4 Types of Essay Citation Style (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

If you ask scientists, “What part of a scientific work do you consider the most difficult in the format?” then in response, most likely, you will hear a sigh and the word: “References.”

Those who wrote an article, monograph, dissertation, or at least a research paper, know that the format of a bibliography is painstaking work that requires colossal perseverance and attention.

English is simply merciless: MLA, APA, Chicago, Vancouver, Harvard – 5 styles of citation and formatting. Moreover, these are the five most common styles, and there are many more additional ones.

If you need to write a paper but do not know how to format it correctly, an essay writing service like essayshark.com will help you. Writers who know all about citation styles work there.

Each style has its own “army of fans” among scientific journals. You need to understand how to format the references correctly and be sure to rewrite them in accordance with the style supported by the editorial policy of the publication.

By the way, do not flatter yourself about the numerous services for the References format. To use them, you have to run the bibliography through the service and then double-check each letter, comma, and quotation mark 15 times.

Therefore, it will be easier to find the required style in this article and arrange the bibliography in accordance with it with your own hand.

Difference between references and bibliography

Before we move on to the rules for formatting bibliography in different styles, it should be clarified that references and bibliography are different things.

References is a list of those sources, direct citations from which the scientific works in the text are given.

The bibliography is a list of all the materials that the author studied in preparation for writing the paper, regardless of whether they are cited in work or not.

Both references and bibliography are located at the end of the document. Moreover, in the paper, you can indicate both types of bibliography.

However, in this article, we will talk about references since it is this type of bibliography that is required and presents great difficulty for authors of scientific papers and translators.

APA bibliography format

APA is a references style that is most commonly used in social sciences such as psychology, anthropology, sociology, as well as in education and other humanitarian fields of knowledge.

The basic rules for the format of the reference in APA citation style are that the list of references should be at the end of the work, on a new sheet, with sources in alphabetical order. Simple, isn’t it? Of course, this is the tip of the iceberg.

For example, if you cite a book, you need to include the surname of the author, initials, the year of publishing, book title (in italics, with capital letters for proper names, for the title’s first word, the first word after “:” or “-”), edition, if the book has been published more than once, place of publication, and a publisher.

How to format a list of references in MLA style

MLA is a work format style that is most commonly used in humanitarian disciplines such as language and literature.

Please note that in MLA format (Modern Language Association), the bibliography is not called References, as in APA, but Works-Cited List or Works Cited.

But this is not the end of its differences from the previous format style. For example, if you cite a book, the citing style can be different according to the number of authors.

1. One author: include the author’s surname, full name, the title of the book (in italics, all words with capital letters), edition (if not one), name of the publisher (all words with a capital letter), year of issue.

2. Two authors: write the first author’s full name, and the full name of the second author, name of the book, edition, name of the publisher, year of issue.

3. Three or more authors: write the first author’s full name, et al., name of the book, edition, name of the publisher, year of issue.

How to format a Reference list in Harvard format

The first thing to know about the Harvard format is that double quotes are not used in the bibliography. To highlight the title of a section, for example, use single quotation marks ‘.

In addition, the year of issue, publication, etc. separated by brackets and placed after the author’s name.

Therefore, Harvard is referred to the author-date format, as is the APA described above, and Chicago, which we will talk about later.

Write all words in the titles of books and articles, except for the first word, with a lowercase letter. Capital letters highlight significant words in the names of magazines and publishers.

As for the rest, the differences from the previous styles of the bibliography are not great, so we will not give a detailed analysis of the elements.

By the way, you should notice that the Harvard-style bibliography is called the Reference List. Do not forget about this when you format your work.

How to format a list of sources (References) in Chicago format

Chicago is one of the most popular styles for citation within text and bibliography at the end of scientific work. Most often, according to its requirements, articles are formatted in the field of social sciences, humanitarian sciences, and art.

The order in the arrangement of the surnames and names of the authors here coincides with the MLA style, that is, first indicate the surname, then the author’s name separated by a comma.

If there are several authors, then after the name of the first one, put “and” and begin with the name of the second author, and then indicate their last name.

Double quotes are used to denote a section of a book or article in a magazine, as in MLA. Otherwise, the differences from MLA are difficult to notice if you do not look closely.

The peculiarity of the Chicago bibliography style is that periods after the titles are placed inside quotation marks. This is a small detail that is often overlooked and does not make the editor happy for sure.

Use this guide, and you will format papers in any citation style.

4 Types of Essay Citation Style (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

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