Mastering academic writing is quite challenging for students. However, it is much less complicated than it seems. The moment you arrange all the information in your head, it will be easier to write your papers. One of the hurdles you might have to overcome here is the academic citation styles you need to stick to when writing papers. Luckily, there is a lot of information available covering all citing styles in every little detail. Here is a simple guide that will get you started on the journey and explain the main rules of in-text citations you need to follow when doing your papers.

General Overview

There are many citation styles in the world of academia, but you don’t need to be skilled at all of them to be a successful student. Among the most common styles are MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard. All of these are used in specific cases and with specific subjects. When getting an assignment, you will most probably be instructed on what style to use, or you might get a chance to choose the style you personally prefer. Whatever the case, it is best to draw a clear line between all of them and settle the features that set them apart. Here is a quick overview of all of these styles.

MLA Style

This one is commonly used in the Humanities so if you are writing a paper on Literature and are not sure what style to use, go with MLA. Some changes get introduced from time to time, so you need an ace in the hole, a credible source to rely on when citing your papers. For this, you should definitely consider Purdue University and essayservice blog. Now, what sets this style apart from others and makes it a bit complex is that with your in-text citations here, you always need to mention the name of the author who wrote your source and the number of the page you took the information from. For instance, your in-text citation might look like this: (Smith 15). “Smith” is the author of the article/book, “15” is the page number where one can find the information that was used in the paper.

APA Style

You should use this style when writing papers on Education, Psychology, and Sciences. What makes it a bit easier than MLA is that here you don’t need to mention the number of the page you took the information from. You only need to mention the surname/surnames (if there are multiple co-authors) of the person who authored your source and the year when the source was published. For instance, your in-text citation could be (Smith 2019). It means that the source was authored by Mr. Smith, and it was published in 2019. However, you do need to mention a specific page number in your in-text citation when inserting direct quotes from the source. In such a case, your in-text citation would be (Smith, 2019, p.15).

Chicago/Turabian Style

These two styles are almost identical, so it is fairly easy to master both of them at the same time. While with MLA and APA, you need to put an in-text citation right in the text, right after the information you used from some external source, with Chicago and Turabian, you need to insert a footnote, which will automatically put a superscript (¹Turabian Style) next to your sentence and throw you at the bottom of the page to insert information about your source. Now, in Chicago, your footnote will start with a regular number, followed by your source information (1. Michael Smith, How to Be Human (New York: Penguin, 2006), 99–100, but with Turabian, it will start with a superscript. Here you need to stick to the structure “Name Author, Book Name (City: Publisher, Year), page numbers. However, there might be some slight differences here. The specific requirements might be mentioned in your assignment.

Harvard Style

Harvard style is similar to APA, as you also need to follow the Author-Date structure when citing your sources. For example, if you don’t use any direct quotes from an external source, your in-text citation will be (Williams 2019). However, if you need to use a direct quote, you will be expected to mention the page number. In such a case, your in-text citation would be (Williams, 2019, p. 203). However, you can also take the surname of your author outside of the brackets. Your citation structure will then be: Williams (2019, p.203) said, “there is no black or white in this world; everything comes from your subjective perspective.” You can also put your in-text citation at the end of your sentence. There is room for several options for the comfort of your writing.