JFTR Style Guide

For further information, see: American Psychological Association Style

(All references are to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed.)

Manuscript Preparation

(JFTR uses a modified version of American Psychological Association style)

  • Use 12-pt type and double-space everything (text, headings, tables, references, title page).

  • Use left justification in the text (the right edge is ragged).

  • Number pages, beginning with the title page, in the upper-right-hand corner.

  • Abstract should be 150 words or fewer. Titles should be 10–12 words.

  • It is preferred that essential material is included in the text; however, JFTR does permit the judicious use of endnotes and author acknowledgments.

Numbers and Statistics

  • Figures, not words, are used for numbers that represent time; dates; ages; sample, subsample, or population size; scores and points on a scale; exact sums of money; and numerals as numerals.

  • Treat numbers as you would treat words. Spaces before and after make them much easier to read (e.g., not 1-2 but 1 - 2). Use the en dash (i.e., medium dash, –) in ranges of numbers, including page ranges. Type all operators (e.g., <, =) with a space before and after. Use numerals for all numbers 10 and above and when comparing to numbers 10 or above (e.g., 12, 11, and 6 months).

  • Italicize scoring systems (tables, too) as follows. 1 = yes, 5 = strongly agree, 1 = no effect.

  • APA allows boldface only in certain statistical symbols.

  • Expand all statistical or technical terms on first use (e.g., goodness of fit, GFI thereafter). See common statistical abbreviations and symbols in Table 4.5.

  • Italicize statistical symbols in text (e.g., p < .05). When part of the narrative, use the term not the symbol (e.g., the means were . . . ).

  • Use N (italicized) for the total sample and n (italicized) for any and all subsamples.

  • Generally, report significant probabilities, correlations, proportions, and inferential statistics to two decimals.

General Style Guidelines

Usage and Grammar

  • Strive for economy of expression.

  • Use while and since only in reference to time (alternatives: although, whereas, but, because).

  • Distinguish between restrictive that (provides essential information to a clause) and nonrestrictive which (provides nonessential information) (e.g., the table, which appears in Appendix A; a variable that is measured).

  • The word data is plural.

  • Expand all acronyms on first use, no matter how commonly used (e.g., National Opinion Research Center for NORC).

  • JFTR uses "due to" to mean "attributable to." In an adverbial sense, "due to" becomes "because of" or "as a result of." JFTR uses "based on" as an adjective (e.g., results based on the previous study), not as an adverb (e.g., based on the previous study, the authors . . .)—"on the basis of" is used in this latter sense.

  • Because a slash (/) reads as "and/or" please avoid he/she and him/her in text.

  • JFTR encourages authors to follow APA guidelines on bias-free language. For example:

    • Capitalizing racial and ethnic groups (e.g., “Black,” “Korean American”)
    • Use of an individual’s self-identified pronouns (e.g., “she,” “they,” “he”) and use of “they” as a generic, singular pronoun
    • when gender is not known or not relevant
    • Appropriate specificity in descriptors (e.g., “people with incomes below the federal poverty level” rather than “the poor”)


  • Generally, punctuation goes inside quotation marks, "like this." Other punctuation marks (e.g., semicolons) appear within quotation marks only when they are part of the quoted material.

  • Use a serial comma (e.g., red, blue, and yellow); use semicolons where items in a series have internal punctuation (e.g., Flags were blue, red, and yellow; lavender, white, and apricot; or orange, green, and black).

  • Use three or four periods surrounded by spaces to show ellipses, or elided material, like this: . . . Do not use Microsoft Word's automatic character ...

  • For enumerated lists in the text, use letters in parentheses, not numbers: (a) first, (b) second, and (c) third; not (1), 2), or c).


  • Generally hyphens are not required in prefixes and suffixes (see Table 4.2)

  • Use hyphens in adjectives that precede a noun (e.g., middle-class families but families in the middle class). See Tables 4.1–4.3 for further guidance on hyphenating terms.

Word Treatment

  • Emphasis and irony are best conveyed with words, not quotation marks or italics. For emphasis, italicize new, technical, or key terms or labels only at first occurrence.

  • Use quotation marks for in-text quotations of fewer than 40 words and to indicate ironic comments or invented expressions (e.g., the division of labor is "fair"). Quotation marks around ironic expressions are dropped after the first occurrence.

  • Capitalize the first word after a colon only if it begins a complete sentence.

  • Capitalize both words when a capitalized word is a hyphenated compound.

  • Capitalize racial groups: Black, White, Mexican American, European American.

Tables and Figures

  • Consult the JFTR table website: Format for JFTR Tables for sample tables in PDF and in Word; the latter may be downloaded for use as a template. Delete all vertical and most horizontal lines as per the examples on the web.

Reference and Parenthetical Citations in Text

  • Follow APA style for all in-text parenthetical citations (e.g., Jones, 2002; or in text: "As Jones (2002) stated" . . . See Section 6, "Crediting Sources" for more information.

  • All parenthetical citations must be in alphabetical order (Benton & Mays, 1999, Chan, 1998; Farmer 1999a, 1999b; Jones, Armstrong, & Hayes, 2001; Martin, 2000, para. 5; Zindel et al., 2001). Different publications by the same author(s) appear in chronological order (by year).

  • Cite a single page number using p. and multiple page numbers using pp. (e.g., Jones, 1992, pp. 10–12). Use an en dash (i.e., medium dash, –) in page ranges.

Reference List

  • Begin the reference list on a new page.

  • Each new entry begins flush left; DO NOT adjust alignment using the space bar, tabs, or hard returns. To create a hanging indent for the references, select the entire list, then go Format, Paragraph, Indentation, and choose "Hanging." Alternatively, adjust the small page-margin arrows in the Word ruler so that the bottom one is at 1 inch and the top one is at 0.

  • Double-space all end references (and no more than double space) within and between all end references.

  • Alphabetize entries in the same manner as within-text citations.

  • Include only references cited in the text. Do not construct a bibliography.

  • Entries should include names of all authors. Use authors' and editors' last names and initials only (Gutman, A. S.,& Smith, R. T.), with a space between initials.

  • Page numbers are required for book chapters and contributions to multiauthor works.

  • Include state postal codes (e.g., CA, DC not D.C.) or country for all works.

  • Give publishers in as brief a form as possible; remove The, Publishers, Co., Inc., but retain Books and Press (e.g., Basic Books, Blackwell, Erlbaum, Sage, Wiley).

Examples of reference citations in appropriate format are available in the PDF document below.