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U4 Blog posts – guide to authors

U4 output manual

U4 Blog posts – guide to authors

The blogging process: expected format, tone, and referencing to best reach intended readers.
14 January 2019

How to submit your idea

If you have an idea for a blog post, please get in touch with Kirsty Cunningham with a brief outline. We will give you feedback and discuss the process.

See also:

Length

  • Aim for your post to be between 800 and 1,000 words long. This increases readability and accessibility.

Audience, writing style and language

  • Write your post with U4's primary audience in mind: practitioners and policymakers.
  • Use a natural style that avoids overusing acronyms and academic terms, such as Latin words, or specific terminology that may not be well-known outside academic/disciplinary circles.
  • Don't write things like 'in this post I will…', or 'this post aims to…,' and go straight into your discussion of the topic.
  • Use short paragraphs made up of four or five sentences.
  • As with journalistic pieces 'lead with the best.' Don’t save your main argument or analysis for the end.
  • Write your post as a standalone piece, even if it summarises material in a longer publication: Try to present all of your argument and evidence within the text and avoid relying too heavily on information contained in external sources.

Referencing

  • 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.

Images, graphs, and charts

  • We encourage the use of images, charts, and figures. Graphs and charts are preferable to tables, as they are easier for readers to interpret quickly. In all cases, please send us the raw data of your chart, table, or figure in Excel format.
  • Each chart needs a clearly labelled heading, labels for the X and Y axes or histogram bars, including units of measurement and a readable scale or background grid.
  • There should be a clear legend distinguishing multiple data series from each other and a brief note on sources. Lines must be thick enough and distinctively coloured. Charts should use a numerical progression to make comparisons more visible.
  • Do you have a suitable image for the post and permission to use it? Please share it with us, and we will check that it adheres to the U4 photo policy. Please include the name of the photographer, the licence that applies to the photo, and a caption if you can eg name people, places and situations.

About the blog writer

  • We will give blog writers full attribution, so please send us a three to four line biographical note, detailing your professional role/position, affiliation, and any other relevant information.
  • We do not include guest writers' contact details.

Our editing process

  1. We will review, edit and seek internal approval for publishing.
  2. Then we will copyedit the post to adhere to the U4 style guide.
  3. We then send you the revised version for you to make final edits.
  4. Once we receive your approval and/or have agreed with you upon any final edits, we will publish the post on our website.
  5. Once posts are published, we are very happy to make further edits afterwards should you deem them to be necessary. If so, we will add a short note end of the post, acknowledging any post-publication edits.

Creative Commons and article sharing policy

We encourage reuse, printing and sharing of U4 blog posts for non-commercial purposes –applying a Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 .

(This authors' guide to U4 blog posts borrows heavily from the LSE Impact Blog guideline.)

    Disclaimer


    All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

    This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)