Following a particular writing style, like Turabian style, is important when writing in a professional setting. Different professions will have specific styles for their industries, but often there can be additional reporting frameworks required for different activities within an industry as well. Following formatting and style requirements is important for making professional and organized content consistently.
Following the formatting and style requirements closely leads to several benefits. Applying style guidelines effectively increases consistency and allows an author to focus on content while showcasing their ability to follow instructions and adherence to standards (Fudge 2015). Often people think of writing style guidelines as important to only schoolwork and research, however, style guidelines also exist in many different reporting frameworks.
For example, within environmental reporting, there are several different reporting standards that can be followed for greenhouse gas reporting. Using a specific style or protocol, like the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC), often requires very specific formatting, content, organization, and calculation methodology. Many other industries also have similar reporting frameworks that are often compliance driven. A stormwater utility will have to submit action plans, testing data, and other information to regulators that must comply with very specific and rigid formatting, content, and calculation methods. If the appropriate style is not followed in these types of cases there can be financial penalties, permit denials, or failure to achieve certification. Paying attention to formatting and style requirements is important to avoiding these issues while achieving the benefits that come from following them.
The most important element for following any writing style or framework begins with an outline. If there will be continual needs to write within a specific style or framework, it is often best to create a template that outlines the document. Pre-populating a document with all the necessary section headers and appropriate margins, page breaks, page numbers, etc. can save a massive amount of time and ensure consistency and quality. It can also be helpful to slowly enhance the template over time with additional elements as they arise. For example, if there is a consistent need for figures or tables, pre-populate the template with an example table that can be updated with real data if needed, or removed if not. A robust template that contains a variety of different style elements that are common for projects is the best method for reducing the time spent on future tasks while ensuring consistency and content organization.
Author: Logan Callen
Fudge, Tamara. 2015. “The Importance of Formatting.” Purdue Global Writing Center. May 13. Accessed October 3, 2022. https://purdueglobalwriting.center/2015/05/13/the-importance-of-formatting/.
Turabian, Kate L. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. 9th ed. Edited by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams and University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN-13: 978-0226430577.