Of australasia merga annual Conference Submissions



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Macquarie University



Kay Owens

University of Western Sydney



1Judith A. Mousley

Deakin University



All abstracts for presentation at MERGA’s annual conferences are submitted electronically. Accepted abstracts are then be published in the conference Proceedings, printing directly from the submitted files. Since no editing is possible at this stage, it is necessary to impose strict specifications on abstracts so that the final product will have a professional appearance.

This guide will explain how to use this document as a “shell” for your abstract so that you can achieve those specifications. However, there are some necessary preliminaries before you do that—so please read on.

Introduction to Styles and Formats

The appearance of a document depends on style and format:


  • Style refers to the way words and symbols are used, irrespective of how they are laid out on the printed page.

  • Format refers to the way words and symbols are laid out on the printed page, irrespective of whether they make sense or not.

Both are specified in this document, which has three purposes:

  • to reiterate MERGA’s standard style specifications;

  • to specify a uniform format for annual conference abstracts; and

  • to provide instructions on how to achieve this format with the minimum of effort.

It is itself prepared according to these style and format specifications and, in its electronic form, contains all the necessary formatting tools.

MERGA Publications Style

MERGA abstracts should follow the standard MERGA publications style (Mitchelmore & Owens, 1999). For authors’ convenience, this style is reproduced below.

MERGA style follows “APA style” as specified in Chapters 1-3 and Paragraphs 4.11-4.13 of the APA Manual (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 1994) and supplemented by the latest recommendations for referencing electronic documents (available at www.apa.org/journals/webref.html), but with minor modifications for Australasian usage. Below, the most crucial elements of APA style are summarised and the modifications for MERGA publications listed in detail.

The Most Crucial Elements of APA style

Authors should read Chapters 1 and 2 of the APA Manual for valuable advice on the content and organisation of a manuscript and the expression of ideas. Editorial style is specified in detail in Chapter 3 of that Manual and these specifications should be strictly followed. The following guidelines would avoid some of the most common errors. (References are to sections of the APA Manual.)



  • Spell out words like “and”, “for example”, and so on—except when they occur within parentheses (then use “&”, “e.g.”, etc.). Always follow “e.g.” and “i.e.” with a comma [3.24]. Also, use “&” instead of “and” in the reference list [3.111].

  • Leave only a single blank space after each punctuation mark (exception: internal full stops in abbreviations like “e.g.”) [4.11].

  • Text omitted in a quotation is always shown by three dots (full stops not separated by spaces). The three dots should be separated by a single blank space from the following and preceding text (which might be a full stop) [3.38].

  • If using footnotes, type the footnote number after any punctuation mark except a dash [4.20].

  • Use double quotation marks for quotes in text, except for quotes within quotes [3.36]. Use italics (not quotation marks) for technical terms at their first definition and for foreign words [3.19].

  • Note the different way of citing a range of page numbers in the reference list for chapters in a book (e.g., “This book (pp. 32-49)”) and articles in a journal (e.g., “This Journal, 58, 253-258”) [3.110].

  • Pay particular attention to the other specifications for listing references. Most variations are included among the 75 examples given in the APA Manual [Appendix 3-A]. The reference list in the present document contains examples of the most common references: to books (Mitchelmore & Owens, 1999), chapters in books (Truran & Truran, 1998), and journal articles (Sullivan, Warren, & White, 2000).

  • For electronic documents, follow a similar format as for printed material and indicate when and from where it was retrieved. (See, for example, Bishop, FitzSimons, & Seah, 1999).

  • Check that all works cited in the text appear in the reference list, and vice versa [3.104].

Modifications of APA Style for MERGA Usage

The following modifications either amend APA style for Australasian usage or clarify and extend its application in MERGA publications. (References are again to the APA Manual.)






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