Psi Encyclopedia Style Guide


This style guide is provided as a reference for contributors to the Psi Encyclopedia. We describe the intended purpose and orientation of the work and specify rules for language and formatting in the text, the literature list and the endnotes. All new contributions from February 2021 onwards should adhere to these rules. Existing articles will be updated over time to conform to them.


Purpose of the Psi Encyclopedia

The primary aim of the Psi Encyclopedia (hereafter, PE) is to open a window onto the research literature of psychical research and parapsychology in the form of objective, fact-filled and in-depth summaries. Writing should be scholarly and yet accessible to a wide general readership. Secondary aims are to demonstrate that scientific and scholarly investigations have been carried out into an array of psychic phenomena, that the research is wide-ranging and credible, and that there is good reason for supposing these phenomena to be genuine.

Article Structure

PE articles have a uniform structure, beginning with a brief introductory paragraph, then a table of contents, followed by the body of the text concluding with a by-line, a literature list and endnotes to the text (which include citations and are headed References on the published page). On the published page, a right-hand column contains summary information about the article and may present associated illustrations. An illustration typically accompanies the introductory paragraph as well.

General Guidelines

Article topics, titles and lengths are assigned by the PE Editor, who will also write or edit the introductory paragraph. The table of contents is automatically generated from headings in the article body. Authors are responsible for the article body, the literature list and the endnotes, although they may suggest a title and draft the introductory paragraph. Detailed rules for these sections follow this preface. This section provides general guidance on approach and writing style.

The PE is intended as an introduction and overview of research that has been conducted in psychical research and parapsychology, rather than the paranormal or the occult as conceived by the public. You should fully describe psi phenomena as they appear in their natural setting and in the laboratory; however, be sure to emphasise the scientific and investigative aspects wherever possible. Your writing should be impersonal. If you contribute to the area about which you are writing, you will need to include your own research findings and ideas, but cite yourself in third person and ensure that all views on the topic are represented fairly.

The purpose of a PE article is not primarily to persuade or entertain, rather to educate and inform. Focus on facts – on the background, the key studies, the controversies, the contesting viewpoints. Think of your article as a detailed snapshot. A PE article, ideally, should be sober and factual, but less verbally dense and containing less technical language than a scholarly paper, so as to engage the average reader. Use gender-neutral language as much as possible; avoid words such as ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ and universal masculine pronouns.

Case studies help enliven your writing, so use them liberally. Use at least some fine detail in longer case studies, even though you will need to summarize much. Quotations, both short and long, that add to the impact of your writing are encouraged. Consider using bulleted lists for series of related points. Supply embedded hyperlinks to other PE articles and outside web pages whenever you can, in order to lead the reader to additional information on your topic.

Bear in mind that sceptics likely will see the PE as a challenge and may seek to undermine your article. To help pre-empt this, ensure that their key positions are mentioned where relevant, perhaps in a dedicated section. If appropriate, entitle this section ‘Criticisms and Controversy’. Rebuttals should be based on evidence, not authorial comment; reference to existing discussions rather than original argumentation is preferred. Avoid rhetoric and polemics.

Rights and Conditions

  • Authors agree to contribute only original and previously unpublished work for publication in the PE, unless under arrangement with the Editor.
  • Authors agree to transfer rights over their articles to the Society for Psychical Research, publisher of the PE.
  • Quotations of copyrighted material from other sources is governed by the concept of ‘fair dealing’ under sections 29 and 30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (UK), which allows for the reproduction of brief passages with appropriate acknowledgement.
  • Authors take full responsibility for the content and views expressed in their contribution. If disputes arise, they will be adjudicated by the Editor, whose decisions will be considered final.
  • Authors agree to have their articles edited.
  • Authors have permission to republish their articles, in part or in full, in other venues, provided they properly credit the PE as their source.
  • By submitting your article to the PE, you agree to these conditions.

Submission, Editing and Approval

Completed articles should be emailed to the Editor. Articles composed in any word processing programme are acceptable, but they should be formatted in 11-point Times New Roman in block text, with single line spacing. Do not double-space between sentences. Insert a blank line between paragraphs. Do not use italics, boldface or larger point sizes to indicate headings and subheadings. Instead, offset them with blank lines above and below.

Optionally, you may provide a table of contents at the head of your article as a guide to the Editor, although this will be removed and the headings will be generated automatically by the site software. If there are discrepancies between wording in your table of contents and the headings in the body of the article, the latter will determine how the table of contents appears on the published page.

You will be notified when your edited article has been posted to the PE web site, normally before it is has been published, unless only minor changes have been made. If the required changes are extensive or if there are significant questions, the Editor will return your article in Microsoft Word file proofs first. However, in the interests of speed and convenience, a lightly edited article will be uploaded to the web site and published without your seeing proofs. Review your article immediately when notified of its posting or publication. The Editor will not publicize your article on Twitter or the PE home page until it has your approval.

Updating Your Article

PE articles are signed and, unlike Wikipedia articles, can be edited only by the Editor, the article author and other authorized PE authors.

As an online publication, the PE is able to revise articles at any time so that they remain up to date. We encourage you to review your article regularly and make both minor and major adjustments by logging in and creating a new draft (an edited version of the original). This may involve correcting errors, adding new sources, adding new sections and reworking content to respond to emerging ideas on your topic. Notify the Editor when you are finished editing, so that your updates can be published. Your revisions will not become public until approved and published by the Editor. Contact the Editor if you are uncertain about how to log on to the PE site or to access your article for editing. Alternatively, the Editor will make minor changes at your request.

Introductory Paragraph

The introductory paragraph is the Editor’s responsibility. It is crafted not only to summarize the main points of the article, but for search engine optimization. If you chose to write a draft of this paragraph, keep the length under 100 words. Do not include endnote citations or hyperlinks.

Article Body


There is considerable variation in punctuation, spelling of words, meanings of words and expressions, as well as in some aspects of grammar, amongst the regional varieties of English, especially between British and American English.1 The PE adopts a minimalist approach to punctuation in the article body but in general follows British conventions, as per the New Oxford Style Manual (3rd ed) 2 and the Oxford English Dictionary. An exception is the handling of hyphens in compound words, where the contemporary American practice of joining many common compounds without hyphens is preferred (see Compound Words and Hyphenation). For more detailed guidance, see the appropriate sections below. If you are uncertain about British usage, write in your customary style and it will be adjusted as appropriate by the Editor.

Organize your information in sections and subsections. Avoid long and complex sentences and keep your paragraphs short. Paragraphs should be no longer than 180 words in length; most should be no more than 160 words long. This applies to all articles, including those (eg European Children Who Recall Previous Lives) which are primarily lists of case summaries. For the latter, keep the summaries brief while providing a balance of succinctness and illustrative detail. You should strive to be both interesting and informative, to keep readers reading. Remember that you are writing text for reading online, not in a printed work.

Remember that PE articles are written for a general readership. When using technical language – for instance, when writing about reincarnation, the term ‘solved case’ – define it on first mention. This not only facilitates comprehension, it can obviate misunderstanding. 

When summarizing published work, you may use either past or present tense, but do not mix styles in the same article. When listing a series of items in your text, precede the series with a colon, enclose in parentheses the numbers or letters that introduce each item, and conclude each item with a semi-colon:

  • Pasricha notes that all informants agreed Rakesh made three correct statements about Bithal Das’s life before visiting Tonk: (1) he had lived there; (2) he had been a carpenter; and (3) he had been electrocuted.
  • A related problem with the sore thumb assumption is that there is no reason to think: (a) that psychic functioning occurs only when parapsychologists are trying to induce it; or (b) that we can infer either the role or the limits of spontaneous psi from its manifestations in psychologically straitjacketed experimental settings. 

You may also list items in bulleted lists (see Bulleted Lists).

Section Headings and Subheadings

The PE provides for two levels of headings and subheadings. Each section and subsection should contain a distinct topic and should follow a logical or in some instances a chronological sequence. Headings and subheadings are a good way to organize information for the reader, and their use is encouraged.

Normally, one level of subheading under a main heading suffices, but if you need a second level, mark the heading in bold face. Rarely, a third level is required; it should be italicized.

Keep your headings and subheadings brief and capitalize the main words in them (at all levels). When writing a series of related articles, try to the use the same structure and heading/subheading names.


Avoid over-use of commas. Commas should be employed when required for grammatical reasons (eg with subordinate clauses or introductory phrases of more than a few words) or for clarity of expression, but their excessive use can impede reading online. Write,

  • ‘Having performed the experiment, the authors concluded that …’ rather than, ‘Having performed the experiment the authors concluded that …’.
  • ‘In 1987, he published a book titled …’ rather than, ‘In 1987 he published a book titled …’.

However, commas may be omitted if a sentence flows well without them and its meaning is not affected by leaving them out:

  • ‘In the autumn of 1937 a strange communicator began to manifest at the regular séances Hafsteinn held in the home of Einar Kvaran in Reykjavik’ is preferable to, ‘In the autumn of 1937, a strange communicator began to manifest at the regular séances Hafsteinn held in the home of Einar Kvaran in Reykjavik’.

It is not necessary to include commas after every item in a series of items (the so-called Oxford comma) if the items consist of a few words only, but commas should be used to separate all items in a longer or more complex series of items:

  • Hafsteinn was polite, punctual and orderly, making him very popular.
  • Ian Stevenson, who was interested in drop-in communicators, xenoglossy (unlearned language), and other facets of Hafsteinn’s mediumship, participated in some of Erlendur’s investigations.

When referring to multiple authors in the text (even within parentheses), use 'and' rather than an ampersand to join the last two names and leave off the comma following the penultimate name.

  • He suggested that Gardner focused on weaker studies, pointing out that he gave only cursory attention to two experimental reports – one by Blom and Pratt and another by Pratt, Keil and Stevenson that Pratt considered to be the best evidence of ESP ‘because alternative hypotheses could be rejected with considerable confidence’.

Do not use commas between months and years. Write,

  • ‘All new contributions from February 2021 onwards should adhere to these rules’, not, ‘All new contributions from February, 2021, onwards should adhere to these rules’.


British practice regarding en and em rules differs in some respects from dashes in American English.3 In writing for the PE, the important difference is in the use of the en rule (the length of two hyphens and half the length of an em rule). This may be substituted for an em rule, as used in American English, but with a space preceding and following it. Microsoft Word and other word processing programmes will convert a hyphen preceded and followed by a space to an en rule when it is succeeded by another word. As with American dashes, en rules with spaces on either side may be used either singly or in pairs. For example:

  • Focus on facts – on the background, the key studies, the controversies, and contesting viewpoints.
  • When using technical language – for instance, when writing on reincarnation, the term ‘solved case’ – define it on first mention.

Full Stops (Periods)

In keeping with the minimal punctuation of the article body, full stops (periods) are not used with initials or abbreviations. See Personal Titles and Contractions and Abbreviations for further guidance.

  • FWH Myers, not F.W.H. Myers
  • eg, not e.g.


Use ellipses only to indicate material omitted from quoted text (see Quotations).

Collective Nouns

The PE follows British rules in regards to collective nouns (eg family, company). These may take either singular or plural verbs, depending on whether the body is considered as a unit or if emphasis is placed on the individuals within the unit. In American English, collective nouns are invariably thought of as a unit and take singular verbs.4 Thus,

  • 'the family are' [British], not 'the family is' [American]
  • 'A committee was appointed', but 'The committee were unable to agree'. [British]

Note, however, that 'data' is considered in the aggregate in British English and takes a singular verb:

  • 'the data is', not 'the data are'


PE spelling follows the conventions of British English, as per the Oxford English Dictionary and the New Oxford Style Manual.5 Online dictionaries provide guidance on UK English spelling. Word processing programmes such as Microsoft Word also will check spelling according to different varieties of English. To achieve this in Microsoft Word, first select the text to check, then go to Review > Language > Set Proofing Language and select English (UK).  In quotations and proper names of organizations, keep the original spelling: For example, Rhine Center, not Rhine Centre.6

The most common differences in spelling between British and American English include:

  • programme, rather than program
  • behaviour, rather than behavior
  • sceptic, rather than skeptic
  • aeroplane, rather than airplane
  • centre, rather than center
  • defence, rather than defense
  • enrol, rather than enroll
  • manoeuvre, rather than maneuver
  • enquire, rather than inquire
  • kilometre, rather than kilometer
  • artefact, rather than artifact

When -ment is added to words that end in -dge, the final e is retained in British English, though not in American English.7

  • judgement, rather than judgment
  • acknowledgement, rather than acknowledgment

Differences between British and American English regarding the doubling or not of final consonants in certain inflected verbs is especially complex.8 Compounding the issue is the existence of alternative forms in British English. The PE prefers a single ‘s’ in ‘focused’ and ‘focusing’ but follows British practice in doubling the final consonent in many other words, for example:

  • totalled, totalling, rather than totaled, totaling
  • travelled, travelling, rather than traveled, traveling

Although both terminal -ise and -ize are acceptable in British English, the New Oxford Style Manual prefers -ize in most circumstances.9 This policy is adopted by the PE.

  • recognize, not recognise
  • italicize , not italicise

An exception is words ending in -yse, which are commonly spelled with -yze in American English, are acceptable only with -yse in British English and in the PE.

  • analyse, not analyze

A group of verbs that include burn, learn and spell have an orthodox form that ends in -ed but in British English have an alternative form ending in -t. Either form is acceptable in the PE, but the styles should not be mixed in the same article.

  • burned or burnt
  • learned or learnt
  • spelled or spelt

Compound Words and Hyphenation

Avoid excessive hyphenation of compound words. British English is more conservative than American English in employing hyphens incompounds,10 but in a departure from its usual policy, the PE prefers the American practice here:

  • interethnic, rather than inter-ethnic
  • preliterate, rather than pre-literate
  • postmortem, rather than post-mortem
  • northeastern, rather than north-eastern
  • extrasensory perception, rather than extra-sensory perception
  • nonlocal, rather than non-local

Write 'percent' rather than 'per cent' (although when citing figures, use the percent sign, eg 2%).

However, if a term is customarily written with a hyphen in American as well as in British English, the hyphen should be retained:

  • near-death experience, not neardeath experience
  • past-life memory, not pastlife memory
  • post-traumatic stress disorder, not posttraumatic stress disorder
  • cross-cultural, not crosscultural

Contractions and Abbreviations

Do not use contractions such as don’t, won’t and didn’t, except in quotations.

Use English phrases – ‘for example’, ‘that is’, ‘and so on’ – rather than abbreviations of Latin terms – exempli gratia (eg), id est (ie), et cetera (etc) – in your text, although you may use these abbreviations in parenthetical comments. Note that when used in parenthetical comments, terms such as eg, ie, and etc are written without full points, are not italicized, and are not followed by commas.

For terms whose abbreviations are well known (eg ESP, NDE), write out the term in full on first mention and thereafter use initials. It is not necessary to supply the initials in parentheses following this first mention for such well-known terms, but if the terms are less well-known, supply the initials in parentheses before using them.

Write out 'World War I' and 'World War II' on first mention, but abbreviate to 'WWI' and 'WWII' on subsequent mentions in the same article.

Omit 'The' at the beginning of titles of books and journals, but do not otherwise abbreviate the titles on first mention. On subsequent mentions of the same work in the same article, shortened forms of the title are preferred. Similarly, the names of organizations and publications should be given in full on first mention, but may be abbreviated on subsequent mentions. In the latter cases, indicate the abbreviations when the names are first introduced. With books and periodicals, be sure to italicize the abbreviation as well as the full title.

  • Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, on first mention, and Twenty Cases, on subsequent mentions
  • Society for Psychical Research (SPR), on first mention, and SPR, on subsequent mentions
  • Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (JASPR), on first mention, and JASPR, on subsequent mentions


Capitalize only the main words of titles, subtitles and other headings. Avoid excessive capitalization; do not capitalize words simply for emphasis. Proper names should always be capitalized, but similar generic references should not be capitalized. This stricture should be observed especially in relation to biographical articles, which otherwise can come off reading like curriculum vitae.

  • Correct: He joined the University of Bristol as professor of psychology.
  • Correct: He joined the University of Bristol as Myerson Professor of Psychology.
  • Incorrect: He joined the University of Bristol as Professor of Psychology

Do not capitalize 'ganzfeld' or ‘internet’.

Personal Titles

Personal titles such as Mr, Mrs and Dr and titles of respect such as Sri should be omitted. On first mention, supply given names along with surnames, thereafter only surnames. Initials may be used in place of full given names, but initials should be run together, without full stops.

  • Leonora Piper, not Mrs Piper, on first mention; thereafter, Piper
  • Ian Stevenson, not Dr Ian Stevenson, on first mention; thereafter, Stevenson
  • FWH Myers, not F. W. H. Myers, on first mention; thereafter, Myers

‘Sir’ may be used with the given names of knighted individuals on first mention but should be omitted thereafter. Similarly,  honorifics such as the Burmese Ma, Maung, U and Daw may be used on first mention but should be omitted thereafter.

  • Sir Oliver Lodge, on first mention; thereafter, Lodge
  • Ma Tin Aung Myo, on first mention; thereafter, Tin Aung Myo

'Jr' and 'Sr' should follow names immediately, without commas preceding them and without full stops following.

  • William George Jr, not William George, Jr.

Numbers and Fractions

In general, spell out numbers from one to nineteen; numbers that are written as one word, such as twenty, thirty or ninety; and round numbers of one hundred or more that are expressed as two words, such as one hundred, five hundred, one thousand, one million. Follow this rule with hyphenated numbers (eg seventeen-year hiatus) and for numbers used imprecisely, for instance, ‘about four hundred’, ‘more than five thousand’. 

However, use numerals with exact currency values, as units of measurement, to express times of day and with statistics. With figures of four digits or more, use commas to separate the figure into segments of no more than three digits each:

  • In 2,000 trials Stepanek scored 1,144 hits where 1,000 would have been expected by chance (57%), a highly significant result.

Express fractions in digital form, not in words, even when they include numbers that would normally be written as words.

  • 4.5, not four and a half


Write ages in accordance with the rules for numbers.

  • He was nineteen years old.
  • All infants had reached the age of thirty months.
  • She was 21 at this time.

Weights and Measures

In giving weights and measures, the PE generally prefers metric (kilograms, kilometres) rather than imperial (pounds, miles) terms, but imperial terms are acceptable as an alternative. You may also supply both terms (imperial in parentheses).

Values should follow the rules for numbers. Spell out terms (eg kilometre) rather than using abbreviations (km) in the article body text, but use abbreviations within parentheses (and in endnotes). An exception is with weights of people, which in British practice are given in stone (fourteen pounds) and pounds:

  • At the time, she weighed four stone, five pounds.

Statistical Expressions

Use figures, rather than words, to express numbers in statistics. Use standard symbols such as % rather than writing these in words (per cent).


Dates should be given using the British style of day (in numeral), month (spelled out in full) and year (in numeral), with no commas separating the elements.

  • 13 April 2015, not April 13, 2015

Date ranges should be abbreviated, with an en rule (–), not a hyphen joining the dates at either end:

  • The ETH has proved popular, despite significant criticism, and was even suggested during the mystery airship wave of 1896–97.

Write out century names (eg twentieth century, twenty-first century). Use BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) rather than BC and AD. Type BCE and CE in regular caps, not small caps.

Apart from the subject of the entry, avoid using birth and death dates for historical individuals. This is rarely necessary and can affect the reading experience for the general reader.

Time of Day

Time of day may be expressed in either words or figures, but the two styles should not be mixed in the same article. Thus, both ‘half past four’ and ‘4.30’ are acceptable, but be consistent. Use o’clock only with round hours. Also, note that when times are expressed in figures, a full point rather than a colon (customary in American English) is used. It is not necessary to include a full point and two zeros (eg 4.00) when referring to round hours. Use am and pm, not AM and PM, to specify time on a twelve-hour clock.  

  • He finished work on the article at half past four in the morning.
  • He finished work on the article at 4.30 am.
  • He finished work on the article at four o’clock in the morning.
  • He finished work on the article at 4 am.


Italics can serve a variety of purposes11 but should be used sparingly. Avoid using italics solely for emphasis. Be sure to italicize book and journal titles wherever they occur. See Foreign Language Names and Terms for the use of italics with languages other than English.

Foreign Language Names and Terms

Italicize single words, terms or short phrases in Latin and other languages other than English (eg unus mundus, parakaya pravesh), except when these are in common usage in English (eg et cetera, ad hominem, ad hoc, post hoc). Except for these standard and commonly understood foreign language terms, supply translations in roman – not italic – as glosses in the text or in parentheses and with quotation marks, immediately after the original. Present longer passages in translation rather than in the original language.

It is acceptable to use translations of names of institutions, buildings and geographical locations. These should be in roman and not italicized.

When personal names have become standard in an anglicized form (eg Stepanek, Ryzl), use these forms rather than the spelling in the person's native language (eg Štěpánek, Rýzl), but it is good form to give the latter at first mention (perhaps in parentheses following the standard form you are adopting). When names are generally spelled with accents in English-language publications (eg René Sudre, Jürgen Keil), the accents should be retained in the PE.

Accented names or names spelled with unusual letters that do not have a standard anglicized form (eg İsmail Altınkılıç, Cevriye Bayrı) should be spelled in their native form as a rule; if exceptions are made, the native version should be given at first mention. Difficulties may arise when names of authors are spelled without accents in their publications. In these cases, use the accent when writing about the person, but the unaccented form of the name when citing his work (eg Karl Müller, but Muller 1970).


Most articles should include at least some direct quotations, which can be a single phrase, a sentence or several sentences. Separate and indent longer quotes.

Following British convention, use single quotation marks, not double quotation marks, and place punctuation (commas, semi-colons, full stops) after the end mark rather than before it.

  • ‘Use single quotation marks, not double quotation marks, and place punctuation (commas, semi-colons, full stops) after the end mark rather than before it’.

However, in quoting dialogue, place punctuation inside the closing quotation mark rather than outside it:12

  • Once when her grandmother took her to the cemetery to put flowers on Picciota’s grave, she protested, ‘But I am no longer there. Picciota is Irma. It is me, and you must not cry.’ 

Use ellipses (three dots) to indicate omitted material from the quoted text. Single-space the dots and leave a space before and after them; do not run the ellipses into the words on either side of the omission. If the excised words follow the end of a sentence, include the sentence's full stop, leave a space, then the three dots of the ellipses, and another space before the quotation resumes. Similarly, if the break in the quoted material ends with an abbreviated word that has a full stop, include the full stop before the ellipses dots. Do not include ellipses to indicate the continuation of the quotation, as this is implied.

  • We begin each life with a tabula rasa ... onto which the past impresses itself through involuntary memories and unconscious influence on our behavior.
  • The usual age of forgetting seems to coincide with the increased activity of a child outside the physical and social environment of his immediate family. … I believe this adjustment brings new experiences, the memories of which cover and seem to obliterate those of the previous life.
  • Conway, Meares et al. … propose that this is achieved by what they term adaptive coherence.

Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists are welcome. Use black circular bullets only, no other symbol or numbers.

Bulleted lists may include words, sentence fragments or full sentences. If listed items are words or sentence fragments, begin them in lower case and supply no terminal punctuation. If listed items are sentences, begin with a capitalized initial word and end with a full stop. Never end listed items with semi-colons.

If bulleted list items are brief, leave no line space between them. If bulleted items are complex or extend to more than a sentence or two, enter a blank line between them.

Source Citations

Use endnotes rather than in-text references (eg Wehrstein, 2019) or footnotes to cite sources. Whenever possible, position endnotes at the end of sentences, clauses or paragraphs. Use your word processor to assign the endnote number (in Microsoft Word, position your cursor where you want the endnote number to appear, go to References, and select ‘Insert Endnote’; alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + D).

Do not use multiple endnotes at the same point. If you need to make multiple comments but cannot spread them out, combine all comments under the same endnote. 

In general, follow the standard academic practice of avoiding Wikipedia as a source. However, a link to a Wikipedia entry may sometimes be useful for readers. This is so, for instance, with historical individuals (philosophers, scientists, authors) outside the field of parapsychology (eg Immanuel Kant, Charles Darwin) and scientific terms (eg Bayesian, Fourier). If there is a PE article on the same subject, however, cite it rather than the Wikipedia equivalent.

Hyperlinks to other sources on the internet – both written sources and videos – are encouraged. Use your word processor to embed hyperlinks in your text, rather than giving the URLs for readers to copy and enter on their own. In Microsoft Word, this can be achieved by going to Insert > Hyperlink > Existing File or Web Page > Current Folder and entering the URL in the field at the bottom of the box. Both headings and subheadings of pages may be specified; the latter are useful to lead the reader to a specific part of a text. Select the section or subsection title and copy the URL from your browser into your document.


If you need to present data in tables, format them as you wish them to appear and send them to the Editor in files separate from your text. Tables published elsewhere may be reproduced within ‘fair use’ guidelines so long as they are properly credited. Indicate where in your text you would like the tables to be inserted.


Illustrations other than tables  are inserted in the article body only rarely. Rather, they are displayed in the right-hand column on the PE article page. Submit all images for display to the Editor in individual files separate from your text submission.


Place your name between the body of the article and the literature list, without the word ‘by’, and in regular type.

Biographical Articles

Biographical articles comprise a large fraction of the PE contents, so should be well-researched and written. Unless there is reason for not doing so, they should follow a similar structure and employ similar headings, as described below.

Birth and death dates follow the form ‘Frederic Myers (1843–1901)’ for deceased persons and ‘James Leininger (b 1998)’ for living persons. For living subjects, consult with the subject and send him or her a draft of your biography for review before submitting it to the Editor.

A biographical article on a parapsychologist or psychical researcher should emphasize the subject’s work in the field of parapsychology or psychical research, highlighting particularly important studies, experiments, actions, theories, accomplishments and publications. How much detail about their background and work outside the field and personal life you include will depend on article length. Avoid a ‘Criticisms and Controversies’ section in biographical articles on people active in parapsychology unless the subject has made engaging in controversy part of his or her work.

Biographical articles on people with apparent paranormal gifts should focus on their abilities, accomplishments and major events in their paranormal careers or practices, with strongest emphasis on any formal testing or investigation of their abilities. Again, detail on their background and personal life will depend on article length.

In lists of written works by the subject of a biographical article, emhasize their parapsychological contributions. If there are many of these, include the most important ones, specifying that the list is select, and provide a link to a full bibliography if available. Avoid duplicating entries that appear in the Literature list; instead, refer the reader to the Literature list for citations.

Because each biographical subject is different, the PE does not expect total uniformity in article structure or headings but the following is provided as a guide. Additional sections that do not fall under any standard heading may be added as needed, for instance, ‘After-Death Communications’ for a subject (eg William Barrett) whose spirit associates claim to have heard from him post-mortem. For more detailed models, see the biographies of Erlendur Haraldsson and Ian Stevenson for researchers, Pavel Stepanek and Hafsteinn Bjornsson for research subjects.

  • Life and Career (alternatively, especially for living subjects, simply Life, or Career)
  • Parapsychological Research (for researchers), Investigations (for research subjects)
  • Professional Posts and Honours, or Honours and Awards
  • Legacy (for deceased individuals)
  • Works, with subheadings for Books and Articles and optionally Book Chapters; Book Reviews; Web Posts and Blogs; Lectures, Podcasts, Videos; and Archival Collections, or similar headings, in that order
  • Literature

The narrative portions of article body should proceed in roughly chronological order. Under ‘Life and Career’, discuss the subject’s early life, education, reason for entering into the activities that make him or her notable, highpoints of their career and other relevant background information. Under ‘Parapsychological Research’ or ‘Investigations’, provide accounts of the most important aspects of their work, with summaries of the rest, in subsections if necessary. Under ‘Professional Posts and Honours’ list leadership positons in professional organizations and any awards, significant grants, fellowships, honourary degrees, honourary positions or other recognitions received by the subject. If the subject held no professional positions, use an alternative heading, such as ‘Honours and Awards’. Use ‘Legacy’ for deceased subjects only; describe the lasting impact of their life’s work.

In the Works list, begin with the the title of the work, omitting the mame of the author. Place the date of publication in parentheses following the title, with a full stop after. If there are authors other than the subject of the biographical article, include their names within parentheses following the date. Use a similar format for book chapters and journal articles, with the rest of the citation following the rules for these works. The following examples are drawn from the biography of Alan Gauld.

  • The Founders of Psychical Research (1968). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Poltergeists (1979, with AD Cornell). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Henry Sidgwick, theism and psychical research (2007). In Henry Sidgwick - Happiness and Religion, ed. by P. Bucolo, R. Crisp, & B. Schultz, 160-257. Catania, Italy: Department of Human Science, University of Catania.
  • A series of ‘drop in’ communicators (1971). Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 55, 273-40.

If book reviews are included in the Works list, place them under their own heading, omitting 'Review of' at the start of the citation:

  • The New Prometheans: Faith, Science, and the Supernatural Mind in the Victorian Fin de Siècle by C. Raia (2020). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 84, 157-70.

Under Web Posts and Blogs (subheading under Works) include PE articles your subject has authored. If there are a substantial number of articles, or the subject is still alive and active, link to the PE author's page for a list of contributions, to obviate the need for updates as new articles are published. If there are several posts on the same site, such as the Psi Encyclopedia, it is not necessary to give the full source reference for each; an introductory statement followed simply by titles (with embedded hyperlinks) and the year of initual publication (in parentheses) is sufficient.

Note that the sections of Works and Literature are distinct. The Works section includes items authored by the subject of the article; the Literature section includes items referenced in the article and cited in the endnotes. There may be overlap between these sections, but try to keep it to a minimum. If you find that you need to cite all of the subject’s works in the endnotes, do not list them under Works also but instead add a comment directing the reader to the Literature section. You may also wish to reference or link to bibliographies of works in other sources.

Literature List


In the PE, the Literature list replaces the reference list or bibliography in a printed work. It includes works that are referenced in endnotes or embedded links but nothing beyond this. The format of the opening segment of works in the Literature list is similar to that of the American Psychological Association (APA), whose style is commonly used in experimental parapsychology, in placing a publication date in parentheses following an author’s name and in its use of initials rather than full first names for authors. However, PE citation and reference style departs in many respects from APA style.

Unlike in the article body, formal punctuation is used in the literature list (and in the endnotes). Thus, initials and abbreviations are followed by full stops. In conformance with British style, initials should be run together with no space between them.

List sources in alphabetical order using the author’s surname, followed by initials. Where more than one source by the same author is listed, arrange by date of publication, if necessary adding a, b, c, and so on, to differentiate works published in the same year by the same author. Do not substitute the author’s name with three em dashes, but type it out again for each entry. Use block formatting (not hanging) for each entry, with blank lines between entries.

Never precede page numbers ‘p’ or ‘pp’, with either journal citations or books, in either the literature list or the endnotes. The initial figure or figures of page ranges beyond the first two are elided when they are the same, thus producing 23-24, 123-35, 1234-35. Use hyphens, not en rules, in giving page ranges.13

The following sections provide examples of citations for different types of work.

Book by Single Author

All the main words in the title and subtitle of books are capitalized and italicized. If in doubt about which words to capitalize, follow the book’s title page. Include the place of publication with book publishers. Unless the city is well known (eg London, New York, Delhi), also provide the nation (abbreviated with UK and USA). In larger countries, the state or province may be included to reduce ambiguity. Write out the name of the state or province rather than using its abbreviation.

  • Matlock, J.G. (2019). Signs of Reincarnation: Exploring Beliefs, Cases, and Theory. Lanham, Maryland, USA: Rowman & Littlefield.

When one volume in a multi-volume work is cited, so indicate in parentheses following the title. If an edition later than the first edition is cited, this also should be noted. Place the abbreviations ‘vol.’ and ‘ed.’, in lower case and within parentheses, before the closing punctuation of the title segment of the citation.

  • Churchill, C.H. (1853). Mount Lebanon: A Ten Years’ Residence from 1842 to 1852 (vol. 2) (3rd ed.). London: Saunders & Otley.

When a book has been published in more than one edition, cite the edition consulted. Optionally, include information about other editions in square brackets in the format ‘Reprinted’ (date) ‘by’ publisher, place of publication. This may be advisable if the most commonly available edition is other than the one cited.

  • McLuhan, R. (2010). Randi’s Prize: What Sceptics Say about the Paranormal, Why They Are Wrong & Why It Matters. London: Matador. [Reprinted 2019 by White Crow Books, Hove, UK.]

Book by Two or More Authors

Invert surnames and initials for all authors when citing multiple authors. Connect two authors with an ampersand (&), not the word ‘and’. Connect three or more authors with commas and an ampersand between the last two. Note that a comma should follow the second or final author’s initials and precede the ampersand.

  • Haraldsson, E., & Matlock, J.G. (2016). I Saw a Light and Came Here: Children’s Experiences of Reincarnation. Hove, UK: White Crow Books.
  • Rivas, T., Dirven, A., & Smit, R.H. (2016). The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences. Durham, North Carolina, USA: International Association for Near-Death Studies.

Edited Book

The citation format for edited books is the same as for single-authored books, with ‘(ed.)’ or ‘(eds.)’ following the editor’s name or editors’ names. Note that ‘ed.’ and ‘eds.’ are written in lower case, with full stops. A full stop follows the year of publication (in parentheses), concluding the author-date segment of the citation.

  • Moreira-Almeida, A., & Santos, F.S. (eds.) (2012). Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship. New York: Springer.

Book Available Online

For works available online, embed hyperlinks in the titles. When a work is composed of multiple volumes, they may be listed either as parts of the same entry or separately, depending on how the work is cited. If the different volumes of multi-part work have different titles or subtitles, each should be specified, either in separate entries or within the same entry.When 'Vol.' is used as part of a subtitle, it should be capitalized.

Forthcoming Book

Use for books that have reached the editorial stage of production. If a work is at the printer, ‘in press’ may be substituted for ‘forthcoming’.

  • Haraldsson, E. (forthcoming). Towards the Unknown: Memoir of a Psychical Researcher. Hove, UK: White Crow Books.

Chapter in Book

When only one chapter of a book is cited, lower case is used for all words of the chapter except those ordinarily capitalized. The chapter title is not italicized. The book title is capitalized as per its title page and italicized. Editors’ names follow the title, preceded by ‘ed. by’; surnames and initials are not inverted. Chapter page numbers follow the editors’ names; a full stop follows the page numbers, concluding the volume segment.

  • Almeder, R. (2012). The major objections from reductive materialism against belief in the existence of Cartesian mind-brain dualism. In Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship, ed. by A. Moreira-Almeida & F.S. Santos, 17-33. New York: Springer.
  • Ruickbie, L. (2013). ‘So terrible a force’: Spirit communication in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and its relationship to Spiritualism. In The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World, vol. 3, ed. by C. Moreman, 101-19. Westport, Connecticut, USA: Praeger/ABCCLIO.

When a chapter is from a book by a single author, it is not necessary to repeat the author’s name preceding the page number. For material originally published in another source, the original source may be indicated in square brackets as the final element of the citation. Alternatively, the original source may be given as the primary citation with the reprinted work as a secondary citation. The edition cited should be the edition consulted, with the other edition indicated in square brackets.

  • Andrade, H.G. (2010). A case suggestive of reincarnation. In Science and Spirit, 135-84. London: Roundtable. [Originally published 1980 as A Case Suggestive of Reincarnation: Jacira and Ronaldo (Monograph No. 3) by the Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research, São Paulo.]

Paper in Academic Journal

Use for papers in printed journals. For open-access publications, see Open-Access Journal Paper.

Journal volume numbers are not italicized and are not separated from the journal name by commas. Issue numbers are optional, but when supplied, are separated from volume numbers by a solidus (slash), then a comma and the page numbers. When there are multiple authors, follow the style used for books with multiple authors in the author segment of the citation.

  • Rosenzweig, S. (1987). Sally Beauchamp’s career: A psychoarchaeological key to Morton Prince’s classic case of multiple personality. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs 113/1, 5-60.

If the cited paper has been reprinted in a book, that book’s bibliographic information may be given in square brackets following the main citation. The book title is preceded by the phrase ‘Reprinted in’ and the publication date follows the book title and date of publication in parentheses, if the book is a collection of papers by the same author as the paper. If the paper is by another author or it is written jointly, for clarity's sake it is necessary to give the main author's name as author of the book. If the paper is reprinted in a book edited by another auther, indicate that it is 'ed. by' that author. The paper's page numbers in the book come at the end of the segment, which is closed by a full stop.

  • Pasricha, S.K. (1983). New information favoring a paranormal interpretation in the case of Rakesh Gaur. European Journal of Parapsychology 5, 77-85. [Reprinted 2008 in Can the Mind Survive Beyond Death? In Pursuit of Scientific Evidence, Vol. I: Reincarnation Research, 271-81.New Delhi: Harman Publishing House.]
  • Pasricha, S.K., & Barker, D.R. (1981). A case of the reincarnation type in India: The case of Rakesh Gaur. European Journal of Parapsychology 3, 381-408. [Reprinted 2008 in Can the Mind Survive Beyond Death? In Pursuit of Scientific Evidence. Vol. I: Reincarnation Research by S.K. Pasricha, 237–69. New Delhi: Harman Publishing House.]

Minor Item in Academic Journal

Use for book reviews, letters to the editor, editorials and untitled matter.

  • Rhine, L.E. (1966). Review of Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by I. Stevenson. Journal of Parapsychology 30, 263-72.
  • Rogo, D.S. (1986). Letter to the Editor. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 53/805, 468-71.
  • Stevenson, I. (1986). Comments by Ian Stevenson. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 53/802, 232-39.

Open-Access Journal Paper

Use for publication in open-access academic journals published originally online. Embed a hyperlink to the piece in its title.

Any 'doi' number, as in the example below, should be deleted. Instances in existing entries will be edited accordingly.

Bierman, D.J., Spottiswoode, J.P. & Bijl, A. (2016). Testing for questionable research practices in a meta-analysis: An example from experimental parapsychology. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(5):e0153049. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153049.

Article in Scholarly Magazine

Use for periodicals such as Parapsychology Review, Paranormal Review, EdgeScience  and the ASPR Newsletter, that are scholarly, yet not fully academic journals. Also use for sceptical publications such as Skeptical Inquirer.

Citations of scholarly magazines are distinguished from academic journals by inclusion of month of publication. The month is placed in parentheses following the volume number; abbreviate longer months according to standard rules and include full stops, for instance, Feb., Dec. Join spans of months with a hyphen. If there is an issue number, this may be included as well, with a solidus (slash) following the volume number, as with academic journals.

  • Ruickbie, L. (2014). A vision in Bermondsey, 1917: A previously unreported First World War anomalous experience. Paranormal Review 71 (July), 28-29.
  • Nicol, J.F. (1976). Review of Cases of the Reincarnation Type. Volume I: Ten Cases in India by I. Stevenson. Parapsychology Review 7/5 (Sept.-Oct.), 12-15.
  • Stevenson, I. (1995). Empirical evidence for reincarnation?  A response to Leonard Angel. Skeptical Inquirer 19 (May-June), 50-51.

Article in General Interest Publication

Use for articles that originally appeared in print. For articles whose original publication was on the internet, see Online Article or Blog Post.

The reference format for an article in a mainstream general-interest magazine differs from APA style in the placement of the day and month of publication after the publication name in the final segment of the citation, rather than following the year. Use standard abbreviations for longer months. If page numbers are known, place them following the day and month of the publication. If the article is available on the internet, embed the hyperlink in its title. If the article was obtained from a database such as the Internet Archive, this may be noted as the final element of the citation.

Master’s or Doctoral Thesis

Indicate whether the reference is to a doctoral (PhD), Master’s (MA), or other type of thesis submitted for an academic degree. Thesis title is italicized, as if it were a book. Indicate the degree-granting institution in square brackets. If the thesis is available through University Microfilms International or other provider, so stipulate. If it is available online, embed the hyperlink in the title.

  • Sommer, A. (2013). Crossing the Boundaries of Mind and Body: Psychical Research and the Origins of Modern Psychology. [PhD thesis, University College, London.]
  • Davis, W.D. (1971). Societal Complexity and the Nature of Primitive Man’s Conception of the Supernatural. [PhD thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.] University Microfilms International.
  • Matlock, J.G. (1993). A Cross-Cultural Study of Reincarnation Ideologies and their Social Correlates. [MA thesis, Hunter College, City University of New York.]

Unpublished Conference Paper

For unpublished conference papers, give the year in parentheses following the author’s name. Follow the title with the phrase ‘Paper presented at’ and the name, location and date (day and month) of the meeting. Note the number of the meeting in numeral rather than spelling it out (eg 3rd rather than Third) and that an en rule is used in giving the date span of the meeting. If the paper is available online, embed the hyperlink in its title.

  • Ruickbie, L. (2019). What the maid saw: A case of remote viewing during the First World War. Paper pressented at the 43rd International Annual Conference of the Society for Psychical Research, Leicester, UK, 20–22 September.
  • Matlock, J.G. (2015). Evidence of past-life memory in a mildly autistic boy. Paper presented at the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Lithuanian Society for the Study of Religions, Vilnius, Lithuania, 22–23 October.

When the paper is included in an otherwise unpublished volume of conference proceedings, cite it according to the following format:

  • Dalton, K. (1997). Exploring the links: Creativity and psi in the ganzfeld. In Proceedings of Presented Papers, Parapsychological Association 40th Annual ConventionBrighton, UK, 7–10 August, 119-34.

Unpublished Manuscript

Unpublished manuscripts should be avoided but may be used if their credibility is not in question or if they are available online and publicly accessible. If the manuscript is undated, give its date as ‘n.d.’. If it is available online, embed a hyperlink in the title. Follow the title with ‘Unpublished manuscript’ in square brackets.

  • Haraldsson, E. (n.d.). The medium Hafsteinn Björnsson. [Unpublished manuscript.]

Online Article or Blog Post

Use for articles whose original publication was online, on web sites or blogs. For academic papers in online open-access publications, see Open-Access Journal Paper. For articles originally published in print, see appropriate category above.

For web site sources, including the PE, use year of creation as citation date; do not include day and month along with year. If the creation date is not given, use ‘n.d.’ as the date. Embed hyperlinks in the article title. If the article was published on a web site, note this following its title. Italicize the web site name. Follow by the description ‘Web page’ in square brackets. If article was on a personal web site, omit name of site. If the article appears in a named blog, give the blog name in italics, followed by ‘Blog post’ in square brackets. When information is available, note the date last updated at the time of consultation.

For Wikipedia articles and other posts without credited authors, treat the title as the author, embedding a hyperlink in the title. Note the date (year) of original creation and the date last updated at the time of consultation. (These dates may be ascertained on the ‘View history’ tab on the Wikipedia article page.)14 

When dates of creation or last updating are supplied, it is not necessary to give the date ‘retrieved on’ or ‘accessed on’; the date last updated serves to show which version of a page was accessed. If no dates are given for the creation or updating of the page, it is good form to give the date accessed, although this is not mandatory.

Film or Video

For films and videos, use as author the producer’s name or if this is not given, the name of the producing organization. Follow with year of production in parentheses and title in italics. The last element, in square brackets, begins with a characterization of the item. This is followed, after a comma, by other details, optionally including date accessed or retrieved. If the item is accessible over the internet, embed the URL in the title.

  • Anderson, R. (2012). Pan Am Flight 759. [Documentary film, Royd Anderson Productions.]
  • Center for Inquiry (2017). A Conversation with James Randi. [YouTube post.]

Personal Communication

Personal communications should not be included in the literature list. Instead, reference them in endnotes.

Endnotes (References) Style


The chief function of PE endnotes is to give references to works cited in the literature list, although endnotes may be used to add substantive comments as well.

Endnote numbering is auto-generated when an insertion point is marked in the article body. Numbering will adjust automatically when new endnotes are inserted; you are not responsible for numbering endnotes. Note that on the published PE page, the endnotes are headed References.

Formal punctuation (full stops) is employed with endnotes, as in the literature list.


The basic format of the source citations is simple: Author (publication date), page numbers of specific passage cited, closing full stop. As with page numbers in the literature list, elide repeated digits after the second digit at the beginning of a page range – although if the second digit is 0, that too may be elided. Indicate page ranges with hyphens rather than en rules.

When a citation is to two authors, join them with an ampersand; for three or more authors, cite the first only and follow with 'et al.'.

  • Wehrstein (2019), 6.
  • Haraldsson & Matlock (2016), 212-23.
  • Stevenson et al. (1988).

When citing a specific volume or book that is referenced as part of a multi-volume work, note the volume or book number preceding the page number, as follows:

  • Stevenson (1997), vol. 1, 1142.

When citing an entire chapter, rather than page numbers, indicate the chapter number, introduced by 'chap.' or 'chaps.':

  • Stevenson (1997), vol. 1, chaps. 1-3.

Footnotes should be referenced as follows:

  • Stevenson (2001), 284 n3.
  • Wortabet (1860), 308-9n.

If several references are cited in the same endnote, separate them by semicolons:

  • See e.g. Delanne (1924); Lancelin (1922); Rochas (1911); Shirley (1936).
  • Tucker & Keil (2013), 280; Stevenson (1997), vol. 1, 877.

When giving references in sentences, include page numbers within parentheses along with date of publication. If the author is included along with the publication date, separate the author’s name and the publication date with a comma.

  • Andrade (2010). Summaries are given by Playfair (2011, 169-71) and by Haraldsson & Matlock (2016, 204-8).
  • Materialism is under assault from philosophy (e.g., Koons & Bealer, 2010), psychology (e.g., Barušs & Mossbridge, 2017), neuroscience (e.g., Wollacott, 2015), quantum mechanics (e.g., Stapp, 2011) and other disciplines (e.g., Kastrup, 2014; Kelly, Crabtree, & Marshall, 2015).

Substantive Comments

Endnotes may be composed entirely or partially of substantive comments. Comments that supply significant information should include a reference to a work included in the literature list.

In endnotes, use abbreviations such as e.g., i.e., etc., rather than phrases such as ‘for example’, ‘that is’, ‘and so forth’. Normally, e.g. and i.e. should be followed by commas. Use figures for numbers, rather than writing them out.

For personal communications, cite the person from whom the communication case and the date of the communication. It is not necessary to specify the nature of the communication (in email, verbal communication, etc).

Hyperlinks may be embedded in endnotes using the reference date as the linked text. To direct the reader to a particular section of an online article, include the section title and make it part of the linked text.

Citing items in endnotes not included in the reference list is acceptable, provided that hyperlinks to pages posted online are included. The hyperlinks maybe embedded either in words or in URLs:

James G Matlock, Robert McLuhan, and KM Wehrstein


American Psychological Association (2020). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington, D.C., USA:American Psychological Association.

Oxford University Press (2016). New Oxford Style Manual (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.


  • 1. Oxford University Press (2016), 407-22.
  • 2. Oxford University Press (2016).
  • 3. Oxford University Press (2016), 86-88.
  • 4. On this and other grammatical differences between American and British English, see this Wikipedia article.
  • 5. Oxford University Press (2016), 49, 411-12
  • 6. If you do not yet have the English (UK) dictionary installed, go to Review > Spelling and Grammar > Options > Language > Add additional languages, and select English (UK) from the drop-down list.
  • 7. Oxford University Press (2016), 51.
  • 8. Oxford University Press (2016), 52-54.
  • 9. Oxford University Press (2016), 49-50.
  • 10. Oxford University Press (2016), 413.
  • 11. Oxford University Press (2016), 128-32.
  • 12. Oxford University Press (2016), 164-65.
  • 13. Technically, an en rule (–) should be used with page ranges, but since most word processing programs do not insert it automatically, and it is time-consuming to correct in editing, the PE employs hyphens instead.
  • 14. As the APA Publication Manual points out in its 7th edition, because Wikipedia pages are archived, this date allows interested readers to bring up the version of the page you consulted (American Psychological Association, 2020, 290).