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All about essay formats

When you have to complete an essay, you delay working on the assignment because it doesn’t seem too difficult. However, you find yourself trapped as soon as you start looking for reliable resources. You have to spend several hours in the library, since you discover new challenges as you dig deeper. If you manage to go through the research and writing phase successfully, you’ll find yourself in front of another challenge: referencing.

It would be easy to format all papers according to a single referencing style, but your professors impose different instructions that you have to follow. Thus, you will need to understand the rules of Chicago, Turabian, APA, MLA, Harvard, and other referencing styles. This part of your work can become less challenging if you understand the differences and similarities between the most popular formats. In the continuation, we will provide clear descriptions of MLA, APA, and Chicago – the three most common formats you’ll need to use throughout your years in college.

1. MLA (Modern Language Association) citation style 

This is the style you will most probably need to use for your papers in liberal arts and humanities courses. The easiest way to remember how to reference the sources is to memorize the “author-page” style of in-text citations. The in-text citations briefly identify the used sources, and you will provide more detailed information about them in the Works Cited list, arranged in alphabetical order. The last name of the author and a reference to the page of the source is usually enough for an in-text reference. In the Works Cited list, you will provide the full author’s (or editor’s) name, the complete title of the source, its edition, place and date of publication.

2. APA (American Psychological Association) citation style 

When writing papers for your social science courses, you will most likely need to reference the used sources according to the guidelines of APA style. Instead of “author-page” in-text citations, here you should switch to the “author-date” method. This means that you first write the author’s last name, and then provide the year of publication for citing the source in the text. In the Reference List, you will provide more information, arranged in alphabetical order according to the authors’ last names. Here you will write the last name of the author and the initials of the first and middle name, and then provide the year of publication, the title of the source, location and publisher, and page numbers.

3. Chicago Manual of Style 

Professors that teach courses from the areas of literature, history and arts commonly request students to reference the used sources in Chicago style. Instead of in-text citations that are specific for the MLA and APA style, here you will provide references in footnotes or endnotes. The information provided in these footnotes should include the author’s full name, the title of the source you used, and details about the publication. If you use the same source more than once in your paper, you will reference it in a shortened form from then on. Then, you will provide references for all sources used throughout the paper in the Bibliography Page.

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All about essay formats


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