Because academic writing requires the clear documentation of facts, ideas, quotations, summaries, and paraphrases, academic writers need to be familiar with the system of documentation prescribed by their disciplines. The most frequently used styles include
- APA (American Psychological Associations)
- COS (Columbia Online Style)
- CSE (Council of Science Editors. Formerly CBE, Council of Biology Editors)
- MLA (Modern Language Association)
- Turabian (used interchangeably with Chicago style)
The two most frequently used documentations styles are APA and MLA. Generally, the following disciplines use the documentation style indicated.
History: Chicago or Turbian
Social Sciences: APA
Listed below are websites that give information about documentation styles. Enclosed in parentheses after the name of the site are the styles discussed on that site. After the list of websites is a list of style manuals.
Information and Research in the Electronic Age: An Online Handbook by Diana Hacker (APA, Chicago, CSE, MLA) A Sample research paper is provided for each documentation style discussed. The information on this site is abridged from the print booklet available from Bedford/St. Martin's.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) (APA, MLA) Considered the best online writing lab, the Purdue OWL provides information about documentation and related aspects of academic and other types of writing. This site is worth the time to investigate its features.
Online! A Reference Guide to Citing Internet Sources (APA, CBS, Chicago, MLA) Chapters 6 – 8 each contain information about a specific documentation style that is available on this site (other chapters cannot be read in this online version). The complete print version is available for purchase.
A Research Guide for Students by I. Lee (APA, CGOS, Chicago/Turabian, CSE, MLA) “The goal of this site is to provide all the necessary tools for students to conduct research and to present their findings” (Lee). Thus, this site goes beyond the presentation of documentation styles. The information offered is worth a scroll through the home page.
When doing a significant amount of writing using a specific style, purchasing the manual for that style may be helpful. Each citation is written in the style presented in the manual. These books can be purchased at your favorite bookseller.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American psychological association (6th ed.).
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (ISBN 978-1-4338-0561-5)
The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. (ISBN 978-0-2261-0406-5)
Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York:
Modern Language Association, 2009. Print. (ISBN 978-1-60329-024-1)
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and
Researchers. 7th ed. Revised by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, and University of
Chicago Press Editorial. Staff. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. (ISBN 978-0-2268-2337-9)
Walker, Janice R., and Todd Taylor. The Columbia Guide to Online Style. New York:
Columbia UP, 2006. (ISBN 978-0-2311-3211-4)