Dissertation Guide

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What is meant by house-style?

“Publishing companies usually have a style-sheet for standardising things that need standardising, such as spelling (-ise or -ize, hyphens or no hyphens), references, footnotes and endnotes, capitalisation, dates, etc. A lot of journals lay out their style-sheet somewhere in the back. It’s worth looking at those style-sheets to get a sense of what is important. Having a house style is not just being finicky; it’s based on the principle that inconsistency in the text slows down the reader by distracting them from the content of the text.”

“I’ve spent up to ten hours changing references on a paper. I’ve done all that and I still haven’t copy-edited it. On screen you can spend an hour putting a manuscript into the appropriate style. This involves a number of search-and-replace routines – headings, quotation marks, en-rules and em-rules, hyphens, ‘z’ spellings or ‘s’ spellings. Then you start reading.”