20 07 20

Research is an intense task that comes with its own set of rewards — one of which may be to pass your class. When writing a research paper, you need to know a fair amount of skills, from brainstorming and note-taking to interpreting statistical data and formulating conclusions. One often-overlooked skill is knowing and understanding how to use different citation styles.

Writing a research paper that comes out in academic publications, journals, and books need to be properly and carefully written. It’s also imperative that you put into consideration the proper citation of works referenced. Unlike less formal and non-academic writing, the research world is constantly monitoring citations to avoid issues of plagiarism (the unauthorized use of works and passing it as one’s own).

Citation Styles Explained

Different fields require

The location, syntax of reference information, and order set different citation styles apart. Each style reflects the priorities of the citation with respect to the author, concision, dates, publication, and readability. Some styles put more weight on the author of the work while others give more credit to the timeliness of the information obtained. Nonetheless, each style aims to give credit to the original work.

Citation styles also have 2 major divisions: documentary-note and parenthetical styles. The documentary-note style is the most common way of citing sources. It involves using a footnote or endnote detailing the source while making it easier to read the material. The parenthetical style, or in-text citation styles, involves the abbreviated forms of citation and needs a separate “Work Cited” page at the end of the paper.

Since there are several citation styles, knowing which one to use for a specific research project is important. Here are some ways to know you are on the right track of citing your sources:

  1. Ask your instructor regarding the preferred style of the school or discipline.
  2. Your region may also have a particular citation style considered as standard for academic research.
  3. The aims of the research can also determine the format that you need to use.

Different Citation Styles

There are several ways to cite your resources for your research paper. There arealso a variety of factors that you need to consider when selecting the most suitable one. Here are the widely-used citation styles that you may use on your research:

APA Format

APA style format

Where It Came From

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is widely used for many scientific, behavioural, and social science papers. It was developed when anthropologists, business managers, and psychologists convened to come up with a simple style guideline that would codify the different components of scientific writing making them more comprehensible.

The guidelines for the APA format for citations were published in 1929 in the Psychological Bulletin and have since grown to become one of the widely-used citation styles around the world and across different disciplines. Currently, the APA format is in its 7th edition.

How It Is Used

In using the APA format for in-text citation, follow the author-date method. You need to write the author’s last name and the year of publication separated by a comma and enclosed in parentheses. A complete reference for each source should also be in the reference list of the paper.

When quoting or borrowing a line from another work, you need to include the page number at the end of the parenthetical citation marking it with the abbreviation “p.” or “pp.” for several pages. You will not need the page citation if you are rephrasing or not directly quoting another work.

Where It Is Used

Some of the disciplines that use the APA format are the following:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Human Geography
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

MLA Citation

MLA format

Where It Came From

The Modern Language Association (MLA) citation or handbook was first introduced in 1951. The first 5 editions were published between 1997 and 1999 as Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations. It was eventually changed to MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers in 2003.

The MLA is an example of an in-text citation style. This was developed mainly to establish a system of documenting sources in scholarly writing. The association which is based in the United States said that their handbook has been used for classroom instruction across the world through the works of scholars, journal writers, and academic and commercial publishers.

How It Is Used

In MLA citation, when borrowing information from a source, the in-text citation needs to follow the author-page method. You need to put the author’s last name and the page numbers of the quotation or the paraphrased information. You will need a Works Cited page that details the reference. You have the option to put the author’s name in the sentence itself or in parentheses. What is most prominent is the page number of the author’s work where the sentence can be located.

Where It Is Used

The MLA citation format is used mainly by academic researchers. This is widely used by the humanities and other related disciplines including:

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Literature
  • Literary Criticism

Chicago Manual of Style

CMS style

Where it Came From

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), also known as the Turabian Citation Style, has been used for more than a hundred years. It was first used in 1891 when the University of Chicago Press opened. At that time, researches and other academic papers were brought in as handwritten manuscripts to the compositors who had to decipher each of the words written. The typesetters would then pass the papers to the proofreaders who checked for typographical errors and took part in editing for stylistic inconsistencies.

Because of the nature of their work, they had to come up with a set of rules or a style sheet. What was then the University Press stylebook and style sheet has been in use and was further developed to become the Chicago Manual of Style known today. It is currently in its 17th edition.

How It Is Used

The Chicago Manual of Style is a guide for American English and covers multiple aspects of manuscript preparation including grammar, usage, and formatting. Its most recent edition also reflected the updates of computer technology and the Internet and is seen to include further guides for e-publications and electronic source referencing.

When asked to use the CMS, you can either use the notes-bibliography system or the author-date system. the former involves the use of footnotes or endnotes and adding supplemental information with a bibliography. The author-date citation system, like the previous styles, use parentheses to cite the author’s last name, year of publication, and page and would need a reference or works cited list for the full details.

Where It Is Used

The flexibility of the CMS makes it usable for a multitude of research disciplines and fields including:

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Arts

Specifically, the notes-bibliography citation system is used for papers in the arts and humanities. The author-date citation system is used for scientific papers.

Academic writing

Writing a research paper can be a daunting task especially with plagiarism and other copyright concerns to consider. Knowing the kind of citation formats and styles to use could save a writer from the threats of lawsuits and controversies involving their paper.

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