Style Guidelines

Authors should submit papers formatted according to the style considerations outlined here. Please understand that our journal is presented free of charge because of the hard work of expert volunteers. Submissions in other formats (multimedia, guided presentations, etc.) are acceptable for review, but authors of accepted offerings may be requested to carry out further formatting prior to publication, some of which is not foreseeable in the creation of this guide.


The document should have the following settings:

  • Font: Cambria
  • Margins: Top, bottom margins 1.25” (32 mm); side margins 1.0” (25 mm)


Authors should use Cambria font but may substitute Times New Roman for submissions if Cambria is unavailable (articles will be published using Cambria font). Appropriate font sizes for various document elements are noted under the pertinent headings that follow.

Title and authorship

  • Title: Cambria font, 14 pt. bold ; Left alignment (please do not center)
  • Author name(s): Cambria font, 14 pt. plain; Left alignment on next line following the title
  • Author Affiliation(s): Cambria font, 14 pt italics; Left alignment on next line following author’s name



Author Name

Northsouth State University

Body text

Body text one and a half (1.5) line spacing; Left alignment

Block quotations

Single-spaced; Left alignment; Left indent 0.5”; Right indent 0.5”; Please do not use tabs, spaces and/or returns to create the impression of right and left indentations. These cost our editors a great deal of unnecessary time. Use the document rulers for your word processing application.

Orphaned Headers

Orphaned headers are headers that end up being the last thing on a page when their accompanying text or list has skipped to the next page. Do not worry about having these in your submission. Since the document will be repaginated into our format for publication, any unnecessarily inserted page breaks will probably have to be removed anyway. It is okay to insert hard page breaks between chapters or major breaks in material.


Section headers are centered, 12 pt Bold with upper-case first letter. Next level headers are left-aligned, 12 point bold; third-level headings are left-aligned in 12 point font, in italics.


The first paragraph following a heading should be aligned left. All subsequent paragraphs should be indented 0.5” by setting paragraph parameters or by using the ruler (not the “tab” key or the space bar: Use of the “tab” key or the space bar to indent will create problems when the document is converted to PDF format prior to publishing). Documents that are approved for publication but which are received with tabbed paragraph indents will be returned to the author for adjustment.

Hyphens and Dashes

Hyphens are used to indicate words that are to be read together (well-informed), en-dashes are used to indicate a sequence (January–March), and em-dashes are used to create a break in a sentence—like this one. Please do not use hyphens as dashes. Check the tutorials or other documentation for your word processing application to learn how to achieve the correct character.

Epigrams (if used)

12 point, italics, centered. List author right-aligned on next line, also 12 pt. italics..


Where acronyms are used (and in particular in references) please spell out what they represent. These are not always well known by readers.

Figures and images

All figures and images must be submitted as separate files. Charts, graphs, etc. (unless created in an image application such as Photoshop) must be scanned at the best quality of resolution possible [minimum 16 shades of gray for grayscale or thousands of colors for color images] and submitted as separate image files with insertion points (callouts) clearly marked in the article. Acceptable image formats are .tif, .gif, .png, and .jpg. Bitmap [.bmp] images are not acceptable. If the image is fuzzy or pixilated when you send it, then there isn’t much we can do to fix it and we will not publish images of poor resolution.

Tables and multi-columned lists

If a table is created in Microsoft Word via its <Table> menu and is correctly formatted, it may be included within the submitted document. If the table is a scan from another source or has been created using tabs, returns and spaces to create the effect of a table, then follow the instructions above for figures and images. The same applies to multi-columned lists (in effect, a table). Please note that tables properly created in Word will usually have a much nicer resolution and will be (usually) easier for editors to work with (not to mention that the text will then be searchable unlike a graphic image of text). If you create a table in a spreadsheet application, then please follow the instructions for figures and images.

Other digital media

Authors are encouraged to take advantage of other forms of digital media such as sound and video clips. However, consultation with the Associate Editor prior to submission is necessary in order to assure technical practicality of intended formats. Sound files accompanying articles should be in either .aif or .mp3 formats. Video files should be in .mpg or .mp4 formats unless they are streaming files. As large sound and video files cannot be stored or streamed using the ACT server, ACT may require that larger audio and video files be housed on a safe, reliable server maintained by the author.

Permissions, rights

Permission and usage rights for media and all other files not owned by the author are the author’s responsibility, as are associated costs, if any. Please make sure all permissions are properly cited in the submission, as per any agreements with the copyright holder(s).

Web site URLs

Please set Internet addresses as hyperlinks in the references. Please double-check all links before sending the document. Wherever possible, use a permanent link in place of the standard URL.


Set flush left and single spaced, with 1.5 spacing between entries and hanging indent for each entry.


Please convert all footnotes to endnotes, and set with Times New Roman 12 point font. Endnotes should follow References.

About the Author

This is the final heading and should be set flush left. Citations, References, and Documentation

Within-text citations

When using author/date citation style:

  • Citations should consist of the author’s last name, year of publication, and, for any direct quotes, page number(s).
  • Please use no comma between author and date (Smith 1976). Please omit “p.” and “pp.”
  • Please abbreviate inclusive numbers (e.g., 124–37).
  • Please use the en dash, not the hyphen to indicate page range (see above example). In Microsoft Word, an en dash is created by pressing Control and the minus sign on the keypad at the same time.
  • For works with three or more authors, please use “et al.”
  • Please use commas to separate authors (Peck 1977, Smith 1975).
  • Please order sources within parentheses (chronological order with the most recent first) .
  • Please make certain that all sources cited in the text are in the reference list.
  • Please avoid the use of “op. cit.” “ibid.” etc.

Examples of author/date citation:

The study confirmed others in the field (Hutchinson and Smith 1995, 335–36; Zanov et al. 1991a).

Hutchinson and Smith (1995) believed that the study was flawed.


Please provide a reference list at the end of the article. Include full bibliographical data for all works cited in the text. (Do not include reference for works/authors not cited in the text.)

  • In the references, the author’s name is followed by the year of publication (without parentheses).
  • Arrange works alphabetically by author. The name of the first author is given in inverted order (i.e., with the last name first: Smith, John). In multiauthor works, names of authors after the first author are not inverted.
  • Single-author entries should precede multiauthor entries beginning with the same author. For multiauthor works, list the names in the order in which they appear on the title page.
  • Two or more works authored by the same first author but with different coauthors are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the second author, then the third author, and so on.
  • Arrange works by the same person chronologically by date of publication.
  • When two or more works by the same author in the same year are included in the references, arrange them alphabetically by title (disregarding any initial “A”or “The”) and number them “a,” “b,” and so on. Be sure to include these letters in any in-text citations as well: Smith 1969a, Jones 1988b.
  • Use a 3-en dash in place of an author’s name (or all authors’ names) in second and subsequent citations of works by the same author (or authors). Repeat the name, however, if the subsequent citation is a multi-author work in which not all authors are the same.
  • Please capitalize the first word in titles and subtitles, using lower case for all other title words except proper names.

Examples of Reference Entries:


Levinson, Bernard M. 1977. Deuteronomy and the hermeneutics of legal innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.


Brown, Peter, and Henry Shue, eds. 1977. Food policy: The responsibility of the United States in life and death choices. New York: Free Press.



Ryan, Alan. 1993. Liberalism. In A companion to contemporary political philosophy, ed. Robert Goodin and Philip Pettit, 24–60. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.



Banning, Lance. 1986. Jeffersonian ideology revisited: Liberal and classical ideas in the New American republic. William and Mary Quarterly 43(Jan.): 12–16.



King, Andrew J. 1976. Law and land use in Chicago: A pre-history of modern zoning. Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin.



Pegg, Bruce. 1998. National Writing Centers Association, Resources for Writers. Rev. August 4, 1998. Online: http://departments.colgate. edu/diw/NWCA/Resources.html. December 7.



Emerson, Ralph Waldo. [1836] 1985. Nature. A facsimile of the first ed. With an introd. By Jaroslav Pelikan. Boston: Beacon.


When in doubt about style considerations, please consult a recent issue of TOPICS or contact the editor.


Note: This style guide is based on the style guide for our sister publication Action, Criticism and Music (ACT) with important additions and alterations for TOPICS.


















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