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Writing Styles Simplified Version


 MLA, Modern Language Association, style offers guidelines of formatting written work by making use of the English language. It is concerned with, page layout and formatting, citing sources and stylistic techniques for example foot notes. This style is widely used in humanities mostly on language and literature. MLA writing style has been adopted worldwide by scholars for over a century. Its guidelines in formatting pieces of writing have been used in scholarly and literally news letters and magazines. MLA writing style is commonly used by students and writers compiling manuscripts for humanities disciplines. This is because MLA style makes it easier for readers to comprehend written works by providing linked information when referring to borrowed information. This style also protects users from plagiary accusations. This is done so by giving proper credit to borrowed sources of information which a guideline is provided by MLA writing style.


 MLA style recommends that writing should be done on an 8.5” by 11” inch white paper. The paper should have 1” margins all through. Paragraphs in MLA style text should be indented half an inch. This style recommends that double spaces be used through out the document. Eligible font should be used. It does not specify the type of font as long as the regular and the italics type styles contrast for easier identification of one from the other. The pages in the document should also have headers that number all the pages consecutively. These are general guidelines that should be used when formatting text using MLA style.

 When formatting the first page of the text, a title page is not necessary. This is quite contrary to other formatting styles like, APA style. This style recommends that editors list, the name of the author, the instructor’s name, can be a teacher or a lecturer and the date in block form. This information should be aligned to the left margin of the page. The title of the document should be centered on the page and in title case. It should not be underlined, italicized or placed in quotation marks. Quotation marks should be used only when referring to other works in your title. MLA style recommends that the editor creates a header on the right upper hand corner of the page.

In formatting the body, MLA style recommends that if the writer decides to divide an essay into sections; the sections should be given numbers followed by a name. This is for easier readability of text. In MLA style, citing of secondary sources of information is probably the most challenging bit of using it. This is because readers expect citations to lead them to the reference page. Failure to following the MLA guide to the letter may lead to confusion of readers as to the origin of the information. The citations can be an in-text citation. According to MLA style, in-text citation should be in author-page method. This method involves writing the last name of the author and the page number of where the information was gotten from. This should be done through parenthesis citation. MLA gives clear guidelines on citation of secondary sources of information used in the essay. This goes a yard in protecting the author of text from plagiarism charges. Through the above summarized guidelines for MLA writing, it therefore gives consistency of written works in the field of humanities.


 Oxford referencing style is brand name for the University of Oxford. It has guidelines for writers and editors working with material for the university’s publication. It is a style that offers guidelines to scholars and researchers when writing research papers. It mainly deals with referencing of secondary material used in the research. Oxford style of referencing advices that a writer must reference all secondary information used in your paper and give full acknowledgement of their authors. This also applies for paraphrased and summarized information a researcher may use in the body of their research paper. References must be provided for data charts and diagrams copied from other sources and used in writing your paper. Oxford referencing style makes use of the documentary- note style of referencing material. This style involves three elements, the citation from the document, a list of foot notes and a bibliopoly; if need be one.

Citation of foreign material in the body of the paper is done by using superscript numbers at the end of sentences. Corresponding footnotes should be written down at the bottom of the page to give reference to readers on the origin of such information. When directly quoting text, quotation marks should be used at the beginning and the end of the sentence which should then be followed by a superscript. Quotations that are of more than 30 words should be written as a new paragraph. When citing a source for the first time, full biological details should be given. For subsequent references, a summary of the reference details can be given. Footnoting should be done in a numerical and chronological according to the surnames of the authors’ manner to enables easier referencing by readers of written material. A foot note referencing should enclose the name of the author for information cited; the article, book or journal, the editor, the publisher’s name and location and the year published. While formatting the notes, Oxford style of referencing advices that, footnotes should be separated by commas and a full stop at the end. This system of referencing also uses end notes. The are used for citing sources with in the document in the same way that foot notes are but they appear at the end of the document.

Oxford style also offers guidelines on writing. The guidelines are split into three parts: punctuation, spelling and typographical formats. In the spelling section, Oxford style recommends the use of British English as opposed to American English. In punctuation, the oxfords style gives guidelines on how to use hyphens, italics, commas, quotation marks the apostrophe and ellipses in writing text. In typographic formats, oxford style recommends that foreign words be italicized. In the first instance of using abbreviations and acronyms, this style recommends that one write out the word in full. Then the acronyms and abbreviations can be used in the rest of the document. Dates should be written in the format date/month/year. Dates in prose form are also accepted.

Oxford style of referencing is known for its simplicity and its use has been adopted over the years by scholars worldwide, not only in publishing the university’s material but by other universities.


APA, American Psychological Association, is a style that was formulated in the year 1929 by a group of psychologists, anthropologists and business managers who sought to come up with a simple coded form of representing the many and diverse components of scientific writing. This was to enable easier understanding of scientific pieces of work. APA writing format is used in writing term papers, research papers and other papers by scholars worldwide. It is commonly used in writing for the sciences and social sciences.

Just like any other writing style, APA style is guided by a set of rules and regulations that makes sure that there is consistency when representing written material. These rules are followed when editing material that has to be in this format. These rules apply when citing references, punctuations, abbreviations, selection of headings and other elements that form a manuscript in scientific writing. General APA writing guidelines require that paper be in typed form. This should be done on the customary paper found in most word processing computer software. Given that type writers have been out dated a computer technology is being adapted world wide. APA style also recommends double spacing.

 An essay in APA style is made up of four major sections. The first section is started off in the first page. In this page the author of the paper should write down the title, his or her name and institute the paper is related to. The title of the paper is normally at the centre of the paper. The names of the authors are normally written in an orthodox manner excluding titles held by the authors, for example, (Dr.) should not be used. The institutional relationship should come after the author’s name. It should indicate where the research was conducted.

The second section of an essay in APA style is the abstract. It should be on a new page. The word ‘abstract’ should be centered on top of the page without formatting it. On the second line, a summary key areas of research carried out should be written down, for example, research topics, methods of research, research findings and any other points the author may see as key areas of the research. The abstract should be in one paragraph of between 200 and 250 words. If one needs to list key words, indent like you want to start a new paragraph then type ‘keyword’ an italicize it.

The third section of an APA style paper is the main body. This is also written on a new page. It contains detailed information of the research carried out, facts, findings and analysis of the research on the topic given.

The last section is the references and should be written down on a fresh page. This page should be labeled ‘references’ and centered at the top of the page. It should not be formatted. References provide a guide for the reader to access sources of any citations in the manuscript. There are basic rules that guide the writing of references in APA style. For examples, all lines after the first line of references should be indented and the names of authors should be in reverse. Titles of longer works for example journals should be italicized.

The above is just but a summary of the vast guidelines of APA writing style. Further guidelines can be gotten from different sources on the internet.

                                                         CHICAGO STYLE

 Chicago style of documentation deals with a number of topics ranging from manuscript preparation to grammar usage. This style makes use of two forms of documentation. Namely, the author-date system and the notes bibliography system. This system is particularly used by writers in literature, the arts and history.

The notes-bibliography is mostly used in humanities. It makes use of foot notes and notes citation where by writers are able to reference their sources in documents written. Chicago style also offers an allowance for writers to write bibliography pages. Proper use of this system in the Chicago style of writing protects writers from accusations of plagiarism. In this system, where a writing uses information from a given sources, a superscript number be written at the end of such a sentence or a phrase.

This rule applies for both direct quotations and paraphrased information. This superscript number should to correspond with a note containing the bibliographic information about that source. This note is normally a foot note which is written at the bottom of the page in which the information has been used. End notes are normally written at the bottom of the last page of a chapter in the manuscript. They can also be written when the author finishes the writing the body of the script. Chicago style of referencing recommends the first note about a citation should contain all relevant details about the source. That is, the authors full name, the title of the source, the year it was published, the city it was published in and the name of the publisher. If a source is cited more than once, the second note should only contain the surname of the author, a shortened topic and the page or pages.
In this style, a foot note starts with the appropriate number, followed but a period then a space. The Harvard, notes-bibliography style requires that all sources used in the text be written down in alphabetical order and provided in the bibliography. This should be in respect to the author’s last name. If there is no author, the title of the source may be used.


This style offers guidelines for formatting bibliographical entries in references. Although they might differ in some cases, there are a few general rules that apply. A general rule that does not only apply to Chicago style but other style of writing is the inclusion of the authors name title and publication details about a source. When formatting the authors name in Chicago style when giving bibliographic details, the author’s name should be inverted….. That is, first name last and last name first with a comma between them. When formatting titles, the titles of books and journal should be italicized.

Titles of other materials for example articles should be placed in quotation marks. Details in relation to publication should be written right after the details about the author. . Details of publication include the year of publishing, the name of the publisher and what edition it is, if not the first one. All major elements in the bibliography should be separated by periods.



Harvard style is widely used in different sectors of the writing field. This includes writing, bibliography writing, and reference writing. The Harvard style of referencing has been widely acknowledged as a guide of formatting and editing academic publication. The Harvard style of referencing, also known as the author-date method, requires that an author acknowledges the source of information used in a manuscript in two ways. One, in the text of your text and secondly in a list of references.

In text referencing refers to when an author of a paper uses information and ideas collected from research, you indicate each reference by indicating the author and date of publication cited. There are various ways of acknowledging the sources of information used within a manuscript. For example, the author can quote the authors exact words. Harvard style also allows an author to paraphrase or summarize information from a source. While giving references, this style points out that page numbers should be cited for easier referencing by the readers.

When using a reference list, Harvard style of referencing requires that the reference list appears at the end of your document. This list should contain all details of all sources cited in your document. They should be chronologically arranged according to the author’s surnames. Where more than one work from on e particular author has been used more than once, the author should list them according to date. Starting with the latest one.

When formatting citations in a reference list, a few rules apply. While referencing, the authors’ given names should in initials and no full stops or spaces should be used between initials. For titles of works, there should be minimal capitalization of title of books, chapter of books and titles of journals. Titles of books, journals and newspapers should be italicized. The different details of citations are separated by commas and a full stop should on be used at the end of a citation.

When citing electronic sources, Harvard style of reference requires one to cite the date one accessed the source, the electronic address or email address, and the type of electronic source. If direct quotation of the author’s words is done, the page number should be included in the references. A detailed bibliography should also be written down when books and journals are cited as a source in a manuscript. Publication details should not be left out s it makes it easier for readers to trace the source of cited information. Harvard style of referencing advices authors to list their references in alphabetical order. This gives a reference list some sense of order and neatness. It also enables readers to point out certain references with ease and agility.

The Harvard style of referencing goes a long way to protect students from plagiarism charges it ensures proper acknowledgment of ideas gotten from sources. Correct referencing also demonstrates that one has read widely hence giving credits to the author of the text and therefore laying grounds of classifying certain written works as being of quality.


This is style that was originally designed by Kate Turabian. She was a member of staff of the University of Chicago for about thirty years. She came up guidelines of quality and substantive dissertation writing form that came to be named after her. Kate came up with this style specifically for students. Turabian style is almost similar to Chicago style in a number of ways but students should take great caution so as to differentiate the two. Students planning on majoring in history are normally highly advised to learn how to use this systematic and simple way of citing works.

When typing a paper in Turabian style, in formatting the title page of the paper, the style gives the following guidelines. The title of your paper should be typed quarter way down the first page of your paper. Capital letters should be used. Then if your paper has a subtitle, type it below the title using both capital and small letters. Then type your name halfway down the paper. The subject you are doing should follow, and then followed by the name of your professor then the school you are in, comma then the date of completion of your work.

The Turabian style has two basic documentation styles. Namely, the notes-bibliographical style and the reference list style. The bibliographical style is commonly used in the literature, history and arts disciplines. This makes use of foot notes and end notes. Materials from sources that are cited in a document are given superscript numbers at the end of the sentences. This rule applies to paraphrased information and direct quotation of text from a given source. The reference list method is commonly used in physical and social science disciplines. It entails giving summarized details about the source of sited text first. This is done by highlighting the name of the author and when it was published.

A reference list is then written down containing all details about the source. The reference list in Turabian style must be in chronological and alphabetical order. This enables readers to easily identify references with respect to various citations in the manuscript. When one authors work has been cited more than once, the citations should be written down in a chorological order. When citing online sources, citing should be done in the same way as written text. However, this should have a URL and the date when the data was accessed online.

The titles in Turabian style papers can be italicized or underlined. A combination of both is also acceptable.

 When writing a footnote in Turabian style of referencing, the first note gives all relevant details about the source. This comprises of the author’s name, title of the source, the publisher and the city in which the publication was done. End notes are written at the end of the document. In Turabian style, the footnote or end note begins with a superscript number. These superscript numbers are then used as a guide when writing the reference list. Authors should be careful not to mix up the numbers because it may lead to uncertainty of the origin of cited text. This may lead to accusations of plagiarism.


 Vancouver style is a style of citing and making reference commonly used in medicine and science. It was established in the year 1978 in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada by a committee of medical journal editors. The Vancouver style consists of two parts, the in text citation and a list of numbered references that appear at the end of the document.

A writer using this style should be aware of basic rules and guidelines given by this style when it comes to citation and referencing of material. In text citing, the Vancouver style requires that a number is given in the order that which it is given in the text. If it is repeated in another part of the document, the same number is given. The number can be integrated in the text in that it comes at the end of the sentence. General rules that apply here is that a squared bracket [ ] or a curved bracket ( ) can be used to accommodate the number. Vancouver style gives allowance for use of superscripts when citing a source in the text. The references are the listed in numerical order and should be written as the last item of a manuscript.

When citing journal articles, the bibliography should include the author’s surname initials, the title of the articles, and the title of the journal and details of publication. When the reference is a book, the name of the author, the title of the book, the edition of the book, the place where it was published and the year of publication. The title of the book and the chapter, only the first letter should be capitalized. All the rest of the words should be in small letters. The titles should neither be italicizes nor underlined. If the citation is of books or journals, the author of the paper should write a full and detailed bibliography not leaving out information about publication. When electronic sources have been cited, for example a website, the elements of citation should entail basic details about the texts, like the author and the year of publication and most importantly the URL. Caution should be taken when using the internet on the reliability of the information. When writing a reference list, the list should appear in a chronological order. That is, from the numbers used to cite information in the text of the paper.

Vancouver style recommends minimal use of direct quotation of information. If it is found necessary, the cited text should be placed between quotation marks and number the reference as earlier on explained. Personal communication as a reference is not advised by the Vancouver style of writing unless it provides essential information. In this case, one should not number the reference. The persons name and date of communication should be cited in parenthesis in the text.

Vancouver style gives uniform requirements so that ethical and technical issues in publishing bio medical manuscripts are addressed. What a great way to ensure uniformity in the bio medical and medicine disciplines other than through the Vancouver style.

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