Ministry of Defence, Singapore Singapore Government
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Guidelines for
Author's Guide
Writing a Pointer
Writing a Pointer
Book Review
Author's Guide
This Author’s Guide is prepared for the reference of contributors who submit journal articles (including Tech Edge pieces) for publication in POINTER.

Author’s Responsibilities
Authors are responsible for the contents and correctness of materials submitted. Authors are responsible for:
  • the accuracy of quotations and their correct attribution
  • the accuracy of technical information presented
  • the accuracy of the citations listed
  • the legal right to publish any material submitted

Preparation of Manuscript
Submissions should be between 2000-4000 words. The manuscript, including quotations, abstracts, notes, references, tables, and legends should be typed, and submitted in soft copy, preferably in Microsoft Word format ONLY. The word count of the article (including endnotes) should be reflected below the title on the first page of the article.

Use endnotes, not footnotes.

All tables, maps, figures, or graphs are to be numbered and to have headings/captions (in italics). There must at least be one reference to the illustrations in the text to draw the reader’s attention to it. Examples are provided below.
Short quotations of three lines or less should be enclosed within double quotation marks.

Quotations exceeding three lines should be offset from the text by a 1cm indent from the the left and right margins.

Changes or additions
Changes or additions by the author should be enclosed in [ ] , not parentheses ( ). Omissions in a quotation are indicated by ellipses, using three spaced periods ( . . . ), sometimes preceded or followed by other punctuations.

Use abbreviations for military or academic titles: LTA - Lieutenant, CPT - Captain, Assistant Professor - Asst. Prof. etc., and given names: Prof. D.E. Full.

Write the names of countries in full . Use abbreviations only as adjectives eg.,
the United States
the U.S. Air Force

Specific dates or references to time periods are to be written as follows:
18 December 1992
in the 1990s
in the nineties


Spell out whole numbers from one to nine, and any number beginning a sentence:
One hundred and twenty SAF personnel were deployed.
In all, 120 SAF personnel were deployed.

Use numerals in a technical or scientific context, such as units of measure, age, time, dates, page numbers, percentages, money, proportions etc., or in a discussion involving their frequent use:
21 km (in kilometres)
from 5 to 10 percent
page 2
3 pm
25 men, 14 women, and 20 children

British spelling is used in POINTER. For consistency of spelling, please refer to the Oxford English Reference Dictionary. In quoted materials, however, original spelling is to be left unchanged.

Special instructions for authors of technical articles
Preparation of Manuscript
Technical papers presenting the results of scientific research should be written in a way similar to research reports. When writing, authors should bear in mind the intended audience, i.e., POINTER's core readership of SAF officers. Hence, it is important for authors to present information from the reader's point of view. To do this, the manuscript must not only present details of experimentation and test results, it must also address the relevancy of the research to the SAF, its applicability, and potential uses and limitations.

As a rule of thumb, use past tense to describe your experimental work and results. Use present tense for other writings of hypotheses, theories, facts and other general truths.

Technical Terms & Jargon
Use technical terms and jargon only when necessary. Differentiate actual technical terms from big, important-sounding words. For example:

Instead of amorphous, use shapeless
Instead of anomalous, use abnormal
Instead of minuscule, use tiny

When using technical terms, be mindful that terms hold different meanings to different people. For example, drones are remote-controlled aircraft to military personnel but male honeycomb bees to biologists and the sound of bagpipes to Scotsmen.

For lengthy equations, write the equations on a separate line. For example:

The general first-order linear equation is
dy/dx = p(x)y + q(x)

and the general second-order equation is
d²y/dx² = p(x)dy/dx + q(x)y + r(x)

Where symbols are used in an equation, define the symbols within the text instead of making reference to appendix or glossary. For example:

To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, use
°F = 1.8(°C) + 32°
where F is degrees Fahrenheit and C is degrees Celsius.

[Note: The information and examples used in this style guide are adapted from the ISEAS Style Manual and Blake, G. & Bly, Robert W., The Elements of Technical Writing, NY: Longman Publishers (1993).]
Last updated on 24 Apr 2010
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