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APA formatting is often used by writing services, because the style itself is very popular. An APA writing style is very useful for scientific papers of varying descriptions, from the hard sciences to the soft ones. This is the majority of subjects taught and studied in many higher education institutes.

APA Format Definition

APA stands for American Psychological Association. The APA formatting style is most commonly used when writing about the social sciences, and the APA format citation is unique in both the reference pages and the in-text citations. The idea of these citations is to increase the ease of reading for everyone.

APA Style: Basic Points

  • APA writing style includes a title page, an abstract, and in-text citations (which can be changed to other notes as required)
  • The reference page is referred to as references
  • APA comes in very handy when you need to be exact with your references, as is often the case with science

APA Title Page

The title page takes up a page in APA format, and it contains the following: the name of the student, the name of the professor, the name of the class, and the essay title and date. This is also where the APA running head first appears, in a different form.

APA Abstract

The abstract comes right after the APA format title page, and it involves some keywords which describe the paper in question, and a short discussion of the work itself. The abstract is normally between one hundred and fifty to two hundred words, and is a short discussion of the essay.

The Body of APA Paper

  • The running head which first appears on the APA title page should appear on every page, although it will look different to the first one. A running head will have the page number and the title of the essay
  • In-text citations should include all authors, and the date of publication

Apa References

  • APA reference page format includes indents after the first line, and is usually double spaced
  • Different types of citations are handled in different ways
  • The author is put down first, and all citations are in alphabetical order
  • The main title is always italicised, to distinguish it from other titles used.

When To Use APA Style

The APA guidelines say that APA should be used in social science and some science papers, as it is a clear and well laid out style that allows for ease of referencing.

MLA Format Definition

The MLA essay format is normally used for essays and papers written within the liberal arts and humanities subject sets. It is used for references which may exist in several different formats, and so is seen as more flexible than any other type of citation style which might be used.

MLA Style: Quick Guide

  • Used for arts and humanities and other MLA style papers
  • Normally uses in-text citations, but can use footnotes if required
  • MLA papers (including their reference pages) are normally double spaced
  • MLA format includes headers for every page, and they don’t change
  • Endnotes go before the citations page, after the writing

MLA Title Page

Generally speaking, an MLA title page is not required for these papers. The titles go at the top of the first page, aligned to the left of the page. The title of the essay itself is centred on the page. The titles should include name, professor’s name, course, and date.

MLA Abstract

MLA papers, because of the subjects they are normally used in, don’t usually involve abstracts. But if one needs to be involved, then it will have MLA title format where the title is in the middle of the page, then keywords, and then one to two hundred words of explanation.

MLA Body

MLA formatting is normally in-text citations, with a series of titles that have their own rules to follow, from centred to aligned, italicised to bolded. MLA formatting uses parentheses within the work. It uses the author page system for references within the text itself, with the reference page for more information.

References and citations

The MLA date format is what is normally used for citations – it’s called the author date format. Citations are normally found on a page headed works cited, which is alphabetical, with different titles and publishing information italicised and noted as necessary. An MLA citation is where most of the information is.

When To Use MLA Style

Use MLA style in papers and essays which are to do with the arts and humanities. Rather than have an abstract, focus on using MLA headings to separate out your paper and help people figure out where they are in your work. MLA style is about being able to reconcile the different publishing of the same works, so use it for papers which don’t have to worry about total accuracy, and instead can focus on information.

What Is Chicago Format

Chicago formatting style is also called documentation style, and it has two different styles of notes. These are the notes\bibliography style, and the author\date system. Both of these styles have their own followings – the notes system is preferred by those in the fields of literature, the arts, and history; the author system by those in social sciences.

Chicago Style: Quick Start

  • Chicago formatting is most commonly used with American English
  • There are two methods of formatting citations, to allow for greater flexibility in using the format
  • The notes-bibliography format is used to write an essay in Chicago style because it allows for more flexibility in writing notes and comments in footnotes
  • The bibliography is always alphabetical in nature.

Title Page According to Chicago Format

Each paper will have a separate title page, with the appropriate information. The most important thing to remember about a Chicago title page is that it does not have a page number on it. Title pages have the name of the paper centred at the top of the page, and then they have the writer’s name, class, and date at the bottom.


In the event that a Chicago style paper has an abstract (they are normally used on scientific papers), they will be on a separate page from the title and the essay itself, and they will have two things. There will be a list of keywords, usually in italics, which describe the essay, and a brief summary of one to two hundred words which summarise it.

The Body

Chicago style is double spaced throughout, including quotations, citations, notes, and titles. Chicago style paper headings are all centred in the paper, to contrast with the left-alignment of the rest of the paper. The page numbers of every Chicago style paper should only start on the page which the essay starts on – there should be a blank space for the page number on the title page, and the abstract if you have one.

References and Citations

Chicago citation formatting is always in alphabetical order. The bibliography is fairly simple, with the full name of the author, the title of their work, the place and date of publication. Citation styles are either note-bibliography, or author date, depending on what type of paper you are writing, and can be either footnotes or in-text citations.

Chicago Format Usage

Chicago format is normally used for published works, rather than for essays and papers at a student level. It was also first used with American English in mind. Chicago title format is used for a specific type of subject, which is normally tied to the type of citations used within the paper itself.

Harvard Writing Style

Harvard paper formats are based on the Harvard style of writing. This style makes sure to use references and citations to work together to create a coherent paper. Sometimes the Harvard paper format can be mistaken for the APA formatting style, but there are key differences for people using them both.

Harvard Format: Key Elements of a Successful Writing

  • The Harvard writing format is commonly used by university students rather than in publishing
  • There are two types of citations included in the papers:
    • In-text – the citations that appear in the text whenever it directly or indirectly references something said by an author
    • References – the reference list at the end of the essay, which has the full-length version of all the citations that appear in the body of the essay

Harvard Style: Title Page

The title is on a separate page. A Harvard style cover page is one which includes the title of the work, the name of the person writing, their professor’s name, the name of their class, and the date of the work.

Abstract in Harvard Writing Style

An abstract is also on a separate page, and is normally found right after the Harvard title page. The abstract contains keywords which help to show what the essay is about, and a short paragraph of between one hundred and one hundred and fifty words to give some idea of what is going on.

The Body

The body of Harvard writing style will include the author date system which has been popularised by APA and other scientific formatting styles. It allows for a minimalistic style of citations while also being able to have the full reference available later in the work for perusal by anybody who cares to have a closer look.


Harvard referencing format is fairly simple, with names, titles, publishing dates and names all in the citation. It can include books, journal articles, websites, web pages, and much more. The reference page will be in alphabetical order, and if there are multiple sources with the same name, then they will be listed in order of publication date, from earliest to most recent.

When to use this style of writing

It is mostly students who will use Harvard citation formatting, rather than publishers or professionals of any kind. Harvard style is used a lot for various kinds of sciences and science papers, because it allows for a flowing paper and also a full reference at the end.