So, you have a paper to write and you’re wondering what citation style to use, aren’t you? This is rather easy to determine as the format of writing that you will use depends on your academic discipline.

There are different formats of writing academic papers. There are some commonly used formats that include MLA, APA, AMA, Chicago, Turabian, and Harvard. These types of formats for writing are important as they help organize your work. Failure to use the proper format may cause you to lose some points which end up lowering your overall grade.

We have provided some guidelines along with examples of essays of each writing format. You will be able to understand how the various formats are applied and how to apply citation including bibliography, the title page format and the outline. The samples provided are some of the work done by our professional writers that will also give you a little insight on the capability of our team.

Below are the main types of writing formats used and a quick guide on when and how to use them. Review these as a quick guide but feel free to do additional research for more in-depth information.

APA Style Citation / Format

If you are a student of psychology, education or social sciences, you will be required to use the APA style citation / format. This format will be followed when writing the body of the paper as well as the references.

APA citation format was developed and published in the Psychological Bulletin in 1929. The guidelines outlined in this edition were later expanded on to form the APA Publication Manual.

There are four (4) main sections to writing your academic paper in APA format citation.

  1. Title page – This informs the reader of what the paper is about and who wrote it. It should have the running head, title, author name and school name.
  2. Abstract – In APA format, this is a 150-250-word summary of your academic paper that comes after the title page but abstract isn’t mandatory.
  3. Main body – For an essay, this will consist of the actual essay but if it is a lab report, it will have several sections such as: introduction, method, results and discussion.
  4. References – This is where you list all the sources used in your academic paper. When using the APA style for the reference page, there are a few rules you need to keep in mind:
    • The entries must be listed in alphabetical order.
    • This section must always be double-spaced.
    • Always commence your references on a new page. The title of the page must be center-aligned at the top of the page and called “References”.
    • Each first line of a reference must begin flush against the left margin with additional lines being indented (using the TAB key).
    • Place the titles of journals, books, newspapers and magazines in italics.

If you are having issues writing your references in the APA format, try using a free online APA citation machine. Below is an example of how the reference section of your academic paper in the APA format should look.

APA Example

Below, feel free to check out a sample paper in APA format written by one of our writers.

APA sample paper



MLA Style Citation / Format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is considered to be the authority on research and writing. MLA style citation is mostly used by students of the humanities, particularly those in language and literature. It uses brief parenthetical citations in the text that are listed alphabetically as works cited at the end of the academic paper.

An important aspect of the MLA format citation is the container concept. When a documented source is part of a larger whole, it can be thought of as a container that holds the source. For example, when an anthology is used as part of a short story, the short story is the source and the anthology is the container.

When using the MLA citation format, you will want to keep the following tips into consideration.

  • Always use the font Times New Roman at 12 points.
  • Use one space after periods.
  • Margins should be set at one inch on all sides.
  • The first line of each paragraph must be indented to one half-inch from the left margin using the tab key.
  • The essay in MLA format must be double-spaced.
  • Titles must be in italics.
  • List endnotes on a separate page before the bibliography or work cited page.
  • No title page is necessary unless requested by the professor.
  • Print your full name in the upper left corner of the first page. The name of your professor should be typed in the line below your name, the name of the course in the line below your professor’s name and the date of the paper in the line below the name of the course. The title of the essay should be center-aligned in the line below the date of the paper.
  • Page numbers should be placed in the upper right corner with your last name to the left of the page number. For example, (Martin – 2)

Works cited for the MLA style is available for the various types of sources. A screenshot below shows an example of how to write the references for your MLA style paper.

MLA Example

Below, check out a sample paper in MLA format written by one of our writers.

MLA sample paper



AMA Style Citation / Format

AMA style citation is used for research papers being done by persons in the medical/ healthcare profession, for example, doctors and nurses. The American Medical Association began using the format for their own purposes, then later suggested it to be used by educational institutions as well. AMA citation format is used to highlight the parts of a research paper where ideas from another author are used to support the writer’s arguments.

When writing your research paper using the AMA format, this is what you need to keep in mind.

  • Each reference must have a number. Quote each reference using superscript Arabic numerals.
  • Numerous references can be cited by putting them in order and dividing them with a comma.
  • Page numbers within a source should be quoted by putting the reference in parentheses after the number.
  • Numbers should come after the commas and periods.
  • References should be listed in the order in which they were written in the paper. They should be written with the author’s full name, title of the source, type of source (for example, journal, book, etc.), number and issue of the source and pages cited or URL.
  • Your works cited should be placed on a separate page at the end of the essay after the conclusion.

See the example below of how you should write your bibliography in AMA style.

AMA Example

Also, make sure to check out a sample paper in AMA format completed by one of our staff writers.

AMA sample paper



Chicago Style Citation / Format

Chicago style citation, also called Chicago Manual of Style (CMS or Chicago), was published in 1906 by the Chicago University Press under the name Manual of Style: A compilation of the typographical rules in force at the University of Chicago Press, with specimens of types in use. It is often used for manuscripts and takes into consideration the rules of punctuation and grammar of American English. Over the years, Chicago has grown exponentially from 200 pages to more than 1000 pages. The latest version takes into account advancements in computer technology and the Internet so that it can properly cite electronic sources as well.

Chicago format citation utilizes two systems: author-date and notes-bibliography. Each system is favored by different groups of scholars so the choice between which one to use usually depends on the nature of the sources cited and the subject matter.

  1. Author-date is used for physical, natural and social sciences and cites the sources in the text in parentheses using the author’s last name and date of publication. A list of references with the full information is provided at the end.
  2. Notes-Bibliography is used for the arts and humanities, particularly history. It cites sources using footnotes and endnotes and supplementing the paper with a bibliography.

Below is an example of Chicago citation style.

Chicago Example

Download and view a sample paper in Chicago format crafted by one of our staff writers.

Chicago style sample paper



Turabian Style Citation / Format

Turabian and Chicago citation styles are very similar except that Turabian style is shorter and is utilized by students writing theses, academic papers and dissertations, whereas the Chicago style is used by professional publishers and scholars. Here are some rules to keep in mind when using the Turabian style citation.

  • Always write an academic paper in the third person (she, he, it) using an active voice, unless instructed otherwise by the professor.
  • Use simple past tense verbs for historical writing.
  • Use the present tense when referring to a specific author’s written work.
  • All margins should be one-inch.
  • Always use Times New Roman, font size 12-pt.
  • The paragraphs in the body of the paper should be indented one-half inch.
  • All significant words (words with four or more letters) must be capitalized in the headline case. This should also be used for the names of journals, titles of works and the first to third level headings.
  • Proper nouns, words following a colon and the first letter of the first word should begin with a capital letter in the sentence case. The fourth and fifth level headings should also use sentence case.
  • Shorter works such as articles and poems should have quotation marks around them while larger works such as books or plays should be in italics.
  • The entire academic paper should be written with double-spacing. However, footnotes, block quotes, endnotes, reference lists, bibliography entries, figure captions and table titles should be single-spaced and separated from other elements by an extra blank line.

Similar to the Chicago style, there are two systems for the Turabian format citation.

  • Author-date citation style is often used for natural, social and physical sciences. In-text citations should be placed in parentheses with a reference list of all the relevant sources placed at the end of the paper.
  • Notes-Bibliography citation style is often used for literature, philosophy, history and religion papers. This format prefers footnotes or endnotes for in-text citations with a bibliography consisting of a detailed list of the sources at the end of the paper.

Below, please find a screenshot of the Works Cited page in Turabian format.

Turabian Example

Feel free to download and view a sample paper in Turabian format below.

Turabian sample paper



Harvard Style Citation / Format

Another well-known citation style is the Harvard Referencing Style. It is primarily used to cite sources for academic papers done by university students. For Harvard citation style, you will use the author-date system for in-text citations and a reference list. Here are some general rules for using Harvard referencing format.

  • In-text references and notes must have the author’s last name, date of publication and page number.
  • When initials are used, they should not have spaces or full stops.
  • You can list up to six authors, however, when you have more than three, you should list the rest as “et al”.
  • The reference list must be double-spaced.
  • The reference list must be on a separate/ new page.
  • Your reference list must be done in alphabetical order.
  • If several refences have the same author(s), the names must be repeated rather than using dashes or ditto marks.

Feel free to review an example of the Harvard reference list below.

Harvard Example

Feel free to download and view a sample paper in Harvard style below.

Harvard sample paper



Now that you have an overview of the main types of citation styles, make sure you choose the right one for your next assignment and follow the guidelines to ensure you’re doing it correctly.

If you need help with writing a paper in MLA, APA, AMA, Chicago, Turabian or Harvard style, feel free to place an order below.