Friday, August 31, 2012

Style and Formatting Notes

For those following the dissertation saga, these are some notes from my style and format reviewer that I need to incorporate into the final manuscript:

DMIN Final Project Style & Format Review

Student’s Name: Clint Schnekloth                                           Date: March 5, 2012

I enjoyed reading the first two chapters of your final project.  Your submission meets the necessary requirements for Turabian and Doctor of Ministry writing standards. 

Please see the comments below and throughout your paper for details regarding changes you should make for the first draft.  Within your paper, initially I will alert you to a needed correction by placing a comment in the text.  Subsequently I may highlight places that require similar corrections, although please note that not all places requiring correction have been marked.

1.     Front Matter:
·      The blank page should be followed by an abstract. 
·      Use the page number function in MS Word so that the page number falls exactly 1 inch from the bottom of the page.

2.     Format:
·      There should be two line spaces (rather than three) above a subhead.
·      The chapter number should be given in numeral form.

3.     Style:
·      Capitalize “Church” when it refers to the Church universal.
·      Avoid the use of “we” with no clear referent.  Instead, use “people” or “believers” or whatever applies.
·      Avoid directly addressing the reader: use “one may notice” rather than “you will notice,” for example, and avoid colloquial “dialogue” with the reader such as “You will see . . .”
·      Avoid posing questions to the reader.  Rephrase as declarative statements.  See page 13 of the DMin Style Guide on “Questions/Question Marks.”
·      Avoid the use of the first person unless you are inextricably connected to the situation or event you are describing.
·      Avoid beginning your sentences with “I believe” or “I will suggest,” as the reader will assume that all statements in the paper are the author’s (your) delcarations.  If you prefer to soften the language a bit, maintain objectivity by writing “It seems that . . .” rather than “I suspect that . . .”

4.     Footnotes:
·       “Ibid.” cannot appear as the first footnote on a page.  Use the short format instead.
·      The footnote number should be placed at the end of the sentence unless there are multiple footnote numbers in a single sentence.
·      For all footnotes, add the city of publication (and the state abbreviation if the city is not well known).
5.     Grammar:
·      Avoid using contractions in your paper.
·      An ellipsis should be a set of periods with spaces between, like . . . this.
·      Use “and the like” or “and so on” in place of “etc.”
·      Commas and periods belong inside quotation marks; semicolons and colons belong outside.
·      Some of your sentences are not complete and need to be revised.

·      Each quote must be introduced, usually by presenting the author’s last name (e.g., “Carson writes, ‘ . . .’”).  Add the author’s first name and the name of the text when quoting it for the first time.
·      Use the block quote format if you have five full lines or more.
·      Quotation marks should not be used around a block quote.

7.     Numbers:
·      Note 1: Write out all numbers between one and one hundred, and any number that can be written as two words.  This includes ordinal numbers like “first” or “twentieth.”

8.     Bibliography:
·      Delete any line spaces at the top of a page.
·      Entries by the same author should be ordered alphabetically by title.  You may alternatively order the books by date, but then you need to apply the same pattern to all sets of books by the same author in your bibliography.
·      Each website reference should have an author, a title (which could be the title of the article or the title of the page) in quotation marks, the url address, and the date accessed.
·      For website references, break up the url address so that you don’t have a lot of empty space at the end of a line.


  1. This is hilarious--at least 27 years post "been there done that". To make a comparison with Church 2.0/3.0, the writing style for dissertations is something like "writing style negative 2.0", whereas the writing style for the internet is something like "writing style ???".

  2. It's definitely true that the writing style guidelines for dissertations are incredibly antiquated. I find that some of the rules simply force the writing to be poor writing. I like not using the personal pronoun actually forces the writer to use the passive voice. Etc.

  3. A lot of scientific papers are still written in passive voice without personal pronouns. I've been told that it's to emphasize that 1)the research is more important than who did it and 2) anybody should be able to do the same research with the same result. What I find funniest are the instructions not to use 'etc.', writing out numbers between 1 and 100--oops--between one and one hundred, etc. --oops--and so on. That's all stuff I learned from a very strict teacher in high school. I suppose that makes me antiquated, too! To give you an idea how strict he was, let's just say that I still can't end a sentence with a preposition during class without backtracking and correcting myself. I'm that damaged. :)