How to Write for Us

I you are going to write with us please try to follow the following style guidelines:

  • In general use numbers not words, especially for larger numbers e.g. there were 52 varieties of beans.
  • Use -ise in preference to -ize.
  • Avoid the excessive use of hyphens e.g. healthcare, unless it's an invented work like self-directed.
  • Use no more than 3 heading levels (ideally less).
  • Provide a summary at the beginning of longer pieces.
  • If using acronyms ensure that the first use includes an explanation, e.g. United Nations (UN).
  • Only use capitals for proper names. The only exception is when you are naming and defining a concept (e.g. Individual Budget); but then this must be consistently capitalised throughout.
  • Headings should only be capitalised on the first letter - unless a proper name is included.
  • Figures (or captions) should also only be capitalised on the first letter.
  • Only the Main Title will be fully capitalised and any sub-title will be in block capitals.
  • When quoting authors, alive or dead, use the present tense to describe what someone thinks or says - unless the context demands a past tense.
  • Place punctuation marks inside quote marks even when artificial (i.e. the US convention) - e.g. Simon said “Put your hands in the air,” before he left the building.
  • The name of publications, legislation, projects or brands cited in a text should be in italics; however organisations, departments or other formal bodies should not be in italics - in other words the italics signals that this is a name of something. (This also means that such titles do not require quotations marks. e.g. The Spirit Level, not 'The Spirit Level').
  • Provide any artwork separately from the text, at the highest resolution possible or ideally as a vector graphic.
  • Please only use one space after a period and avoid other excessive uses of the space bar, the return key or clip art.
  • We do not use footnotes and ideally try to avoid endnotes. However if endnotes are essential then please mark number at the end of the relevant sentence - not midway. e.g. The UK Government breached the human rights of disabled people. [n] In general try to avoid use of endnotes and use Harvard referencing (see below) rather than endnotes in order to cite references.
  • If using endnotes then number every note in sequence. If you are referring back to any earlier reference do not simply repeat the earlier number. You must use a new number and then in the note either: ibid (if you are refering back to the note immediately above or Name and Number e.g. O'Brien (n 6).
  • Only use double quotes (") for real quotations of people. Only use single quotes (') for expressions. Unless essential to the flow of the paragraph, quotations will be placed in a paragraph of their own with a clear citation.
  • Try to avoid the use of the rather ugly and/or. Unless there is a real danger of ambiguity or confusion it can be assumed that 'or' includes 'and' (ie. use the logicians' 'or').
  • Bulleted lists are good and can be treated as a form of punctuation in their own right. There is no need to try and add extra colons or the term 'and' - instead make each bullet as clear and distinct in its own right.

The publishing process

Guidelines for contributors:

  • Text should be provided in Word, Pages or RTF.
  • Desk Top Publishing (DTP) will only begin once text has been agreed
  • Images should NOT be embedded in document but provided separately
  • High quality images should be use and for graphics ideally vector graphic formats
  • Statistics should ideally be provided either as raw data or in a Scaleable Vector Graphic form (i.e. not just an image grab from Excel)

If in doubt please talk us in advance.

Contents page

Contents page typically we will be restricted to:

  • Foreword (if any) - this is by a different person to author
  • Preface (if any) - this would be by the author
  • Summary
  • Section headings (if any)
  • Chapter heading (Level 1 only)
  • Bibliography

Stories and case studies

Stories are essential to help people understand the world. We encourage people to tell stories about themselves or share stories about people's lives. However if you tell someone else's story you must either:

  • Get permission from them to use their name and story or
  • Change the story to make the person anonymous (perhaps with a different name) and to ensure you protect the person's privacy and dignity

Handbook | 03.01.21

Citizen Network, Global, Handbook

Also see