Different Types of Formatting – the Next Most Important Thing After the Topic.
3 April, 2009
Different Types of Formatting – Learn the Basics Before Setting Off to Write.
While writing an essay there are many different types of formatting that can be followed and it is imperative for the writer to know all of them. Sometimes the instructor will specify what formatting to be done and in case of admission essays different universities follow different set pattern of writing and the student simply has to follow the guidelines. The content matter of the essay is as important as the format pattern, set and followed. If the essay is flawless and written brilliantly but the format is all wrong then all results will come to a naught. There are four basic patterns of formatting which are followed by students while preparing their essays. These are the MLA format, APA format, Chicago format and the Harvard format.
MLA( Modern language of America) is popular while writing for school and college assignments and is preferred by academicians in the field of literature, arts and the like. This format has been in use for nearly a century now. In the MLA format paper printout is taken in a standard white paper (8.5inch by 11inch). The writing is in Times New Roman preferably and font size is 12point. The entire text should be with double spacing. There should be a margin of 1 inch on all sides. A header must be created with surname of the writer followed by a space and then the page numbering in the upper right hand corner. While starting the essay the first line of the paragraph should be indented to one half inch or 5 spaces from left (press tab button 5 times). This should be followed each time while starting a paragraph. After each punctuation mark a space should be left. For the cover or title page instructions should be strictly followed and a title page should not be created unless otherwise specified. In the upper left hand corner of the cover page the writer’s name with the surname first followed by instructor’s name, subject and the date should be given with double spacing format. The title should be in title case, at the centre and without any quotation marks whatsoever. There should be double spacing between the title and the first line of the research paper. For the main body of the essay citations should be always within quotation marks and italics should be used for long titles. In –text- citations are also very important and the author’s name and the page number from which the quotation or idea is taken are immediately given after the quotation. Endnotes, if any, should be written separately at the end but before the reference page.
In the MLA format the citations may come from books, journals, newspapers and the Internet. The general format is as follows:
In case of book reference – Surname of the author. Name of the book. Date of publishing. Name of the publishing company. City or location. The page numbers from where the quotations were taken. Link to website if any.
In case of journal reference – Author. Name of the article. Name of the journal. Date of publishing. Pages
In case of net reference – Site name. Date of publishing. Name of the affiliated university or organization. Date of when you visited the site.
The APA or American psychological association format is used mainly in thesis work and research papers pertaining to the science of sociology. It was first cited in 1929 in a journal named “Psychological Bulletin”. In the APA format writing parameters are the same as MLA except for some minor differences. In the APA research paper outline format the header will consist of 2 -3 words of the title of the essay followed by 5 spaces and then the page number. The APA format essay will have four main parts – the title or cover page, an abstract, the main body of the essay and the bibliography at the end. The title page will have a running head consisting of the full heading, name of the writer and the university. The abstract will be a summary of the whole essay in not more than 120 words in a double spaced single paragraph. In-text–citations are also important and in this case the last name of the author and the year of publication are given. The reference page in APA format will show as follows:
In case of book reference – last name of the author, initials of the first name of the author (year of publication). Name of the book. Name of the publisher.
In case of journals – last name of author, initials of the first name of the author (year). name of the article. Name of the journal. Volume number. Pages.
In case of net reference – last name of author, initials of the first name of the author (year). Name of the article. Name of the Online journal. Retrieved on date from
Full link of the site.
In the Chicago style paper format there are two types of method to write a paper. One which is followed for history and humanities is the old style and is known as “notes and bibliography”. In this case the bibliography is given along with the notes and maybe a part of the essay or at the end of the article in a group form. The first line of each note is indented two spaces. At the end of the essay another bibliography which contains the name of each work cited and also works which were used as references but not cited. The new one is known as the “author date” style and is used in sciences generally. Here the in text citation contains the name of the author and the date of publishing and at the end the bibliography gives the details as in the older format.
The Harvard format is followed by the University of Bournemouth in Britain. Here the in text citation consist of author’s name and date of publication. Where the date of publication is not know it is referred as ‘n.d’ and where the author is not known it is ‘anon’. The complete and details of citations are given at the end page under bibliography. In case of a book it is cited as follows : author, year of publication, the name of the book, edition, volume, place and name of the publisher. In case of journals it is: name of author, year of publication,name of article, name of journal, volume, page numbers.
For electronic sources all details are same as in books and journal except that it will contain the link to the URL and the date when you accessed the link.
To understand different types of formatting to get better grades (as discussed above) is very important and it is absolutely necessary for the writer to know all the four types and be well versed in them before he starts writing his paper or essay. If the writer, however, feels out of depth while trying to learn the different types of formatting then MasterPapers.com will willingly pull him out of the depths and place him in safe waters.Different Types of Formatting – the Next Most Important Thing After the Topic.,