Style Guide

Osaka JALT Style Guide

  1. Begin your paper with: Title, Author, and Affiliation.  No cover (title) pages please.
  2. Very important: If you are submitting a paper for Section 1 of the journal, also include a 150 -200 word single-spaced Abstract (in English only).
  3. All papers must strictly follow the American Psychological Association (APA), the 6th edition as a style guide. The JALT Journal and The Language Teacher also follow this format so consult recent issues of these publications or or for examples of layout and referencing.
  4. Papers must be submitted as a Word Document. Use 12-point Times New Roman font.
  5. The whole paper should be left aligned.
  6. Use 1.5-spacing for the main text (single space for long quotes if necessary).
  7. Insert bottom-centred page numbers.
  8. Set margins to 3.5cm/35mm (top) and 3cm/30mm (bottom) and 3cm/30mm (left and right) –all text, figures and tables must remain within these margins.
  9. Start each paragraph with a tab indentation (except when immediately following a heading).
  10. Level 1 headers should be in bold, level 2 headers in bold italic, and level 3 headers in plain italic. Headers should also be left aligned, and not numbered.
  11. Make sure to put only 1 space after a period. Often papers will have one and/or two spaces after a period. This creates a lot of extra work for editors.
  12. Include References for all and only sources that you cited in your text.
  13. For References, use hanging indentation, italics for publication titles, single spacing within each reference, and one space before each new reference.
  14. If you include Tables or Figures, use page breaks to keep them intact on one page. Likewise, use Page Preview to make sure that section subheadings are not cut off from their sections.
  15. Papers should not have been published previously or be under consideration for publication.

Other helpful guidelines (Given by Dr. Sawyer of Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan)
  1. Insert section subheadings in your text where appropriate; they serve as signals of your organization and they reduce monotony, encouraging the reader to maintain full attention.
  2. Even if you have not done so from the beginning of the research stage, it is still helpful at the writing stage to frame your paper in terms of answering Research Questions (RQs) (or even testing hypotheses if appropriate). RQs refer to what you wanted to find out in doing the research, and what the reader can expect to learn from your paper. Explicitly stated RQs generally make both the writing and the reading process smoother and more focused.
  3. In data-based studies, a brief Literature Review should be motivated by and lead directly into your RQs. Your Results should answer those RQs (and include very little else), and your Discussion should also focus on interpreting data and deepening the answers to your RQs. In literature review style (library research) projects, it’s still a good idea to try to focus your writing with (maybe rather general) RQs, which you can specify at the end of your Introduction.
  4. Give your paper a catchy and informative, but not overly long, title.  If you believe that it would serve to create a catchy AND informative title, you can use a two-part title, e.g. “Mediate this!: A Feuersteinian approach to classroom discipline problems”.
  5. Make the source of every idea clear. This includes not only the citation but also a page number whenever possible (“Dörnyei (2009, p. 57) claims that …”).
  6. Try to avoid citing secondary sources (try to get access to the original), but when you do cite secondary sources, include both the original and the “cited in…” source in your References.
  7. Avoid direct quotations except for when the exact wording has special significance, and translating direct quotations from another language is an especially bad idea. The worst idea of all is translating a Japanese translation of an original English quotation back into English.
  8. Try to start each new paragraph with the real topic of the paragraph (“Anxiety is … (Dörnyei, 2009)”, rather than with a citation (“Dörnyei (2009) asserts that anxiety is…”), unless the real topic of the paragraph clearly is (and should be) the particular work cited.
  9. When you need to cite the same source multiple times, include the full citation the first time you use it in each different paragraph (Dörnyei (2009), but specify only the authors’ names after that in the same paragraph (“Dörnyei goes on to say…”).
  10. Japanese and other foreign language references should be romanized, with an English translation of the title in brackets immediately after the romanized original title.
  11. Run your spellchecker twice.
  12. Proofread carefully, keeping in mind that spellcheckers only make sure that you have real English words, not necessarily the ones you intended (i.e., leaners and leaning).

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