There are four common styles that you can write your research paper in, and they are APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian. They are each used by different disciplines in order to make reading a little easier. If you stick to a similar style within one area of academic expertise then it makes researching and curating information a lot easier.
Which research paper writing style should I choose?
If you are working for a college or university then they almost always tell you which style to write your research paper in. If you are given the choice then do not just choose any. They are most likely giving you a choice so that you can pick the correct one and allow yourself to move into the higher grade brackets.
APA – American Psychological Association
This is the style you choose for most of the social sciences. This also means if you are writing about education itself then you use APA, and obviously as the name suggests you would use it for writing psychology papers.
MLA – Modern Language Association
This is used for many of the more culture based pieces. Some use it for history research papers, and many use it for art, literature and humanities pieces.
Chicago – British, American and world history
It seems that this style was created specifically for history. It is not outside the realms of possibility to use Turabian or MLA for history pieces, but a great many are written in the Chicago style.
Turabian – For students
Believe it or not, in order to differentiate student written pieces and pieces written by qualified academic, they created Turabian. It was first developed as a style for students to write their dissertations in, but is now used by college students for all types of subjects including research papers.
Resources to help you
If you want to write in a certain style, then each has its own handbook. It is up to you to find the most recent edition of the handbook. Here are the current most up-to-date editions.
- Chicago – The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition
- MLA – MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition
- Turabian – A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th edition
- APA – Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition
Each style has its own version of formatting and own version of how to reference a piece. This includes information on how to create your bibliography, and how you indicate a reference within the text itself. They also give details on how the page is formatted as whole by giving details such as how to size the margins and the fonts.
Every now and again a new edition of the formatting guide comes out, and even though they do not change a lot, they will tweak things to either adapt to new technology or to remove annoyances that previous paper writing methods created within the academic community. You should consult your college or university if you want to be sure which style is best for the research paper you are currently writing.
Getting help with your research paper
Obviously, if you are struggling with your research paper then the last thing you want to do is fail. If you are in real trouble then try a decent paper writing service.