Geography Research Paper Guidelines

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What Is The Right Format For A Geography Research Paper?

A research paper in geography is your chance to learn something new, practice your writing skills, and demonstrate your progress in the course. You are able to write your work on a variety of interesting geographical topics, and you are lucky as you can choose a topic on your own. However, no such luck if you are required to pick the format for the project yourself. It would be much easier if you were told what citation style to follow. Picking the right format for your geography paper is a challenging but manageable task. If you refer to reputable scholarly journals in geography, you’ll make a right choice.

All of the articles in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers and Professional Geographer are formatted in compliance with the rules outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). This style is preferred by professional geographers, and it is usually recommended to follow in the students’ research papers in geography. Pay attention to the following points when formatting your geography project:

  • General CMS guidelines
    • Set margins that aren’t less than 1” and greater than 1.5”.
    • Give preference to 12pt. font size.
    • Double space your text.
    • Single space notes and bibliography.
    • Start putting the page numbers in the header of the first page.
    • Use subheadings if your paper is long.
  • General structure of the research paper
  • According to CMS requirements, your geography project should consist of the following components: title page, main body, footnotes, and references.

  • Headings
  • CMS applies an optional five-level heading system.

  • Tables and figures
  • If you use any tables or figures in your paper, place them in the paragraph in which they are mentioned. No separate pages are needed for this purpose.

For more specific requirements as to the style, format, citation nuances, and word usage in your geography paper, look for the general guidelines on the Web, refer to The Chicago Manual of Style itself, or find the corresponding samples of academic papers and use them as templates.

The Chicago style will help you present your geographical topic in the most effective way. However, it is not the only possible format for your research paper. You are recommended, but not obliged to use it. It is possible to pick any other formatting style as long as it suits your needs. For example, the APA format can be a good choice as well. Globally, it doesn’t matter what format you choose. It only matters how consistent you are in its use.

Need help with term paper? Visit to complete your writing assignments.

Author Guidelines

1. Remit of Geo: Geography and Environment

2. Paper Types

3. Peer Review

4. Submission Guidelines

5. Production

6. Promotion

1. Remit of Geo: Geography and Environment

Geo: Geography and Environment is a fully open access international journal which publishes high quality research articles, review papers, data and digital humanities papers from across the spectrum of geographical and environmental research. For more information about the current mission of the journal, please see the July 2014 Editorial.

All papers will be sent to at least two referees: the review process is double blind. Referees will be asked to consider the extent to which the submission makes a significant contribution to one or more of Geo’s aims. These include: bringing new understandings to, and enhancing communication between, geographical research agendas; addressing the importance of geographical enquiry to the understanding of, and action about, contemporary issues; and fostering methodological development through interdisciplinary approaches, engaging with collaborative forms of knowledge production and innovative use of quantitative and/or qualitative data sets. Please note that some papers will be rejected at the pre-screening stage if they do not meet the criteria for publication in Geo.

2. Paper Types

Geo publishes research articles, review papers, commentaries, data and digital humanities papers, and open collections.

Research Articles: The target length of papers is 7, 000 to 10, 000 words equivalent, including references and other text. Authors are invited to use video material, audio, animation sequences and/or other types of multimedia to enhance their paper. Typescripts should normally be double-spaced, use 12 point fonts and wide margins. They should be set out in conformity with the information set out below.

Review Papers:Geo welcomes high quality review papers that contribute to and advance key geographical agendas and/or take forward interdisciplinary approaches. The target length for review papers is normally 7000 to 10 000 words, though exceptionally they may be longer (up to 12,000 words). Authors are invited to use audio and/or visual material to enhance their manuscript and to augment reviews with supplementary datasets when relevant. Appropriate reviews are likely to provide theoretical, methodological and topical appraisal and analysis for advanced researchers in the field, or to offer critical perspectives that engage cross-disciplinary collaborations, explore policy implications and/or address issues of global concern. Authors are encouraged to contact the appropriate Editor or the editorial office ( to discuss their proposed review paper prior to submission.

Commentaries:Geo invites commentaries in the region of 2-4,000 words that (1) bring new understandings to, or enhance communication between, geographical research agendas and/or (2) reflect on an aspect of geographical enquiry that is of relevance to policy or other contemporary issues.

Data and Digital Humanities Papers:Geo welcomes data and/or digital humanities papers that make innovative use of quantitative and/or qualitative data sets. In particular, Geo encourages submissions that describe how datasets are constructed, developed and managed and/or critically interrogate the processes whereby ‘big data’ is collected, stored and handled. Datasets could be quantitative or qualitative and, can, for example, consist of modelling projects, observing facilities, images, maps, text, news data, or museum collections.

The dataset should be formally archived in an official, stable repository and preferably it, along with the supporting metadata, should have been assigned a digital object identifier (DOI). Geo will normally publish a link to the underlying dataset (usually by means of the dataset’s DOI alongside the Data or Digital Humanities Paper).

If the dataset does not have a DOI then please contact the appropriate Editor. A paper describing the dataset, giving details of its collection, processing, file formats etc. and/or critically interrogating these processes should be written and submitted as a Word document to Geo using ScholarOne (please see below). The target length of data and digital humanities papers is normally 7000 to 10 000 words, however Geo also welcomes innovative formats.

Geo Open Collections:Geo welcomes proposals for publishing collections of papers on a specific theme. Authors should contact the appropriate Editor to discuss their ideas.

3. Peer Review

Geo uses double-blind peer review, which means the identities of authors and reviewers are not known to each other. To help facilitate this, the main body of the submitted paper should not include any identifying information, such as the authors’ names, affiliations or acknowledgements. A separate title page should be uploaded, which includes the authors’ details (see further below).

Most papers will be sent to at least three reviewers, who will be asked to evaluate the extent to which papers make a substantial contribution to advancing geographical understanding. Please note that papers may be desk-rejected, before peer-review, if they do not meet the criteria for publication in Geo.

Papers are, on average, currently taking approximately 2 months from submission to first decision.

4. Submission Guidance

Please read the following guidelines carefully prior to submission. Please contact with questions.

Research and publication ethics

Geo expects all submitting authors to ensure that the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research are upheld. Authors should ensure that their research complies with ethical guidance issued by their institution, or funder, as well as best practice guidelines appropriate to their sub discipline. Clear statements as provided by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council the Arts and Humanities Research Council,  Research Councils UK, and the Australian Research Council.

Submitted papers should also adhere to best practice on publication ethics, for guidance please see Authors are expected to ensure that their submitted article is original, fully attributed and does not contain material that is untrue, inaccurate or plagiarised. Authors are responsible for ensuring that all appropriate permissions and approvals for copyrighted material have been obtained. Geo uses iThenticate software to support in the identification of plagiarism and self-plagiarism.

Geo will consider articles previously available as preprints on non-commercial servers such as ArXiv, bioRxiv, psyArXiv, SocArXiv, engrXiv, etc. Authors may also post the submitted version of a manuscript to non-commercial servers at any time. Authors are requested to update any pre-publication versions with a link to the final published article. For more information about preprints and journal publishing, see Wiley’s Author Services:

Failure to comply with the above standards will be treated very seriously. The Editorial team reserve the right to contact an author’s institution in the event of serious concerns about ethics.

Geo is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) COPE provides advice on a wide range of ethical issues pertaining to the peer review process and academic publishing. COPE’s guidelines ( and flowcharts ( are freely available online.


Please note that on acceptance, authors will be obliged to sign a legally binding form confirming that the above standards have been met which will make them personally liable for any breaches for which civil or criminal charges can be brought. Nether the Publisher, the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of Geographers), nor the Editors, can be held responsible for errors or any consequences arising from the use of information contained within papers published by Geo: Geography and Environment.

How to submit

Papers should be submitted online as a Word or RTF document using ScholarOne Manuscripts ( Submissions should be anonymised for peer review and be set out in conformity with the information outlined below.


From 2 January 2018, submitting authors are required to provide an ORCID identifier as part of the manuscript submission process. Geo’s ScholarOne website allows submitting authors to register for an ORCID iD and then associate it with their ScholarOne account. It takes two minutes to register and is free of charge. See the video at the bottom of this page for a step-by-step guide 

Using an ORCID iD can enhance the discoverability of a researcher’s work and can save time when applying for a grant or submitting a paper – the researcher’s details will be automatically entered when using an ORCID iD with compatible systems; you will not have to re-enter the same information in each system. Funding bodies in the UK strongly encourage an ORCID iD to be provided for staff submitted to REF2021, and it is expected that future exercises will require ORCID iDs. Watch this video to find out more about the benefits of using an ORCID iD.

ORCID is a non-profit organisation supported by a group of organisations members, including research organisations, publishers, funders, professional associations, and other stakeholders in the research ecosystem. Find out more about ORCID

Abstract and key words

An abstract not exceeding 300 words is required and should be uploaded into the ScholarOne submission form; six key words should also be included. Where appropriate, these should include: one for locality, one for topic, one for method and three others.

Authors are encouraged to include the paper’s keywords and important findings in the first two sentences of the abstract and to repeat the keywords 3-6 times throughout to enhance the paper’s search engine discoverability.

Further guidance about optimising titles and abstracts for search engines is available here

Graphical abstract

Inclusion of a Graphical Abstract, which will be displayed within the online table of contents, is encouraged. The Graphical Abstract entry must include a caption of no more than 80 words or 3 sentences of text summarising the key findings presented in the paper and a figure that best represents the scope of the paper. Ideally the figure should be eye-catching and colourful; it does not need to be a figure used in the main article. If no figure is provided by the authors, the Editorial Office may choose one from its image bank.

Graphical Abstracts should be submitted to ScholarOne and uploaded with the file designation ‘Graphical Abstract’ during the manuscript submission process. The image should be supplied in high resolution (at least 300 dpi); it must fit within the dimensions of 50mm x 60mm and be fully legible at this size. The preferred file format is tif, EPS or PDF file.

Title page

The review process is double blind and papers are submitted anonymously to reviewers. To facilitate this, please upload a separate title page in Word or RTF. This should include: the title of the paper; the authors’ name(s); main professional/academic affiliation(s); full postal and email address(es); data accessibility statements (if applicable), and any other identifying information such as acknowledgements. Please denote the corresponding author.

Main document

Manuscripts should normally be double-spaced, use 12 point fonts, a single column of text, and wide margins.

A maximum of two levels of headings may be used:

First-level headings are flush left on a separate line. The first text line following is flush left.

1.1 This is a second level heading
Second-level headings are flush left on a separate line.

Preparation of Figures

Figures should be uploaded as separate files via ScholarOne Manuscripts. Line art and images should be supplied at 600 dpi and 300 dpi respectively. Further guidelines about digital artwork standards is available Wiley’s Author Services

All scale lines should be labelled in km, and all maps should feature a North arrow. If images are provided in colour, these will be used in the online version of the published paper. Those figures requiring colour in order to be legible will also be printed in colour within the physical version of the journal, but all others will be rendered into black and white. All possible effort must be made to ensure that these figures can be rendered into greyscale for print publication.

Captions should be included in full in the main body of the paper. Figures should be numbered separately using consecutive Arabic numerals (Figure 1, Figure 2 etc.).


Please ensure that every reference cited in the text is also present in the reference list (and vice versa). References should be prepared according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). The APA website ( offers a range of resources for authors learning to write in APA style, including:
· An overview of the manual (
· Free tutorials on APA Style basics (
· An APA Style Blog (
· For more information about APA referencing style, please also refer to the APA FAQ (

Endnote users can download the style here (

Zotero users can download the style here (

Mendeley users can download the style (

According to APA style, in-text citations should follow the author-date method whereby the author's last name and the year of publication for the source appear in the text e.g. (Jones, 1998). The complete reference list should appear alphabetically by name at the end of the paper.

A sample of the most common entries in reference lists appears below.

Authors should note that the APA referencing style requires that a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) be provided for all references where available. Also, for journal articles, issue numbers are not included unless each issue in the volume begins with page one.

Geo uses eLocators, which are unique identifiers for an article that serve the same function page numbers have traditionally served in the print world. When citing this article, please insert the eLocator in place of the page number. For more information, please visit the Author Services eLocator page here.

Journal article
Mitchell, K. (2017). Education, race and empire: a genealogy of humanitarian governance in the United States. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42, 349–362. doi: 10.1111/tran.12180.
Walker, M., & Frimpong Boamah, E. (2017) Map the gap: alternative visualisations of geographic knowledge production. Geo: Geography and Environment, 4, e00038.

Hinchliffe, S., Bingham, N., Allen, J., & Carter, S. (2016). Pathological lives: Disease, space and biopolitics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Internet Document
Norton, R. (2006, November 4). How to train a cat to operate a light switch [Video file]. Retrieved from

Research data and references

This journal supports authors sharing their research data (including code, models, algorithms, methods etc.) where appropriate, and in line with best practice guidelines as determined by their institution, funder, and/or sub-discipline.

Authors are encouraged to cite underlying or relevant datasets in the manuscript by citing them in-text and including a data reference in the reference list. Data references should include the following elements: name(s) of data creator; publication year; dataset title; version (where available); data repository/publisher; and global persistent identifier. For example:

Endfield, G.H., Veale, L., Royer, M., Bowen, J.P., Davies, S., Macdonald, N., Naylor, S., Jones, C., & Tyler-Jones, R. (2017) Extreme weather in the UK: past, present and future - event details from the TEMPEST database. Centre for Environmental Data Analysis doi:10.5285/d2cfd2af036b4d788d8eddf8ddf86707. Best practice guidance about data citation is available via DataCite

Data accessibility statement

Authors reporting original research are encouraged to provide a data accessibility statement, which describes where, and under what conditions, data underpinning a publication can be accessed. By this we mean the dataset needed to interpret, replicate and/or build on the methods or findings reported in the article. Data accessibility statements are required by some funding bodies and institutions. Data accessibility statements should be included within the title page, and will be included in the final version of accepted articles.

Recommended content:

· The location of the data, including the name of the repository and any persistent identifiers.
· Any legal or ethical reasons why your data cannot be made available.
· If the data are not openly available, the statement should outline any constraints, or conditions that must be met for access to be granted. Ideally, the statement should link to a metadata record that describes any access constraints or conditions.
· Papers utilising existing data should credit the source.

Examples of data accessibility statements for different scenarios are presented below. Depending on the nature of your data, you may need to combine information from different examples, modify, or construct your own statement. Your institutional library or funder may provide more guidance.

Supporting Information

Important, ancillary information, which is relevant to the article but does not appear in the main body of the article. It may comprise additional tables, data sets, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related nonessential multimedia files. Supporting information should be uploaded to ScholarOne during paper submission and clearly labelled as "Supporting Information" (e.g., use SuppInfo, Supp, in the filename; example - Figure_6_SuppInfo.pdf). Please see Wiley’s Author Services for more information, including guidance on file formats:

5. Production

Please note that it is the author’s responsibility to finalise their text prior to acceptance for publication. The ability of authors to alter their text post-acceptance will be very limited and adjustments to style or content which the Editor does not feel are necessary may be refused.


This journal now uses eLocators. eLocators are unique identifiers for an article that serve the same function page numbers have traditionally served in the print world. When citing this article, please insert the eLocator in place of the page number. For more information, please visit the Author Services eLocator page here.

Please note that DOIs are not affected by the continuous publication model.

Copyright and Open Access Agreement
If your paper is accepted, the author identified as the formal corresponding author for the paper will receive an email prompting them to login into Author Services where, via the Wiley Author Licensing Service (WALS), they will be able to complete the license agreement on behalf of all authors on the paper.

The corresponding author will have a choice of the following

• Creative Commons License Open Access Agreements (OAA)
• Creative Commons Attribution License OAA (CC BY)
• Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License OAA (CC BY-NC)
• Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-NoDerivs License OAA (CC BY-NC-ND).

To preview the terms and conditions of these open access agreements please visit the Copyright FAQs hosted on Wiley Author Services ( and visit For more information on funder policies (including RCUK and the Wellcome Trust) please visit:

OnlineOpen is fully compliant with open access mandates – meeting the requirements of funding organisations where these apply, including but not limited to:
The Wellcome Trust
Austrian Science Fund
Telethon Italy
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
For more information on funder mandates and open access policies please click here.

Author Services also enables authors to track their articles – once accepted – through the production process to publication online. Authors can check the status of their articles online, choose to receive automated e-mails at key stages of production and enable free online access to their published article for all co-authors and up to 10 nominated colleagues. Authors will receive an e-mail with a unique link that enables them to register and have their article automatically added to the system. Visit for more details on online production tracking and for a wealth of resources including FAQs and tips on article preparation, submission and more.

Article Publication Charges (APC)
Geo is a fully open access journal. When submitting an article to a Wiley Open Access journal, the submitting author must agree to pay the publication charge minus any eligible discount (or request a waiver). Payment of the publication charge must be received before the article can be published. Automatic Article Publication Charge waivers and discounts will be given to authors from countries on the Waivers and Discounts List. Other discounts are available. Authors should submit a waiver or discount request during the submission of their article. For more information, please consult Geo’s Article Publication Charges and Wiley’s guidance on Open Access Payment Options for Institutions and Funders. Wiley’s Author Compliance Tool also provides useful information about funder and institution open access policies and mandates.

Early View

Geo is included in Wiley's EarlyView service. EarlyView articles are complete full-text articles published online in advance of their publication in a printed issue. EarlyView articles are complete and final. They have been fully reviewed, revised and edited for publication, and the authors' final corrections have been incorporated. Because they are in final form, no changes can be made after online publication. They are therefore given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which allows the article to be cited and tracked before it is allocated to an issue. After print publication, the DOI remains valid and can continue to be used to cite and access the article. To receive an e-mail alert once your article has been published, please register with Wiley’s Author Services.

6. Promotion

Authors whose papers have been accepted for publication are encouraged to:
· Read Wiley’s resources about promoting journal articles
· Make use of Wiley’s content sharing tool. This enables authors to share a read-only version of their paper via a unique link, generated by entering the author’s email address and the paper’s DOI on this website:
· Submit a blog post about their paper for the RGS-IBG and Wiley blog, Geography Directions
· Contact the Managing Editor at should they think their paper might generate media or more general interest.

All papers will be promoted via the RGS-IBG’s Research and Higher Education twitter feed @RGS_IBGhe


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