To help authors with the submission process, we’ve compiled a list of some of the main style issues to keep in mind when drafting an article for ConstitutionUK.
Length and format
- In order to increase readability and accessibility, we aim for our articles to be between 500 and 800 words.
- We are also happy to post longer essays if appropriate for the topic. If you are interested, please discuss this with the blog team.
- Please send us your draft article in Word format, with your name at the top.
Audience, writing style and language
- Our main aim is to increase the public understanding of constitutional issues by crowdsourcing a written constitution for the United Kingdom. With this in mind, your article should be written in plain English with a wide audience in mind.
- Our most widely read blog articles are written in a more natural style, so we recommend that you avoid overusing acronyms and academic terms, such as Latin words, or specific terminology that may not be well known outside disciplinary circles. Also avoid introductory phrases like “In this article I will…”, or “This article aims to…”, and go straight into your discussion of the topic.
- Use short paragraphs made up of four or five sentences.
- If possible, convert numbered lists and bullet points into full paragraphs.
- As with journalistic pieces ‘lead with the best.’ Don’t save your main argument or analysis for the end of the post.
- Try to present all of your argument and evidence within the text and avoid relying too heavily on information contained in external sources.
- We use links rather than citations for references. Links should direct readers to more detailed reports or other pieces of research, news items or other blog posts. Open access sources are preferable compared to those behind paywalls.
- Please insert a hyperlink at the relevant point of your argument that you’d like to reference (using ctrl-K in Word) or simply place the URL in parentheses where you would like it to be placed and we will link it ourselves: e.g. “Joe Bloggs has said…”
- We use narrative titles, i.e a single sentence that sums up the main argument of the article. The more descriptive and catchy the title, the more likely the article is to be read. Try to avoid questions (How can Europe solve the Eurozone crisis?) or general topics (Democracy in Poland). Some examples of good titles:
- Italian journalism is the real loser from Italy’s elections
- The EU’s fading influence over Turkey is weakening the country’s democratic reform process
- Try and keep titles to 140 characters or less, if possible.
Pictures, Video and Media
- We encourage the use of pictures, video and other media where they add to our blog posts.
- All video that you would like to include should be uploaded to Youtube, and a link should be included with your submission.
Biography and contributor photo
- We’re proud of our contributors, so we like to give them full attribution. Please send us a three to four line biographical note which gives details on who you are, what you do, where you’re from, and any other interesting things about yourself that you would like to share.
- Please also send us a small colour photo headshot. Our preference is for a more formal portrait style, but we recognise that not everyone will have one available.
Our editing process
- In most cases submitted articles will be reviewed speedily by the Blog Team, who will edit the piece to ensure that it conforms with ConstitutionUK’s internal style guide and is clear and easy to read. Once these edits are complete, we will send you the final version of the article, and give you an opportunity to make any final edits.
- All articles on ConstitutionUK should be evidence based. With this in mind, editors may double-check the factual accuracy of certain points, or ask you for links to supporting information.