to untangling noun strings is to move the last word to the beginning of the string and fill in with verbs and prepositions.

Many writers strive to achieve smooth expression by using synonyms or near-synonyms to avoid repeating a term. The intention is commendable, but by using synonyms you may unintentionally suggest a subtle difference. Therefor; choose synonyms with care. The discreet use of pronouns can often relieve the monotonous repetition of a term without introducing ambiguity.


Although technical writing differs in form from literary writing, it need not lack style or be dull. In describing your research, present the ideas and findings directly but aim for an interesting and compelling style and a tone that reflects your involvement with the subject.

Technical writing often contrasts the positions of different researchers. Differences should be presented in a professional, noncombative manner.

One effective way to achieve the right tone is to imagine a specific reader you are intending to reach and to write in a way that will educate and persuade that individual. Envisioning a person familiar to you may make this technique more effective. You may wish to write, for example, to a person who has played the game but is not familiar with jargon or insider perspectives. What would facilitate his or her understanding of and appreciation for the importance of your work?

Economy of expression

Say only what needs to be said. The author who is frugal with words not only writes a more readable manuscript but also increases the chances that the manuscript will be high quality. You can tighten long articles by eliminating redundancy, wordiness, jargon, evasiveness, overuse of the passive voice, circumlocution, and clumsy prose. Weed out overly detailed descriptions of apparatus, participants, or procedures (beyond those called for in the reporting standards. Materials such as these may be placed, when appropriate, in an online supplemental archive.

Short words and short sentences are easier to comprehend than are long ones. A long technical term, however, may be more precise than several short words, and technical terms are inseparable from technical reporting. Yet the technical terminology in a paper should be readily understood by individuals throughout each discipline. An article that depends on terminology familiar to only a few specialists does not sufficiently contribute to the literature.


Wordiness can also impede the ready grasp of ideas. Change based on the fact that to because, at the present time to now, in order to to to, and for the purpose of to simply for or to. Unconstrained wordiness lapses into embellishment and flowery writing, which are clearly inappropriate in technical style.


Writers often use redundant language in an effort to be emphatic. Use no more words than are necessary to convey your meaning.

Unit length.

Although writing only in short, simple sentences produces choppy and boring prose, writing exclusively in long, involved sentences results in difficult, sometimes incomprehensible material. Varied sentence length helps readers maintain interest and comprehension. When involved concepts require long sentences, the components should proceed logically. Direct, declarative sentences with simple, common words are usually best.

Similar cautions apply to paragraph length. Single-sentence paragraphs are abrupt. Paragraphs that are too long are likely to lose the reader's attention.A new paragraph provides a pause for the reader—a chance to assimilate one step in the conceptual development before beginning another. Look for a logical place to break a long paragraph, or reorganize the material.

Precision and clarity

Word choice.

Make certain that every word means exactly what you intend it to mean. In informal style, for example, feel broadly substitutes for think or believe, but in technical style such latitude is not acceptable. A similar example is that like is often used when such as is meant.

Colloquial expressions.

Avoid colloquial expressions (e.g, write up for report), which diffuse meaning. Approximations of quantity (e.g., quite a large part, practically all, or very few) are interpreted differently by different readers, especially of different nationalities, or in different contexts. Approximations weaken statements, especially those describing empirical observations.


Jargon is the continuous use of a technical vocabulary, even in places where that vocabulary is not relevant. Jargon is also the substitution of a euphemistic phrase for a familiar term (e.g., monetarily felt scarcity for poverty), and you should scrupulously avoid using such jargon. Federal bureaucratic jargon has had the greatest publicity, but technical jargon also grates on the reader, encumbers the communication of information, and wastes space.


Pronouns confuse readers unless the referent for each pronoun is obvious; readers should not have to search previous text to determine the meaning of the term. Pronouns such as this, that, these, and those can be troublesome when they refer to something or someone in a previous sentence. Eliminate ambiguity by writing, for example, this game, that episode, these characters, and those guides.


Ambiguous or illogical comparisons result from omission of key verbs or from nonparallel structure. Consider, for example, "Ignis is more likely to guard Noctis than Prompto." Does this sentence mean that Ignis is more likely than Prompto to guard Noctis? Or does it mean that Ignis is more likely to guard Noctis and less likely to guard Prompto? An illogical comparison occurs when parallelism is overlooked for the sake of brevity, as in "Her salary was lower than a convenience store clerk." Thoughtful attention to good sentence structure and word choice reduces the chance of this kind of ambiguity.


Inappropriately or illogically attributing action in an effort to be objective can be misleading. Examples of undesirable attribution include use of the third person, anthropomorphism, and use of the editorial we.

Third person.

To avoid ambiguity, use a personal pronoun rather than the third per-son when describing steps taken in your article.


Do not attribute human characteristics to animals or to inanimate sources.

A video game cannot attempt to demonstrate, control unwanted viewpoints, or interpret reactions, nor can tables or figures compare (all of these can, however, show or indicate). Use a pronoun or an appropriate noun as the subject of these verbs. The developers can replace the game.

Editorial we.

For clarity, restrict your use of we to refer only to yourself and your coauthors. Broader uses of we may leave your readers wondering to whom you are referring; instead, substitute an appropriate noun or clarify your usage. Some alternatives to we to consider are people, humans, players, developers, consumers, and so on. Avoid the term fan because of the broad meaning of the term. We is an appropriate and useful referent.

Linguistic devices

Devices that attract attention to words, sounds, or other embellishments instead of to ideas are inappropriate in technical writing. Avoid heavy alliteration, rhyming, poetic expressions, and clichés. Use metaphors sparingly;although they can help simplify complicated ideas, metaphors can be distracting. Avoid mixed metaphors (e.g.,a theory representing one branch of a growing body of evidence) and words with surplus or unintended meaning (e.g., cop for police officer), which may distract if not actually mislead the reader. Use figurative expressions with restraint and colorful expressions with care; these expressions can sound strained or forced.

Strategies for improving writing style

Authors use various strategies in putting their thoughts on paper. The fit between author and strategy is more important than the particular strategy used. Three approaches to achieving professional and effective communication are (a) writing from an outline; (b) putting aside the first draft, then rereading it later; and (c) asking a colleague to review and critique the draft for you.

Writing from an outline helps preserve the logic of the research itself. An outline identifies main ideas, defines subordinate ideas, helps you discipline your writing and avoid tangential excursions, and helps you notice omissions. In an outline, you can also identify the subheadings that will be used in the article itself.

Rereading your own copy after setting it aside for a few days permits a fresh approach. Reading the article aloud enables you not only to see faults that you overlooked on the previous reading but also to hear them. When these problems are corrected, give a polished copy to a colleague for a critical review. Even better, get critiques from two colleagues.

These strategies, particularly the latter, may require you to invest more time in a manuscript than you had anticipated. The results of these strategies, however, may be greater accuracy and thoroughness and clearer communication.

Reducing Bias in Language

Technical writing must be free of implied or irrelevant evaluation of the group or groups. As an organization, WOI is committed to the fair treatment of individuals and groups, and this policy requires that authors who write for the WOI Wiki avoid perpetuating demeaning attitudes and biased assumptions about people in their writing. Constructions that might imply bias against persons on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic group, disability, or age are unacceptable.

Long-standing cultural practice can exert a powerful influence over even the most conscientious author. Just as you have learned to check what you write for spelling, grammar, and wordiness, practice rereading your work for bias. Another suggestion is to ask people from targeted groups to read and comment on your material. What follows is a set of guidelines and discussions of specific issues that affect particular groups. These are not rigid rules. You may find that some attempts to follow the guidelines result in wordiness or clumsy prose. As always, good judgment is required. If your writing reflects respect for your participants and your readers and if you write with appropriate specificity and precision, you will be contributing to the goal of accurate, unbiased communication.

General Guidelines for Reducing Bias

Guideline 1: describe at the appropriate level of specificity

Precision is essential in technical writing; when you refer to a person or persons, choose words that are accurate, clear, and free from bias. The appropriate degree of specificity depends on the article and the present state of knowledge in the field of study. When in doubt, be more specific rather than less. For example, using man to refer to all human beings is simply not as accurate as the phrase women and men. To describe age groups, give a specific age range ("ages 65—83 years") instead of a broad category ("over 65 years") when possible. When describing racial and ethnic groups, be appropriately specific and sensitive to issues of labeling. For example, instead of describing people as Tenebraen Lucian or Lucian Nif, it may be helpful to describe them by their nation or region of origin. If you are discussing sexual orientation, realize that some people interpret gay as referring to men and women, whereas others interpret the term as referring only to men (the terms gay men and lesbians currently are preferred).

Broad clinical terms such as borderline and at risk are loaded with innuendo unless properly explained. Specify the diagnosis that is borderline (e.g., "people with borderline personality disorder"). Identify the risk and the people it involves (e.g., "children at risk for early school dropout").

Gender is cultural and is the term to use when referring to women and men as social groups. Sex is biological; use it when the biological distinction is predominant. Note that the word sex can be confused with sexual behavior. Gender helps keep meaning unambiguous, as in the following example: "In accounting for attitudes toward the bill, sexual orientation rather than gender accounted for most of the variance. Most gay men and lesbians were for the proposal; most heterosexual men and women were against it."

Part of writing without bias is recognizing that differences should be mentioned only when relevant. Marital status, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic identity, or the fact that a person has a disability should not be mentioned gratuitously.

Guideline 2: be sensitive to labels

Respect people's preferences; call people what they prefer to be called. Accept that preferences change with time and that individuals within groups often disagree about the designations they prefer. Make an effort to determine what is appropriate for your situation; you may need to ask which designations a person prefers, particularly when preferred designations are being debated within groups.

Avoid labeling people when possible. A common occurrence in technical writing is that people tend to lose their individuality; they are broadly categorized as objects (noun forms such as the gays and the elderly) or, particularly in descriptions of people with disabilities, are equated with their conditions—the amnesiacs, the depressives, the schizophrenics, for example. One solution is to use adjectival forms (e.g., "gay men," "older adults," "amnesic patients"). Another is to "put the person first," followed by a descriptive phrase (e.g., "people diagnosed with schizophrenia"). Note that the latter solution currently is preferred when describing people with disabilities.

When you need to mention several groups in a sentence or paragraph, such as when reporting results, do your best to balance sensitivity, clarity, and parsimony. For example, it may be cumbersome to repeat phrases such as "person with _______." If you provide operational definitions of groups early in your article, it is informative and concise to describe participants thereafter in terms of the measures used to classify them, provided the terms are inoffensive. A label should not be used in any form that is perceived as pejorative, if such a perception is possible, you need to find more neutral terms. For example, the demented is not repaired by changing it to demented group, but dementia group would be acceptable. Abbreviations or series labels for groups usually sacrifice clarity and may offend. Group A is not offensive, but it is not descriptive either.

Recognize the difference case, which is an occurrence of a disorder or illness, and patient, which is a person affected by the disorder or illness and receiving a doctor's care. "Blindness cases were treated" is problematic; revise to "The patients with blindness were treated."

Bias may be promoted when the writer uses one group (often the writer's own group) as the standard against which others are judged, for example, citizens of the United States. In some contexts, the term culturally deprived may imply that one culture the universally accepted standard. The unparallel nouns in the phrase man and wife may inappropriately prompt the reader to evaluate the roles of the individuals (i.e., the woman is defined only in terms of her relationship to the man) and the motives of the author. By contrast, the phrases husband and wife and man and woman are parallel. Usage of normal may prompt the reader to make the comparison with abnormal, thus stigmatizing individuals with differences.For example, contrasting lesbians with "the general public" or with "normal women" portrays lesbians as marginal to society. More appropriate comparison groups might be heterosexual women, heterosexual women and men, or gay men.

Also be aware of how order of presentation of social groups can imply that the first-mentioned group is the norm or standard and that later mentioned groups are deviant. Thus the phrases men and women and White Americans and racial minorities subtly reflect the perceived dominance of men and Whites over other groups. Similarly, when presenting group data, consider how placing socially dominant groups such as men and Whites on the left side of graphs and/or top of tables may also imply that these groups are the universal standard. Avoid a consistent pattern of presenting information about socially dominant groups first.

Guideline 3: neutral viewpoint

Achieving what the WOI Wiki understands as neutrality means carefully and critically analyzing a variety of reliable sources and then attempting to convey to the reader the information contained in them fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without author bias. The WOI Wiki aims to describe disputes, but not engage in them. Authors, while naturally having their own points of view, should strive in good faith to provide complete information, and not to promote one particular point of view over another. As such, the neutral point of view does not mean exclusion of certain points of view, but including all verifiable points of view which have sufficient due weight. Observe the following principles to achieve the level of neutrality that is appropriate for an encyclopedia:

  • Avoid stating opinions as facts. Usually, articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects. However, these opinions should not be stated in the WOI Wiki's voice. Rather, they should be attributed in the text to particular sources, or where justified, described as widespread views, etc. For example, an article should not state that "genocide is an evil action", but it may state that "genocide has been described by Jared as the epitome of human evil."
  • Avoid stating seriously contested assertions as facts. If different reliable sources make conflicting assertions about a matter, treat these assertions as opinions rather than facts, and do not present them as direct statements.
  • Avoid stating facts as opinions. Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in the WOI Wiki's voice. Unless a topic specifically deals with a disagreement over otherwise uncontested information, there is no need for specific attribution for the assertion, although it is helpful to add a reference link to the source in support of verifiability. Further, the passage should not be worded in any way that makes it appear to be contested.
  • Prefer nonjudgmental language. A neutral point of view neither sympathizes with nor disparages its subject (or what reliable sources say about the subject), although this must sometimes be balanced against clarity. Present opinions and conflicting findings in a disinterested tone. Do not editorialize. When editorial bias towards one particular point of view can be detected the article needs to be fixed.
  • Indicate the relative prominence of opposing views. Ensure that the reporting of different views on a subject adequately reflects the relative levels of support for those views, and that it does not give a false impression of parity, or give undue weight to a particular view. If a higher canon supersedes a lower canon's material, a footnote should be made addressing the conflict. However, if there is a conflict between material of the highest canon, it should be noted in the text, not a footnote.

Guideline 4: more guidance on gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic identity, disabilities, and age


Remember that gender refers to role, not biological sex, and is cultural. Avoid ambiguity in sex identity or gender role by choosing nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that specifically describe people. Sexist bias can occur when pronouns are used carelessly, as when the masculine pronoun he is used to refer to both sexes or when the masculine or feminine pronoun is used exclusively to define roles by sex (e.g., "the nurse . . . she"). The use of man as a generic noun or as an ending for an occupational title (e.g., policeman instead of police officer) can be ambiguous and may imply incorrectly that all persons in the group are male. Be clear about whether you mean one sex or both sexes.

There are many alternatives to the generic he, including rephrasing (e.g., from "When an individual Conducts this kind of self appraisal, he is a much stronger person" to "When an individual uconducts this kind of self-appraisal, that person is much stronger" or "This kind of self-appraisal makes an individual much stronger"), using plural nouns or plural pronouns (e.g., from "A therapist who is too much like his client can lose his objectivity" to "Therapists who are too much like their clients can lose their objectivity"), replacing the pronoun with an article (e.g., from "A researcher must apply for his grant by September 1" to "A researcher must apply for the grant by September 1"), and drop-ping the pronoun (e.g., from "The researcher must avoid letting his own biases and expectations influence the interpretation of the results" to "The researcher must avoid letting biases and expectations influence the interpretation of the results"). Replacing he with he or she or she or he should be done sparingly because the repetition can become tiresome. Combination forms such as he/she or (s)he are awkward and distracting. Alternating between he and she also may be distracting and is not ideal; doing so implies that he or she can in fact be generic, which is not the case. Use of either pronoun unavoidably suggests that specific gender to the reader. Avoid referring to one sex as the opposite sex: an appropriate wording is the other sex. The term opposite sex implies strong differences between the two sexes; however, in fact, there are more similarities than differences between the two sexes.

The adjective transgender refers to persons whose gender identity or gender expression differs from their sex at birth; transgender should not be used as a noun. The word transsexual refers to transgender persons who live or desire to live full time as members of the sex other than their sex at birth, many of whom wish to make their bodies as congruent as possible with their preferred sex through surgery and hormonal treatment. Transsexual can be used as a noun or as an adjective. The terms female-to-male transgender person, male-to-female transgender person, female-to-male transsexual, and male-to-female transsexual represent accepted usage. Transsexuals undergo sex reassignment, a term that is preferable to sex change. Cross-dresser is preferable to transvestite.

Refer to a transgender person using words (proper nouns, pronouns, etc.) appropriate to the person's gender identity or gender expression, regardless of birth sex. For example, use the pronouns he, him, or his in reference to a female-to-male transgender person. If gender identity or gender expression is ambiguous or variable, it may be best to avoid pronouns, as discussed earlier in this section.

Sexual orientation.

Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of attraction, behavior, emotion, identity, and social contacts. The term sexual orientation should be used rather than sexual preference. For a person having a bisexual orientation, the orientation is not chosen even though the sex of the partner may be a choice. For a person having asexual orientation, the orientation is generally defined as a lack of sexual attraction to others, though they may have a sex drive that is not directed towards others, or the lack of interest in sex. For a person with pansexual orientation, the orientation denotes sexual or romantic attraction to people regardless of their gender expression (masculinity or femininity), gender identity, or biological sex, explicitly rejecting attractions based on binary notions of sex (male versus female) and gender (man versus woman). (This is not a definitive list on sexual orientations, but some of the more common ones.)

The terms lesbians, gay men, bisexual men, and bisexual women are preferable to homosexual when one is referring to people who identify this way. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, and pansexual refer primarily to identities and to culture and communities that have developed among people who are those identities. As such, the terms lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals are more accurate than homosexual. Furthermore, the term homosexuality has been and continues to be associated with negative stereotypes, pathology, and the reduction of people's identities to their sexual behavior. Gay can be interpreted broadly, to include men and women, or more narrowly, to include only men. Finally, do not use the short forms of sexual orientations, such as pan, ace, or bi as it could lead to confusion.

Racial and ethnic identity.

Preferences for terms referring to racial and ethnic groups change often. One reason for this is simply personal preference; preferred designations are as varied as the people they name. Another reason is that over time, designations can become dated and sometimes negative. Authors are reminded of the two basic guidelines of specificity and sensitivity. In keeping with Guideline 2, use commonly accepted designations (e.g., Census categories) while being sensitive to participants' preferred designation. In keeping with Guideline 1, precision is important in the description of your article; in general, use the more specific rather than the less specific term.

Language that essentializes or reifies race is strongly discouraged and is generally considered inappropriate. For example, phrases such as the Black race and the White race are essentialist in nature, portray human groups monolithically, and often serve to perpetuate stereotypes. Authors sometimes use the word minority as a proxy for non-white racial and ethnic groups. This usage may be viewed pejoratively because minority is usually equated with being less than, oppressed, and deficient in comparison with the majority (i.e., Whites). Use a modifier (such as ethnic or racial) when using the word minority. When possible, use the actual name of the group or groups to which you are referring.

Racial and ethnic groups are designated by proper nouns and are capitalized. Therefore, use Black and White instead of black and white (the use of colors to refer to other human groups currently is considered pejorative and should not be used). Unparallel designations (e.g., African Americans and Whites; Asian Americans and Black Americans) should be avoided because one group is described by color while the other group is described by cultural heritage. For modifiers, do not use hyphens in multiword names, even if the names act as unit modifiers. Depending on where a person is from, individuals may prefer to be called Hispanic, Latino, Chicano, or some other designation; Hispanic is not necessarily an all-encompassing term, however. In general, naming a nation or region of origin is helpful (e.g., Cuban, Salvadoran, or Guatemalan is more specific than Central American or Hispanic).


The overall principle for "nonhandicapping" language is to maintain the integrity (worth) of all individuals as human beings. Avoid language that objectifies a person by her or his condition (e.g., autistic, neurotic), that uses pictorial metaphors (e.g., wheel-chair bound or confined to a wheelchair), that uses excessive and negative labels (e.g., AIDS victim, brain damaged), or that can be regarded as a slur (e.g., cripple, invalid). Use people-first language, and do not focus on the individual's disabling or chronic condition (e.g., person with paraplegia, youth with autism). Also use people-first language to describe groups of people with disabilities. For instance, say people with intellectual disabilities in contrast to the retarded.

Avoid euphemisms that are condescending when describing individuals with disabilities (e.g., special, physically challenged, handicapable). Some people with disabilities consider these terms patronizing and offensive. When writing about populations with disabilities or participants, emphasize both capabilities and concerns to avoid reducing them to a "bundle of deficiencies." Do not refer to individuals with disabilities as patients or cases unless the context is within a hospital or clinical setting.


Be specific in providing age ranges; avoid open-ended definitions such as "under 18 years" or "over 65 years." Girl and boy are correct terms for referring to individuals under the age of 12 years. Young man and young woman and female adolescent and male adolescent may be used for individuals aged 13 to 17 years. For persons 18 years and older, use women and men. The terms elderly and senior are not acceptable as nouns; some may consider their use as adjectives pejorative. Generational descriptors such as boomer or baby boomer should not be used. The term older adults is preferred. Age groups may also be described with adjectives. Use dementia instead of senility; specify the type of dementia when known (e.g., dementia of the Alzheimer's type).

Guideline 5: historical and interpretive inaccuracies

Authors are encouraged to avoid perpetuating demeaning attitudes and biased assumptions about people in their writing. At the same time, authors need to avoid historical and interpretive inaccuracies. Authors must be careful not to misrepresent ideas of the past or someone else's viewpoint in an effort to avoid language bias. Changes in nouns and pronouns may result in serious misrepresentation of the original author's ideas and give a false interpretation of that author's beliefs and intentions. In such writing, it is best to retain the original language and to comment on it in the discussion. Quotations should not be changed to accommodate current or perceived sensibilities. Contemporary authors may indicate a historical author's original term by following it with a footnote the first time it appears and by providing historical context directly following the quotation.

Grammar and Usage

Incorrect grammar and careless construction of sentences distract the reader, introduce ambiguity, and generally obstruct communication. The examples in this section represent problems of grammar and usage that occur frequently in manuscripts.


Verbs are vigorous, direct communicators. Use the active rather than the passive voice, and select tense or mood carefully.

The passive voice is acceptable in expository writing and when you want to focus on the object or recipient of the action rather than on the actor.

Use the past tense to express an action or a condition that occurred at a specific, definite time in the past,as when discussing another researcher's work and when reporting your results. Use the present perfect tense to express a past action or condition that did not occur at a specific, definite time or to describe an action beginning in the past and continuing to the present.

Use the subjunctive only to describe conditions that are contrary to fact or improbable; do not use the subjunctive to describe simple conditions or contingencies. Use would with care. Would can correctly be used to mean habitually,as "The child would walk about the room," or to express a conditional action, as "We would sign the treaty if we could." Do not use would to hedge; for example, change it would appear that to it appears that.

Agreement of subject and verb

A verb must agree in number (i.e., singular or plural) with its subject, regardless of intervening phrases that begin with such words as together with, including, plus, and as well as.

The plural form of some nouns of foreign origin, particularly those that end in the letter a, may appear to be singular and can cause authors to select a verb that does not agree in number with the noun.

Consult a dictionary (WOI Wiki prefers Merriam-Webster Dictionary) when in doubt about the plural form of nouns of foreign origin.


Pronouns replace nouns. Each pronoun should refer clearly to its antecedent and should agree with the antecedent in number and gender.

A pronoun must agree in number (i.e., singular or plural) with the noun it replaces.

A pronoun must agree in gender (i.e., masculine, feminine, or neuter) with the noun it replaces. This rule extends to relative pronouns (pronouns that link subordinate clauses to nouns). Use who for human beings; use that or which for nonhuman animals and for things.

Use neuter pronouns to refer to animals (e.g., "the dog . . . it") unless the animals have been named

Pronouns can be subjects or objects of verbs or prepositions. Use who as the subject of a verb and whom as the object of a verb or a preposition. You can determine whether a relative pronoun is the subject or object of a verb by turning the subordinate clause around and substituting a personal pronoun. If you can substitute he or she, who is correct; if you can substitute him or her, whom is correct.

In a phrase consisting of a pronoun or noun plus a present participle (e.g., running, flying) that is used as an object of a preposition, the participle can be either a noun or a modifier of a noun, depending on the intended meaning. When you use a participle as a noun, make the other pronoun or noun possessive.

Misplaced and dangling modifiers and use of adverbs

An adjective or an adverb, whether a single word or a phrase, must clearly refer to the word it modifies.

Misplaced modifiers.

Because of their placement in a sentence, misplaced modifiers ambiguously or illogically modify a word. You can eliminate misplaced modifiers by placing an adjective or an adverb as close as possible to the word it modifies.

Many writers have trouble with the word only. Place only next to the word or phrase it modifies.

Dangling modifiers.

Dangling modifiers have no referent in the sentence. Many of these result from the use of the passive voice. By writing in the active voice, you can avoid many dangling modifiers.


Adverbs can be used as introductory or transitional words. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs and express manner or quality. Some adverbs, however—such as fortunately, similarly, certainly, consequently, conversely, and regrettably—can also be used as introductory or transitional words as long as the sense is confined to, for example, "it is fortunate that" or "in a similar manner." Use adverbs judiciously as introductory or transitional words. Ask yourself whether the introduction or transition is needed and whether the adverb is being used correctly.

Some of the more common introductory adverbial phrases are importantly, more importantly, interestingly, and firstly. Although importantly is used widely, whether its adverbial usage is proper is debatable. Both importantly and interestingly can often be recast to enhance the message of a sentence or simply be omitted without a loss of meaning.

Another adverb often misused as an introductory or transitional word is hopefully. Hopefully means "in a hopeful manner" or "full of hope"; hopefully should not be used to mean "I hope" or "it is hoped."

Relative pronouns and subordinate conjunctions

Relative pronouns (who, whom, that, which) and subordinate conjunctions (e.g., since, while, although) introduce an element that is subordinate to the main clause of the sentence and reflect the relationship of the subordinate element to the main clause. Therefore, select these pronouns and conjunctions with care; interchanging them may reduce the precision of your meaning.

Relative pronouns.

That clauses (called restrictive) are essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Which clauses can merely add further information (nonrestrictive) or can be essential to the meaning (restrictive) of the sentence. The WOI Wiki prefers to reserve which for nonrestrictive clauses and use that in restrictive clauses.

Consistent use of that for restrictive clauses and which for nonrestrictive clauses, which are set off with commas, will help make your writing clear and precise.

Subordinate conjunctions.

Some style authorities accept the use of while and since when they do not refer strictly to time; however, words like these, with more than one meaning, can cause confusion. Because precision and clarity are the standards in technical writing, restricting your use of while and since to their temporal meanings is helpful.

Use while to link events occurring simultaneously; otherwise, use although, and, or but in place of while.

Since is more precise when it is used to refer only to time (to mean "after that"); otherwise, replace it with because.

Parallel construction

To enhance the reader's understanding, present parallel ideas in parallel or coordinate form. Make certain that all elements of the parallelism are present before and after the coordinating conjunction (i.e., and, but, or, nor).

With coordinating conjunctions used in pairs (between . . . and, both . . . and, neither . . . nor, either . . . or, not only . . . but also), place the first conjunction immediately before the first part of the parallelism.

Take care to use parallel structure in lists and in table stubs.

Mechanics of Style


Punctuation establishes the cadence of a sentence, telling the reader where to pause (comma, semicolon, and colon), stop (period and question mark), or take a detour (dash, parentheses, and brackets). Punctuation of a sentence usually denotes a pause in thought; different kinds of punctuation indicate different kinds and lengths of pauses.

Spacing after punctuation marks

Insert one space after

  • commas, colons, and semicolons;
  • periods that separate parts of a reference citation; and
  • periods of the initials in personal names (e.g., J. R. Zhang).

Exception: Do not insert a space after internal periods in abbreviations (e.g., am., i.e., U.S.), including identity-concealing labels (ElM.), or around colons in ratios. Space twice after punctuation marks at the end of a sentence.


Use a period to end a complete sentence. Periods are used with abbreviations as follows:

Use periods with

  • initials of names (J. FR. Smith).
  • abbreviation for United States when it is used as an adjective (U.S. Navy).
  • identity-concealing labels (ElM.).
  • Latin abbreviations (am., cf., i.e., vs.).
  • reference abbreviations (Vol. 1, 2nd ed., p. 6, F Supp.).

Do not use periods with

  • abbreviations of state names (NY; OH; Washington,DC) in reference list entries or in vendor locations
  • capital letter abbreviations and acronyms (APA, NDA, NIMH, IQ).
  • abbreviations for routes of administration (icy, im, p. iv, sc).
  • web addresses in text or in the reference list (, In text, include these in parentheses when possible or revise the sentence to avoid ending a sentence with a URL and no punctuation.
  • metric and nonmetric measurement abbreviations (Cd, cm, ft, hr, kg, Ib, mm, ml, s).

Exception: The abbreviation for inch (in.) takes a period because without the period it could be misread.


Use a comma

  • between elements (including before and and or) in a series of three or more items.
  • to set off a nonessential or nonrestrictive clause, that is, a clause that embellishes sentence but if removed would leave the grammatical structure and meaning of sentence intact.
  • to separate two independent clauses joined by a conjunction.
  • to set off the year in exact dates.
  • to separate groups of three digits in most numbers of 1,000 or more.

Do not use a comma

  • before an essential or restrictive clause, that is, a clause that limits or defines the material it modifies. Removal of such a clause from the sentence would alter the intended meaning.
  • between the two parts of a compound predicate.
  • to separate parts of measurement.


Use a semicolon

  • to separate two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction.
  • to separate elements in a series that already contain commas.


Use a colon

  • between a grammatically complete introductory clause (one that could stand as a sentence) and a final phrase or clause that illustrates, extends, or amplifies the preceding thought. If the clause following the colon is a complete sentence, it begins with a capital letter.
  • in ratios and proportions.

Do not use a colon

  • after an introduction that is not an independent clause or complete sentence.


Use an em-dash to indicate only a sudden interruption in the continuity of a sentence. Overuse weakens the flow of material.

Quotation marks

Observe the following guidelines for uses of double quotation marks other than in material quoted directly from a source.

Use double quotation marks

  • to introduce a word or phrase used as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression. Use quotation marks the first time the word or phrase is used; thereafter, do not use quotation marks.
  • to set off the title of an article or chapter in a periodical or book when the title is mentioned in text.
  • to reproduce material from a test item or verbatim instructions to participants.

If instructions are long, set them off from text in a block format without quotation marks.

Do not use double quotation marks

  • to identify the anchors of a scale. Instead, italicize them.
  • to cite a letter, word, phrase, or sentence as a linguistic example. Instead, italicize the term.
  • to introduce a technical or key term. Instead, italicize the term.
  • to hedge. Do not use any punctuation with such expressions.

Double or single quotation marks

In text, use double quotation marks to enclose quotations in text. Use single quotation marks within double quotation marks to set off material that in the original source was enclosed in double quotation marks.

In block quotations (any quotations of 40 or more words), do not use quotation marks to enclose block quotations. Do use double quotation marks to enclose any quoted material within a block quotation.

With other punctuation, place periods and commas within closing single or double quotation marks. Place other punctuation marks inside quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted material.


Use parentheses

  • to set off structurally independent elements.
  • to set off reference citations in text.
  • to introduce an abbreviation.
  • to set off letters that identify items in a series within a sentence or paragraph.
  • to enclose the citation or page number of a direct quotation.
  • to enclose numbers that identify displayed formulas and equations.
  • to enclose statistical values.
  • to enclose degrees of freedom.

Do not use parentheses

  • to enclose material within other parentheses. Use brackets when there's parentheses inside of parentheses or avoid them altogether.
  • back to back. Use a semicolon instead.


Use brackets

  • to enclose the values that are the limits of a confidence interval.
  • to enclose material inserted in a quotation by some person other than the original writer.
  • to enclose parenthetical material that is already within parentheses.

Exception 1: Do not use brackets if the material can be set off easily with commas without confounding meaning.

Exception 2: In mathematical material, the placement of brackets and parentheses is reversed; that is, parentheses appear within brackets.

Do not use brackets

  • to set off statistics that already include parentheses.


Use a slash (also called a virgule, solidus, or shill)

  • to clarify a relationship in which a hyphenated compound is used.
  • to separate numerator from denominator.
  • to indicate per to separate units of measurement accompanied by a numerical value.
  • to set off English phonemes.
  • to cite a republished work in text.

Do not use a slash

  • when a phrase would be clearer.
  • for simple comparisons. Use a hyphen or short dash (en dash) instead.
  • more than once to express compound units. Use centered dots and parentheses as needed to prevent ambiguity.


Preferred spelling

Spelling should conform to standard American English as exemplified in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the standard spelling reference. If a word is not in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, consult the more comprehensive Webster's Third New International Dictionary (2002) or the game files. If the dictionary gives a choice, use the first spelling listed; for example, use aging and canceled rather than ageing and cancelled.

Plural forms of some words of Latin or Greek origin can be troublesome; a list of preferred spellings of some of the more common ones follows. If a character has a Latin name, do not use the Latin plural because some characters have plural names. Authors are reminded that plural nouns take plural verbs.

Singular Plural
appendix appendices
datum data
phenomenon phenomena
Noctis Noctises
Gladiolus Gladioluses
Ignis Ignises
Prompto Promptos

In general, the possessive of a singular name is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s, except when a name ends in s; the possessive of a plural name is formed by adding an apostrophe. A list of examples follows as well as some exceptions.

Singular Plural
Noctis' the Noctises'
Gladiolus' the Gladioluses'
Ignis' the Ignises'
Prompto's the Promptos'

Exceptions: Use an apostrophe only with the singular form of names ending in unpronounced s (e.g., Descartes'). It is preferable to include of when referring to the plural form of names ending in unpronounced s (e.g., the home of the Descartes).


Compound words take many forms; that is, two words may be written as (a) two separate words; (b) a hyphenated word; or (c) one unbroken, "solid" word. Choosing the proper form is sometimes frustrating. The dictionary is an excellent guide for such decisions, especially for nonscientific words. When a compound can be found in the dictionary, its usage is established and it is known as a permanent compound; use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary when possible. If a compound is not listed in the dictionary, the main rule to remember is that if a temporary compound precedes what it modifies, it may need to be hyphenated, and if it follows what it modifies, it usually does not. Use the table and following sections below for more guidance.

Hyphens, dashes, and minus signs are each typed differently.

  • hyphen: Use no space before or after (e.g., trial-by-trial analysis).
  • em dash: An em dash is longer than a hyphen or an en dash and is used to set off an element added to amplify or to digress from the main clause (e.g., Studies—published and unpublished—are included). Use no space before or after an em dash. If an em dash is not available on your keyboard, use two hyphens with no space before or after.
  • en dash: An en dash is longer and thinner than a hyphen yet shorter than an em dash and is used between words of equal weight in a compound adjective (e.g., Chicago–London flight). Type as an en dash or, if the en dash is not available on your keyboard,as a single hyphen. In either case, use no space before or after.
  • minus sign: A typeset minus sign is the same length as an en dash, but it is slightly thicker and slightly higher. If a minus sign is not available, use a hyphen with a space on both sides (e.g., a - b). For a negative value, use a hyphen rather than a minus sign, with a space before but no space after (e.g., -5.25).
Guide to Hyphenating Terms
Rule Example
A compound with a participle when it precedes the term it modifies role-playing technique

anxiety-arousing condition

water-deprived animals

A phrase used as an adjective when it precedes the term it modifies trial-by-trial analysis

to-be-recalled items

all-or-non questionnaire

An adjective-and-noun compound when it precedes the term it modifies high-anxiety group

middle-class families

low-frequency words

A compound with a number as the first element when the compound precedes the term it modifies two-way analysis of variance

six-trial problem

12th-grade students

16-s interval

A fraction used as an adjective two-thirds majority
Do not hyphenate
A compound including and adverb ending in ly widely used text

relatively homogeneous sample

randomly assigned participants

A compound including a comparative or superlative adjective better written paper

less informed interviewers

higher scoring students

higher order learning

Chemical terms sodium chloride solution

amino acid compound

Foreign phrases used as adjectives or adverbs a posteriori test

post hoc comparisons

fed ad lib [but hyphenate the adjectival form]

A modifier including a letter or numeral as the second element Group B participants

Type II error

Trial 1 performance

Common fractions used as nouns one third of the participants
General principle 1.

If a compound adjective can be misread, use a hyphen.

General principle 2.

In a temporary compound that is used as an adjective before a noun, use a hyphen if the term can be misread or if the term expresses a single thought (i.e., all words modify the noun). For example, are different word lists (a) word lists that are different from other word lists (if so, different modifies word lists; thus, write different word lists) or (b) lists that present different words (if so, the first word modifies the second, and together they modify lists, thus, different-word lists). Likewise, "the adolescents resided in two parent homes" means that two homes served as residences, whereas if the adolescents resided in "two-parent homes," they each would live in a household headed by two parents. A properly placed hyphen helps the reader understand the intended meaning.

General principle 3.

Most compound adjective rules are applicable only when the compound adjective precedes the term it modifies. If a compound adjective follows the term, do not use a hyphen, because relationships are sufficiently clear without one.

General principle 4.

Write most words formed with prefixes as one word. See the two tables below.

Prefixes and Suffixes That Do Not Require Hyphens
Prefix or Suffix Prefix or suffix Prefix or suffix Prefix or suffix
able infra mini re
after inter multi semi
anti intra non socio
bi like over sub
cede macro phobia super
co mega post supra
counter meta pre ultra
equi meter pro un
extra micro pseudo under
gram mid quasi
Exceptions: Use a hyphen in meta-analysis and quasi-experimental.
Prefixed Words That Require Hyphens
Occurance Example
Compounds in which the base word is capitalized: a number, an abbreviation, and more than one word. pro-Lucian



non-achievement-oriented students

All self- compounds, whether they are adjectives or nouns. self-reported technique

the test was self-paced


Words that could be misunderstood re-pair [pair again]

re-form [form again]


Words in which the prefix ends and the base word begins with the same vowel meta-analysis



General principle 5.

When two or more compound modifiers have a common base, that base is sometimes omitted in all except the last modifier, but the hyphens are retained. For example, long- and short-term effects and T-, S-, anc C-canon.


Use an uppercase letter for the first letter of a word according to the guidelines in the following sections.

Words beginning a sentence


  • the first word in a complete sentence.

Note: If a name that begins with a lowercase letter begins a sentence, then it should be capitalized. Do not begin a sentence with a statistical term (e.g., t test or p value).

  • the first word after a colon that begins a complete sentence.

Major words in titles and headings


  • major words in titles of books and articles within the body of the article. Conjunctions, articles, and short prepositions are not considered major words; however, capitalize all words of four letters or more. Capitalize all verbs (including linking verbs), nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. When a capitalized word is a hyphenated compound, capitalize both words. Also, capitalize the first word after a colon or a dash in a title.

Exception: In titles of books and articles in reference lists, capitalize only the first word, the first word after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound.

  • major words in article headings and subheadings.
  • major words in table titles and figure legends. In table headings and figure captions, capitalize only the first word and proper nouns.
  • references to titles of sections within the same article.

Proper nouns and trade names


  • proper nouns and adjectives and words used as proper nouns. Proper adjectives that have acquired a common meaning are not capitalized; consult Merriam-Webster Dictionary for guidance.
  • names of university departments if they refer to a specific department within a specific university and complete names of academic courses if they refer to a specific course.
  • trade and brand names of drugs, equipment, and food.

Nouns followed by numerals or letters

Capitalize nouns followed by numerals or letters that denote a specific place in a numbered series.

Exception: Do not capitalize nouns that denote common parts of books or tables followed by numerals or letters.

Do not capitalize nouns that precede a variable.

Titles of tests

Capitalize exact, complete titles of published and unpublished tests. Words such as testor scale are not capitalized if they refer to subscales of tests.

Do not capitalize shortened, inexact, or generic titles of tests.

Names of conditions or groups in an experiment

Do not capitalize names of conditions or groups in an experiment except in nouns followed by numerals or letters.

Names of factors, variables, and effects

Capitalize names of derived variables within a factor or principal components analysis. The words factor and component are not capitalized unless followed by a number.

Do not capitalize effects or variables unless they appear with multiplication signs. (Take care that you do not use the term factor when you mean effect or variable, for example, in an interaction or analysis of variance.)


Use of italics

For specific use of italics in the WOI Wiki articles, see the guidelines listed below. In general, use italics infrequently.

Use italics for

  • titles of books, periodicals, films, videos, TV shows, and microfilm publications

Exception: Words within the title of a book in text that would normally be italicized should be set in Roman type (this is referred to as reverse italicization).

  • genera, species, and varieties.
  • introduction of a new, technical, or key term or label (after a term has been used once, do not italicize it).
  • a letter, word, or phrase cited as a linguistic example.
  • words that could be misread.
  • letters used as statistical symbols or algebraic variables.
  • some test scores and scales.
  • periodical volume numbers in reference lists.
  • anchors of a scale.

Do not use italics for

  • foreign phrases and abbreviations common in English (i.e., phrases found as main entries in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
  • chemical terms.
  • trigonometric terms.
  • nonstatistical subscripts to statistical symbols or mathematical expressions.
  • Greek letters.
  • Mere emphasis. (Italics are acceptable if emphasis might otherwise be lost; in general, however, use syntax to provide emphasis.)
  • letters used as abbreviations.


Use of abbreviations

To maximize clarity, use abbreviations sparingly. Although abbreviations are sometimes useful for long, technical terms in scientific writing,communication is usually garbled rather than clarified if, for example, an abbreviation is unfamiliar to the reader.

Consider whether the space saved by abbreviations justifies the time necessary to master the meaning. Abbreviation introduced on first mention of a term and used fewer than three times thereafter, particularly in a long article, may be difficult for a reader to remember, and you probably serve the reader best if you write them out each time. However, a standard abbreviation for a long, familiar term eases the reader's task.

In all circumstances other than in the reference list and in the abstract, you must decide whether (a) to spell out a given expression every time it is used in an article or (b) to spell it out initially and abbreviate it thereafter. In general, use an abbreviation only (a) if it is conventional and if the reader is more familiar with the abbreviation than with the complete form or (b) if considerable space can be saved and cumbersome repetition avoided. In short, use only those abbreviations that will help you communicate with your readers. Remember, they have not had the same experience with your abbreviations as you have.

Explanation of abbreviations

Because the abbreviations that authors use in their daily writing may not be familiar to readers,a term to be abbreviated must, on its first appearance, be written out completely and followed immediately by its abbreviation in parentheses. Thereafter, use the abbreviation in text without further explanation (do not switch between the abbreviated and written-out forms of a term).

Explain abbreviations that appear in a figure in the caption or legend. Explain those that appear in a table either in the table title (if it includes words that are abbreviated in the table body) or in the table note. Explain an abbreviation that is used in several figures or tables in each figure or table in which the abbreviation is used. Avoid introducing abbreviations into figure captions or table notes if they do not appear in the figure or table. Standard abbreviations for units of measurement do not need to be written out on first use.

Abbreviations accepted as words

WOI Style permits the use of abbreviations that appear as word entries (i.e., that are not labeled abbr) in Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Such abbreviations do not need explanation in text.

Abbreviations used often in Final Fantasy XV

Some abbreviations may not appear in the dictionary but appear frequently in the Final Fantasy XV Universe. In general, for Final Fantasy XV Universe terms, abbreviations that are not used by Final Fantasy XV Universe should not be used in articles. For example, Final Fantasy XV instead of FFXV or FF15, Brotherhood (or Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV) instead of BH, and Kingsglaive instead of KG. Examples of abbreviations that may be used is MT instead of Magical Technology or Magitek, MA instead of Magitek Armor, and JMV instead of Justice Monsters V. Although probably well understood by many readers, these abbreviations should still be explained when first used unless it is part of the name itself (such as MA-X Angelus-0).

Latin abbreviations

Use the following standard Latin abbreviations only in parenthetical material; in non-parenthetical material, use the English translation of the Latin terms;in both cases, include the correct punctuation that accompanies the term:

Abbreviation Definition Abbreviation Definition
cf. compare i.e., that is
e.g., for example viz., namely
, etc. , and so forth vs. versus, against [should not be used with Final Fantasy Versus XIII]

Exception: Use the abbreviation v. (for versus) in references and text citations to court cases, whether parenthetical or not.

Exception: In the reference list and in text, use the Latin abbreviation et al., which means and others,in nonparenthetical as well as parenthetical material.

Scientific abbreviations

For units of measurement. use abbreviations and symbols for metric and nonmetric units of measurement that are accompanied by numeric values (e.g., 4 cm, 30 s, 12 mm, 18 hr, 45°). Do not repeat units of measure when expressing multiple amounts (e.g., 0.3, 1.5, and 3.0 cm). Write out abbreviations for units that are not accompanied by numeric values (e.g., measured in centimeters, several kilograms).

For units of time, to prevent misreading, do not abbreviate the following units of time, even when they are accompanied by numeric values:

  • day
  • week
  • month
  • year

Abbreviate the following units of time:

  • hr, hour
  • mm, minute
  • ms, millisecond
  • ns, nanosecond
  • s, second

Other abbreviations

Use abbreviations for statistics as described in the WOI Wiki Style Guide.

Plurals of abbreviations

To form the plural of most abbreviations and statistical symbols, add s alone, but not italicized and without an apostrophe.

Exception: Do not add an s to make abbreviations of units of measurement plural (e.g., 12 cm).

Exception: To form the plural of the reference abbreviation p. (page), write pp.; do not add an s.

Abbreviations beginning a sentence

Never begin a sentence with a lowercase abbreviation (e.g., Ib) or a symbol that standsalone (e.g., a). Begin a sentence with a capitalized abbreviation or acronym (e.g., U.S. or APA) or with a symbol connected to a word (e.g., 3-Endorphins) only when necessary to avoid indirect and awkward writing. In the case of chemical compounds, capitalize the first letter of the word to which the symbol is connected; keep the locant, descriptor, or positional prefix (i.e., Greek, small capital, and italic letters and numerals) intact.


The general rule governing the WOI Wiki Style on the use of numbers is to use numerals to express numbers 10 and above and words to express numbers below 10. See the following subsections for expansions on this rule.

Numbers expressed in numerals

Use numerals to express

  • numbers 10 and above.
  • numbers in the introduction of an article or in a graphical display within a paper.
  • numbers that immediately precede a unit of measurement.
  • numbers that represent statistical or mathematical functions, fractional or decimal quantities, percentages, ratios, and percentiles and quartiles.
  • numbers that represent time, dates, ages, scores and points on a scale, exact sums of money, and numerals as numerals.

Exception: Use words for approximations of numbers of days, months, and years (e.g.,about three months ago).

  • numbers that denote a specific place in a numbered series, parts of books and tables, and each number in a list of four or more numbers.

Numbers expressed in words

  • Use words to express any number that begins a sentence, title, or text heading. (Whenever possible, reword the sentence to avoid beginning with a number.)
  • common fractions.
  • universally accepted usage.

Combining numerals and words to express numbers

Use a combination of numerals and words to express back-to-back modifiers.

A combination of numerals and words in these situations increases the clarity and readability of the construction. In some situations, however, readability may suffer; in such a case, spell out both numbers.

Ordinal numbers

Treat ordinal numbers as you would cardinal numbers.

Decimal fractions

Use a zero before the decimal point with numbers that are less than I when the statistic can exceed 1.

Do not use a zero before a decimal fraction when the statistic cannot be greater than 1 (e.g., correlations, proportions, and levels of statistical significance).

As a general rule, fewer decimal digits are easier to comprehend than more digits; therefore, in general, it is better to round to two decimal places or to rescale the measurement (in which case effect sizes should be presented in the same metric). For instance, a difference in distances that must be carried to four decimals to be seen when scaled in meters can be more effectively illustrated in millimeters, which would require only a few decimal digits to illustrate the same difference. As a rule, when properly scaled, most data can be effectively presented with two decimal digits of accuracy.

Roman numerals

If Roman numerals are part of an established terminology, do not change to Arabic numerals; for example, use Type II error. Use Arabic, not Roman, numerals for routine seriation (e.g., Step 1).

Commas in numbers

Use commas between groups of three digits in most figures of 1,000 or more.


  • page numbers
  • binary digits
  • serial numbers
  • degrees of temperature
  • acoustic frequency designations
  • degrees of freedom

Plurals of numbers

To form the plurals of numbers, whether expressed as figures or as words, add s or es alone, without an apostrophe.


Policy on metrication

APA uses the metric system in its articles. All references to physical measurements, where feasible, should be expressed in metric units. The metric system outlined in this section is based, with some exceptions, on the International System of Units (SI), which is an extension and refinement of the traditional metric system and is supported by the national standardizing bodies in many countries, including the United States. In preparing manuscripts, use metric units if possible. For heights and weight, the imperial system can be used in the summary tables. Use the following table for height and Online Unit Converter for weight and heights not included in the table below. Verify that all heights and weight conversions are accurate, even if it's state in Final Fantasy XV.

Height Conversion
Feet and inches Centimeters Feet and inches Centimeters
4 feet 0 inches 121.92 5 feet 5 inches 165.10
4 feet 1 inches 124.46 5 feet 6 inches 167.64
4 feet 2 inches 127.00 5 feet 7 inches 170.18
4 feet 3 inches 129.54 5 feet 8 inches 172.72
4 feet 4 inches 132.08 5 feet 9 inches 175.26
4 feet 5 inches 134.62 5 feet 10 inches 177.80
4 feet 6 inches 137.16 5 feet 11 inches 180.34
4 feet 7 inches 139.70 6 feet 0 inches 182.88
4 feet 8 inches 142.24 6 feet 1 inches 185.42
4 feet 9 inches 144.78 6 feet 2 inches 187.96
4 feet 10 inches 147.32 6 feet 3 inches 190.50
4 feet 11 inches 149.86 6 feet 4 inches 193.04
5 feet 0 inches 152.40 6 feet 5 inches 195.58
5 feet 1 inches 154.94 6 feet 6 inches 198.12
5 feet 2 inches 157.48 6 feet 7 inches 200.66
5 feet 3 inches 160.02 6 feet 8 inches 203.20
5 feet 4 inches 162.56 6 feet 9 inches 205.74

Style for metric units

Use the metric symbol (see International System [SI] Base and Supplementary Units and other resources on metrication at APA Style) to express a metric unit when it appears with a numeric value (e.g., 4 m). When a metric unit does not appear with a numeric value, spell out the unit in text (e.g., measured in meters) and use the metric symbol in column and headings of tables to conserve space (e.g., lag in ms).

Use lowercase letters when writing out full names of units (e.g., meter, nanometer), unless the name appears in capitalized material or at the beginning of a sentence. For the most part, use lowercase letters for symbols (e.g., cd), even in capitalized material.S ymbols derived from the name of a person usually include uppercase letters(e.g., Gy), as do symbols for some prefixes that represent powers of 10.

Make full names of units plural when appropriate. Do not make symbols or abbreviations of units plural.

Do not use a period after a symbol, except at the end of a sentence.

Use a space between a symbol and the number to which it refers, except for measures of angles (e.g., degrees, minutes, and seconds).

Use a centered dot between the symbols of a compound term formed by the multiplication of units. Use a space between full names of units of a compound unit formed by the multiplication of units; do not use a centered dot.

Tables and Figures

Table checklist

  • Is the table necessary?
  • Does it belong in the print version of the article, or can it go in a supplemental file?
  • Are all comparable tables in the manuscript consistent in presentation? The table body contains the data. Express numerical values to the number of decimal places that the precision of measurement justifies, and if possible, carry all comparable values to the same number of decimal places. If the point of intersection between a row and a column (called a cell) cannot be filled because data are not applicable, leave the cell blank. If a cell cannot be filled because data were not obtained or are not reported, insert a dash in that cell and explain the use of the dash in the general note to the table.
  • Is the title brief but explanatory?
  • Does every column have a column head?
  • Are all abbreviations explained, as well as special use of italics, parentheses, italics, dashes, boldface, and special symbols?
  • Are the notes in the following order: general note, specific note? A general note qualifies, explains, or provides information relating to the table as a whole and ends with an explanation of any abbreviations, symbols, and the like.Included within general notes would be any acknowledgments that a table is reproduced from another source. General notes are designated by the word Note (italicized) followed by a period. A specific note refers to a particular column, row, or cell. Specific notes are indicated by superscript lower case letters (e.g., abc). Within the headings and table body, order the superscripts fromleft to right and from top to bottom, starting at the top left.
  • Are all vertical rules eliminated?
  • Are confidence intervals reported for all major point estimates? Is the confidence level—for example, 95%—stated, and is the same level of confidence used for all tables and throughout the paper?
  • If statistical significance testing is used, are all probability level values correctly identified? Are asterisks attached to the appropriate table entries onlywhen needed (as opposed to stating exact probabilities)? When used, is a probability level assigned the same number of asterisks in all tables in the same paper?
  • If all or part of a copyrighted table is reproduced or adapted, do the table notes give full credit to the copyright owner?
  • Is the table referred to in text?

Figure checklist

  • Is the figure necessary?
  • Is the figure simple, clear,and free of extraneous detail?
  • Is the figure title descriptive of the content of the figure?
  • Are all elements of the figure clearly labeled?
  • Are the magnitude, scale, and direction of grid elements clearly labeled?
  • Are figures of equally important concepts prepared according to the same scale?
  • Are all figures numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals?
  • Are all figures mentioned in the text?
  • Has written permission for print and electronic reuse been obtained? Is proper credit given in the figure caption?
  • Have all substantive modifications to photographic images been disclosed?
  • Is the metadata and copyright information stored on the images' page?
  • Have the pictures been produced at a 300 dpi, 1024 px on its longest side, and jpeg 70% compression? Does it include the watermark?

Crediting Sources

Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work. They may provide key background information, support or dispute your thesis, or offer critical definitions and data. Citation of an article implies that you have personally read the cited work. In addition to crediting the ideas of others that you used to build your thesis, provide documentation for all facts and figures that are not common knowledge.

The number of sources you cite in your work will vary by the intent of the article. For most articles, aim to cite one or two of the most representative sources for each key point. However, because the intent of a review article is to acquaint readers with all that has been written on a topic, authors of literature reviews typically include a more exhaustive list of citations.


Authors do not present the work of another as if it were their own work. Whether paraphrasing, quoting an author directly, or describing an idea that influenced your work, you must credit the source. To avoid charges of plagiarism, take careful notes as you research to keep track of your sources and cite those sources according to the guidelines presented below.

Quoting and Paraphrasing

Direct quotation of sources

Reproduce word for word material directly quoted from another author's work, material replicated from a test item, and verbatim instructions to participants. When quoting, always include a complete reference in the reference list, which includes the quest, timestamp, page number, etc., and provide a link to the reference in the text.

If the quotation comprises fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into text and enclose the quotation with double quotation marks. If the quotation appears in mid-sentence, end the passage with quotation marks, cite the source in parentheses immediately after the quotation marks, and continue the sentence. Use no other punctuation unless the meaning of the sentence requires such punctuation.

If the quotation appears at the end of a sentence, close the quoted passage with quotation marks, cite the source in parentheses immediately after the quotation marks, and end with a period or other punctuation outside the final parenthesis.

If the quotation comprises 40 or more words, display it in a freestanding block of text and omit the quotation marks. Start such a block quotation on a new line and use the blockquote format. At the end of a block quotation, cite the quoted source and the page or paragraph number in parentheses after the final punctuation mark.

Paraphrasing material

When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, you are encouraged to provide a link to the reference, especially when it would help an interested reader locate the relevant passage in a long or complex text.

Accuracy of quotations

Direct quotations must be accurate, Except as noted here and the following two sections, the quotation must follow the wording, spelling, and interior punctuation of the original source, even if the source is incorrect.

If any incorrect spelling, punctuation, or grammar in the source might confuse readers, insert the word sic, italicized and bracketed, immediately after the error in the quotation. Always check the manuscript copy against the source to ensure that there are no discrepancies.

Changes from the source requiring no explanation

The first letter of the first word in a quotation may be changed to an uppercase or a lowercase letter. The punctuation mark at the end of a sentence may be changed to fit the syntax. Single quotation marks may be changed to double quotation marks and vice versa. Any other changes (e.g., italicizing words for emphasis or omitting, see the next section) must be explicitly indicated.

Changes from the source requiring explanation

Use three spaced ellipsis points (. . .) within a sentence to indicate that you have omitted material from the original source. Use four points to indicate any omission between two sentences. The first point indicates the period at the end of the first sentence quoted, and the three spaced ellipsis points follow. Do not use ellipsis points at the beginning or end of any quotation unless, to prevent misinterpretation, you need to emphasize that the quotation begins or ends in midsentence.

Use brackets, not parentheses, to enclose material such as an addition or explanation inserted in a quotation by some person other than the original author.

If you want to emphasize a word or words in a quotation, italicize the word or words. Immediately after the italicized words, insert within brackets the words emphasis added, that is, [emphasis added].

Citations within quotations

Do not omit citations embedded within the original material you are quoting. The works cited need not be included in the list of references (unless you happen to cite them as primary sources elsewhere in your paper).

Citing References in Text

References in the WOI Wiki are cited using Mediawiki citation system and are listed by order of appearance in the reference list. This style of citation quickly link readers to the source of information in the alphabetical reference list at the end of the article. Each reference cited in text must appear in the reference list, and each entry in the reference list must be cited in text. Make certain that each source referenced appears in both places and that the text citation and reference list entry are identical.

The reference list must include where the material can be found specifically. For example, the main game should list the quest, a television show should list an episode, a film should include a timestamp, and a book should include a page number. If a reference must be listed several times but with different location specifiers.

Provide inline citations using ref tags, which result in superscripted footnote numbers, like this:[1] and numbered references (footnotes) being added to the reference section near the bottom of the article. Also provide where the material can be found specifically, such as the quest in the main game, the episode in a television series, and the timestamp in a video, using the following code (adapted for the reference type): {{sfn|Smith|1889|p=157}} or {{sfn|Smith|Jones|1892|pp= 213-218}}

A {{notelist}} section must be included at the end of an article.

Secondary Sources

Use secondary sources sparingly, for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable through usual sources, or not available in English.

Classical Works

When a date of publication is inapplicable, such as for some very old works, cite the year of the translation you used, preceded by trans., or the year of the version you used, followed by version. When you know the original date of publication, include it in the citation.

Reference list entries are not required for major classical works, such as ancient Greek and Roman works or classical religious works; simply identifying the first citation in the text the version you used. Parts of classical works (e.g., books, chapters, verses, lines, cantos) are numbered systematically across all editions, so use these numbers instead of page numbers when referring to specific parts of your source.

Personal Communications

Personal communications may be private letters, memos, some electronic communications (e.g., e-mail or messages from nonarchived discussion groups or electronic bulletin boards), personal interviews, telephone conversations, and the like. Because they do not provide recoverable data,personal communications are not included in the reference list. Cite personal communications in text only, Give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible. Use your judgment in citing other electronic forms as personal communications; online networks currently provide a casual forum for communicating, and what you cite should have scholarly relevance, Some forms of personal communication are recoverable, and these should be referenced as archival materials.

Guidance by Type


Periodicals include items published on a regular basis such as journals, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters.

General reference form:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, xx, pp—pp. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

  • Include the digital object identifier (DOl) in the reference if one is assigned.
  • If no DOl is assigned to the content and you retrieved it online, include the home page URL for the journal, newsletter, or magazine in the reference. Use this format: Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxxx
  • If each issue of a journal begins on page 1, give the issue number in parentheses immediately after the volume number.
  • If you are citing an advance release version of the article, insert Advance online publication before the retrieval statement.
  • Some journals offer supplemental material that is available only online. To reference this supplemental material, or any other nonroutine information that is important for identification and retrieval, include a description of the content in brackets following the title: [Letter to the editor], [Map], [Audio podcast].

Books, reference books, and book chapters

This category includes books and reference books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and reference books. It also includes books that are published in electronic form only, reference works and public domain books available online, and out-of-print books that may be available only in online repositories. When DOIs are assigned, use them as noted in the examples that follow.

For an entire book, use the following reference formats:

Author, A. A. (1967). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

Author, A. A. (1997). Title of work. Retrieved from http://www,xxxxxxx

Author, A. A. (2006). Title of work. doi:xxxxx

Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (1986). Title of work. Location:Publisher.

For a chapter in a book or entry in a reference book, use the following formats:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (1995). Title of chapter or entry. In A. Editor, B. Editor, & C. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx—xxx). Location: Publisher.

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (1993). Title of chapteror entry. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx—xxx). Retrieved from http://www,xxxxxxx

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (1995). Title of chapter or entry. In A. Editor, B. Editor, & C. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx—xxx). Location:Publisher. doi:xxxxxxxx

If there are no page numbers, the chapter or entry title is sufficient.

Title of entry. (1998). In A. Editor (Ed.), Title of reference work (xx ed., Vol. xx,—xxx). Location: Publisher.

Title of entry. (1998). In Title of reference work (xx ed., Vol. xx). Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxxxx

Technical and research reports

Technical and research reports, like journal articles, usually cover original research but may or may not be peer reviewed. Format references to technical and research reports as you would a book.

Author, A. A. (1998). Title of work (Report No. xxx). Location: Publisher.

  • If the issuing organization assigned a number (e.g., report number, contract number, monograph number) to the report, give that number in parentheses immediately after the title.
  • For reports retrieved online, identify the publisher as part of the retrieval statement unless the publisher has been identified as the author: Retrieved from Agency name website: http://www.xxxxxxx

Meetings and symposia

Proceedings of meetings and symposia can be published in book or periodical form. To cite published proceedings from a book, use the same format as for a book or book chapter. To cite proceedings that are published regularly, use the same format as for a periodical. For contributions to symposia or for paper or poster presentations that have not been formally published, use the following templates.


Contributor, A. A., Contributor, B. B., Contributor, C. C., & Contributor, D. D. (Year, Month). Title of contribution. In E. E. Chairperson (Chair),Title of symposium. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Organization Name, Location.

Paper presentation or poster session:

Presenter, A. A. (Year, Month). Title of paper or poster. Paper or poster session presented at the meeting of Organization Name, Location.

Symposium contributions and paper or poster presentations that have not been formally published, give the month and year of the symposium or meeting in the reference.

Doctoral dissertations and master's theses

Doctoral dissertations and master's theses can be retrieved from subscription databases, institutional archives, and personal websites. If the work is retrieved from a database or another published source, include this information in the reference.

For a doctoral dissertation or master's thesis available from a database service, use the following reference template:

Author, A. A. (2003). Title of doctoral dissertation or master's thesis (Doctoral dissertation or master's thesis).Retrieved from Name of database. (Accession or Order No.)

For an unpublished dissertation or thesis, use the following template:

Author, A. A. (1978). Title of doctoral dissertation or master's thesis (Unpublished doctoral dissertation or master's thesis). Name of Institution, Location.

  • Italicize the title of a doctoral dissertation or master's thesis.
  • Identify the work as a doctoral dissertation or master's thesis in parentheses after the title.
  • If the paper is available through a database, give the accession or order number in parentheses at the end of the reference.

Reviews and peer commentary

Reviews of books, motion pictures, and other information or entertainment products are published in a variety of venues, including periodicals, websites, and blogs. Some publications will print author responses to a reviewer's criticism or multiple reviews of

the same product.

Reviewer, A. A. (2000). Title of review [Review of the book Title of book, by A. A. Author]. Title of complete work, xx, xxx—xxx.

  • If the review is untitled, use the material in brackets as the title; retain the brackets to indicate that the material is a description of form and content, not a title.
  • Identify the type of medium being reviewed in brackets (book, motion picture, television program, etc.).
  • If the reviewed item is a book, include the author names after the title of the separated by a comma.
  • If the reviewed item is a film, DVD, or other media, include the year of release the title of the work, separated by a comma.

Audiovisual media

Audiovisual media include motion pictures; audio or television broadcasts (including podcasts); and static objects such as maps, artwork,or photos.

For a motion picture, use the following format:

Producer, A. A. (Producer), & Director,B. B. (Director). (Year). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio.

For a music recording, use the following format:

Writer, A. (Copyright year). Title of song [Recorded by B. B. Artist if different from writer]. On Title of album [Medium of recording: CD, record,cassette, etc.] Location: Label. (Date of recording if different from song copyright date)

  • List the primary contributors in the author position and use parentheses to identify their contribution.
  • For an episode from a television or radio series, use the same format as for a chapter in a book, but list the script writer and director in the author position and the producer in the editor position.

Data sets, software, measurement instruments, and apparatus

This category includes raw data and tools that aid persons in performing a task such as data analysis or measurement. Reference entries are not necessary for standard software and programming languages, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, Java, Adobe Photoshop, and even SAS and SPSS. Video games, such as Final Fantasy XV, is also considered software. In text, give the proper name of the software, along with the version number. Do provide reference entries for specialized softwareor computer programs with limited distribution.

Rightsholder, A. A. (Year). Title of program (Version number) [Description of form]. Location: Name of producer.


Rightsholder, A. A. (Year). Title of program [Description of form]. Retrieved from http://xxxx

  • Do not italicize the names of software, programs, or languages.
  • Do italicize the title of a data set.
  • If an individual has proprietary rights to the software, name him or her as the author; otherwise, treat such references as unauthored works.
  • In parentheses immediately after the title, identify the version number, if applicable, or where exactly to find the citation.
  • In brackets immediately after the title or version number, identify the source as a computer program, language, software, and so forth. Do not use a period between the title and the bracketed material.
  • Give the location and name of the organization that produced the work, if applicable, in the publisher position. If the program can be downloaded or ordered from the web, give this information in the publisher position.
  • For an apparatus patent, use the legal reference format.

Unpublished and informally published works

Unpublished work includes work that is in progress, has been submitted for publication, or has been completed but not submitted for publication. This category also includes work that has not been formally published but is available on a personal or institutional website, an electronic archive.

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of manuscript. Unpublished manuscript [or "Manuscript submitted for publication,"or "Manuscript in preparation"].

  • If the work is available on an electronic archive, give this information at the end.
  • Update your references frequently prior to publication of your work; refer to the final published version of sources when possible.

Archival documents and collections

Archival sources include letters, unpublished manuscripts, limited-circulation brochures and pamphlets, in-house institutional and corporate documents, clippings, and other documents, as well as such nontext materials as photographs and apparatus, that are in the personal possession of an author, form part of an institutional collection, or are stored in an archive.

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of material. [Description of material]. Name of collection (Call number, Box number, File name or number, etc.). Name and location of repository.

  • This general format may be modified for collections requiring more or less specific information to locate materials, for different types of collections, or for additional descriptive information (e.g., a translation of a letter). Authors may choose to list correspondence from their own personal collections, but correspondence from other private collections should be listed only with the permission of the collector.
  • As with any reference, the purpose is to direct the reader to the source, despite the fact that only a single copy of the document may be available and the reader may have some difficulty actually seeing a copy.
  • Include as much information as is needed to help locate the item with reasonable ease within the repository. For items from collections with detailed finding aids, the name of the collection may be sufficient; for items from collections without finding aids, more information (e.g., call number, box number, filename or number) may be necessary to help locate the item.
  • If several letters are cited from the same collection, list the collection as a reference and provide specific identifying information (author, recipient, and date) for each letter in the in-text citations.
  • Use square brackets to indicate information that does not appear on the document. Use question marks to indicate uncertainty regarding names and dates; use ca. (circa, not italicized) to indicate estimated dates.
  • For interviews and oral histories, list the interviewee as the author. Include the inter-viewer's name in the description.
  • If a publication of limited circulation is available in libraries, the reference may be formatted as usual for published material, without the archival source.

Internet message boards, electronic mailing lists, and other online communities

The Internet offers several options for people around the world to sponsor and join j discussions devoted to particular subjects. These options include blogs, newsgroups, online forums and discussion groups, and electronic mailing lists. (The last are often referred to as listservs. However, LISTSERV is a trademarked name for a particular software program; electronic mailinglist is the appropriate generic term.)

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of post [Description of form]. Retrieved from http ://www.xxxx

  • If the author's full name is available, list the last name first followed by initials. If only a screen name is available,use the screen name.
  • Provide the exact date of the posting.
  • Follow the date with the subject line of the message (also referred to as the "thread"); do not italicize it. Provide a description of the message in brackets after the title.
  • Include the information "Retrieved from" followed by the URL where the message can be retrieved. Include the name of the list to which the message was posted, if this information is not part of the URL.
  • Provide the address for the archived version of the message.