Style Guide



Concise and Approachable

Articles for publication on Nursing Clio should be no longer than 1,500 words and aim to tell one story well. Make your argument clear right away and be selective with your evidence.

Our readers come from many backgrounds and include scholars and professionals both in and outside the academy. Take care to write in accessible language. Tone should be less formal than for a traditional journal.


Submit articles as a text document (Word, OpenOffice, Google Doc, etc.) via email to our Managing Editor, Laura Ansley, at:

The editors will review your post and return it with suggestions, generally within 2 weeks.

We will return your essay as a Google Doc with in-line comments. During your revision process, please make your edits and resolve changes within that Google Doc. Please revise your post at your earliest convenience in order to assure timely publication and assist our hard-working editors.


We do not require writers to provide images, but if you have a specific image(s) you want to include we are happy to consider it. The Layout Editor will make the final consideration.

To improve the chances we’ll be able to use a suggested image:

  1. Make sure you have permission to use the image (or that it is open licensed).
  2. Provide a high quality version that is at least 450 pixels in one direction.
  3. Include a clear description and full citation for the image in your submission.

Send images or questions to:


Captions are not required, but are strongly recommended to provide description, context, and credit. Keep captions concise and grammatically correct.

Image source information must be included when available. Use the format: (Creator/Source | Copyright when available). For example: (James Cridland/Flickr | CC BY)

Alt-Attribute Text

All images must include alt-attribute text. The alt-attribute text should be in sentence case.

Examples:The National League of Women Voters Board of Directors at the February 1920 Chicago Convention. (US Library of Congress)

  • This: Photo of the National League of Women Voters Board of Directors in 1920.
  • Not this: Example of suffragists.
  • Definitely not this: image1

House Style

We generally use US English spelling and the conventions in the Chicago Manual of Style, supplemented with resources like the NCDJ’s Disability Language Style Guide.


Use numbered endnotes to cite print sources like books and articles. When preparing your submission, make sure to use the “insert footnote” functionality of your word processor to create references.

For digital content such as online news articles or websites, use links instead of footnotes.

Titles and Subheadings

Consider breaking up your post by using subheadings, especially if it’s more than 500 words. People read differently online, often skimming more than they would elsewhere. Subheadings increase readability and the likelihood readers will process all of your points.

Title case article titles and subheadings. Article titles should use an amperstand in place of “and,” but subheadings should not.

Use links to refer to supporting material and to provide additional information or context that wouldn’t otherwise fit in the article.

Choose link text that briefly refers to the nature of the linked source. Aim for shorter links, and don’t include terminal punctuation.


  • This: Jane Doe’s article about XYZ provides more information.
  • Generally not this: Jane Doe’s article about XYZ provides more information.
  • Definitely not this: Click here to read Jane Doe’s article about XYZ.


Any quotation more than two or three sentences should be formatted as a block quotation.

Punctuation and Mechanics

In general, you can refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for punctuation guidelines. We use some specific rules within those parameters.

  • Ampersand: Avoid using ampersands in regular prose. Only use them in article and page titles.
  • Capitalization: Capitalize all major words when using title case and use lowercase for “and,” “but,” “for,” “or,” and “nor,” unless they are integral to the meaning of the heading.
  • Commas: In the great comma debate, we come down on the side of serial commas. Use the serial (Oxford) comma (the comma preceding the “and” before the last item in a list).
  • Dashes: Use en dashes ( – ) instead of em dashes (—). Leave a space on either side of the en dash.
  • Quotations: Use US English style quotations, with “curly” double quotation marks to denote the quotation, and single quotation marks only to mark a quotation within a quotation. Most punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. Use ellipses to indicate omitted parts of a quotation, but they are not needed at the beginning or end of the quoted text. Leave a space on either side of the ellipses ( … ).


Any material that comprises a list should be formatted as such. Lists can be an excellent way of presenting information, particularly in an online format where readers have a tendency to scan content.

If you use a list, try to keep list items to one or two sentences. If you find each point stretching to one or more paragraphs, consider using subheadings instead.

Be consistent: If a list includes any item that forms a complete sentence, capitalize the first word and include a period for every list item. Conversely, if it includes an incomplete sentence, then don’t capitalize and leave off terminal punctuation.


  • This is a list item forming a complete sentence.
  • Therefore all items in this list form complete sentences as well.
  • Consistency is key.
  1. for incomplete sentences
  2. in lists
  3. no capitalization, no terminal punctuation

Example Posts

For a sense of our style and tone, we suggest you check out: