Types of Modern Styles

This page aims to give you a general idea of the most common citation styles.

MLA style

  • Follow this order of referencing the book/ article: author, title of the book (article), title of the journal, volume, place of publication, publisher, date, other information, pages.
  • Underline or italicize titles of books, magazines, and academic journals. Use quotation marks for titles of articles, essays, poems, and short stories.
  • Indent 5 spaces or 1/2 " on all but the first line of each entry.
  • Double-space within and between all entries.
  • Alphabetize entries by author; if no author is given, begin with title.
  • Web Sites should have author (if provided), title underlined, date of publication or update (if available) originator (if available), date of access, and the URL (electronic address).
  • Articles from library subscription services (databases) are cited just like the print version with the addition of the name of the database underlined, the name of the service, the library, the date of access, and URL if known.

Parenthetical Documentation

  • All sources cited in the text should be included in the bibliography (reference list).
  • Use the first part of your citation for parenthetical documentation. Usually, that will be the author or authors' last names. Follow with the page number. (Brown and Proper 17).
  • The author's name may be included in the text and only the page numbers in parenthesis. "As Blackmore asserts (97), the..."
  • Use as little information as possible while making a unique identification. If there are two books by the same author, you must include part of the title. (Blackmore, Consciousness 97).
  • If you have no page numbers, include the reference in the text. "According to Blackmore, the..."

APA Style is also defined as a "parenthetical" documentation style. It means that citations to original sources appear in your text. The APA style requires three kinds of information to be mentioned in in-text citations. You should always include the author's last name and the work's date of publication, and these items must match the corresponding entry in the references list. The third kind of information, the page number, appears only in a citation to a direct quotation.

Harvard citation style is one of the simplest and most convenient citation styles. It is usually referred to as author-date documentation style; because it usually requires the author's name and the year of publication (mentioning pages is optional). You place the reference at the end of a sentence before a full stop. There is another option of citing using Harvard system: you integrate the author's name into the text and the year of publication follows it in parenthesis. A complete reference list can be found at the end of the essay.

Chicago and Turabian styles give you an opportunity to choose between two systems of referencing: Notes and bibliography: numbered footnotes in your paper, with references list at the end of your paper with all the sources listed in the alphabetical order.

In-text author-date citations and reference list: you provide short parenthetical references (author's name, the year of publication, pages referred to) and a complete alphabetized bibliography including all the sources used for research at the end of the paper.

Consult your instructor which one you should use. The main difference between the two systems is placement of references within the text, placement of dates in your references, and capitalization of titles.

For more detailed information on the modern writing styles study these guides:

  • Australian Government Publishing Service 1994, Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 5th edn, AGPS, Canberra ( Harvard style)
  • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003. (suitable for undergraduate level)
  • Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
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