Tips on Journal Style and Format
- In the abstract, do not use “we” or “our.”
In the abstract, use a complete sentence to state the objective.
The abstract should report the sample N.
The abstract should name the country in which the study was conducted if other than the United States.
At the end of the introduction, state the purpose of the research. (It should be a research question or translatable into a research question.)
Brief reports should have only the major headings (Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusions). Please delete any subheadings.
Body of text
- Report the dates of the study.
- Name the statistical package that you used.
- Do not call participants “subjects.”
- Use “people first” language; for example, avoid “bipolar patients” (use “patients with bipolar disorder” instead).
- Ensure that the Methods section addresses informed consent and Institutional Review Board approval.
- No heading or subheading should exceed 60 characters plus spaces. (It will not fit the print format.)
- Footnotes to the text are not used; add relevant information to the text and delete any footnotes.
- Avoid using numbers to set off points in a sentence, such as (1) this point, 2) this point, and a) this point (the pre-editing software will mistake these for references).
- Per journal style, words cannot be emphasized by using bold, italics, ALL CAPS, or underlining.
- Avoid calling out tables of findings in the Methods section. Instead, call them out in the Results section.
- There is no need to note “Insert Table 1 here” in the text. The production software will insert the tables where they are called out.
- All references must be cited in sequence within the main text, independent of citations within tables.
Statistics and Data
- Do not use a zero as a placeholder before a decimal point (.35 not 0.35) in the text or tables.
- For samples less than 5,000, round all percentages to whole numbers (including those in the tables), unless the percentages are weighted to reflect a large sample.
- Ns must be reported for all reported percentages. In the text, the N is generally reported first and then the percentage in parentheses. Percentages alone in the text are sufficient if the Ns appear in a table.
- SDs must be reported for all means, either in the text or in a table. In the TEXT, report SDs for all means using the construction 235.1±14.2 (plus/minus sign).
- In the TEXT, report statistical data in the following way: t=xx, df=xx, p=xx. Omit parentheses around the df value.
- In the TEXT, do not report statistical data for nonsignificant comparisons.
- In text and tables, add df values for the statistical tests where appropriate. For F tests, two df values are usually reported.
- In text and tables, report confidence intervals as ranges (using a dash), unless one of the values is a negative (in which case use “to” instead of a dash).
Rounding and Decimal Places
- No percentage should be reported to more than one decimal place.
- Round the following to two decimal places: chi square, t, and F values and odds ratios and confidence intervals.
- Round correlation coefficients and other coefficients to three decimal places.
- When reporting means and SDs, the mean and its SD should be reported to the same number of decimal places.
- The highest level of significance reported by the journal is <.001. No p value should exceed three decimal places. Do not use .000.
Tables and Figures (see Table Examples [PDF])
- Tables that report percentages should also report Ns (N column before % column). Exceptions are made for very large samples for which weighted percentages are reported (Ns are not required).
- If a table with Ns and percentages also reports means and SDs, join SDs to means with a plus/minus (±) sign and list these values in the N columns.
- For a regular research report, the total number of displayed items (tables, figures, or a combination of tables and figures) should not exceed five.
- In tables, use separate columns to report Ns, percentages, ORs, and CIs (omit parentheses around data reported in the table body). Each of these data elements should be in a separate cell.
- In tables, capitalize only the first word of a row heading or column heading.
- When a table reports scores from a study instrument, add a table footnote to describe the scoring: Possible scores range from X to X, with higher scores indicating X.
Summarize your findings in a brief Conclusions section, ensuring that the conclusions are related to your data.