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I found a previous post about introducing terms, but it doesn't quite answer my question. I have a more specific question about the punctuation used when introducing a term, and not how to stylistically incorporate it into my writing.

I write a lot about art, and therefore use terms for "big concepts" that factor heavily into my content. For example, I am currently talking about "ethical relationality" and I am using it to talk about a certain artwork. The definition of these concepts are too bulky to simply fit into parentheses after the word, so need their own sentence or sometimes paragraph to be defined.

In the previous paragraph, I introduced both terms within quotation marks to show that they are special terms. Especially in the first one, both the words in the term are pretty mundane words that are used all the time, which is why I want to contain them within some sort of punctuation to show that I am using them in a special way.

Here are some ways I've seen in other writing... is one of them better, or more correct?

Donald suggests using ethical relationality as way to account for participants' different histories. Within the framework of ethical relationality...

or

Donald suggests using "ethical relationality" as way to account for participants' different histories. Within the framework of ethical relationality...

or

Donald suggests using ethical relationality as way to account for participants' different histories. Within the framework of ethical relationality...

Or maybe none of the above? Additionally, should I continue to format the word in a special way, or should I just use it like any other term once it's been introduced?

Thanks!

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Either italics or quotes are fine to introduce the term; you could even bold the phrase if you're introducing many specialized concepts throughout your work. I wouldn't capitalize it or otherwise format it differently once you've defined it.

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  • Thank you! I am always unsure where there is flexibility and where there isn't. – stila May 16 '17 at 10:32
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    @stila In general, there is always flexibility in these matters. As long as the convention you are adopting is reasonably obvious to the reader, it will work. Where there is generally little or no flexibility is when you are following a specific style guide, of which there are many. Such guides are designed to dictate a consistent choice among the many things that could possibly work. Often rules from these guides get quoted as if they were universals, causing confusion. If you worry about making these decisions ad hoc, though, simply choose one of the available guides and stick to it. – user16226 May 16 '17 at 12:00

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