The JOP Style Guide

*Page under Construction*

The Journal of Politics


Style Guide, July 2009


Slightly revised from similar documents developed by former editors Bill Jacoby and John Geer.



Writing Style.  For general matters of writing style, please consult standard works such as the Chicago Manual of Style; Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style; and McCloskey’s Economical Writing.  Of course, each of these volumes would recommend that any manuscripts submitted to a peer reviewed publication be carefully edited prior to submission; misspellings, grammatical errors and typos do not help the editors, the reviewers or the authors.


General Manuscript Appearance and Structure.  Nothing fancy or new; but please proof-read prior to submitting your work, and follow these general guidelines.


1. We suggest authors review recent issues of the journal for examples of our published papers, which should use the following ordering:


·                    Title page

·                    Abstract

·                    Text

·                    Appendices (if necessary)

·                    Endnotes

·                    References

·                    Tables

·                    Figures


2. Each of the preceding major parts of the paper should begin on a new page (including each table and figure).  Each section should be clearly labeled.  Specify whether the appendix is intended for paper publication or will be made available on-line.  Papers submitted for review with footnotes will have to change these to endnotes if the paper is accepted for publication.


3. Make sure that pages are numbered!  For initial submissions, the paper (except for proposed on-line appendices or materials that are included at the end of the submission) cannot exceed 40 pages.


4. New paragraphs in text should be indicated by indenting the first line. Do not add extra spaces between paragraphs (except, perhaps, between the end of a paragraph and a section heading).


5. The main text of the paper should be double-spaced.


6. Please use standard fonts. It is best to use a serif typeface for body text (e.g., Times Roman) and a clear sans serif font (e.g., Arial) for titles and headings. Avoid unusual fonts that may not be available to the JOP Editor, referees, or the publisher.


7. Page length calculations for manuscripts submitted to the JOP are based on 12-point font size. Authors can use 10- or 11-point fonts, but the overall length of the manuscript may need to be adjusted accordingly. If accepted for publication, the final copy of the manuscript must be provided in 12-point font.


8. Please double-check PDF files before submission in order to avoid strange page breaks, widows and orphans (i.e. the first or last line of a paragraph at the end or the beginning of a page, respectively), and “hanging” section headings at the end of a page.


9. All accepted manuscripts should be submitted to the copyeditor in Microsoft Word.  If using mathematical programs such as LaTeX, please submit a pdf along with the LaTeX files to the copyeditor.


10.  We prefer shorter titles to longer titles, but will not comment on this often.


Sections and Section Headings.  These are good things, when done properly.


1. Do not number (or letter) the section headings. Instead, section headings should be short, descriptive terms or phrases.


2. Section headings should never be longer than a single line of text (and, usually, much shorter than a complete line).


3. Do not use a section heading at the beginning of the text. Specifically, do not put “Introduction” (or anything similar) at the top of the first page.


4. Do not use “double” headings— that is, a section heading, followed immediately by a subsection heading.


5. Do not use too many section levels. For virtually all manuscripts, main section headings and subsection headings should be sufficient to divide the text into segments that are manageable for readers.


6. When discussing the order of your paper, do not refer to “In Part 1, we will introduce…” since we do not number the headings.


The Abstract.  This should provide a brief summary of the paper, and include “keywords” that other scholars might use to search for your paper.


1. The Abstract should appear on a separate page of its own, after the title page and before the first page of text.


2. The Abstract should be a single paragraph. It should be as concise as possible— no more than 150 words at most. Ideally, the Abstract should be 100 words or less.


3. The Abstract should not contain formal citations to other work.


Notes and References.  Again, refer to recent issues of the JOP.  Here are the general rules:


1. The Journal of Politics uses the “scientific” citation style. References to other works should be placed, within parentheses, at the appropriate locations within the text. Each citation should consist of the author’s last name, followed by the year in which the work appeared in print (i.e., either publication year, or the year in which a paper was presented at a conference, etc.).


2. Adjacent or multiple citations should be placed into a single set of parentheses, separated by semicolons and ordered alphabetically within the parentheses. For example, “(Jones 2002; Smith 2001)” and not “(Jones 2002) (Smith 2001).”


3. Authors may use footnotes or endnotes, although the editors prefer footnotes.   Either way, notes should be used sparingly. They should be as brief as possible, and they should contain supplemental information regarding material presented in the text. Notes should never include tables or figures.


4. All notes and references should be single-spaced.  If the length of notes and/or references is especially long, then the overall length of the manuscript may need to be adjusted.


5. Notes should be indicated by superscript numerals placed at appropriate locations within the text. Do not use letters or Roman numerals for notes.


6. Any acknowledgments, expressions of gratitude, and/or statements of financial support should be placed in an unnumbered note at the bottom of the title page. This information should be removed from any anonymous versions of the manuscript, to be sent out to referees.


7. The section heading for the list of works cited should be “References” or “List of References,” not “Bibliography.”


8. References should not be numbered.


9. References should contain each author’s full name, as it is given in the publication being cited. In other words, do not use first and middle initials only (unless the name is listed that way in the cited work).


Presenting Statistical or Technical Information


1. Short variable name acronyms (such as the eight-character-or-less names required by some statistical software packages) should be avoided. They definitely should not be used in the text and, in most cases, it is not too difficult to keep them out of tables/figures as well.


2. When the variables or coefficients in a model are standardized to compare effects across variables measured in different units, the correct term is “standardized coefficients” not “betas” or “standardized betas.” In statistical nomenclature, Greek letters (like beta) are usually reserved to indicate population parameters.


3. Tables containing coefficient estimates should include standard errors rather than z or t scores.


4. Do not use varying numbers of asterisks to indicate different levels of statistical significance. Either pick a single significance level and use it throughout the manuscript, or report observed probability values so readers can assess the degree of statistical significance on their own.


5. Report all coefficients in a model. In other words, do not list only the significant coefficients from a regression model, loadings that are substantially different from zero in a factor analysis, and so on.


6. A separate table of summary statistics for the individual variables employed in an empirical analysis should not be included in a manuscript, unless the values are relevant to the analysis in some explicit way. While this kind of information is often interesting, page constraints usually preclude its publication. Instead, authors are encouraged to make supplemental information available on a web site, or to interested readers upon request.


7. If at all possible, tables and figures should not be longer than a single page (with possible exceptions for relatively complex, multipaneled figures).


Common Reference Formats.  The JOP generally follows the Chicago Manual of Style; here’s a cheat sheet:


1.  Entries may be single-spaced, with one line separating alphabetical listings of authors.  For authors with more than one entry, the most recent entry should be listed first.


2. Books with two editors:


    Aldrich, John, and David Rohde. 2001. "The Logic of Conditional Party Government."

                In Congress Reconsidered, eds. Lawrence Dodd and Bruce Oppenheimer.  

                Washington, DC: CQ Press, 3–9.


3.      Books with a one  editor:


Aldrich, John, and David Rohde. 2001. "Conditional Party Government." In Congress:

             Linkage and Networks, ed. Lawrence Dodd.  Washington, DC: CQ Press, 26–34.



4.  Conference papers:


            Koger, Gregory 2003. "The Majoritarian Power." Presented at the Annual Meeting

                      of the American Political Science Association, Chicago.


5.  Newspaper articles accessed on the web:  Author, title, URL, date accessed.


       Loeb, Vernon.  2000. "Fallout from CIA Affidavit.” Washington Post, April 24, 2000, (accessed December 20, 2000).



6. WWW sources should be in the following format (Date accessed in parenthesis):


King, Gary. 1998. "Making the Most of Statistical Analyses." (January 16, 2006).


7.  FTP (Data File) sites from Web:


     Bruckman, Amy. 1994. “Approaches to Managing Deviant Behavior in Virtual Communities.” April. (December 4, 1994).


8.  Refrain from using the line to denote the author of multiple entries.  Just repeat the name.


    Tate, C. Neal. 1981.

    Tate, C. Neal. 1994.


9.  For books in nth editions:


      Lawrence, Martin,  and Bruce Kutznets.  2005.  Congress Re-examined. 6th ed.               Washington, DC: CQ Press.


10.  Journals: 


Poe, Stephen. 2005.  “Democracies and Despots.”  International Studies Quarterly 24 (2):  32–39.


11.  Book format:


    Morrow, Janice. 2006.  Evaluating Ideal Point Estimation Techniques.  Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press.


Snyder, Jack L. (1991). Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.


12.  Unpublished manuscripts:


     Rouen, Ezra. 2006. "Keeping Things at Bayes:  The Virtues and Vices of the Bayesian Monte Carlo Markov Chain Technique." Typescript.


13.  Working Papers:


    Mendezona, Amelia. 2006.  "Where is the Sin in Sincere?  Do Strategic Models Really

            Capture Strategy?" Social Science Working Paper 93: 1–43.


14.  Sena, Alejandro. 2004.  "Mis-estimating Ideal Points in OC Techniques."  Ph.D diss. Stanford University.


15.  Newspapers on Web:


            Sonalini Sapra. 2005. "Discrimination in Cities."  Washington Post,


                        Accessed December 23, 2006.


16.  Newspapers:


     Mill Roncose. 2001.  “Where’s the People in Guns, Germs, and Steel?” New York

                      Times, 26 May, sec. F.


17.  Translations:


Duverger, Maurice. 1954. Political Parties. Trans. Barbara North and Robert North. New York: Wiley.


18. Magazines:


    John Joshmore. 2003. “The Poverty-Globalization Hidden Nexus.”  Economist,       December, 23–25.


19. Forthcoming


     Buenamar, Danielle. 2006.  “False Estimates and Hierarchical Modeling.” Sociology, Law, and Society. Forthcoming.


20. Personal Correspondence


     Villegas Antillon, Rafael.  2004.  Personal communication with former Chief of Costa Rican Tribunal Supremo Electoral.


21. Older Works

Burke, Edmund. [1790] 1987. Reflections on the Evolution in France. Ed. John G. A. Pocock. Indianapolis: Hackett.






Subpages (1): The JOP Style Guide