Four writing styles have been accepted as the most common guidelines throughout the world. They include MLA which is based on Modern Languages Association, APA based on American Psychological Association, Harvard style, and MHRA which stands for Modern Humanities Research Association. These writing styles are being constantly updated and revised. If you are writing on a particular topic, then you should be aware which style is accepted in your department. All of these writing styles have very specific requirements, and you have to know them prior to beginning work on your paper.
In order to get acquainted with the style that you don’t know well, you can find all the necessary guidelines online. Modern Humanities Research Association has published a MHRA Style Book that you can find in bookstores such as Blackwells. Let us discuss every writing style in a bit more detail to let you feel more comfortable using it. The MLA system is also called a parenthetical system because bracketed citations in your essay are connected to full references at the end of the essay. Different writing styles employ a similar approach, but they have differences in technicalities. Under MLA, it is enough to enter the last name and page number, whereas other styles require the publishing year as well. For instance, ‘There are many referencing styles and conventions, but that of them are used widely’ (Kennedy 17). If your paper quotes from more than one work by the same person, then the in-text-citation should provide a short version of title to indicate the exact reference, for example, (Kennedy New Relations 26).
MLA essay format requires a list of alphabetically placed citations to be put at the end of your paper. Every reference should have the following information incorporated into it: full name of the author – first and last, name of the work, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication. At the end, you should also indicate medium of publication. The following reference is provided as a sample: Kennedy, David. New Relations: The Refashioning of British Poetry 1980-1994. Bridgend: Seren, 1996. Print. Pay special attention to the punctuation of the MLA format essay that you are writing.
The APA essay format is also a parenthetical system. However, its bracketed in-text-citations include the author’s last name, publication year, and sometimes page or page numbers. For instance, in the previous example, the in-text-citation will be changed to (Kennedy, 2003, p. 17). Such format is employed at the end of the sentence before the period. APA style requires a list of alphabetical references to be put at the end of your essay, under the title “References”. Every single reference should have the name of the writer, first name initials, publication year included in brackets, name of the work, city of publication, and publisher. Here is an example of the earlier used reference, Kennedy, D. (1996). New relations: The refashioning of British poetry 1980-1994. Bridgend: Seren.
The Harvard paper is a bit different from the APA format essay. It also use parenthetical reference system. Harvard style in-text-citations include the same information as APA ones but different punctuation. Just like in APA format, the reference section will have a title, and it will be ‘Reference List’. It is necessary to list your sources alphabetically. Lastly, MHRA does not have any parenthetical citations. However, superscript numbers are connected to a list of notes in the form of footnotes or endnotes. These notes contain full references. This writing style is different from the more conventional ones and less widely used, but it still has its applications and it is necessary to be familiar with its specifications.