This piece is meant to instruct students on how to write academic manuscripts, papers and/or reports in terms of organization, format and language (including tense). Students should consistently apply these guidelines with all papers written while embarking on their studies at this institution. These guidelines do not supersede the specific directions given by other instructional staff. If students are instructed to do something different than what is found in these pages, then they must apply those different instructions for those specific papers in that specific course. Otherwise, these guidelines are a good, general starting point and base knowledge in writing academic manuscripts, papers or reports. It is hoped that students will find this short guide helpful in creating their future projects.
Fonts and margins
There are several format issues that will be addressed in this paper. Fonts are important because they can be key as to whether or not you can hold a reader long enough to get them interested. If the font is strange or hard to see, then the writer will lose the reader because they will perceive the piece not to be serious or that it might give them a headache as they try to figure out what is being said. Therefore, it is always a good idea to select a true type font at an appropriate size. Here is a list of true type fonts and their appropriate sizes: Cambria (12 pt.), Calibri (12 pt.), Arial Narrow (12 pt.), Arial (11 pt.), Times New Roman (12 pt.), Book Antique (12 pt.), and Georgia (12 pt.). There are others as well but students can get the general idea of how presentable the fonts need to be from the short list given here. Students are to make sure that once the font is selected, they consistently use the same font throughout the paper. In terms of size, that can be changed under certain conditions such as: 1) a larger size (no greater than 18 pt.) of the same font can be used with the title on the title page of a paper, manuscript or report; 2) a smaller size (no smaller than 8 pt.) may be used when making notations or subscripting a table, graph, chart, or figure. In terms of margins, generally 1” (one inch) on all four sides is the standard yet, sometimes, students may have to adjust based on the printer defaults. This piece is written at .9” (or nine-tenths of an inch) on all sides to make up for the default that counts a little over one-tenth of the paper on the sides as not viewable in terms of A4 sized paper. In China, A4 is the standard sized paper while in most Western countries, “Letter” is the standard size. Generally, you can ensure the measures/setting are correct by going to the page setup menu (File>Page Setup) although Word 2007 and above can be adjusted from the top toolbar. Use the standard size for the location you are at when writing papers, manuscripts or reports within an academic setting.
Sentence and paragraph format
A paragraph is a small collection of sentences that have to do with the same issue. It is typically started with indentation (indents) of approximately ten (10) taps on the space bar. It is important that once a major idea is explained or described then the student closes the paragraph and begins another paragraph with the next important part. Students are warned not to write run-on sentences or paragraphs. Sentences are to be started with a capitalized letter of the first word. Names of persons, places, and brands must be capitalized. Between each sentence, students should press the space bar twice to provide adequate differentiation room. Students are warned not to write run-on sentences and are to close each sentence with a period (.), question mark (?), or in some rare cases, maybe an exclamation mark (!). Improper substitution symbols should not be used in academic papers such as %, &, #, @, or $. Just write in their places, respectively, percent, and, the number, a number or