Style Guide

Our ENVS Program primarily uses the Chicago Manual of Style to provide guidance to student writing. Below are two resources you’ll find helpful.

  • Style Reminders: An ongoing list of reminders of some of the most common issues we find in student writing. Do you know, for instance, that close quotes follow a period or comma in American English? Or that section headings should never include a colon unless text follows? A special stylistic emphasis in the ENVS Program is to avoid overuse of what we call Big Words: vague generalizations you find all the time in popular environmental discourse, like “sustainable” or “nature,” or even “the environment”! Paying close attention to spelling, grammar, and style in your writing will help readers take you more seriously as you model the approach of a good scholar.
  • Styling Citations via Chicago Author-Date: Our recommended citation style is fully explained in the Chicago Manual, works well for both print and online text, and is a standard style in Zotero, our recommended reference management application. For students whose work resonates more strongly with disciplines that use footnote-style references, the Chicago Manual has a style (“notes/bibliography”) for that as well!

In addition to guidance on style, the ENVS Program and CAS Writing Center offer a range of guidance on the writing process, and tools to help students do excellent scholarly writing, including reference management via Zotero and visual outlining of theses and other large writing projects via MindMeister. Please contact the ENVS Program for more information.