Jump to navigation Jump to search For a directory of explanatory case studies the abbreviations used on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia abbreviations.
For abbreviated redirects to non-main namespaces, see Wikipedia:List of shortcuts. For abbreviations used by Wikipedians in discussion on talk pages and other non-article pages, see Wikipedia:Glossary. This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia’s Manual of Style. It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply.
Maintaining a consistent abbreviation style will allow Wikipedia to be read, written, edited, and navigated more easily by readers and editors alike. The style should always be consistent within a page. If a guideline conflicts with the correct usage of a proper name, ignore it. Always consider whether it is better to simply write a word or phrase out in full, thus avoiding potential confusion for those not familiar with its abbreviation. Remember that Wikipedia does not have the same space constraints as paper.
Avoid making up new abbreviations, especially acronyms. In the case of an acronym containing full points between letters, it should also have a full point after the final letter. They are also not explanatory case studies in encyclopedia content except in quotations or titles of works, as noted below. Contractions that do not contain an apostrophe almost always take a period in North American English, but the point is optional in British English: Doctor can be abbreviated Dr. American and Canadian English, but Dr. If in doubt, or if the dot-less usage could be confusing in the context, use the point.
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Acronyms are abbreviations formed, usually, from the initial letters of words in a phrase. An initialism is usually formed from some or all of the initial letters of words in a phrase. Do not edit-war over these terms. Nomenclature, where they are explained for readers.
Acronyms whose letters are pronounced individually are written in capitals. Spacing: The letters of acronyms should not be spaced. Note that Wikipedia generally avoids using full point in upper-case acronyms. It is not necessary to state that an acronym is an acronym. Our readers should not be browbeaten with the obvious.
If no article exists for the subject acronym, then style should be resolved by considering consistent usage in source material. Unless specified in the «Exceptions» section below, an acronym should be written out in full the first time it is used on a page, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses, e. Common exceptions to this rule are post-nominal initials because writing them out in full would cause clutter. When not written out in full on the first use on a page, an acronym should be linked. An unambiguous acronym can be linked as-is, but an ambiguous acronym should be linked to its expansion. For partial acronyms formed using the now-rare convention of including whole short words in them, do not blindly «normalise» them to typical current style, but write each as found in the majority of modern reliable sources.
For these commonly-referred-to entities, the full name does not need to be written out in full on first use, nor provided on first use in parentheses after the full name if written out. Similarly for UN organisations such as UNESCO and UNICEF. US» in articles with other national abbreviations, e. Ship name prefixes like HMS and USS should not be written out in full.
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