Academic Writing Formats

Academic writing

An academic paper should follow a defined formatting style that is characterized by standard fonts, margin and indentation. The standardization is crucial in gaining credibility with academic audience. The common academic format styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and Turabian. The following are the rules and guidelines as well as the example of each format mentioned above.

APA

  1. Typed, double spaced and standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1″ margins on all sides.
  2. 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
  3. Running head (header) on top of every page (‘Running head: TITLE OF THE PAPER’ – on the 1st page, ‘TITLE OF THE PAPER’ – on the rest of pages).
  4. Page numbers in the top right corner that start on the 1st page.
  5. Four major sections: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.
  6. Title of the paper is not more than 12 words in length and does not contain abbreviations.
  7. Author’s name in the title page is written in ‘first name, middle initial(s), last name’ order and does not contain titles (Dr.) or degrees (Ph.D).
  8. Abstract (1 double-spaced paragraph, 150-250 words long) is placed on a separate page.
  9. Key words are placed after ‘Abstract’ and are indented. ‘Key words’ (title of the section) is italicized.
  10. All tables and figures are numbered and have to be referred to in the text.
  11. Two spaces follow periods (full stops).
  12. Inverted commas for quotes that are less than 40 words in length.
  13. 40 and more words quotes are written in a new line, without inverted commas and indented on 0.5” from the left-side margin.
  14. Author-date method of in-text citations. For example: (Jones, 2013).
  15. Reference page is entitled ‘Reference’ (in case there is only 1 source used in the paper) or ‘References’ (in case there 2 and more).
  16. Sources are listed alphabetically and are indented (0.5” hanging).

APA_Style

APA_Sample

MLA

  1. Typed, double spaced and standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1″ margins on all sides.
  2. 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
  3. Header: Surname (in the right top corner of the page).
  4. Page numbers in the top right corner starting on the 1st page.
  5. No title page is required.
  6. Title of the paper is not bolded or italicized, centered, capitalized.
  7. Only one space after punctuation marks (unless more are specifically requested).
  8. Titles of published works are italicized throughout the paper.
  9. Inverted commas for quotes of no longer than 4 lines of prose and 3 lines of verse.
  10. Long quotes (more than 4 lines of prose and 3 lines of verse) are written in a new line and indented 1” from the left-side margin.
  11. Author-page method of in-text citations. For example: (Jones 18).
  12. Table and figures are numbered.
  13. Under a table/figure, source should be indicated:

Source: http://www.xxxx.com

Source: Smith, John. Anatomy of whales. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2013.

14. Reference page is entitled ‘Work Cited (in case there is only 1 source used in the paper) or ‘Works Cited’ (in case there 2 and more).

15. Sources are listed alphabetically and are indented (0.5” hanging).

MLA_8th_ed.

MLA_Style_8th_ed.

Chicago

  1. Typed, double spaced and standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″).
  2. Margins are set at no less than 1” and no greater than 1.5”.
  3. 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
  4. No header is required.
  5. Page numbers in the top right corner that start on the 2nd  page.
  6. Titles of published works are italicized throughout the paper.
  7. Block quotations, table titles, and figure captions are single-spaced.
  8. A prose quotation of five or more lines is blocked.
  9. Footnotes as a citation method.
  10. Notes and bibliographies are single-spaced.
  11. Reference page is entitled ‘Bibliography’ (not bolded or italicized, and centered).
  12. Single-spacing for references which are indented (0.5” hanging).

Chicago_Style

Chicago_Sample

Turabian

  1. Double-spaced, standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1” margins on each side.
  2. 12 Times New Roman font.
  3. Block quotes, figure Sources are listed alphabetically and are indented (0.5” hanging).captions, footnotes, bibliographies, and reference lists are single-spaced.
  4. Page numbers in the top right corner starting from the 2nd page.
  5. Name in the title page is written in ‘first name – last name’ order.
  6. Two referencing styles: Bibliography and Reference-List (depend on requirements).
  7. Two citation methods: in-text citations and footnotes (depend on requirements).
  8. Quotation marks for short (under 40 words) quotes.
  9. Block quotes (of more than 40 words) are not put in inverted commas and are single-spaced.
  10. Reference page is entitled ‘Bibliography’ (regular type, centered).
  11. Sources are listed alphabetically and are indented (0.5” hanging).

Turabian_Style

Turabian_Sample

Harvard

  1. Double-spaced, standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) with 1” margins on each side.
  2. 12 pt. Times New Roman.
  3. Header contains shortened title of the paper and is flush right. It appears on all pages.
  4. Page numbers in the top right corner that start on the 1st page.
  5. Abstract (1 double-spaced paragraph, 150-250 words long) is placed on a separate page.
  6. Author-date citation method.
  7. Quotation marks for quotes that are not longer than 40 words.
  8. For long quotes, not inverted commas are used. Quotation is indented 0.5” from the left margin and written in a separate line.
  9. Reference page is entitled ‘Reference’ (in case there is only 1 source used in the paper) or ‘References’ (in case there 2 and more).
  10. Sources are listed alphabetically and are indented (0.5” hanging).

Harvard_Style

Harvard_Sample

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