Academic Styles and Their Significance: MLA, APA, Chicago and IEEE + [INFOGRAPHIC]

Academic writing styles approved by respectful higher educational institutions and scientific academies are extremely important factors you have to consider when writing any type of academic paper. The stricter the style is, the higher the professor's requirements are. You risk failing your assignment without following appropriate fonts, margins, and, what is more critical, reference and citation style. Here is a list of the most widespread academic styles.

MLA (a.k.a. Modern Language Association)

Since 1883, this most spread and simplest approach to formatting academic work has earned over 26,000 followers in 100+ countries. It’s the best first step for all young writers. This writing style was founded by the corresponding educational community. A standard A4 white 8.5 x 11-inch paper is required. Apply double-space to the entire text; use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman or Arial). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends regular and italics type styles. They have to be recognizable one from another. The font size should be 12 pt accurately. Leave a single space after each punctuation mark. The margins should be 1 inch on all sides. The upper right-hand corner must include last name and a page number without a comma between them. On the left, student’s full name, instructor’s name, course, and date must be listed in a column. The paragraphs have to be 1, 27. Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, providing emphasis. It would be hard to learn its basics without MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition).

APA (a.k.a. American Psychological Association)

Developed about 80 years ago, this is the most scientific writing formatting style. It has the strictest rules and the largest amount of requirements. A standard A4 white 8.5 x 11-inch paper is required. Use double-space to the entire text; use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman or Arial). Whatever you choose, APA paper must begin with a title page. Put the page number in the right upper corner. Insert the title of your work in capitalized letters before the number. This is known as the page header, or running head. The font size should be 12 pt. In the center of the cover page, print paper’s title, name and last name, and university’s name in a column. Every APA essay must have an abstract (150-250 words text on the second page to highlight the main goals (summary) of the paper. The paragraphs have to be 1, 27. Every section must be named. So, APA papers consist of several headings. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (July 2009). Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.)

Chicago/Turabian (a.k.a. documentary note, or humanities style)

In 1937, this formatting style was developed especially for Chicago University. These writing guidelines are mostly used for publishing rather than for academic writing but it is still recommended that students are also aware of its basics. Most often it is required for dissertations. This style has a lot of peculiarities. Set 1 inch margins on all sides for an essay; 1,5 inches for your dissertation. Place the title all written in caps in the center of the cover page (3,6 inches from the top). Include a Table of Contents. The text must include several heading styles. Headings can be printed in different fonts and sizes. Despite the entire text is written in standard 12 pt, decrease the size to 10 pt for the footnotes. A blank line should separate each footnote from the last. Online 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style; Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations; chapter 14 of The Chicago Manual of Style.

IEEE (a.k.a. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

You will rarely meet this writing format unless you will be often asked to write research papers in engineering, technical, or IT manner. If you have already mastered Chicago/Turabian, it will be a bit easier to get used to IEEE. However, papers written in this format look more like journals or manuals. The entire work will consist of two columns per each page. Put 24 pt title in the very top of your first page. Then, print your name in 11 pt; university name and address are required below in italics; don’t forget to mention URLs – it is an IT-based paper after all. The margins are: 1,9 (upper), 4,3 (lower), 0 (left), 1,43 (on the right). Begin the first column with a bolded abstract. List the keywords. Highlight every new paragraph with Roman numerals and all capital letters. Sub-sections must be put in italics, numbered in letters. Unlike other formatting styles, this one allows using tables, pictures, graphs, and even videos inside the text. Online IEEE editorial style manual. The University of York – IEEE Referencing Style. In-text citations are all numbered. Each attachment must be described below in 8 pt. References follow after the conclusion and are also written in 8 pt. They are arranged in the same way APA demands.

Check out the latest INFOGRAPHIC on APA and MLA styles created by StudentShare team. Here are the main characteristics you should keep in mind writing another essay or research paper.