Table of Contents
 Selected References
 Online documents and relevant Internet sites

General Economics (Fontys Hogescholen)

Hints on Writing an Assignment


The cover sheet includes your complete name, your student number, the unchanged title, the name of the lecturer, and the submission date. Additional emblazonments are wasteful. The cover has in particular no page number.

Page Layout (all measures approximately)

paper size: A4 = 210mm × 297mm (page width x page height)

left margin text right margin
top ← page width (210mm) →
↑ top space (25mm) ↓
header HEADER
↑ header height ↓
←left margin width (25mm)→
←text width (about 140mm) →
↑ text height (about 230mm) ↓
←right margin width (40mm)→
footer FOOTER
↑ footer height ↓
bottom ↑ bottom space (20mm) ↓
In seminar papers, the layout of even and odd numbered pages is the same.
Top and bottom space are about 20–25mm.
While the HEADER is usually (but not necessarily) empty in seminar papers (header height = 0mm), the FOOTER includes the page numbers (centered or at the right hand side of the text body).
The MARGINALS are needed for proofreader's remarks.
Footnotes belong to the text body.

The font size of the text is 12pt and the line distance should be 1.5. The size in footnotes is smaller and that of headlines is larger!

Table of Contents

The table of contents represents the structure of your text. Headlines such as 1 Introduction are worth nothing. Tell the reader what you are doing and give him a red line. A table of the form 1 Introduction, 2 Main Part, 3 Summary is completely insufficient.
Organize your text so that sections of similar importance are of similar size.
Your assignments do not have chapters such as books, but consist of sections, subsections, and paragraphs.
Do not insert text between a headline and a subordinate headline, i.e. there is no text between 2.2 and 2.2.1. Otherwise the table of contents does not comprise the whole text.
The pagination starts with roman letters (i, ii, iii, ...) and the first text page is page number 1. The cover has no number.

List of Abbreviations

The list of abbreviations includes all abbreviations you use in the text, but not common acronyms such as i.e. (it est, that is) or e.g. (exempli gratia, for example).
All abbreviations are to be introduced or explained in the text before making use of them, e.g., European Union (EU).
Avoid to introduce new abbreviations if you do not really need them. Drop them otherwise.


See also the keyword Citation on how to refer to sources in the text.

Please find useful examples in my Selected References. In almost all cases you need the name of the author(s), the title of the book, the place, the publisher, and the publication date. Moreover, the edition is to be handed in.
Be aware of my punctuation.


There are two standard cases: articles in journals or books, e.g., dictionaries.
  • Article in a journal
    Russell, R. R., Measures of Technical Efficiency. Journal of Economic Theory, 35 (1985), pp. 109 – 126.
  • Article in a book
    Dotsey, M. and King, R. G., Business Cycles. In Eatwell, J., Milgate, M., and Newman, P. (eds.), The New Palgrave, A Dictionary of Economics, London : Macmillan, 1987, pp. 302 – 309.
  • Be careful with articles in daily or weekly newspapers, there is hardly no case in the course "General Economics" where you need them.
  • Never cite a script of a course. Find instead the original sources.

Internet sources

The Internet can be a very useful, meaningful, and powerful source, however, I estimate that 95% or more of the content is simply scrap. So I tend to forbid to cite Internet sources completely. Unfortunately, this would also exclude sites such as or As a consequence, I recommend to use the Internet, but I exclude all source from citation where you cannot find at least an author or an editor. Wikipedia, in particular, cannot be referred to in any case (but probably the original sources you find there).


See also the keyword Bibliography.
You can use any consistent citation rules (short or long citation). The only restrictions are that you have to use them consequently and that the sources can be found and proved.
Examples for references in the text (suggestions).

Although it is formally correct to cite series of complete paragraphs with corresponding references, the objective of an assignment is that you explain the facts of a case in your own words. I will not assess the body of thought of others, but just yours.
Do not cite any Internet references (URLs) neither in the text nor in footnotes.

Figures and Tables

Figures, and similarly tables, are numbered and summarized in the List of Figures. All figures must be explained in the context of your work. Ensure that the quality of your figures are at best (content and readability). Copies from Internet pages are usually unacceptable and must be translated at least into English.


Be careful with footnotes, they are no headnotes at the end of a page. Do not hide important contents in footnotes, but put the message in your text.
All footnotes represent full sentences, e.g., "Cf. Samuelson, Nordhaus (2003), p. 254." A sentence includes always a verb (here, cf. = confer) and ends with a period.
The footnotesymbol indicates the point of reference. Be aware that "last word*." is different from "last word.*".
Microsoft Word has frequent problems with its page management, so check that footnotes are not shifted to the next page.


In modern text processing there is no need for underlining. Italic text corresponds to the former underlining, i.e. text. Double underlining, in particular, is to be substituted by bold text. Underlined bold text simply does not exist.


Try to avoid translations from German texts. Read the original English books, it will simplify your life greatly.
Yes, English has a punctuation: please apply it (please with a small letter).
I suggest to buy (and apply!) Webster's New Encyclopedic Dictionary or some equivalent reference work.