Style Guide

Writing for the American Journal of Play® should be addressed to interested and educated readers as well as to immediate peers in the author’s specialty. Authors should avoid professional jargon and currently fashionable buzzwords, define any necessary difficult terms, and avoid using acronyms without providing the full name upon first usage.

To encompass and accommodate the different disciplines that study play, the Journal publishes works documented through either endnotes or author-text citations. However, the Journal prefers endnotes and, with three notable exceptions, follows the Chicago Manual of Style for both systems of documentation. Exceptions: the Journal requires authors’ full names whenever possible, especially in documentation; for books, the Journal does not require the publisher’s name or place of publication; and for articles, the Journal does not require the month or season of publication.

In general, follow the rules for style, spelling, and capitalization established in the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style; Webster’s Third New International Dictionary; and Strunk and White, The Elements of Style.

Additional Guidelines for General Style

Normally use the active voice, and omit needless phrases, such as “the question as to whether,” “the fact that,” and “along these lines.” Use “that” for restrictive clauses, “which” for nonrestrictive.

People should be fully identified by first and last names when they are first mentioned in the text. Names of authors mentioned in text should usually correspond exactly to their names as given in endnotes or references. The Journal discourages the use of titles such as Dr., Rev., Gen., Mrs., and Miss in the body of an article.

As a matter of conviction and policy, the editors and publisher of the Journal urge authors to use inclusive language, that is, language that does not exclude or disparage people on the basis of gender, age, race, class, or disability.

Text Abbreviations and Quotations

In general, avoid abbreviations in the text. For organizations that have long names and are frequently referred to by their acronyms, spell out the name of the organization the first time it appears. For example: “American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).”

Quotations should correspond exactly with the originals in wording, spelling, interior capitalization, and internal punctuation. The Journal will not typically use sic in a published article, but authors should use it in the manuscripts they submit to indicate errors or idiosyncrasies present in the original source.

Tables, Figures, and Illustrations

Please send any included tables as separate file documents in higher resolution JPEG or TIFF formats. Do not embed tables in the document. Identify them with a descriptive title and a number. Indicate sources. Clearly designate placement in the text. [Insert Table 1 about here.]

Number figures and illustrations separately from tables. Do not embed figures and illustrations in the document. Identify them with descriptive captions that include a date. Indicate sources. Clearly designate placement in the text. [Insert Figure 1 about here.] [Insert Illustration1 about here.]

For articles accepted for publication, authors must obtain permission to reprint images. Authors also must supply higher resolution camera-ready art or digital copies of figures.

Endnotes and References 

As noted above, the Journal publishes works documented through either endnotes or author-text citations, and with three notable exceptions follows the Chicago Manual of Style for both systems: the Journal requires authors’ full names for documentation whenever possible; for books, the Journal does not require the publisher’s name or place of publication; and for articles, the Journal does not require the month or season of publication.

With endnotes, avoid excessive use and make each note complete in itself. Even if the title or author of a work appears in the text, that information should be included in the note.

Combine notes when possible. Endnote numbers should appear at the end of text sentences, never in mid sentence. In general, there should be no more than one note per paragraph.

Keep “see also” references and general bibliographical discussion to a minimum. A citation should usually mention specific pages in the cited work that are directly relevant to the article. Also keep discursive material to a minimum. Notes should not be used to “save” material cut from the text.

When a note combines citations with discursive material, the citations should follow the discursion and not be inserted within it. Use the form “For a good discussion of the problem, see Joe L. Frost, Play and Playscapes (1992), 230–45” rather than “Joe L. Frost, Play and Playscapes (1992), 230–45 contains a good discussion of this problem.”

Scholarly Abbreviations

The Journal accepts some scholarly abbreviations but not others. The use of ibid. is acceptable. Ibid. refers to the item preceding and takes the place of as much of the succeeding material as is identical. If more than one work is cited in a note, ibid. should not be used for the first citation of the following note.

Op. cit., loc. cit., idem, and “hereafter cited as” are not part of the Journal’s style. Instead, for second references to books and articles, use the author’s last name, the short title, and pages. In assigning short titles, do not change the order of words in the title. Form a short title by dropping any initial article (i.e., A, An, or The) and anything after a colon. The Journal also does not encourage the use of ff. and passim. Specific pages should be cited whenever possible; otherwise cite the whole title.