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Guidelines for Authors

Guidelines for Authors


Government & Politics Review


Guideline for Authors




Your essay must be typed. Handwritten assignments will be returned unmarked.




Times Roman/New Roman (size 12)




Double spacing (except for indented quotes, see page 15).





Left hand margin to be aligned and right hand margin to be justified





This should contain the following information:-



  • Student name


  • Student ID number


  • Essay title


  • Word count (the exact number. No rounding up.)





Coherent introduction, middle and end



·         The golden rule with the introduction is NOT to reveal your conclusion. Just simply set the scene for the essay, perhaps explain why the question you are asked is important and outline the approach you are taking. Start BROAD, giving the historical and/or theoretical background to the question and slowly narrow your introduction down to the question you are asked. Do not under-estimate the importance of a decent introduction because first impressions are important for the corrector. By the time the reader finishes reading the introduction she/he should clearly know the approach you are taking and the order in which the subsequent sections will appear.

·         Obviously, the main body of the essay should deal with the question that has been posed. The important thing is to present arguments in a balanced way and with supporting references. Do not use sweeping generalisations or banal statements. This section (which is the largest part of the essay) should be written in a neutral and dispassionate fashion. In other words, you are not analysing at this point and you are not offering your own opinion. None of it should be written in the ‘first person’. Ultimately if you wish to convince the reader of a certain point in your conclusions then you need to demonstrate here that you are aware of the different issues that the question covers.

·         In the concluding part of the essay you can cut free. Having said that, your conclusion should come at the end of a structured and logical demonstration. In other words, it should not appear from ‘thin air’ in a way which bears no resemblance to what you have previously written. In the conclusion you should be analytical and you should, at this point, be offering your own opinion. Do not be afraid to disagree with the views expressed by your lecturer, as long as you can effectively argue and support your case. The key thing, of course, is to offer an answer to the specific question which has been posed. It is staggering how many people make the fundamental mistake of not answering the question. Essays should not simply summarise your notes or a textbook. This is a lazy approach and will not lead to a good grade. Depending on the subject of the essay, your conclusion may open up onto a broader issue. This means that the overall flow of your work is BROAD-NARROW-BROAD.




Plagiarism is where you quote somebody without referencing them. There is only one simple rule and there are no exceptions to it. The rule is: never ever plagiarise. The minimum punishment for plagiarism is that you will receive a mark of zero. You should also be aware that plagiarism can be penalised by exclusion from university. Every quote or idea from somebody else has to be referenced. And, in case you are wondering, ‘lifting’ five pages directly from a book but referencing the author is not allowed either. Your approach to referencing is crucial as is the production of a detailed bibliography.




In the body of your work, if you are quoting somebody, this is the format:-



Johnson and Long (2003: 67) state that “grown men cry twice as much as women”.






It has been stated that “grown men cry twice as much as women” (Johnson and Long, 2003: 67).



If you are using the research or ideas of Johnson and Long but not quoting them directly, they must still be referenced (but since it is not a direct quote you will not be using “  ” and there will not be a page number).



Note: Do not use the ampersand (&). Spell out the word ‘and’.






Research indicates that women cry less than men (Johnson and Long, 2003).



When citing a page number for a quote either use ‘:’ or ‘p’. So, you can have Johnson and Long (2003: 67) or Johnson and Long (2003, p.67). Whichever you choose, be consistent.



Niggly but important things


·         The full stop closes the sentence so, for example, it comes after the bracket (as above) if you have a citation at the end.


·         Get the spacing right. - Johnson and Long (2003: 67). – Bracket, year, colon, space, page number, bracket).


·         Keep the year and page reference next to the relevant author(s). In other words, do not do the following:-



Johnson and Long state that “grown men cry twice as much as women” (2003: 67).



Also, DO NOT do this:-



Johnson and Long (2003) state that “grown men cry twice as much as women” (Johnson and Long, 2003: 67).



“What do I do with long quotations?”


As far as possible quotations should be integrated into the sentence as demonstrated above. Excessively long quotes should be kept to a minimum. However, there will be times when they are necessary. Therefore, here is a general guideline to use:- If the quotation is longer than 3 lines then you indent it and it should be single-spaced.






Johnson and Long (2003: 67) present a strong case for the manufacture of stronger handkerchiefs,



Our empirical research clearly shows that grown men cry twice as much as women. This tends to refute a commonly held ‘truth’ that men are not as emotional as women. Accordingly, this book argues that male handkerchiefs should be extra-durable to cope with this outpouring of emotion …. and tears.



Needless to say, the margins should be consistent for all of your long quotations. Quote marks are not required.



“What if I am quoting somebody second hand?”


If Johnson and Long (2003) directly quote somebody else, e.g. Howard (1998: 145) and you want to use the quotation then reference it to Howard, as sourced in Johnson and Long.



Howard (in Johnson and Long, 2003: 68) claims, “male tear ducts are weaker than in their female counterparts”.



If Johnson and Long (2003) are the editors of a book and you wish to use a quote from one of the chapter-writers, e.g. Markus, then you reference Markus because he wrote the words, not Johnson & Long.



Markus (2003: 98) stresses the need “for more women to give hugs to men”.


(See how this is referenced later in the bibliography section entitled ‘When referencing a chapter written by someone within a book’).





Note: You are not expected to justify your bibliography



Style issues


·         Bibliography must be alphabetical according to the surname of the author.


·         If the reference goes on to a second line then this line should be indented (i.e. the purpose is that you can read down the surnames in a straight line to enable you to easily find a specific reference).


·         Each reference should be single spaced but with a line between each individual entry



Example of the above three points:-



Ahern, A. (2004), What men want and what women expect: a new world perspective ,New York: Macmillan, Conway & Heath.



Bradshaw, C. (1999), The tears game – why certain men do not know how to cry effectively, London: Pitman




When referencing a book


Exactly as above, i.e. surname, comma, initials of other name(s), year in brackets, title of book in italics, place of publication, publisher.



When referencing an article


Surname, comma, other name(s) initial(s), year – all as above.


Title of article in quotes (single quotes preferably).


Journal title in italics.


Volume and issue details.


Pages of article.






Murphy, T. and O’ Callaghan, O. (2002), ‘Is God a woman?’, Journal of Theology, Vol. 4, no. 3, pp.134-156


When referencing a chapter written by someone within a book



Collins, N. (2004), ‘Corruption in Bolivia’, in E. Smith and D. Brown (eds.), The World of Corruption, pp.121-146, Dublin: Falmer Press.



In this example, you are giving the chapter title in quotes and you are giving the page numbers (as per a journal article). You are also providing the bibliographical details of the book. Note that in this instance theChristian initial comes before the surname.



When referencing something sourced on the Internet


Start with the name of the author you are quoting and follow the steps as for an article. But instead of writing the journal’s name, write the full address of the website. And when we say full address, we mean the complete address, not the homepage address. For example, we should be able to find the article immediately if we key in the address mentioned in your bibliography.







Lebessis, N. and Paterson, J. (2000) ‘Developing new modes of governance’, Working Paper, European Commission Forward Studies Unit,



If there is no apparent author, reference it under the name of the organisation which runs the website. If I want to reference a White Paper published by the European Commission, I will do it as follows:



European Commission (2000a) White Paper, ‘Reforming the Commission’ COM (2000),



The essential rule for referencing from the internet is that the full address should be contained in the bibliography. You are also expected to include the date and time you accessed the information.





Barrington , T. (1991), ‘Local Government in Ireland’ in R. Batley and G. Stoker (eds.), Local Government in Europe: Trends and Developments, pp.155-169, Houndmills,Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.



Callanan, M. and Keogan, J.F. (2003) (eds.), Local Government in Ireland: Inside Out,Dublin:Institute ofPublic Administration.



Chandler , J.A. (2001), Local Government Today (3rd edition),Manchester: Manchester University Press.



Collins, N. (1987), Local Government Managers at Work,Dublin:Institute ofPublic Administration.



Copus, C. (2004), ‘Directly Elected Mayors: A Tonic for Local Governance or Old Wine in New Bottles?’ Local Government Studies, Vol.30, No.4, pp.576-588.



Cullen, M. (2003), Speech in Seanad Éireann at the second stage debate of the Local Government Bill 2003, 26 February.



Denters, B. and Rose, L.E. (eds.) (2005), Comparing Local Governance: Trends and Developments, Houndmills,Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.



Dollard, G. (2003), ‘Local Government Finance: The Policy Context’ in M. Callanan and J.F. Keogan (eds.), Local Government in Ireland: Inside Out, pp.325-340,Dublin:Institute ofPublic Administration.



Elcock, H. and Fenwick, J. (2007), ‘Comparing Elected Mayors’, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.226-238.



Haslam, R. (2003), ‘The Origins of Irish Local Government’ in M. Callanan and J.F. Keogan (eds.), Local Government in Ireland: Inside Out, pp.14-40,Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.



Folz, D.H. and French, E. (2005), Managing America’s Small Communities – People, Politics and Performance,New York: Rowman and Littlefield.



Hambleton, R. (2005), ‘Leading Localities – Rethinking the Agenda’ in M. Haus, H. Heinelt and M. Stewart (eds.), Urban Governance and Democracy, Abingdon: Routledge.



John, P. (2004), ‘Strengthening political leadership? More than mayors’, in G. Stoker and D. Wilson (eds.), British Local Government in the 21st Century, pp.43-59, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.



Kenny, L. (2004), From Ballot Box to Council Chamber: A Guide to Ireland’s County, City and Town Councillors 2004-2009,Dublin:Institute ofPublic Administration.







·         Never use an abbreviated form in your essay. This means that you should write “they are” instead of “they’re”, “we will” instead of “we’ll”, “they did not” instead of “they didn’t”, etc. 


·         Never use an acronym without stating the full name first followed by the abbreviation in brackets. Only then can you use the acronym throughout your essay. Do it even for ‘obvious’ abbreviations like EU, NATO, WTO. Do not use punctuation marls for acronyms; for example it is EU, not E.U. 


·         Abbreviations such as ‘LG’ or ‘Local Govt’ where you mean local government are never acceptable.


·         Learn the difference between “it’s” and “its”. Consider “it’s” only as an abbreviation of “it is” and not a possessive pronoun. This means that in the sentence “Ireland and its past”, you cannot use “it’s” (i.e. “it is”) because “Ireland and it is past” does not make any sense (Note: As explained in the first point on this list, you are recommended not to use abbreviations anyway so you should never be writing “it’s”!).


·         The same goes for “your” and “you’re”, the latter being an abbreviation for “you are”.


·         Pay attention to “weather” and “whether”, the former reflecting climatic change.


·         If you want to use footnotes you are strongly advised to do so sparingly. Footnotes should only be used if you need to explain a point or term and you feel that it is not appropriate to do so in the body of the text. DO NOT use footnotes for referencing purposes. If you are referencing properly and have a correct bibliography then there is no need to use footnotes for this purpose.


·         Many people are obsessed with capital letters and over-use them to an embarrassing degree. If you are referring to a specific title or institution, e.g. Cork City Manager, Cork County Council then capitals are appropriate. However if you subsequently refer to ‘the council’ or ‘the manager’ then capitals should not be used. There is no reason why terms such as ‘government’, ‘local authorities’ or ‘public sector’ should ever require capitalisation.


·         Be consistent with your use of TENSES. As far as possible your essay should be written in the present tense, even when citing work by authors from a few years ago. Example:- Johnson (1988: 78) claims, “men have bigger egos than women”. Even if Johnson’s work is 16 years old it still forms part of a contemporary and active body of literature. Obviously if you are referring to a truly historic and ancient piece of work, e.g. the writings of Aristotle, then the past tense might be more appropriate.


·         LINKAGES are very important. This means that between each paragraph or section there should be some sort of bridging sentence so that there is a logic to how the essay is progressing rather than it reading as a series of disconnected sections.


·         There may be a place in your essay for bullet points or lists but do not over-do it and be wary of the effect on the overall ‘flow’ of your writing.


·         Do not assume knowledge on behalf of your reader. In other words it is not acceptable to use terms like ‘governance’, ‘new public management’, ‘paradigm’, ‘ultra vires’ etc. without explaining/defining them (even if you know that we know what they are).


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