Format and Style for Essays and Research Papers in Cliff Donn's classes at LeMoyne College

Studentsí work and learning at Le Moyne College are judged to a large extent on the basis of the written work they submit in their courses. The better your writing, the better you will do in your course work, and the more you will learn.

What follows is meant to be a guide to assist students writing papers in their classes at Le Moyne College. It covers a few aspects of style and format but focuses mostly on how to use sources for your papers in an acceptable and ethical fashion. These guidelines should be followed unless your instructor in your specific course has some other policy.


While this document focuses on issues of format and citations, it presupposes that your paper will use good English. Your papers should show good style as well as correct grammar and syntax. Several simple pieces of advice may help.

First, careful and logical organization of your papers is essential. You should organize your papers around a carefully prepared outline. The major sections of that outline can be used as headings in your paper. Headings can be valuable in helping the reader to follow the logic of your argument and can also help remind you as you write how you intended to organize your ideas.

Second, your paper should be organized so that it answers the question or addresses the issue which is the topic of the paper in a clear and logical fashion. The first section of the paper should introduce the reader to the topic and explain the organization of the rest of the paper (i.e. how it goes about answering the question or analyzing the issue). Don’t keep the reader guessing what the paper is about or how it is organized. The last section of the paper should be a summary and/or set of conclusions. Don’t let the paper just end in mid-analysis.

Third, each paragraph should center on a single major point. Avoid long rambling paragraphs. Avoid pretentious jargon and rambling discourses. Make it clear which ideas are primary and which are secondary.

Fourth, try to use clear, concise, specific prose. Don’t drag your sentences out endlessly with a convoluted structure o f superior and subordinate clauses and phrases. Your aim is to be crisp and precise. Use metaphors and analogies for brevity, clarity and interest and use them sparingly.

Fifth, use a spellchecker. However, that is not enough. You need to proofread carefully to make sure that you have used words that mean exactly what you want to say. Don’t simply go to a thesaurus and substitute words you see there for the more common words you already know. This rarely results in correct us age and often produces awkward phrasing as well. NEVER HAND IN A PAPER WHICH YOU HAVE NOT PROOFREAD CAREFULLY AT LEAST TWICE.

It can be helpful to have someone else proofread your paper as well. It is often easier to pick out another person’s mistakes than it is to pick out your own. After all, you already know what you mean to say but the reader does not.

Using appropriate research materials is also key to writing a good paper. Generally, your course t extbook is not an appropriate source for a college-level paper and you should avoid using it extensively for that purpose unless the instructor tells you otherwise. Nor are general purpose encyclopedias normally appropriate sources for college papers. Original sources, books published by reputable publishers and articles in journals, especially academic journals, generally make the best sources. While other sources may be acceptable, these are the ones which should form the basis of your research.

Some instructors will provide instructions as to whether or not internet sources are acceptable. There is no general rule on this. Some internet sources are rather informal and may simply involve an opinion that someone has posted on the world wide web. Such a source is no more acceptable than would be an opinion you heard over dinner at a local restaurant. Other internet sources may be the same journal articles or books available in the library or may be similar to them. Still others may be original sources, such as the home page of a company or union about which you are writing. Make certain you understand what kind of internet source you are citing and make that clear in your paper.

Learning to write well is just as important as mastering the subject matter of industrial relations and human resource management. Writing is the way you express many of your ideas. It does matter how good your ideas are if you are unable to explain them clearly to others. If you don’t write as well as you should, use a free elective to take an additional writing course. Work with the Study Skills Center on your writing assignments. If you don’t learn to write well at Le Moyne, it will damage your career permanently. If you do polish your writing skills, it will benefit you tremendously throughout your career.


Any material which you quote requires a citation. Additionally, any facts which are not "common knowledge" and any ideas or opinions which are not your own require citations. These citations may be in the form of footnotes or endnotes (see below) and certain other forms of citation are acceptable as well.

Paraphrased material requires appropriate citations (see below). If you rewrite what you have read in your own words, you still need to cite the source and to give credit in the text as well.

Simply, if you state facts which you learned from your sources, those facts require citations. Unless your instructor indicates otherwise, information which you learned in class (not in course readings) can be considered common knowledge for purpose of papers in the IRHRM Department and does not require citations.

Failure to cite where required is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the academic equivalent of theft. It involves presenting the words, ideas, opinions or knowledge of another as your own. In the words of the college catalog,

Plagiarism undermines that basic relationship of trust that must exist between teacher and student and among students for the educational process to work. For this reason, the penalties for plagiarism range from failure on the assignment to expulsion from the College. [Le Moyne College, 2005-2006 College Catalog, p.41]

Following the guidelines suggested below on quoting and paraphrasing and on footnotes/endnotes/etc. will help insure that you give appropriate credit to your sources and thus avoid plagiarism.


Generally papers should have margins of one inch on the top, bottom and both sides. It is usually not a good idea to justify the right margin (i.e. to make the right margin even). This tends to produce spacing which, when the instructor is reading many such papers, becomes distracting and irritating. You may not be able to see this "right justification" as you type your paper in some word processing programs so make sure you check for it before you print out the final version.

Number the pages of your paper consecutively (but do not count the title page). Page numbers may be placed in either the top or bottom center of the page or in the upper-right hand corner of each page.

There should be a separate title sheet attached to the front of the paper. That sheet should include the title of the paper (or the question you have been assigned to answer), your name, the title, number and section of the course, the instructor’s name and the date the paper is submitted. Some instructors may prefer that your name not be on the paper so that you can be assigned a code number and the paper graded anonymously. Check the assignment to see if your instructor has requested this.

It is also a good idea to attach a blank sheet at the back of the paper so that the instructor has a convenient place to write comments. Please check with your instructors to see if they would like this.


All material which you quote from any source must be set apart from your own prose. If the quotation is shorter than four lines, it should be placed in the normal text of your paper and set apart with double quotation marks " and the source cited (see section on Foot notes/Endnotes/Etc. below). For example:

John Dunlop has argued that, "An industrial-relations system is logically an abstraction just as an economic system is an abstraction."1/

The number at the end indicates either a footnote or an endnote, either of which is normally acceptable (see below). The fact that the sentence above uses the author’s name is irrelevant. Whether the author’s name is used or not, the source needs to cited in the same way. Below is the form which the footnote or endnote above would take:

1/ John T. Dunlop, Industrial Relations Systems, (Carbondale, Il.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1958) p. 6

Quotations of four lines or longer should be separated from the rest of the text by a line above and a line below and indented five spaces from the left hand margin. Normally, such quotations should be single-spaced even though the rest of t he paper is double-spaced. You should not use quotation marks for these but you must cite your source with the same style you use for your other citations. For example:

There appears to be a clear difference in the importance of incentives as inducements, with incentives being more important the more closely a firm approximates the idealized-prospector strategic orientation.2/


Then the footnote or endnote would appear as:

2/ La Verne Hairston Higgins, "The Role of Inducements in the Recruitment Program of U.S. Computer Companies," in Proceedings, 1998 ACM SIGCPR Conference, (Boston: March 26-28, 1998)p. 130.

Even sections shorter than a sentence which you have taken from another source verbatim need to be placed in quotation marks and there must be a citation. So if you find a particularly apt phrase in one of y our sources and wish to include it in your paper, you must quote and cite. For example, your paper might read:

This aspect of union behavior can best be understood by considering the "monopoly face" of unionism.4/

However, even that is not really adequate. It would be better to write:

This aspect of union behavior can best be understood by considering what Freeman and Medoff have called the "monopoly face" of unionism.4/

In either case, the citation would appear as:

4/ Freeman, Richard B. and James L. Medoff, What Do Unions Do? (New York: Basic Books Inc., 1984)p. 6.

Sections within a quoted passage which you choose to omit should be indicated by three dots ... when the omitted section does not include a final punctuation mark (period, question mark, exclamation point) or by four dots when it does. A quotation within a quotation should be set apart by using single quotations marks. The following sentence is an example:

"When John Paul Jones said, ďI have not yet begun to fightĒ his men redoubled their efforts."1/

The number at the end of the sentence again refers to the source where you found the quotation (in this case, it has been invented).

If you have found in one source, a quotation or reference to another, your citation must be to the source where you found the material. So if you find in your source a quotation of Shakespeare, you should cite the source where you read it, not the original Shakespeare. You may indicate in the text that you have done this with words like:

As Miller has noted, Shakespeare’s view of mercy is expressed as, "The quality of mercy is not strained."2/

The number two here references the Miller book or article where you found the Shakespeare quotation. Citing some edition of The Merchant of Venice would be incorrect and academically dishonest because that is not the source you consulted. In addition, the quotation that Miller presents may be incorrect. You may, if you wish, go to The Merchant of Venice, find the quotation, and cite that source.

Whenever you copy anyone elseís writing (or speech), copy it VERBATIM and make certain you know (and that you indicate in your citations) the precise source from which it comes. The reader should be able to go to that source, whether it is the precise page in a book or article or a precise world wide web address, and find the quotation easily.

The purpose of paraphrasing is either to take someone elseís idea and rephrase it in your own words or to summarize a long passage more briefly. It is NOT appropriate to "paraphrase" if you are largely using the words of the author and just changing a few of them or rearranging them. In such cases, you should use the author’s words verbatim and you should use quotation marks. If you change only a few of the words, you are plagiarizing and are subject to the penalties for plagiarism. See the discussion of plagiarism above.

If you do change some of the words in a passage, then quoting is no longer appropriate. You can put quotation marks around only those parts of the passage which are exact quotations. However, you can quote part of a sentence, put quotations marks around that, and put the rest in your own words, all followed by a citation.

When you paraphrase the ideas or opinions of others, you should give credit in the text as well as providing a citation. For example:

As Sidney Lens has argued, the railroad barons of the nineteenth century became rich not by serving the public interest but by damaging it.3/

The footnote or endnote would be:

3/ Sidney Lens, The Labor Wars, (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1974) p. 42

Correctly paraphrased sections still require citations. Some students seem to be under the impression that if they donít quote, they neednít cite. This is absolutely incorrect. Failure to provide citations for paraphrased material is also plagiarism and is again subject to the appropriate penalties.


Footnotes and endnotes are two of the most common ways of providing appropriate citations to the words or ideas of others or for facts which are not common knowledge. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page on which the cited material appears. Endnotes are placed at the end of the paper. Unless your professor indicates otherwise, either style is acceptable.

Most modern word processing software packages, including Microsoft Word, will do footnotes and endnotes very nicely. They will allow space for footnotes at the bottom of the page. They will also number footnotes or endnotes consecutively and will renumber them if you add more, delete some, or move some around.

Another acceptable (unless your instructor indicates otherwise) form of citation is to put a list of sources at the end of the paper and then to cite by putting the author and page number of the cited material into the text. An example would be as follows:

"Nothing has had a larger influence on the special character and flavor of Australian trade unionism than Australia’s unique arbitration system."[Donn, p. 132]

Then, at the end of the paper, you would have a list of sources cited which would include:

Donn, Clifford B. The Australian Council of Trade Unions: History and Economic Policy (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1983).

If you have two sources by the same author, you may cite them in the text by date (e.g. Donn 1983, p. 132) or you can assign them each a letter in the list of sources cited and use that letter (e.g. Donn (a), p. 132).

The first time you have a footnote to a particular source, you must provide full bibliographic information. For example:

Edward M. Shepard, III, Thomas J. Clifton, and Douglas Kruse, "Flexible Work Hours and Productivity: Some Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," Industrial Relations, V. 35, N. 1, January 1996, pp. 125-126.

This particular example also illustrates how articles from journals should be cited.

After the first time a source is cited, it can be done by the name of the author(s) and the page number(s). You may use the Latin abbreviations ibid., op.cit., and loc. cit. in your subsequent citations of the same source if you are familiar with them and wish to do so. However, they are not necessary. You can simply use the last name of the author(s) for the second and subsequent citations of the same source together with the page number(s).

If there are more than two authors, you should use the name of the first author followed by et al. which is a Latin expression meaning "and others." So the second citation of the article above would look like:

Shepard, et al., p. 130.

If you are citing an article in a book of articles or readings, you must cite initially by the author(s) and title of the article but the editor(s) and title of the book should also be included. For example:

1/ Mark D. Karper, "Tires," in David B. Lipsky and Clifford B. Donn, Collective Bargaining in American Industry, (Lexington, Ma.: Lexington Books, 1987) p. 86.

Citations by placing authors and page numbers in the text, and subsequent citations of the same source must reference the author(s) of the article, not the editor(s) of the book. So, the next citation of this article would appear as:

4/ Karper, p. 84

In referring to legal decisions, the following form is standard:

2/ Kiefer-Stewart Co. v. Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, 340 U.S. 211, 214 (1951)

An example of a citation from the world wide web would be:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, "has current and archival data on wages and employment...."5/

Then the footnote or endnote itself would appear as:

5/ Home Page Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management Department of Le Moyne College retrieved January 25, 1999, from the world wide web:

If you were citing an article from a newspaper or journal found on the world wide web the beginning of the citation would be the same as if you had found a "hard copy" of the newspaper or journal. That is it would begin with the author(s) followed by the title of the article followed by the journal or newspaper name and the page numbers where you found the material. It would then end as does the example above, with the date on which you found the material (because web sites change frequently) and the web address.

Students are often unsure how many footnotes or endnotes are appropriate. It is better to err on the side of too many rather than too few but too many can interrupt the flow of your paper making it difficult to read. The answer also depends on whether the assignment is a research paper (in which case virtually everything you write will require citations) or some kind of essay which relies on your own views or ideas and which therefore may require substantially fewer citations.

Generally, one citation for a paragraph is enough. Unless you have multiple quotations in the paragraph, you can usually group all of the citations for that paragraph in a single footnote or endnote. Thus a footnote or endnote may include more than one source. If you have found the same information in two different places, you may, if you wish, cite both in a single footnote or endnote.


Unless your instructor indicates otherwise, your bibliography should contain only sources which have been cited in your paper. Any source from which you quoted, found ideas or opinions which you used by paraphrasing, or found facts which are not common knowledge which you included in your paper, needs to be cited in the paper. If you didnít quote from it, if you didnít find useful new ideas or opinions in it, and if it didnít contain any useful facts which are not common knowledge, then you may have looked at it but you didnít use it to write your paper. In that case, it doesnít belong in your bibliography.

If you have a comprehensive set of citations in the paper, some instructors may not require a bibliography. Check with your instructor. If you cite by putting the names of authors and page numbers in the text (instead of using footnotes or endnotes), then your bibliography is your list of cited sources.

Your bibliography should be organized alphabetically by the last names of the authors and should contain publication information the place and date of publication and the publishing company. Below is a set of bibliographic entries which suggests how most sources should be entered in your bibliography.

Barrier, Michael, "Improving Worker Performance," Fred H. Maidment, ed., Human Resources 98/99, (Sluice Do ck, Guilford, Ct.:Dushkin/McGraw Hill, 1998).

Donn, Clifford B. The Australian Council of Trade Unions: History and Economic Policy (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1983).

Freeman, Richard B. and James L. Medoff, What Do Unions Do? (New York: Basic Books Inc., 1984).

Higgins, La Verne Hairston, "The Role of Inducements in the Recruitment Program of U.S. Computer Companies," in Proceedings, 1998 ACM SIGCPR Conference, (Boston: March 26-28, 1998).

Home Page Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management Department of Le Moyne College ( January 25, 1999.

Karper, Mark D. "Tires," in David B. Lipsky and Clifford B. Donn, eds., Collective Bargaining in American Industry, (Lexington, Ma.: Lexington Books , 1987).

Kerr, Clark, John T. Dunlop, Frederick Harbison, C.A. Myers, Industrialism and Industrial Man, (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1973 (first published 1960).

Kiefer-Stewart Co. v. Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, 340 U.S. (1951).

Lens Sidney, The Labor Wars, (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1974).

Shepard, III, Edward M., Thomas J . Clifton, and Douglas Kruse, "Flexible Work Hours and Productivity: Some Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry," Industrial Relations, V. 35, N. 1, January 1996.

Wall Street Journal, "Signs of Changed Times: Japanís Jobless Rate Rises to the U.S. Level" (New York), December 28, 1998, p. 1.