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Footnotes in tables (part Two): formatting, spacing, and punctuation

Footnotes in tables (part Two): formatting, spacing, and punctuation

Now that we have dealt with the use of footnotes in tables in a general way [refer to the earlier post here], let us consider some points of detail.

Formatting the footnote marker: A footnote marker should stand out from the surrounding text, which is why it is common to make the superscript letters or numerals used as footnote markers bold. It is even more helpful not only to make the marker bold but also to italicize it so that it leans away from the text that it qualifies.

Make sure that in setting the marker as a superscript, you are not making the character too petite; if it is too puny, either use a larger font size or increase the default value for superscripts used by the software package.

If the font that you are using includes decent superscript numerals, use those. You can see the difference for yourself by comparing a superscripted Two with that obtained by pressing Alt + 0178 (2 versus ?). You will notice that decent superscripts are as dark as the rest of the text, whereas superscripted characters are lighter.

Lastly, check that the column alignment is intact: in a right-aligned column of numbers, for example, the number to which a footnote has been linked should not be shoved to the left to make room for the marker; instead, the marker is “draped,” that is, it is placed to the right of the number but outside the column.

Footnote marker at the foot: Some journal publishers do away with the superscript when the marker is reproduced at the foot instantly before the text of the footnote. The ? used as a footnote marker in the table, for example, will be printed as Two at the foot of the table. These “unsuperscripted” characters are sometimes referred to as “in-line” characters. Observe the practice followed by the target journal and use that.

The text of the footnote commences instantly – with a minimal gap – after the footnote marker. If the superscript form is retained, beginning the text of the footnote with a capital letter can obscure the marker. Again, go after the style of the target journal.

Terminal punctuation: If the text of the footnote is a finish sentence or runs to more than a single sentence, use total stops (periods) as adequate. If the text is a single word or a phrase or a sentence fragment, no terminal punctuation is required.

More than one footnote in a line: Short footnotes are usually set as a block of text. In other words, the footnotes are “run on” one after the other, separated with a single space, the block being as broad as the lines that make up the normal text or as broad as the table to which the footnotes are affixed. However, do not arrange the footnotes in columns even if the target journal uses such a layout. It is then best to begin each footnote on a fresh line and leave the layout to the publisher.

The following article gives a more detailed tutorial on how to present your tables and figures for the best possible influence: Tips on effective use of tables and figures in research papers. 

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A briefing document is a good communication vehicle to keep others abreast of certain issues in a professional manner

A briefing document is a good communication vehicle to keep others abreast of certain issues in a professional manner

Briefs and briefing documents are used in a multitude of settings. Lawyers call them legal briefs and those in government refer to them as briefing notes. The main aim is to address an issue, persuade others to join in and/or suggest a solution to the problem. Understanding how to compose a briefing document is very significant in presenting your concerns in a professional manner.

Purpose of a Briefing Document

In order to utilize tips for writing a briefing document you must understand the purpose of this type of document. Briefing documents are used across many different professional genres in order to address issues in a formal way.

Not only do these documents present an issue formally, but they also permits others to agree that the issue needs to be addressed, and permit people to come to a formal resolution.

It is very significant that the briefing document identify the issue in the most concise manner possible and propose a solution. In order for a briefing document to be effective in presenting information it should:

  • Be brief, hence the term briefing document
  • State all issues and solutions clearly
  • Be persuasive, as one of the purposes of a briefing document is to get others to assist agree on the issue and help with its resolution
  • Present information in an informative and practical manner.

Any issue that is mentioned should be confirmed with evidence and the solution should be feasible.

Writing a Briefing Document

Here are some tips for writing a briefing document that should be followed in order to ensure that the information is introduced in the correct manner.

  1. Create structure – Your briefing document should be written in a structured format. The structure should consist of parts that include the issue or topic, background information on the issue, the current status of the issue, significant details, options for resolving the issue and the conclusion or recommendations.
  2. Keep it ordinary – The briefing document should be no longer than two pages. Likewise, it should get directly to the matter of the issue. Make the most use of your words to get your point across without being verbose.
  3. Research for reliability – When presenting information on an issue, it is very significant that all the details are factual and reliable. Other individuals will be relying on the information to determine whether or not they will support the resolution of your issue. Make sure to do research and back up any claims with evidence.
  4. Make it lightly accessible – The main purpose of briefing documents is to put concerns out in the open so that they can be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Most of the people reading briefing documents do not have the time to shuffle through papers or research to go after along with your proposal.

It is very significant that you take the time make this document accurate, effortless to read and lightly accessible.

Editing Your Briefing Document

Take the time to edit your briefing document prior to presenting it to your colleagues or other professionals. Make sure that it addresses the issues clearly in a concise, clear manner. Be sure that you have all your supporting evidence within the document, that the entire document is effortless to go after along and that it is clear in its intentions. Eventually, you should also take the time to meticulously proofread your briefing document for any spelling and grammar errors before presenting it to your colleagues.

Tips for Writing a Briefing Document

A briefing document is a good communication vehicle to keep others abreast of certain issues in a professional manner. A briefing document identifies a particular problem, with the aim of getting others to also address the issue. This type of document also usually offers a proposed solution for the introduced problem.

Briefs and briefing documents are used in a multiplicity of settings. Lawyers call them legal briefs and those in government refer to them as briefing notes. The main objective is to address an issue, persuade others to join in and/or suggest a solution to the problem. Understanding how to compose a briefing document is very significant in presenting your concerns in a professional manner.

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