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APA, MLA, Chicago citation styles

APA, MLA, Chicago citation styles


When a teacher asks you to write an essay, they want to check what knowledge you have gained during a course as well as writing skills. And one of the tasks of the very writing is the right formatting. There are a few formatting styles, which are APA, MLA, Turabian, and Harvard. The former two are most common, but they differ from each other.

Features of APA Citation Style

All the academic papers must have the right format that meets the requirements of a certain style guide. For instance, students who study social sciences (linguistics, sociology, political science, archaeology, anthropology, etc.) and those who study behavioral sciences (psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience) should stick with APA format when writing their research reportsessays, literature reviews, and case studies.

First, let’s consider APA citation style so that you can understand what APA format looks like, in general.

American Psychology Association developed guidelines and standards of formatting for papers on different topics. The style includes rules for organizing papers on economics, political science, business, medicine, etc. It also includes standards for references and in-text citations.

Citing your sources and organizing your academic papers is a very important yet challenging task. However, it will be easy if you know exactly what the requirements are. You must demonstrate that you’ve researched your topic well, giving credit to other authors and listing your sources. It will help you avoid plagiarism, which is a very serious issue in the academic world.

Writing in APA Format

APA, or American Psychological Association, is mostly used for humanities papers, for example ones on psychology, philosophy, sociology etc. APA is more complex than MLA. And we are going to explain why.

Every paper should have a decent bibliography and in-text citations. The APA bibliography is called References. They usually cite phrases in the text taken from the sources used for writing. Students should do that to avoid plagiarism issues, which may lead to failing the course.

American Psychological Association made up their own formatting style so that it would be easier to tell humanities papers from technical ones (precise sciencess, business etc.). But APA has gained popularity beyond humanities and spread to other fields, for instance publishing.

APA style includes strict rules for in-text citations, margins, references, and the overall structure of your content. Here are some basic rules. Please keep in mind that these requirements may vary in different institutions.

  • Use double spaces.
  • Choose standard paper (8.5×11) and make one-inch margins on all sides.
  • Use a standard 12p font like Times New Roman, which is recommended by the APA manual.
  • Every page must begin with a running head that includes the shortened version of your title. The shortened title should be written in all caps and flush left. Make sure that your header is shorter than 50 characters.
  • Organize your outline the way you like, there are no specific guidelines for outlines.
  • Include page numbers on the right.
  • Make sure that your paper is concise and clear, with no unnecessary details.
  • When describing your research steps, use the first person.
  • Write in the active voice, especially when dealing with experiments.
  • Choose words carefully to avoid bias.
  • Use simple language and avoid complex expressions, metaphors, etc.

When formatting your essay according to the APA guidelines, use standard-sized paper (8.5″✕11″) with double spaces and 1″ margins on every side. Make sure to use a simple font that’s easy to read. For instance, APA recommends 12 pt Times New Roman.

Your paper should include a running head, also known as a page header, on every page. The running head is a short version of the title of your paper. It must be written in all caps on the left, with page numbers on the right. Make sure that the running head doesn’t exceed 50 characters.

Major Sections

Your essay must contain a title page, abstract, main body, and references.

Title Page

This section should contain the title of your essay, your name, and the institutional affiliation. This page should also include the running head. On the title page, your running head should look as follows:


On all the other pages, your running head should look like this:


We’ve talked to APA publication specialists and found out that the 6th edition of APA sample papers has incorrect examples of running heads. Please visit this page and check out a complete list of mistakes in the 6th edition of the APA style guide.

Your title should be written in both uppercase and lowercase letters. APA recommends that you make your paper up to 12 words long. It can take up to two lines and shouldn’t contain any unnecessary words or abbreviations. All text in your paper must be double-spaced.

After the title, include the author’s name in the following order: first name, middle initials, and last name. Avoid degrees (PhD) and titles (Dr).

After the author’s name, write an institutional affiliation. This is the location where you’ve conducted the research.


The abstract must include the page header and start on a new page. On the first line, write “Abstract.” Don’t use quotation marks, underlining, bold text, italics, or other types of formatting.

The next line is where you should start a concise summary of your research. Don’t indent it. Make sure that your abstract includes the topic of your research, its questions, methods, participants, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You can also provide possible implications of your research and recommendations on what future work you consider relevant to your research. The whole abstract must be a single double-spaced paragraph. Its length may vary from 150 to 250 words.

In the abstract, you can also list your keywords. Start a new paragraph, write “Keywords:” in italics, and then list words that will help others find your work in databases.

In fact, every page is formatted the same way except for the title and references pages. They have some peculiarities.

All papers should be only typed and double-spaced. Margins are one inch, no more, no less. The font is stricted to Times New Roman or Arial (12pt sharp). The text is black. No bold or italics except for headings and titles.

The running head on the title page should consist of the full title of your paper and go in capital letters. On the rest of the pages running head should go without the very phrase “Running head”. If the title is too long, you can make it shorter (50 characters max). Pages should be numbered in the right corner.

Using APA Essay Examples

Writing your first paper is a difficult task but if you have a good example of an APA paper, it will be much easier. You can use this sample paper as a learning model to create your own projects.

The sample paper will help you understand what the structure of your paper should look like so that you will only have to write the content. Start with the introduction and write your thesis statement. Provide your key points in the main body and illustrate them with examples and relevant evidence from reliable sources. After this, write a strong conclusion and a list of references so that your paper won’t suffer from plagiarism. Keep in mind that you should include in-text citations when paraphrasing someone else’s work. Include the author’s name and the year of publishing.

If your direct quote is longer than 40 words, indent the new line by a ½ inch from the left margin and make a blockquote, with no quotation marks. Make sure to indent all the other lines of the quote, as well.

APA paper structure

The usual structure of an APA styled paper is the following.

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract + Introduction
  3. Main body + Conclusion
  4. References / Bibliography

The teacher will give you a certain number of sources to use. If you do not have some, you will have to carry out research. There are two types of research, qualitative and quantitative. Which one to choose, depends on your aim and a type of paper.

APA title page should look like this.

Opinion Essay on Greenhouse Effect



Mind the running head at the top of every page.

Taking into consideration your subject and main idea, you should make up a catchy title. As for a research paper, a title should be concise and understandable. It should not necessarily sound interesting. It should represent what the paper is going to be about and ideas are dwelled on there.

Another part is an abstract.

It is a summary of your paper. You should provide the reader with information on a subject of research, its importance, and your findings. An abstract should contain a research topic, research question(s), methods, and outcomes. APA requirements to an abstract is no more than 250 words. The best would be one-third of a page. You may also include keywords.

Different papers have different structures. However, the typical essay structure includes a title page, abstract, body, and a list of references.

The title page must include the title, your name, and the name of your institution. This information must be written in the center of the page and double-spaced.

The title must reflect your main idea and be up to 12 words long. Write it in the upper half of the page. In addition, the running head on the title page must include words “RUNNING HEAD” in all caps.

The abstract must begin on a separate page, allowing your readers to get a grasp on the main ideas. Write the word “Abstract” in the center of the first line.

Your paper must also have a brief summary (up to 250 words). It’s an informative section that should present your research topic, state your research questions, and describe your methods. It should also include your main findings and conclusions.

You may also include a list of relevant keywords. This section must include an indented and italicized word “Keywords.”

Here are the general requirements for the main body:

  • Begin the body of your paper with the running head and the title written on the first line.
  • Indent the first line of the introductory paragraph and provide some details about the problem.
  • Provide a literature review. Write these words in bold, at the center of the page and use them as a subtitle.
  • Explain your methods in the methodology section so that your audience can understand how you’ve collected data and analyzed it.
  • Summarize your key findings in the results section. Illustrate your data with charts and graphs.
  • The discussion section must analyze your research results and interpret them. Make suggestions about future studies and draw conclusions.

Make sure to use proper subheadings and headings to organize your ideas in the right way. Don’t forget to divide them into sections. APA format includes five levels of headings with different purposes and sizes. This way, writers don’t have to use complicated numbering structures.

APA bibliography

The references appear at the end of a paper, providing a list of all sources cited or paraphrased by the author. Your sources must be organized alphabetically, starting with the author’s last name. Use double spaces. The first line of each source must be indented left. Keep in mind that different types of sources should be organized in different ways.

For example, when including books, provide the author’s name, the year of publication, title, location, and publisher:

Smith, A. (2016). The titlу of the book. New York, NY: Publisher

Web pages and online documents should be cited in the same way, with the URL at the end. You should also include the phrase “Retrieved from” before the URL.

Last but not least, how should references be listed? It is a big problem for those who has never dealt with APA style. Of course, you should consult a professional. Or you may try to do it on your own.

  1. Start with the author. Provide their last name(s) and initials.
  2. Provide the date of publication.
  3. Provide the title of a source (write it in italics).
  4. Provide the publisher’s place and name.
  5. If you know details, provide the volume, number of issue, pages where a citation is taken from, full URL etc.

If you find all of that difficult and think you won’t be able to do it yourself, you can always buy essay APA from us.

MLA Style and Formatting Guide

We hope that the following guide will help you format your papers according to the 8th edition of MLA style, including proper in-text and works cited references.

MLA style can be used in different types of papers. Given that texts are more mobile than ever, you can often find the same documents in different places. As a result, strict rules no longer guarantee good results. Although the handbook still focuses on citations, the process of documentation is more important than the sources themselves. As a result, writers get a flexible method that can be used with any papers and with sources of any kind.

When deciding how to cite your sources, consider the list of core elements that MLA recommends to include in the Works Cited section. We recommend that you list the elements in the following order:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of the source.
  3. Title of the container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Date of publication,
  9. Location.

As you can see, some elements are followed by periods, and others are followed by commas. You should use the same punctuation marks in your paper, as well. Previous editions of the handbook required other punctuation marks, such as colons and parentheses. Now, everything is simpler and you only have to provide the basic information about the source.


First, provide the author’s last name and the rest of their name, separated by a comma:

Smith, Andrew S. The Book. Publisher, 1996.

Title of the Source

The title must follow the author’s name. In the previous example, the title was written in italics. However, you may also use quotation marks, depending on the type of source. Books must be written in italics, while web pages require quotation marks. In this case, the container should be written in italics:

Smith, Andrew S. “The Article.” The Website,

The same goes for periodical articles (magazines, journals, newspapers):

Smith, Andrew S. “The Article.” The Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, 2006, pp. 56-61.

When citing a song, put the title of the song in quotation marks, and write the title of the album in italics:

Singer. “My Song.” My Album, Recording Studio, 2013,

According to the 8th edition of the handbook, you should include URLs for online sources.

Title of the Container

The 8th edition is different from the previous versions of the handbook because it introduces the term “container,” which means a place where the source is located. For example, when citing a poem that is included in a collection of poems, your source is the poem itself, while the collection is the container. Put your source in quotation marks, and italicize the container:

Brown, Cleveland. “The Poem.” Modern American Poets, edited by Stan Smith, Publisher, 2005, pp. 405-6.

When citing an episode of a TV series, the series is also the container:

“Jimmy Goes to School.” Jimmy’s Life, created by Cleveland Brown and Stan Smith, performance by James McDonald, season 3, episode 23, Production Studio, 2019.

Obviously, your container may also be a website:

Brown, Cleveland. Interview by Stan Smith. Interviews with People. 16 Apr. 2017,

Sometimes, a container may also be in a bigger container. For example, you may cite a TV series on Netflix or a story from a collection of short stories on Google Books. In this case, don’t forget to include the larger container, as well:

Smith, Stan. “The Interesting Story.” The Journal, vol. 40, no. 2, 2015, pp. 120-21, ProQuest, doi:20.1016/df654dg6fdfgf6d5. Accessed 23 April 2017.

“Jimmy Goes to School.” Jimmy’s Life, season 3, episode 23, NBC, 30 Apr. 2017. Netflix,

Other Contributors

A source may have other contributors, besides the author. If their contribution is related to the specifics of your paper, you should credit them as translators, editors, illustrators, etc. The 8th edition of the handbook no longer supports abbreviations for translators, editors, illustrators, etc.

Brown, Cleveland. The Book. Translated by Stan Smith, Publisher, 1997.


If your source is a certain version or edition of a work, you should also specify it in your citation:

Brown, Cleveland. The Book. 3rd ed., Publisher, 2017.


If your source is a part of a sequence, such as a journal, a multi-volume book, or TV series, you should include its number in your citation:

Brown, Cleveland. “The Article.” The Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, 2006,

“Jimmy Goes to School.” Jimmy’s Life, created by Cleveland Brown and Stan Smith, performance by James McDonald, season 3, episode 23, Production Studio, 2019.


A publisher may produce or distribute sources. If there is more than one publisher, include them in your citation, if they are relevant to your research. Multiple publishers should be separated by a slash (/).

However, you may not include the publisher’s name when citing works published by the author themselves, periodicals, websites that provide sources but don’t publish them, or websites that have the same name as the publisher.

Publication Date

Keep in mind that the same source might have been published more than once. For example, you may work with an online version of an original source. A TV series may be broadcasted on one date and become available on Netflix on another date. You should always specify the relevant date. If you’re not sure what date to use, we recommend that you use the original date.

Here is what your citation should look like. It includes the production company and the year the TV series was released.

“Jimmy Goes to School.” Jimmy’s Life, created by Cleveland Brown and Stan Smith, performance by James McDonald, season 3, episode 23, Production Studio, 2017.

However, when writing about this TV series in the historical context, you need to cite the full date when this episode was originally aired. In this case, you should also include a television network that aired this episode, instead of the production company:

“Jimmy Goes to School.” Jimmy’s Life, created by Cleveland Brown and Stan Smith, performance by James McDonald, season 3, episode 23, WB Television Network, 15 Apr. 2018.


Be specific when providing information on the location of the source. When dealing with a journal article or book, make sure to include page numbers.

Smith, Andrew S. “The Article.” The Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, 2006, pp. 56-61.

You should also include URLs for online sources. However, you must remove “https://” or “http://” at the beginning.

When citing physical objects, include the place of location:

Smith, Stan. My Painting, 1934, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Optional Elements

The 8th edition of MLA rules is straightforward. It must help everyone find the necessary source and doesn’t provide any unnecessary information. However, there are some additional elements that you can include if you need.

The original date of publication

If a source has been published several times, you can include more than one date if this information is valuable in the context of your research.

Brown, Cleveland. The Book. 1982. Publisher, 1998.

City of publication

Although the 7th edition of the handbook required you to provide the city where the publisher is located, now you only need to do this if your source was published before 1900, since old sources were usually associated with the city where they were published.

Smith, Stan. The Book. Boston, 1853.

Date of access

The MLA Handbook recommends that you include the date of access when citing online sources because online works often get updated.

Smith, Andrew S. “The Article.” The Website, 15 Apr. 2008, Accessed 5 Aug. 2018.


The 8th edition recommends to include URLs but we suggest that you talk to your editor or instructor and ask them whether you should do it.

“DOI” stands for “Digital Object Identifier.” A DOI includes numbers and letters. It helps locate the source even if its URL changes:

Smith, Stan. “The Interesting Story.” The Journal, vol. 40, no. 2, 2015, pp. 120-21, ProQuest, doi:20.1016/df654dg6fdfgf6d5. Accessed 23 April 2017.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations briefly indicate the source in the text. The main purpose of in-text citations is to attribute ideas to the source and to show where this source is located in the Works Cited section. You should include the author’s name and the page number in parentheses. However, if you’ve mentioned the author in the sentence, you should only include the page number:

“The secret of the perfect cheeseburger is high-quality beef” (Brown, 10).


According to Cleveland Brown, the secret of the perfect cheeseburger is high-quality beef (10).

When including in-text citations for movies or podcasts, you should also specify hours, minutes, and seconds (for example, 00:03:16-00:05:34).

Keep in mind that your goal is to provide the necessary information without distracting your readers with any unnecessary information.

Final Thoughts

MLA guidelines apply to a vast range of works. Follow our tips and you will create documentation for sources of any kind. Although the handbook includes many helpful examples, you won’t need to check them every time you need to include a citation. Just include the basic elements and use the right punctuation. Having enough practice, you’ll be able to cite your sources on your own.

Chicago Citation Style Definition

Chicago style includes two types of citations: the first one is the author-date type, and the second one is bibliography and notes. Students should understand what system is better in each particular situation, so we decided to help you make the right choice.

Where to Buy a Chicago Style Paper?

Chicago is a common citation style that relies on notes and bibliography. This style is often used in art, literature, and social sciences. Let’s consider all the key elements of the Chicago style in detail.

Author-Date or Notes and Bibliography?

Notes and bibliography are a system used in many areas, including the arts, history, and literature. This system implies using numbered lists of sources in footnotes or endnotes. Every number in a list refers to a superscript number in the main text. In addition, there is a separate bibliography section with a list of all the used sources. This system of citations can be used when dealing with various sources, including non-typical sources which are impossible to cite using the author-date method.

The author-date method is popular in the sciences. Author-date citations are more concise and are usually written in parentheses, including only the author’s last name and the year of publication. However, in-text citations also correspond to a reference list that contains all the necessary bibliographic information.

Although these two systems imply using different types of citations, they also have a lot in common. Author-date and notes and bibliography citations have similar styles.

When choosing a citation style, most people make their choice depending on what style is most common among other authors in the niche. We also suggest that you check the requirements of a particular publisher.

If you want to learn more about Chicago citation style and its types, check The Chicago Manual of Style, chapters 14 and 15.

This style is popular in humanities. Its guide describes the use of footnote citations and a bibliography page. You can check the Chicago Manual of Style to understand what to include in the sources. If you learn how to cite your sources properly, you will avoid any plagiarism issues.


When you use information from other sources like paperduenow, you should include either a footnote or endnote. Footnotes must be included at the end of a page, while endnotes appear at the end of the paper. When you include a quote or paraphrase your source, add a superscript number at the end of the sentence so that your readers can find the bibliography information in your notes. However, if there is no bibliography section in your paper, you must provide full publication information for a source when citing it for the first time. In this case, your note must include the title of the source, the author’s name publications facts, etc. When using the same source again, you only need to include the author’s surname and a shortened version of the title, along with the page number. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a bibliography section in your paper, you need to include the full citation in every chapter.


A bibliography section must provide all the services that you used when writing the paper listed alphabetically. This section should appear at the end of the paper. Bibliographies of different sources may look different, however, they can always be arranged by the author’s last name. If there is no particular author, use the title of the work. You can also include a descriptive phrase. You may not need to include a source in the bibliography if the notes contain all the necessary bibliographic details.

Key Details

All the elements of your bibliography section should contain the author’s name, the title of the source, and publication details.

  • The author’s name: The last name followed by the first name.
  • Titles: Books and journals should be written in italics. Put titles of articles, poems, and chapters in quotation marks.
  • Publication details: Include the journal name and publisher followed by the publication year.
  • Punctuation: Main elements should be separated with periods.

Many students have a hard time citing sources in their papers, so we recommend that you order professional writing help online if you have any problems.

Chicago Style Sample Papers

You can always get good samples of Chicago style papers online. However, you should know what companies to choose because there are many companies that offer custom writing, and not all of them are reliable. We recommend that you do your research and check out the reviews before ordering papers on some website. Compare samples from different companies and make the right choice. Reliable writing services offer the following benefits:

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