Overview of Editorial Styles
Students encounter several different citation styles for formatting essays and research papers. However, even though there are editorial citation styles for every research field, students will use three primary styles: APA, MLA and Chicago/Turabian.
APA Format Citation Style
APA style is developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) for research in education, social and behavioral sciences. These style rules are laid out in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. APA citation format uses the author-date style with in-text citations and corresponding reference sources.
MLA Citation Format
Chicago Style is published by the University of Chicago Press and is the most extensive of the three citation styles. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), 17th Edition is over a thousand pages, including its bibliography. There is a student version of Chicago called Turabian style after the author of A Manual for Writers, Kate L. Turabian. Students often are confused if they’re asked to use the Turabian style; however, it is the same as Chicago style. Since CMOS is written for publishers, it contains a lot more information for writers than students need, so using the shorter version is easier.
Chicago/Turabian Types of Style
Chicago or CMOS is the most complicated of the three styles, as it consists of two different bibliographic formats:
- Simple to use
- Used for physical, natural and social sciences writing
This Chicago/Turabian style follows a basic author-date style. Essentially, both the parenthetical and source citation place the author’s name first, followed by the year of publication.
Notes-Bibliography is an extensive notes bibliographic style:
- Notes can be formatted as endnotes or footnotes.
- Used for history, literature and the arts.
- Note numbers are placed within the text, then information about the source is placed at the end of the chapter or at the bottom of the page.
- Each note is cited within a bibliography at the end of the paper.
You may notice some publications have notes but no bibliography listed at the end. This is a decision made by the publisher. Some papers may use both footnotes and endnotes in the research paper. If you use notes-biblio in your school paper, follow your teacher’s instructions.
Understanding Chicago/Turabian Style
If you’re writing a paper for your school, it’s best to consult A Manual for Writers, by Turabian. This book is designed to help students format your paper, parenthetical citations and bibliography.
As with all citation styles, you need to cite sources for these reasons:
- Credit your sources
- Verify the accuracy of data
- Guide your readers to the sources
- Show existing research
No matter what style you’re using, you need to evaluate your sources and learn the difference between primary and secondary sources.
Chicago notes style uses a bibliography rather than a reference list. Bibliographies contain sources of all the works consulted to prepare a research paper. References and Works Cited contain only those sources actually cited within a paper.
Bibliographies can be full papers on their own. Your teacher may ask you to prepare an annotated bibliography as a separate research project. Annotated bibliographies are also a great resource for you to find good sources for your own paper.
Although bibliographies and reference lists are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, they can also be sectioned by type of work. This is very helpful to find a certain reference work or religious work, for example. The CMOS is sectioned by the type of work. Sections include:
- Works on Writing and Editing
*subsections include grammar and usage
- General Reference Works
*subsections include Biography and Geography
The author-date style is a simpler way to cite sources. If you’re formatting a Chicago/Turabian author-date paper, you’ll list the actual sources you used in the paper. The author’s name and date of publication are the first elements in both the parenthetical citation and its corresponding source citation in the reference list.
Your instructor will tell you which style to use in your classes. Occasionally, you’ll make your own choice. In this case, review the descriptions of each style and figure out which works best for you.
You will encounter Chicago style within books and articles that you consult for your paper. These sources are really good for research because they have a lot of resources for you to look up for further research.