Submission Guidelines

TESOL International Journal Style Guide

Authors preparing manuscripts for submission to TESOL International Journal must strictly follow the following style guide, which is based on APA style (6th edition). Papers not following the journal’s style will be returned to the author.


Paper’s Length:

Papers should be up to 7000 words, though longer articles will be considered.


Title, Abstract, and Keywords:

All submissions must include a title no longer than 20 words, an abstract no longer than 200 words, and about 4-6 keywords. The abstract should contain an informative summary of the main points of the article, including, where relevant, the article’s purpose, theoretical framework, methodology, types of data analyzed, subject information, main findings, and conclusions. The abstract should reflect the focus of the article.


Paper’s Organization:

A typical paper should have the following components:

  • Introduction (with an overview of the topic’s relevance and the paper’s focus)
  • Literature review (with headings that reflect the content of the review rather than “Literature Review”) Research Questions
  • Methodology (participants, materials, data collection, analytical procedures)
  • Findings (with sub-sections that clearly address the research questions)
  • Discussion (with a brief summary of the findings and implications)
  • Conclusion (discussion and conclusion can be combined)
  • Endnotes (optional)
  • References (APA style)
  • Appendices (optional)
  • About the Author(s) (maximum 50 words)
  • Acknowledgements (optional)



  • The journal is published in English. Both American English and British English are acceptable, as long as the paper uses one style consistently (i.e., not mixing American and British styles in the same paper).
  • The paper’s English should be free of errors.



  • If you use a reference management software (EndNote, Zotero, etc.), remove all field codes so that your citations and references appear as static text and not as linked fields. (Most reference management software has an option to turn citations into static text.) Linked fields (not static text) will be lost during formatting.
  • In-text citations: e.g., (Halliday, 1978).
    • If specific information or direct quote is given, include page number, e.g., (Halliday, 1978, p. 10).
    • If more than one author in a citation, use ampersand: e.g., (Martin & White, 2005) or (Martin & White, 2005, p. 123).
    • If more than one citation are cited: list citations in alphabetical order by first author’s last name, e.g., (Cumming, 2013; Esmaeili, 2002; Fox, 2003; Gebril & Plakans, 2013, 2014; Yu, 2013)
    • If more than one citation by same author: list earlier year first then later year; single-authored works first, then co-authored works, e.g., (Halliday, 1978, 1990; Halliday & Martin, 1980)
    • Each citation with direct quote needs to have a page number in addition to the author and year of publication, e.g., Halliday (2005) noted, “A semiotic system is still one step further in complexity: it is physical, and biological, and social—and also semiotic: what is being systematized is meaning” (p. 68). Paraphrased citations do not require page numbers.
    • Use block quote for citations longer than 40 words. E.g., According to Halliday (1978),
      [quote without quotation mark, text flushed left 3/8 inches and flushed right
      3/8 inches] (p. 15)
    • All in-text citations must match the entries listed in the references at the end of the paper.
  • References: List all references after the main text and endnote if there is an endnote. Format the reference list as left aligned (flushed left), not justified alignment as in the main text.

For books:

Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as social semiotic. London, UK: Arnold.

Note that the title is only capitalized for the first letter of the first word. Capitalization should be used for the first letter of proper names and the first word after a colon. Note also that a country must be listed after the city of publication. For the United States, list the state, e.g., CA for California.

For journal articles:

Hyland, K. (2003). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(1), 17-29.


For book chapters:

Burns, A., & Knox, J. (2005). Realisation(s): Systemic-functional Llnguistics and the language classroom. In N. Bartels (Ed.), Researching applied linguistics in language teacher education (pp. 235-260). New York, NY: Springer

Note that the editor’s first name initial is listed before the last name.


For edited book with more than one editor: E.g.,

Burns, A. (2012). Text-based teaching. In A. Burns & J.C. Richards (Eds.),The Cambridge guide to pedagogy and practice in second language teaching (pp. 140-148). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.



  • All paragraphs must be indented at 3/8 inches, or 0.95cm, except the first paragraph after a heading, where there is no indentation.


Font and font style:

  • Use Baskerville (preferred) or Baskerville Old Face font, 11 point for main text. (Use Courier New, 10 point, only for conversation analytic transcripts or when vertical alignment in text is important).
  • Use italics for emphasis, not bold or underlining
  • Use italics (not quotation marks) for words given as examples of language, e.g., “the authors prefer to use modals of possibility such as would to express a hypothetical or conditional possibility.”



  • Use justified alignment paragraphs throughout (not left flush)
  • No space after or before paragraphs
  • Use single-spaced format
  • Keep text formatting (e.g., italics, underline, etc.) to the absolute minimum necessary. Do not use bold style in paragraphs as bold style is reserved for headings only.


Title and Headings:

  • Paper’s title: Capitalize the initial letter of each word unless it is a short preposition (articles A, An, The should be capitalized)
  • Heading Level 1: center, bold, 12 point font
  • Heading Level 2: left, bold, 11 point font
  • Heading Level 3: left, italics, bold, 11 point font
  • Heading Level 4: indented, left, bold, 11 point font
  • Insert 2 blank lines above each Level 1 heading
  • Insert 1 blank line above the heading at all other levels



  • must be referenced and discussed/ interpreted in main text and be referred to by number, e.g., “Table 1 shows…” Do not refer to tables as “the table above” or “the table below.”
  • Format:


Table 1

Heading in with Initial Letters in Capitalization, Except for Articles And Short Prepositions

[no space between heading and table itself]

Table lines: make visible only top, bottom, and heading horizontal lines, no vertical lines



  • include good quality figure image as a separate file in jpg or tiff format (resolution at 300dpi, at least
  • must be referenced and discussed/ interpreted in main text and be referred to by number, e.g., “Figure 1 shows…” Do not refer to tables as “the figure above” or “the figure below.”
  • center figure image in paper
  • Caption: under figure itself, centered text, capitalized first letter of each word. Figure captions must be editable and must not be part of the figure image.
  • Format:

            Figure 1. This is a Sample Figure Caption



  • do not use footnotes, use endnotes
  • in-text reference to endnotes: superscript numbers, not automatically linked field but regular (static) text
  • Endnotes: placed after main text, before references, font set at 10 point



  • Appendices appear after references
  • Label appendices as Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.
  • Center appendix heading and title, bold text


Author bio note and contact info:

  • Include a 50-word bio note for each author after appendices
  • Include corresponding author’s contact information (telephone number, email, mailing address) This will be inserted by the journal editor on the article’s first page



  • Acknowledgements, if any, appear after author bio note(s)


Download Submission Guidelines