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Stylebook:Tips on Organization, Writing, and Formatting


  • Wicks, Rick

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


Fifteen years of copy-editing experience – with theses (both in economics and in several medical fields), journal articles, book chapters and books, conference presentations, government reports, etc. – are distilled here. Papers are often sent to me for “language correction”, but what I usually find is that, far more than that, what they most need is major work on organization, writing, and formatting (including presentation of tables and figures). Even good writers can improve their writing by paying attention to the points herein, I believe. Of course digging deeply into issues of organization, writing, and even formatting improves readability (and thus the probability of being published, read, and cited), but it can also help to improve the quality of the thinking, i.e., the content of the paper. I first review the standard organization of most empirical papers in economics, with suggestions for improvement (including a brief discussion of some issues in reporting of statistical and econometric results). Then I discuss many points of good (and bad) writing (including sections on The Language of Economists and on Overused/Misused Words) as well as points of formatting (including many choices, where – even more than in writing – consistency is the most important rule). Throughout, some differences between Swedish and English practice are discussed, as well as some between American and British practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Wicks, Rick, 2008. "Stylebook:Tips on Organization, Writing, and Formatting," Working Papers in Economics 295, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 11 Jun 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0295

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. Kevin Hoover & Mark Siegler, 2008. "Sound and fury: McCloskey and significance testing in economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 1-37.
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    More about this item


    Organization; writing; formatting; tables; figures; sections; headings; English; Swedish; British;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General
    • A30 - General Economics and Teaching - - Multisubject Collective Works - - - General
    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • Y10 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts - - - Data: Tables and Charts
    • Y20 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Introductions and Prefaces - - - Introductions and Prefaces

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