Style Guides & How to Use Them

17 Sep

What is a Style Guide?

A style guide is a publication that shows users how to format assignments and utilize sources according to a specified set of guidelines. There are many different style guides that contain the rules and regulations for successful use of a particular style (APA style, MLA style, etc.). Different styles have different rules. The good news is that once you master the ability to use one style and one style guide, you can easily use the others!

What is APA Style?

APA style is an editorial style recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA) for preparing scholarly manuscripts and student research papers. APA style is the standard format for papers, articles, and books in the social sciences. APA style specifies rules for formatting papers (including requirements for margins, line spacing, font, etc.) and citing ideas (information borrowed from other sources) through the use of in-text or parenthetical citations and a References page.

What is MLA Style?

MLA style is an editorial style recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA), also for preparing scholarly manuscripts and student research papers. MLA style is commonly used in writing projects in the humanities (English, foreign languages, etc.). MLA style has its own rules for formatting papers (including requirements for margins, line spacing, font, the appearance of the first page, etc.) and citing ideas (information borrowed from other sources) through the use of in-text or parenthetical citations and a References page.

What is Chicago Style?

Chicago style, based on The Chicago Manual of Style, specifies guidelines on manuscript preparation and publication, as well as source documentation using one of two systems: the Notes-Bibliography system (preferred in literature, history and the arts) and the Author-Date system (preferred in the social sciences). Both systems are similar, but the Notes-Bibliography system is more commonly used. Using the Notes-Bibliography system, writers use endnotes or footnotes to reference sources throughout their writing, and a Bibliography listing the sources at the end.

APA, MLA, Chicago… What’s the Difference?

APA style in-text or parenthetical citations typically utilize the author or authors’ last name and the year the information was published (i.e.: (Smith, 2001)). Include a page number in APA style citations only when quoting from the source (i.e.: (Smith, 2001, p. 5). In social science fields, current information is often important, and the date is emphasized accordingly. The full citations in an APA style Reference list will first include the author or authors’ last names (and first initials), as well as the date of publication.

Example (Book): Calfree, R.C., & Valencia, R.R. (1991) APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.

MLA style in-text or parenthetical citations use the author or authors’ last name and the page number where the information appeared (i.e.: (Smith 4)). This allows the reader to use the information in the parenthetical citation to locate the full citation on the MLA style Works Cited page, where they can then lookup the source for themselves, turn to the correct page, and find the exact information from the text. Full citations in an MLA style Works Cited differ slightly from full citations in APA style References list, in that the author’s full first name is included, and the year is listed in a different location.

Example (Book): Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987. Print.

Using Chicago’s Notes-Bibliography system of citation, writers include a footnote or endnote instead of a parenthetical citation. The use of a footnote or endnote places a superscript number within the text, allowing the writer to include the necessary bibliographic information within the footnote (at the end of each page) or the endnote (at the end of the entire document). When referencing a source for the first time, the footnote or endnote should include all relevant information from the source (author’s full name, source title, and publication information). When referencing the source an additional time, include the author’s last name, shortened form of the title, and any page numbers. Chicago style also utilizes a Reference list with full citations for all sources cited within the work, and occasionally additional sources that provide further reading.

Example (Book): Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Vintage Books, 1990.

When using APA, MLA, or Chicago style, citations will typically begin with the author or authors’ names. If no author is known, begin with the title. Our example book citations all include nearly the same information – the title of the book, the place of publication, the publisher, and the date – but this information is included in different areas and with different punctuation according to the style used to cite the source. This is why Style Guides are helpful! The Style Guide for each source will include the specific information (what elements to include where and what punctuation to use) as well as numerous examples for all different source types. Additionally, once you’ve learned how to navigate one Style Guide, it is easy to use that knowledge to approach a different Style Guide. Check out the Helpful Links and Info Sheets for more help with APA and MLA! 

APA Style Guide: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association*

MLA Style Guide: MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing*

Chicago Style Guide: The Chicago Manual of Style

*Grammar handbooks (like A Writer’s Reference) will typically include chapters on APA Style and MLA Style, with common formatting and citation information, and examples.

© Alyssa Ryan and The Christ College Writing Center (2013-2016)

Advertisements

8 Responses to “Style Guides & How to Use Them”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Books on writing you should have even if you are not a writer. « RPMAS - September 18, 2013

    […] Style Guides & How to Use Them (christcollegewritingcenter.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Understanding In-Text Citations: APA Style | The Christ College Writing Center - September 23, 2013

    […] a previous post, Style Guides & How to Use Them, we discussed the APA style, MLA style, and Chicago style guides and how to use them, noting some […]

  3. MLA Style & In-text Citations | The Christ College Writing Center - October 23, 2013

    […] a previous post, Style Guides & How to Use Them, we discussed the APA style, MLA style, and Chicago style guides and how to use them, noting some […]

  4. Books on writing you should have even if you are not a writer. | RPMAS - March 8, 2014

    […] Style Guides & How to Use Them (christcollegewritingcenter.wordpress.com) […]

  5. Test Your Knowledge: APA Style | The Christ College Writing Center - October 17, 2014

    […] Style Guides & How to Use Them […]

  6. A Quick Guide to APA Formatting | The Christ College Writing Center - January 23, 2015

    […] Style Guides & How to Use Them […]

  7. Books on writing you should have even if you are not a writer. | Phil Harrison's Blog - March 8, 2015

    […] Style Guides & How to Use Them (christcollegewritingcenter.wordpress.com) […]

  8. Resources for Getting Started | The Christ College Writing Center - March 1, 2016

    […] Style Guides and How to Use Them […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: