Research methods — Irish Historical Studies rules

I’m still playing catch-up on these class summaries from last semester.Oh well. This is from Monday ..2011

One part of being a historian that I am not as wild about is following style rules when writing. I understand why it’s important, but it is rather aggravating nonetheless. Naturally, no one has yet decided on a universal historical style citation guide. Someone should, seriously.

In the States, Chicago style is quite common. On this side of the pond, I believe Oxford—or something called something approximately like Oxford—is common. At Queens? Irish Historical Studies.

Since you probably won’t ever have to follow I.H.S. rules, I’ll spare you the boring details. Basically, they are the rules for contributors to the Irish Historical Studies journal. Some make sense. Some do not. Failure to follow them results in marks being taken away. I’m pretty sure I.H.S. is convinced failure to follow them will result in the collapse of the island.

If you are in the states, here are a few things you might find interesting (not all apply to I.H.S. specifically):

  • This side of the Atlantic prefers single quotation marks to double marks. Thus ‘To be or not to be’ rather that “To be or not to be”. Crazy. Quotations within quotations then become double marks. Logical, really, but confusing as heck when you still use the American system and simultaneously use the British system. My apologies if I switch in my writing here.
  • Capitals, according to I.H.S. are of the devil. Do not use capital letters.
  • Never abbreviate journal titles, except of course, I.H.S. ‘Cause it’s special.
  • Generally place a period after abbreviations, except those abbreviations which you don’t need to [2. Confused? Yeah, it’s a bit convoluted]
  • For example: ‘eds’ is ok. ‘ed’ is not. You’ll get in trouble for just putting ‘ed’ down. [3. In truth, it generally is whether or not the abbreviation is truly an abbreviation or a contraction. Contractions=no punctuation. Abbr.=well, you see :)]
  • Never break up a citation with a period. Commas. Commas are your friend.
  • There is a significant difference between ‘p.’ and ‘pp’. And ‘p’ is incorrect while ‘pp’ is correct.

If for some reason you need to know I.H.S. rules, I’d suggest you visit their website: And you can download the rules for contributors there.

Ok, ok in truth the rules are good to have. I feel like using a pretty specific journal for the rules might be, well, specific. But rules are good. And this class period was quite helpful to me to understand them better.

This is a part of my History at Queens series. I am writing on what I’m learning in my modules and as a part of my own research. Hope you enjoy!


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