Different writing formats are used to write academic papers. Depending on the type of paper one is writing, there are writing styles that one may find themselves using more often. The most common formatting styles are APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard. Referencing, and guidelines for writing will be discussed in this paper.
The APA style is mostly used in writing papers on psychology, social sciences, sociology, and politics, but is also used in other types of academic papers. APA stands for the American Psychological Association, and it guides writers on formatting and citing their references correctly. Papers typed in APA are double-spaced using font 12 point of Times New Roman. A header called running head is included at the right top of every page. The title of the paper is required to be in capitals. The paper has four main parts which are the title page, the abstract, the main body, and the references. The title page needs to include the title, name of the author, and the institutional affiliation in that order. In APA, the references page is used to cite the sources used at the end of the paper. The work is cited using the author's surname, followed by an initial of the first name; the date follows the author's name in parenthesis (Lipson, 2013).
MLA is a format that was created by the Modern Language Association, and it is mostly used in writing language and literature academic papers, but students taking humanity courses also use it. MLA uses the double-spacing rule for the pages, 12-point font, and 1-inch margin on all the sides. The format does not have a separate title page or the abstract and only has two major parts, the papers body and list of the works cited. The page numbers appear on the right, and the title appears on the left. In MLA he title is separated from the essay by double spacing. For in-text citations in MLA, they should begin with the authors last name and the page number in parenthesis after the text in which it has been used, for example (Lipson 38). The last page of MLA formatted papers is titled Works Cited, and it lists the sources used in the paper starting with the author's name, the title of the source, date, and the page number.
Chicago style is used in all types of subjects. In this style, the cover page bears the title page of the paper, flushed at the middle of the paper, halfway down. The name appears under the title then the teacher's name, course title, and the date. The format uses Times New Roman for the title page and the content. The paper bears a cover page, the body of the paper, notes, and bibliography. Chicago often uses endnote and footnotes for paraphrased or for direct quotes (Purdue OWL, 2018). These endnote and footnotes serve as in-text citations. The footnote number appears in the last sentence on which the reference has been used and each of them should be unique. In Chicago, it is referred to as the Bibliography,
In Harvard Style, the title of the paper appears in capital letters in the first page, followed by the name of the student, class, name of the professor, school, city where it is located, and then the date. The in-text citation for Harvard is almost similar to APA (Lipson, 2011). The references page in Harvard it is entitled Referencing List. The sources are written as authors last name, initial of the first name of the author, the year it was published, book title, city in which it was published, and the publisher.
These are some of the common referencing styles and their differences. While writing academic papers, students are required to understand the basics of these formats to avoid mistakes. Following these guidelines is as important as the academic paper one is writing, since correct use of the format is also evaluated.
Lipson, C. (2011). Cite right: a quick guide to citation styles--MLA, APA, Chicago, the sciences, professions, and more. University of Chicago Press.
Purdue OWL. (2018). Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/01/
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