How to Pick the Best Format for your Term Paper

As you choose the best format for your term paper, the first thing to consider is whether the instructor requires a certain style. If it was left up to you, use the style more appropriate for the course where the paper was assigned. As there are various styles, schools within the U.S. largely rely on 3 formats. MLA, or (Modern Language Association) often is used in language, writing, and literature courses; APA, or (American Psychological Association) typically is used in the behavioral and social sciences; and Chicago works cited or CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) generally is followed within the fine arts and a few humanities disciplines. A paper’s appearance and citations are going to change with the format, yet there are available style guides with in-depth instructions.

MLA style

MLA style is primarily used in literature, language and composition courses. The format will emphasizes the writer instead of the source itself.

APA style

An APA term paper format is mainly used in behavioral and social science courses and sometimes in geography or business courses. This documentation technique will emphasize currency of the source, and asks for the year of publication alongside the author’s last name and uses page numbers solely with direct quotes. In a text, writers must use past tense for citations, like “Darwin claimed,” yet present tense for established or results knowledge, as in “high cholesterol is dangerous” or “the study shows.”

Chicago style

Chicago works cited is typically the style preferred by the fine arts and a few humanities fields, like philosophy and history. CMS includes the most general format for term papers, as it wasn’t made for any particular discipline. It’ll require footnotes with superscript numerals within the text that corresponds to the note at the page’s bottom. Although, some instructors accept endnotes, putting all of the notes together at the paper’s end. The tense utilized for citations will be up to the writer’s preference, so long as all critical information may be discovered in the note or upon the “bibliography” page for resources at the end.

The appearance of the paper will change depending upon the format used. For instance, CMS and APA usually use title pages, yet MLA doesn’t. CMS and MLA number pages within the top right corner with an author’s last name and numeral, whereas APA utilizes a shortened version of a paper’s title with its page number. APA will place an abstract prior to the essay and break up the text using subheadings. Sometimes, CMS has an outline prior to the body of the paper. Click here to know more!

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