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McNair Scholars: 4. Write & Cite in Style

Writing & Citation Style

Students often think of APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian styles as only citation styles - for reference pages and in-text citations. However, the professional organizations that create these style rules also provide guidance for writing in the discipline.

A writing style could have rules to standardize line spacing, fonts, quotations, names, pronouns, section headers, tables, figures, grammar tone, and other stylistic elements, which is why it is import to check the rules and follow them. By adhering to the given guidelines you are making your writing less obtrusive and your paper more readable. This allows readers to focus on the content and message of your writing.

For example, an historian can incorporate quotes from archival material in their scholarly writing in quantities that would be unacceptable for a psychology researcher.

For example, as one way to avoid bias, APA style specifies that first names are not used.

Citation is a small but crucial part of the picture! Citing provides evidence for your arguments and adds credibility to your work. It also allows readers to find your sources efficiently and helps you avoid plagiarism. Librarians are looked to for guidance in formatting citations and reference pages. They are often seen as the go-to for this because they are familiar with finding source information and other elements needed to format a reference. Librarians will help you find guidelines and examples for writing in your discipline or for a specific journal.

As you dive in to your research,

  • Ask your professor or mentor what style is expected.
  • Consider purchasing the style manual or check one out from the library.
  • Pay attention to the writing style and conventions of research articles in your discipline. 
  • Meet with a librarian for writing and citing questions.
  • Meet with a tutor from the Success Center for review of your writing and citing. 

APA Writing Style

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The American Psychological Association format is often used in behavioral and social sciences such as psychology, sociology, history, education, and communication.

MLA Writing Style

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Modern Language Association (MLA) style is most often used in humanities disciplines such as languages and literature studies.

Turabian Style

Chicago Manual of Style and A Manual for Writers book coversTurabian Style is the student version of Chicago Style intended for writing that is not intended for publication. While Turabian and Chicago can be used in many fields, at UW-Whitewater it is most often used in history.

APA Style

Whether you choose to quote, summarize, or paraphrase sources in your research paper, you must cite each source you use. For rules and examples, look here:

Want to jump start your list of references? This How to Find Citation Formatters guide may have some tools you can use. The library supports both Zotero and EndNote. We'll even help you set them up on your laptop.

MLA Style

Whether you choose to quote, summarize, or paraphrase sources you use in your research paper, you must cite each one. For rules and examples in MLA 8th ed. style, look here:

Want to jump start your list of references? This How to Find Citation Formatters guide may have some tools you can use. The library supports both Zotero and EndNote. We'll even help you set them up on your laptop.

Turabian Style

Whether you choose to quote, summarize, or paraphrase sources you use in your research paper, you must cite each one. For rules and examples, look here:

  • A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate Turabian, 8th ed. 2013. Reference Desk LB2369 .T8 2013
  • Turabian Style (9th ed.) (Web guide) - (UW-Whitewater libraries)

Want to jump start your list of references? This How to Find Citation Formatters guide may have some tools you can use. The library supports both Zotero and EndNote. We'll even help you set them up on your laptop.