Since when and why do some academic publishers use, prefer or enforce endnotes instead of footnotes

Since when and why do some academic publishers use, prefer or enforce endnotes instead of footnotes

When reading academic books of a certain size the usage of endnotes in those is killing me and my productivity. That is practically part of the definition:

Footnotes are notes at the foot of the page while endnotes are collected under a separate heading at the end of a chapter, volume, or entire work. Unlike footnotes, endnotes have the advantage of not affecting the layout of the main text, but may cause inconvenience to readers who have to move back and forth between the main text and the endnotes.
Wikipedia: Note (typography)

While there seem to be some speculative thoughts out there about the general waste of using these arcane formatting conventions it seems particularly nasty to have these endnotes in academic works, especially grievous when organised by chapters or even finer grained:

I understand that some readers don't want to read footnotes but as part of the target demographic for academic books, as a consumer of academic books, as one who pays a considerable number of dollars for increasingly expensive academic books, I object to the rise of endnotes to the exclusion of footnotes in academic books.
The Evil Of Endnotes In Academic Books

There is the weak rationale that target demographics caused this preference, which does not make that much sense. Certain publication series, like journals, have their own tradition for how to format things, granted. But if that targeting is indeed the cause:

Why did that start? When did that start? How come this preference for disregarding the intended readership is more prevalent in American books than European books?

Looking for details on how these decisions became so entrenched I could not find any historical explanation. Neither on any conscious decision making process nor on a description or explanation of the process leading to the present situation.

Another Wikipedia article offers an unsourced explanation that points in the direction of somehow cultural preference:

Viele Herausgeber fürchten, Fußnoten könnten auf ein breiteres Publikum abschreckend wirken.
Translation: Many editors/publishers fear that footnotes could act as a deterrent to a wider audience.

Since this reasoning is not only unsourced but also quite far from making much sense and also almost contrary to some standards of tradition, ergonomics and usability, especially for historians, theologians, linguists and the like.

A seemingly comprehensive work on the subject has very little to say about the history of this exact rivalry :

But Hume also put forward some technical complaints, which he hoped Gibbon might take into account in preparing the second edition of his work, chiefly in order to make it more accessible to the reader:

He ought certainly to print the number of the chapter at the head of the Margin, and it would be better if something of the Contents coud also be added. One is also plagued with his Notes, according to the present Method of printing the Book: When a note is announced, you turn to the End of the Volume; and there you often find nothing but the Reference to an Au-thority: All these Authorities ought only to be printed at the Margin or the Bottom of the Page.

This text reveals much. It reminds us, first of all, that Gibbon's footnotes began as endnotes, and only reached what we now chink of as their traditionally prominent position on Gibbon's page after Hume complained. But it also confirms that the technical, documentary side of Gibbon's footnoting did not represent a radical innovation in exposition or format. Hume did not see the notion that citations should identify the sources of statements in a historical text as radically new.

Ten years before Gibbon brought out the first, endnoted volume of the Decline and Fall, Möser had already finished printing the first, preliminary, spectacularly documented edition of his Osnabrückische Geschichte. The early twentieth-century historian of historiog-raphy Eduard Fueter -ever more willing to notice exceptional individual achievements than to abandon the traditional cate-gories they challenged- und Möser's achievement surpris-ingly modern, even radical, in meth and presentation (though highly conservative in content). Möser, he admitted, did not try to conceal, but strove to reveal, the sources from which he worked. Footnotes, in short, were written by eighteenth-century historians who lived and worked in very different worlds, societies, and even libraries. The need for clearly presented his-torical documentation established itself, paradoxically, in the age of the philosophes, who despised pedantry as a form of secular superstition.

One last time, David Hume offers crucial testimony. He directed the letter in which he insisted that Gibbon make his endnotes into f tnotes not to Gibbon hi selfbut to their joint publisher, William Strahan. As he said, "I intended to have given him (Gibbon} my Advice with regard to the manner of printing it; but as I am now writing to you, it is the same thing.
Anthony Grafton: "The Footnote. A Curious History", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1997, p 103, 116, 222.

Since when and why do some academic publishers use, prefer or enforce endnotes instead of footnotes in academic books, even in the face of that that may not the most reasonable choice?

It is a bit complicated…

Since printing exists, its applications created professionals who were creating documents by hand. Books, and in later times magazines, were expensive because of the necessary amount of manual work involved. On the other hand people used handwriting for their own works; even dissertations were written by hand until the 1970s, especially in mathematics.

So you have a division: The professional setting with expensive books and all other works with handwriting.

The professional work indeed eschewed endnotes for longer works, instead they used marginalia (which seem now extinct) and footnotes. Only articles in scientific journals used primarily endnotes because it was only a few pages and therefore easily accessible. The professionals also used every typography feature available: Kerning, ligatures, removing widows and orphans. The mathematical journals also developed their own tools to layout mathematical formulas. All other works were written by hand.

Then came the typewriter.
It enabled an increase in speed, but it did not support any typographical features. People used it, but began to use endnotes because footnotes were difficult to fix and looked like crap. If you look for mathematical literature from the end of the 19th century on, you will find copied typewriter books with manually inserted formulas.
It looks extremely awful. So awful that mathematicians even then preferred to write their dissertations by hand.

Fast forward, 1970s. Donald Knuth developed TeX which allowed users to develop professional looking documents with full footnote and mathematical symbol support. It is still the standard in the mathematical and technical community. On the other hand, there are those who were using Wordstar (old forgotten standard), Word and OpenOffice, who are still unable to correctly layout footnotes.

While the TeX users never had a problem with footnotes, the latter users preferred endnotes (because their programs are broken). Now the availability of powerful hardware, excellent printing capabilities and more and more content available on the Web and in digital formats led to a decline in the printing industry. Unable to be paid for high quality, printing is now more and more done by unprofessionals.

The claim that footnotes are expensive and error-prone is ridiculous; since TeX it is a solved problem. The problem is that the printing houses are not able to maintain quality, so they are now paying people who only know the Word-style endnote solution.

I fairly often have to produce decently formatted printed documents. Endnotes, which I too dislike, are much easier to manage for the publisher. Footnotes on the other hand mess up your page layout big time.

If they designer of the layout complains loud enough - and those prima donnas do that very well - the publisher happily gives in.

To give you an practical example: National Geographic often has beautiful but almost useless colored graphs in articles. For example the population of an area in shades of the same color.

The artists who produce them are invariably young people with 20/20 eyesight. The editors who approve them are slightly older people with almost the same eyesight. But… most of their readers are old fogies like me over 50 years. They have lousy eyesight and get slightly colorblind. We can't see all those darned shades.

However, as long as the readers don't complain, and the editors don't care, NG will keep those useless but colorful graphs. It's known fact men >50 can see less color variations. Problem is that nobody does anything with this known fact.

The same applies to footnote/endnotes. I prefer footnotes, even though it can screw up your graphic design. Editors look at the cost, and stick to endnotes. The editor controls the purse, so what the editor says, goes!

Short story: endnotes are cheaper and easier to manage.

The main reason for publishers preferring endnotes over footnotes is financial:

Many university presses now more or less require endnotes, since typesetting notes at the bottom of the page requires more fiddling by technicians and is therefore more expensive. Footnotes also carry the potential for added expense when corrections are made to page proofs, since even minor changes can launch a cascading mess, bumping note callouts to different pages and dragging their linked notes with them.

The 'cascading mess' referred is very real as I remember this problem when writing my PhD in the early 1990s. We were required to use footnotes and it was sometimes a nightmare when editing drafts. Texts go through several edits, sometimes adding, sometimes removing, sometimes rearranging - this last one was particularly problematic for footnotes. Also, you'd end up with tables which previously fit on a page being split between two pages or the titles of graphs appearing on one page and the graph itself on the next page.

Academic publishers

have been using footnotes regularly for about a century. Footnotes have existed for probably a couple of centuries or more but they became more regularly and widely used through the middle of the 20th century.

The use of footnotes in academic literature was still widespread in the late 1980s, but the endnote was gaining ground. The site Historiann says

… footnote-killing is a longstanding trend among non-virtual academic book publishers for at least twenty years. Most university presses and tradey U-press lines use endnotes, period.

The author of this source mentions being told that the increased cost of paper was a factor but he/she seems unclear how endnotes save paper. This could be true, though, due to the margins required on each page between the main text and the footnotes. Also, long footnotes can be difficult to deal with and make economical formatting (i.e. using the whole page) difficult, especially if the text contains images, tables, graphs etc.

Endnotes are indeed a pain for the reader, especially when using pdf files, but some Kindle books now have pop-up footnotes (just google kindle pop-up footnotes for more details).

Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) notes and bibliography system is commonly used to cite sources in history and in the field of publishing. This system includes footnotes at the bottom of pages or endnotes before an alphabetized bibliography. To direct readers to endnotes or footnotes, you place a numerical reference in the form of a superscripted number in your paper whenever a source is summarized, paraphrased, quoted or consulted. Without notes, you are technically in danger of plagiarism, even if you have listed your sources at the end of the essay.

Footnotes and endnotes contain identical formatting, and the two approaches differ only in where each type of note is placed in a document. Some instructors may prefer or require one approach over the other, and you should ask if unsure. Footnotes and endnotes are entirely separate from the bibliography. Notes tie particular pieces of discussion within the text to particular pieces of source material. Bibliographies provide a more general list of sources consulted, and most often they are attached to the end of the document. As such, a bibliography alone will most often not satisfy the requirement for citation in a formal essay, paper, or research product. Depending on the assignment, instructors may or may not require a bibliography.

Notes contain essential pieces of identifying information about source material and may appear in two forms: a long form that includes complete publication details or a shorter form that contains only information sufficient to direct readers to a more complete entry in the bibliography or in an earlier note. It's important to understand when to use each form. If a paper or project has no bibliography, the first note referencing a source should be in the long form, providing complete publication information. If a paper does contain a bibliography, notes can appear in shortened form because the bibliography will convey full information.

The Big Three: APA, MLA, and CMS

There are three main "Schools of Style" used to properly format an academic paper, referred to as APA, MLA, or CMS.

  • APA style: These are the official guidelines put forth by the American Psychological Association, now in its sixth edition. This is the preference of the social sciences, so if you are studying sociology, psychology, medicine, or social work you are going to know APA style.
  • MLA style: The Modern Language Association provides guidelines you will be familiar with if you are focused on the Humanities: so artists, English majors, and theatre students will know MLA as they have used this style now for more than half a century.
  • CMS style: These are the style guidelines put forth in the Chicago Manual of Style, now in its 16th edition. CMS style is predominantly seen in the humanities, particularly with literature students and those who study advanced segments of history and/or the arts.

While these formatting methods will share many characteristics such as margins and spacing, how they attribute references to source materials is the main differentiator. For example, APA lists "references" while MLA calls the same thing "works cited" - a small but important distinction that might actually affect your grade.

Typically, you are going to use one style for most of your classes and communications, but there is certainly the possibility that you'll need to know how to use any one of these three common styles. The good news is it is not hard to get up-to-speed on any one of them and use them properly.

Get the Latest Updates
Regardless of which style you are using, it is imperative to get the most recent version of the guidelines to ensure your paper is as accurate as it can be. Each of the sources have updated their guidelines multiple times over the years, so working with the current standards is goal one.

APA and MLA are the most common styles to use, but CMS is not unheard of - just not as common for undergrads. CMS is commonly used in traditional book publishing and academic publishing situations, so if you are doing post-graduate writing, it is good to know.

The main thing that seems to be changing in the rules for all of them is about the proper attribution of web-related sources, so you are going to want to re-check that you are working from the most recent versions of whichever style guide you need.

Footnotes for white papers 101

It’s not difficult to write down your views.

It’s much harder to find compelling evidence to back up those views.

Footnotes help your white paper convey more authority than a simple blog post or opinion piece.

Footnotes help build your argument and prove that you did your homework.

But most writers have never thought much about footnotes since, well, college.

To help you use footnotes effectively, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about them.

Q: How can I tell when I need a footnote?

Whenever you define a term, find a source for your definition. Example: “PII is any information that can link an account number to a specific person.”

Whenever you give a number, date, or statistic, back it up with a reliable source. Example: “Since 2000, more than 200 million accounts have been exposed in security breaches in the U.S. alone.”

Whenever you state a controversial view, include a reference to help quiet the doubts that arise in the reader’s mind. Example: “By now, the cloud is perfectly secure for any enterprise.”

Note how all three examples look questionable without any sources. Each one would be much stronger with a footnote that gave a precise reference.

Q: Which are better: footnotes or endnotes?

As you know, a footnote falls at the bottom of a page, while an endnote is placed at the end of a document. This small detail makes a big difference.

Footnotes provide immediate credibility. Many readers glance down the page to see them, so they tend to be noticed. Footnotes look scholarly and suggest that a document is well-researched.

Endnotes are more tidy, since they do not break up the reading experience of a page. But fewer people flip back to see them, so endnotes tend to add less authority to a document.

It’s your choice which format you use.

For a longer discussion of this question, see my article here.

Q: How much text can I legally quote in a white paper?

You’re generally safe to quote a sentence or two from any published source like a newspaper, magazine, blog or company website, as long as you give proper credit.

Some say that you can legally use 200 or 300 words from any source. But this isn’t carved in stone.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “there is no formula to ensure that a predetermined percentage or amount of a work—or specific number of words, lines, pages, copies—may be used without permission.” [1]

Copyright material can be quoted for comment, education, parody, reporting, or research under “fair use” provisions.

Here is the key question to ask: Am I costing someone money to quote what I want from their material?

Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose someone wrote a book called 10 Dumb Things IT Managers Do to Undermine Their Careers.

If you come along and quote one of their 10 points, along with the full title and publisher, you likely won’t hurt sales of that book. You could even say you helped promote it.

But if you copy all 10 points with a fair chunk of text under each item, that’s giving away too much of someone else’s content.

The author and publisher could well argue that you hurt sales and cost them money.

To be practical, no one sues anyone else unless there’s a great deal of money at stake. Just be reasonable, and you shouldn’t have any legal problems.

Q: When do I need permission to quote from another document?

Some publishers that produce premium newsletters, market research, or other original material want you to ask permission before you quote anything from them.

Some industry analysts like Gartner try to enforce this policy.

If you simply want to quote one factoid that was already widely reported by other websites or publications, you can likely skip getting permission.

But if you grab all the best insights from a report priced at $3,995 and put them into your own white paper, the publisher may get pretty annoyed.

Once again, ask yourself the key question: Am I costing someone money to quote what I want from their material?

If you do want to quote from a high-priced report, always consider asking permission from the publisher. You can usually find contact information at the front of the report.

Q: How should I format my footnotes?

Here are two down-to-earth principles for formatting footnotes in a white paper:

  1. A footnote must provide enough detail for an interested reader to find that source if they wish.
  2. Footnote formats must be consistent within any white paper, and ideally across all white papers from a company.

Most white paper sponsors and readers will not notice much beyond these basics. You simply want your footnotes to be clear, accurate and complete.

For example, here is the format I use for footnotes in my white papers:

X: Author Name, “Title of Book or Article”, Publication (for articles), Publisher, date, page

To avoid any confusion, I give dates with the day first as in 󈫽 March 2016” in the way more popular in Europe. Even if someone has never seen this format in their life, it’s abundantly clear.

Q: How can I cite a webpage?

If your source is a blog or website, you can append a URL to a footnote to show where and when you found the document online. For example:

retrieved 20 March 2016 from

Q: Where can I find out more about footnotes?

If you want to venture deeper, there are several styles for academic footnotes, including:

    , often used in social sciences , often used in history and economics , often used in liberal arts and literature.

Don’t worry: The differences between them are immaterial to any B2B white paper readers.

But if you happen to be writing a white paper for academics, they may well notice. In this case, pick one footnote style and stick to it carefully, or have an academic review your formatting before you publish.

[1]: “More Information on Fair Use,” U.S. Copyright Office, retrieved 27 February 2016 from

How do you use footnotes in white papers? Which type and style do you prefer? Please leave your comments below.

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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 300 white papers on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, from household names like Google and Verizon to tiny startups with big ideas. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned more than 50 5-star ratings on Amazon. And named 2019 Copywriter of the Year by AWAI, the world's leading training organization for professional copywriters.

Is Plagiarism A Sin?

In the last year or so there have been several occasions where it has been discovered that some words in books written by Christian authors were not their own words, but yet were not footnoted as being written by someone else. This occurrence is usually referred to as “plagiarism”. The publishers of the books in question have reacted by halting sales of the affected books, sometimes forever, or sometimes until this can be corrected. This both harms the public, who are deprived of the wisdom such books contain, and harms the reputation of the author, who is labelled a plagiarist. Therefore, it is important to be certain that the act the author has committed is, in fact, sinful. If it is, fair enough. But if it is not, both the removal from sale of the book and the loss of reputation are unwarranted and harmful.

Contemporary academic standards certainly see plagiarism as a serious misdemeanour. In a context where work has to be marked for credit, it’s clearly important that the marker knows which of the work is the student’s own, and which is taken from others. In this case, the act is clearly wrong – but one could argue either that it is wrong per se, or that it’s wrong because the student is breaking a promise they made to attribute all their quotations correctly – when the sin would be “not keeping one’s word”, rather than plagiarism.

Don Carson also writes that giving another’s sermon is also a sin. I would not agree with all his reasons but certainly would agree with reason number 3 – “you are not devoting yourself to the study of the Bible to the end that God’s truth captures you, molds you, makes you a man of God and equips you to speak for him”. Preachers should not use the words of others as a way of avoiding engaging in their God-given and weighty task.

However, I think plagiarism is not a sin in itself, and I base my argument on the construction of Scripture. Scripture contains many examples of what today would be called plagiarism – unattributed use of the words of another. Many of these are where words are taken from other places in Scripture, but there are also some where words are taken from outside Scripture. Not all such quotations are unattributed, but many are. Large examples include:

* The dependence of Kings on other books (e.g. (e.g. 2 Kings 18-20 is basically the same as Isaiah 36-39 2 Kings 25 is nearly identical to Jeremiah 52)
* The dependence of Chronicles on Kings
* The dependence of Matthew on Mark (e.g. Mark 2:1-12 has strong similarities with Matthew 9:1-8)
* The dependence of Luke on Mark
* The dependence of 2 Peter on Jude (or the other way around, if you prefer)

And that’s before you consider Q (a proposed document also used by Luke and Matthew, so unattributed that scholars argue about its very existence), and all the times the New Testament quotes or alludes to the Old (most of which are unattributed). Paul quotes 3 Greek philosophers in various places none of the quotes are attributed by name, even though Paul must have known the names. They are in quotation marks in our modern Bibles, but Greek does not have quotation marks. One could go on. Any one of these examples would prove my point.

If it is a sin in all circumstances to take the words of others and pass them off as your own, then the very construction of Scripture as we have it involved its authors doing this sinful act many times. While Scripture describes sins, and was written down by sinners, I don’t believe that God would have used sinful methods in the process of assembling his good and perfect word – because if the existence of something necessarily depends on sin, how can it be described as good and perfect? If God thinks that unattributed quotation is a sin, why would he not have caused the authors to attribute all their quotations, thereby setting us all a good example? If plagiarism is a sin, lack of attribution of quotations is a flaw in Scripture itself.

The idea that copying the work of others, either at all or without attribution, is unreasonable is a relatively recent one in history. Copyright has only been around since the Statute of Anne in 1707, and that was a measure designed at controlling publishers rather than restricting people’s ability to quote. More recently in history, such things have been thought about under the banner of “intellectual property”, a name which rather begs the question, as it’s not clear at all that such things should be treated in the same manner as physical property. This concept of a particular person “owning” a set of words or ideas was unknown until relatively recently. The fact that these ideas are innovative should certainly give us caution in suggesting that they are reflections of the moral will of God which humans had been unaware of until 300 years ago. Christians have always built on the wisdom God has given those before them, and we should be wary of any man-made laws which restrict that free flow of ideas forward in time.

Nevertheless, the law is the law – is plagiarism wrong because it’s a breach of copyright law as it stands today, and Christians are called to obey the law (Romans 13)? The answer is that it depends on the context and the level of copying. Copyright law has exceptions to try and balance its view that the author should have control of their work with what it sees as the legitimate rights and desires of the public. But the way copyright law works in the UK is that the law doesn’t provide actual affirmation that certain exempt acts are OK, it instead provides for defences in court. This means that the only way to know for certain whether a particular use is an infringement or not is to ask a judge. This is relevant because of the legal doctrine of de minimis – below a certain level, a court would undoubtedly refuse to waste its time with a copyright infringement.

Nevertheless, it is reasonable to ask if this behaviour seems to be covered by an exception. Exceptions unfortunately vary from country to country in the UK, there is an exception for “criticism, review, quotation and news reporting“, which is certainly designed to permit quotation of one book in another. It does require “sufficient acknowledgement (unless this would be impossible for reasons of practicality or otherwise)” (section 30). It could certainly be argued that if you took notes 20 years ago and neglected to record the source, it is now practically impossible to acknowledge it. One might consider prosecution if attribution were intentionally left off would a prosecutor really do so if it were done unintentionally?

Earlier, I noted that in some contexts, plagiarism can be sinful because it involves breaking a promise. Can that be the case in commercial publishing? There are two possible promises to consider – that of the author to his publisher, and that of the author (and publisher) to the readership.

Let us consider the author/publisher relationship first. Having not yet authored my first best-seller I am not familiar with the contracts that authors draw up with publishers. These may well contain a clause saying the author will attribute all quotations, or perhaps make a good faith effort to do so. However, someone’s culpability for breaking a promise depends significantly on intent and circumstances. If I promise my wife to be home by a certain time and my train is late (and I write this while waiting for a train after missing a connection due to a late incoming train), I would suggest only an unreasonable wife would take me to task for this. If an author deliberately plagiarises others when having promised not to do so, that is a clear case of a broken promise. If they do so accidentally, is pulping all copies of their book a proportionate response?

The second situation to consider is the possibility that an author makes an implicit promise to his readership. I think this argument is stronger in an academic work where the footnotes average a third of each page, than in a non-academic work which has 20 endnotes in total. There are different reader expectations in each case. But how normative are reader expectations? I expect books I buy to be written in good English, theologically sound, thought-provoking and enlightening. These expectations are, sadly, often not met, but I don’t expect the publisher to pulp the book in response to my complaint! To add to that, one is on shaky ground construing promises where no explicit promise has been made. Lastly, the point about what one does if a promise is broken accidentally (as opposed to wilfully) still stands.

Plagiarism may be problematic and unwise in certain circumstances. For example, it makes it harder to trace the history of an idea back to its source, which is often important in avoiding groupthink and validating “what everyone knows”. But we must avoid the genetic fallacy – the worthiness of an idea or thought is not connected to whose idea or thought it was. If a book explains the Trinity well, it does not suddenly do so less well if it’s discovered that some of the words were not written by the author named on the cover.

So I would suggest that the idea that plagiarism is always and everywhere wrong is a recent innovation and not a reflection of the moral will of God. Intentionally breaking one’s explicit promises is sinful plagiarism itself alone is not.

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section for full citations and in-text.

Name of the author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the MLA citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a full citation:

(Author’s Last name page number) or Author’s Last name. (page).

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

Author 1’s Last Name, First name, and Author 2’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.

Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

(Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name page number) or Author 1’s Last name and Author 2’s Last name. (page).

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This often happens with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

Author 1’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using “et al.” In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using the Citation Machine citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

(Author 1’s Last name et al. page number)

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

For in-text: Use the title of the source in parentheses. Place the title in italics if the source stands alone. Books and films stand alone. If it’s part of a larger whole, such as a chapter in an edited book or an article on a website, place the title in quotation marks without italics.

Other in-text structures:

Authors with the same last name in your paper? MLA essay format requires the use of first initials in-text in this scenario.

Ex: (J. Silver 45)

Are you citing more than one source by the same author? For example, two books by Ernest Hemingway? Include the title in-text.

Example: (Hemingway, For Whom The Bell Tolls 12).

Are you citing a film or song? Include a timestamp in the format of hours:minutes:seconds. (Back to the Future 00:23:86)

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, in an MLA format paper, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter, 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m.,

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using the MLA works cited generator at Citation, you can choose the individual’s role from a drop down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie, Titanic, in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the Works Cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA Works Cited list:

DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic. Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, the tools at can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a title written properly:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it sits in, in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall, cite it as this:

Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album in MLA formatting, cite it as this:

Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as this:

Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story, or chapter, in the book, it would be cited as this:

Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More about containers

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so that readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix.

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers:

Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full other section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found on a database. This source has two containers, the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse,

If you’re still confused about containers, the Citation Machine MLA cite generator can help! MLA citing is easier when using the tools at

Other contributors

Many sources have people, besides the author, who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word by, and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included:

Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.


If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word “edition” to “ed.”

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books,


Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number, different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. For MLA citing, this includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.


It is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except for periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in MLA in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.


The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

Make sure to remove the beginning of the URL (http:// or https://) as it is unnecessary to include this information.

For page numbers, when citing a source that sits on only one page, use p.

Example: p. 6.

When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers.

Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end. When it comes to URLs, many students wonder if the links in citations should be live or not. If the paper is being shared electronically with a teacher and other readers, it may be helpful to include live links. If you’re not sure whether to include live links or not, ask your teacher or professor for guidance.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine citing tools could help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Table of Contents

A citation style is a set of rules and guidelines that defines how a student should cite and refer to the sources used in his papers. Using existing research and citing other researchers’ work is a common practice among students and people working in the field of research. When using the quotes, ideas, and phrases from other works, adding a citation and reference is necessary.

In its absence, the work could be counted as plagiarized, which is a serious academic offense. Plagiarism could land you in dire trouble as your teacher or research supervisor could reject your work. Therefore, citing everything is important and besides plagiarism, it also helps in proving your research claims and substantiating your research claims and findings.

How Many Citation Styles are There?

Depending on the kinds of subjects and fields of studies, it would be difficult to assert the different types of citation styles. There are a number of different references but only 3 are the most common citation styles APA, MLA, and Chicago. However, there are a number of other citation styles by discipline and research paper citation styles that are used by students studying in specific and different fields.

MLA Style Research Paper

A n MLA style research paper is a project that a student writes using MLA format. MLA stands for Modern Language Association and is a common style used in academia. MLA style research papers must follow specific formatting, as well as rules for footnotes and citations. MLA style research paper formats are common in high school, undergraduate, graduate school, and doctorate programs.

MLA style research papers should always begin with a cover sheet that includes the centered title of the work 1/3 of the way down the sheet. Under the title of the report, the student should include his/her name. The date and course title should appear centered at the bottom of the page. Professors will often require additional information to appear on the cover page as well, such as the professor's name and the specific course number.

When formatting the report, MLA style research paper guidelines dictate that it should be typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font and that the pages should be double-spaced. Margins should appear one inch around the document on all sides and each paragraph should be indented by half of an inch (which is the TAB key or five space keys). Additionally, page numbers should appear in the upper right hand corner of each page. The first page is usually not numbered, though some professors will require it. Also, many professors require that a student's name also appear next to the page number.

In terms of MLA style research paper citations, learners should include a separate page for all endnotes, as opposed to inserting endnotes at the end of a page. The report should also have its own Works Cited section, in which cited works are formatted properly according to MLA guidelines. MLA guidelines vary based on the type of work that the student needs to cite. For example, the citation for a Web site is different from the citation format for a book or a magazine.

MLA style research papers are common for all levels of academic study. Even though they're common, many learners confuse MLA with AP (Associated Press) style. AP style is similar to MLA style in that it's a standardized format that students and professionals use to compose their documents. However, AP style is most often used in journalism and has different formatting and citation requirements than MLA style.

MLA style research papers are common for all academic courses. However, AP style is common for journalism courses. Therefore, students studying English and journalism may need to switch between MLA and AP styles when creating their documents.

Chicago Style Research Paper

A Chicago style research paper is one that adheres to the Chicago style of formatting academic papers. The hallmarks of Chicago style research papers are in text citations, the use of footnotes and endnotes, and content notes. Chicago style research papers are required in many social science courses such as political science and history.

A Chicago style research paper is useful for presenting sources in a way that citation styles such as APA and MLA don't cover. Chicago style presents more than just the author name and publication date within the text itself or as footnotes to the text. This enables the reader to quickly discern where the reference came from. The use of footnotes and endnotes also allow the writer of the report to comment on the use of the references and the source of the information that appears within the text. The footnotes and endnotes that appear in Chicago style research papers are also ideal places for the author to insert comments that enhance the understanding of the material being presented but aren't crucial to the overall project.

For the most part, when an instructor asks for a Chicago style research paper, that instructor is telling students that he/she wants them to use footnotes or endnotes. However, even in Chicago style research papers, in-text citations that use only the author's last name, the publication date, and the page number, are used for smaller papers. If the citation style required for the document is unclear, a student should confer with the instructor or a Chicago style writing guide.

Footnotes, endnotes, and content notes are indicated by the use of a superscript number, which is simply a number appearing above the line of text, in a smaller font than the rest of the text. Most word processing programs allow students to insert footnotes, endnotes, and content notes automatically and format the number as well as the text. In general, footnote text, which appears at the bottom of the page on which the citation appears, is completed in 10-point font while the report font itself is completed in 12-point. Endnote text appears at the end of the document and is completed using the same size font as the rest. The first time a reference is cited using endnotes or footnotes, the citation should include the full citation. An abbreviated citation can be used thereafter.

A Chicago style research paper still requires the student to create a bibliography even though all of the information contained in the bibliography has already appeared in the footnotes. The bibliography should be presented in alphabetical order and each citation should have the second and subsequent lines of the citation indented. Students should always refer to a Chicago citation style guide for complete guidelines.

APA Dissertation

A n APA dissertation is one of the most time-consuming and research-intensive projects that any student will have to take on during his/her college years. APA dissertations are not only required to be well-written and comprehensive research papers, they must be formatted according to the style guidelines of the American Psychological Association. APA style guidelines are used for many varieties of humanities papers, not just those completed on psychology-related topics.

All APA dissertations should follow a few basic guidelines. These guidelines require:

  • a properly-formatted cover page
  • double-spaced text (except for block quotes)
  • 1-inch margins
  • a header with an abbreviated title and page number
  • a bibliography
  • the following sections/chapters:
  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Literature Review
  4. Methodology
  5. Data, Analysis, and Results
  6. Conclusion.

Many instructors require that students begin their APA dissertations at the end. That is, by gathering all of their reference material. The listing of references that a student has when he/she begins an APA dissertation is, by no means, a set-in-stone listing that can't include any additional references. Many students find that as they write their APA dissertation, they come across the need to acquire additional references to answer questions that arise while completing their document or that add clarification to their existing information.

An APA dissertation must be either qualitative or quantitative. Many students who are undertaking the writing of an APA dissertation don't understand the difference between a qualitative and a quantitative paper. In short, a quantitative APA dissertation used statistical numerical data to support the thesis. The writer knows in advance what he/she is looking for and formats his/her research in order to prove his/her thesis. This doesn't mean, however, that the thesis is correct and the statistical data gathered during the research may, in fact, disprove the researcher's thesis. Disproving a thesis isn't necessarily a bad outcome for an APA thesis writer, as the point is conducting the research and writing a good paper rather than merely substantiating a theory.

A qualitative APA dissertation is one that uses words, pictures, and/or objects as the data to be analyzed. A debate has raged for some time about which type of dissertation is the most credible but most writers and instructors alike agree that the proof is in the end result, not necessarily the format of the APA reference project. For more information on how to write an APA dissertation, consult a copy of the latest version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Annotated Bibliography Writing Help

M any types of reports require the student to complete an annotated bibliography, which is very different from a simple listing of references from which the student writes citations within an academic paper. An annotated bibliography is still a list of references, but it includes a summary and possibly an evaluation of each source. Students are often frustrated by the requirements of an annotated bibliography, but a simple review of what is required to prepare such a list of references can relieve the anxiety.

According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, a bibliography is a "complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer" which have been "used or consulted in the preparation of a work or that are referenced in the text." Most students learn how to prepare a simple bibliography before graduating from high school. Annotated bibliographies, on the other hand, are more complicated. An annotated bibliography must contain the standard author, title, date and place of publication, and printer. Additionally, an annotated bibliography should also include a summary, an assessment, and/or a reflection.

An annotated bibliography summary is a paragraph about the reference book, manual, or publication that briefly describes (or paraphrases) what the reference is about.

An annotated bibliography assessment is an evaluation of the source. Was the source helpful, did it contain reliable and reputable information, and was it objective or biased? Compared to the other sources used for the project, was the source better or worse?

An annotated bibliography reflection of a source should indicate how useful that source was to the writer. Even though a student used a source for a project, that source may not have been as helpful to the writer as some of his/her other sources. A reflection should evaluate the usefulness of the source.

Many instructors require that students prepare their annotated bibliographies before writing their documents. This is because completing an annotated bibliography can often help students understand their sources better. A student who displays a solid understanding of his/her sources as evidenced by a well-written and thoroughly-prepared annotated bibliography is better prepared to write his/her assignment, regardless of the topic. Additionally, preparing an annotated bibliography indicates to the instructor that the student has, in fact, actually read the sources that he/she intends to use to prepare the report assignment. In this way, annotated bibliographies serve two purposes: to prepare the student and to assure the instructor that he/she is ready to proceed with the work.

MLA Essay

T he MLA essay is most commonly assigned in humanities courses. Most students prefer MLA essays simply because MLA style is simple and usually more familiar. MLA essays use much of the same formatting that students learned when writing reports throughout their entire primary and secondary education.

An MLA essay begins with the basics. Students should put their full name, course name and number, submission date, and instructor name at the upper left corner. An instructor might also request that the student include his/her "student identification number" and other information, as well. Students should always be sure to include any additional information that the instructor requests.

An MLA report should also include a header that displays the student's last name and page number in the right header. Programs such as Word, Works, and other up-to-date word processing programs have a feature where the student can set the program to automatically update the page number so that they don't have to manually enter it for each page. The header should be formatted with the student's last name, five blank spaces, and then the page number.

Each MLA report should have a title. The title should reflect the contents of the report and shouldn't be inflammatory or offensive. The title should be one double-spaced line down from the student name block and should be centered. Students should be sure that their title is properly capitalized.

MLA essays require the use of an easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman or Arial. The font should be 12-point size, unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. (Some instructors prefer students to use 14-point font.) MLA essays should be double-spaced with one-inch margins all around. Students should include a blank line between paragraphs and indent each new paragraph 1/2 inch.

The main reason that students often prefer to write MLA essays is because of the ease in inserting citations. Unlike some more difficult styles that require the use of footnotes, endnotes, or complicated citations, MLA essays call for simple parenthetical citations inserted at the point of reference within the text. Citations should include the last name of the reference's author, a comma, and then the page number where the reference can be found.

Citations are important because they give credit to the original author of the information that the student has used. Using someone else's work without properly citing its use is called plagiarism, regardless of whether the lack of citation is intentional or unintentional. In addition to in-text citations, MLA essays also require a bibliography on a separate page at the end.

Chicago Style Term Paper

A Chicago style term paper is one that's written, cited, and documented according to the Chicago Manual of Style, a publication manual that details guidelines for writing, citing, and formatting texts. Chicago style term papers are commonly assigned in history courses. Some humanities professors will also prefer their students to use Chicago style.

Chicago style is different from the other primary academic writing styles—APA and MLA. Therefore, a student shouldn't assume that he/she can complete a Chicago style term paper using some elements of Chicago style but also incorporating elements of another writing style. Each style manual is comprehensive in its directions for writing, formatting, and citing. Therefore, a student must use Chicago style for all aspects of his/her Chicago style report.

The most important element of Chicago style a student will need to know when completing a term paper is how to properly cite and reference. Chicago style outlines two ways of documenting sources in the body of a text. The first is by using parenthetical notes at the end of a sentence (like this). The other way of documenting sources is to list sources in footnotes. Footnotes indicate sources at the bottom of a page through the insertion of corresponding superscripted numbers after a sentence. Frequently, instructors will state their preference for either parenthetical notes or footnotes. Most of the time, Chicago style term papers will also be required to include a comprehensive list of the secondary sources used in the document. This list will be titled "Bibliography" and will come after the text.

Typically, Chicago style term papers will not require the inclusion of a title page. Some teachers may prefer that a title page be added, but generally, the title of the report can appear on the first page of text. The author of the report, the name of the course and instructor, and the date of submission will also be included on this page, justified along the left-hand margin at the top. Unless otherwise specified, a Chicago style term paper will be double-spaced. Additionally, the pages should be numbered, beginning on the first page of the text.

Chicago style has its own set of dictates regarding grammar and style. Therefore, if a student finds himself/herself questioning his/her use of punctuation, capitalization, or abbreviation, he/she should reference the Chicago Manual of Style for an authoritative answer.

APA Term Paper

A n APA term paper is a document completed in accordance with the stylistic and citation recommendations of the American Psychological Association (APA). Though the APA is focused on the study of psychology, APA style has become extremely popular and is now widely used across many disciplines. While papers in the humanities will still be completed in MLA style, APA is the predominant writing style for all of the social sciences and many other disciplines, as well. APA term papers are now common in business, education, nursing courses, and a variety of other fields. Some of the most common aspects of APA style that are pertinent to writing term papers will be discussed here.

First, it's important for writers to realize the purpose of APA-style texts. The American Psychological Association designed its writing style to accommodate research texts completed in psychology. Most APA texts, including APA term papers, will be investigation-based texts, meaning they report on either the data and studies of other scholars, the research of the writer, or both. Furthermore, because research in psychology and the other social sciences is constantly being updated, APA style requires that all in-text citations present not only the author's name, but also the year in which the cited study was published. This is one of the primary characteristics distinguishing APA from MLA style, and illustrates one of the most significant differences between APA term papers and MLA term papers: in psychology and the social sciences, when research was published is almost as important as what the research indicates in the humanities, wherein scholars study texts and other works of art that don't change, the date of the research isn't as important. Another significant difference between APA and MLA style is that in APA, paraphrasing secondary sources is preferred over quoting. In MLA, the generous inclusion of textual quotations is a common occurrence.

One of the most important aspects of APA style that will be relevant to the composition of an APA term paper is structure. One of the most prominent characteristics of APA style is its use of headings. It is likely that an APA term paper will use only one or two of the five possible levels of APA headings. These headings should clearly and concisely identify what the primary topic of each section of the report is. If there are sub-categories for each topic, then sub-headings should be implemented.

When reporting research in an APA term paper, writers must remember to not only paraphrase more often then they quote, but also to report all research in past tense. Rather than saying, "Smith finds," the writer must say, "Smith found."

Regarding formatting, all APA term papers must be double-spaced and typed using a standard, 12-point font. They should have a title page that announces the title, name of the writer, name of the course, and the current academic term/semester. The text of a term paper should begin on the page following the title page.

All APA term papers must have a references page. This page should follow the text and precede any appendices, if there are appendices included. This page should be titled "References," double-spaced throughout, and list in APA format every study cited.

As mentioned previously, in-text citations for APA-style texts must feature the year in which the cited study was published. In addition, the citation should name the author. If the citation is citing a paraphrase, the page number on which the information was found in the source shouldn't be listed. If the citation is citing a direct quote, the page number should be included.

Detailed information regarding all aspects of APA style and how to write APA term papers can be found in the APA Style Manual. This is the most authoritative source on all matters regarding APA composition.

MLA Term Paper

A n MLA term paper is a format that a learner will need to use in order to complete a term paper properly. Specifically, MLA is a format that's extremely common for academic writing. Most academic institutions will require or suggest that their students create their documents in MLA style, as MLA is a standardized term paper form that's easy to follow and makes all reports appear to be similar.

MLA term papers have specific formatting guidelines. MLA style doesn't refer to the content that appears in a report, but it does pertain to how a student will include content. Therefore, students need to pay attention to MLA guidelines when creating their documents.

If a professor has assigned a project that should be completed in MLA style, the professor will probably give students MLA guidelines. However, MLA term paper guidelines are also available online and in resource books for writers. If a professor assigns a term paper but doesn't tell students what format to use, it's safe to assume that MLA style will suffice, as it's a standard style for academic reports.

MLA term papers begin with a title page, in which the student includes his/her title, as well as the student's name and course number. The student may also include the report submission date on the title page.

Next, each page of the document should contain a page number in the upper right hand corner of the page. The student's last name should appear in all capital letters just before the page number. Most professors don't want a page number on the title page or the first page, but some may.

The report should be typed in 12-point, Times New Roman font and double-spaced. Margins should be set to one inch on the top and bottom of the page and one inch on the left and right sides. Each first sentence of a paragraph should begin five spaces into the paragraph, which is the same amount of space that a student can create using the TAB key.

MLA reports should all look the same when a professor receives them. That way, professors can be assured that students have included an appropriate amount of information, and the professor can easily check references.

There are some courses, however, where a student will need to complete a term paper in APA style. APA style is common in science courses, as its format is more similar to the professional guidelines in science-related industries. However, when a student needs to complete a formal academic term paper, the report will usually follow MLA term paper guidelines.

APA Style Research Essay

A n APA style research essay is a document that a learner will write according to standard essay writing guidelines. However, the APA style research essay must specifically follow APA style, as opposed to MLA or Chicago style. Students may have to write research projects for any course at any grade level. Therefore, understanding the nature of the report and the requirements of the APA format are important if the student wishes to be a successful project writer.

First, in order to understand how to format an APA style research essay, learners should first become familiar with the role of the research essay. It is generally considered to be a relaxed writing format that often requires students to incorporate first-person perspective and opinions. Such compositions are usually shorter than research *papers*.

A research essay requires that students research a particular topic and communicate their findings. However, because an essay is generally completed from a point-of-view, a research essay usually requires students to provide their own opinions about a particular topic, even if it isn't written in first-person.

When a student is specifically required to complete an APA style research essay, he/she needs to ensure that he/she follows generally research essay writing requirements. Additionally, the student must format the report according to APA guidelines, which are very specific and can be applied to all forms of academic writing, including essay writing, paper writing, thesis writing, and more.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of APA style is that the font should be in size 10 or 12 Times Roman. All text should be left justified with half inch margins around the page. Also, every line should be double-spaced. Additionally, all APA style research reports should have a cover page that follows the same APA format.

APA style research essays are unique from academic documents that are completed in other formats. One of the most telling differences appears on the cover page. APA style research reports should include not only a title, but also a title abstract that's left justified at the top of the page. Also, APA style research reports should have a page number on the cover page.

While there are many similarities between APA style research essays and MLA essays, students need to be sure that they're following the correct format. If they're required to complete an APA style research essay, they may want to ask a professor for specific guidelines in order to ensure that they have the most accurate information possible regarding the format.

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

I n general terms, a bibliography is an alphabetical listing of the books that were used to help complete a reference project. This listing is typically found at the end of the paper or other literary work and serves to provide the original author with credit for the information while also providing the reader with others sources for further information.

The most basic of bibliographies contain only the details needed to find the referenced material. More specifically, they contain information such as the title of the work, the author's name, the copyright date, the volume number, and other basic information.

With an annotated bibliography research paper, the bibliography is taken to a new level. This is because the annotated bibliography includes evaluative comments and descriptions in addition to the basic reference information. By including commentaries and descriptions within the annotated bibliography, the person reading the literary work can better determine whether or not he/she should use that source for additional information.

When completing the annotation to be included within the bibliography, you should typically expect to write about 150 words. Although it can be as little as just one sentence, the annotation should generally be longer in order to provide the reader with an adequate amount of information.

When determining what you'll include in the annotation, you should consider several factors. For example, you should consider the main purpose of the work you have sited. In addition, you should provide a brief description of the content and format of the work you're referencing, as well as the theoretical basis for the argument the author presents.

When completing an annotated bibliography, you should provide some information about both the content of the source that you're citing and the author of that source. For example, the intellectual and academic credentials of the author should also be briefly discussed in the annotated bibliography. Similarly, you should mention the intended audience of the work as well as any significance or value that the work contributes to the subject area.

If there are any significant features to the work that are of particular importance, such as appendices, a glossary, or a very helpful index, this should be included in the annotation. If there are any shortcomings to the work, this can be mentioned in the annotation, as well. Finally, you can provide a brief summary of your personal impressions of the work you're citing.

It is important to note that an annotation isn't the same as an abstract. Whereas the abstract merely summarizes the main points being made in the work, the annotations of the bibliography should both describe the work and evaluate the major points. As such, the purpose is to provide the reader with valuable information regarding the sources you have cited while also providing the reader with information on how to conduct additional research beyond that which is included in your document. As with any aspect of an academic paper, be certain to use proper grammar and punctuation when writing the annotations.

Literature Review in APA Style

A PA is an acronym that stands for the American Psychological Association. APA is a style that many learners should be familiar with when they create academic works, as it's very common in academic settings. When a student needs to complete a literature review in APA style, he/she may need to reference the style online or through a printed manual in order to ensure the correct format.

Literature review APA guidelines basically state that the project should be typed on standard-sized paper with one-inch margins on all sides. The font should either by size 10 or size 12, but it should be Times New Roman or something similar to Times New Roman. Literature reviews in APA style should also be double-spaced.

All literature reviews in APA style should include a header at the top of the page. The header should include a page number on the right-hand side of the page, along with the first two or three words of the report title (ending five spaces before the page number).

There are also four sections that should be included in an APA formatted literature review. These sections are: title page, abstract, body, and references.

The title page should contain the page header (note: MLA style papers don't contain a header on the title page). The next line should contain a running head, which should be flush-left on the page. The running head should contain part of the title. The words "Running head" should appear in this line, as well. After the running head, center the title, byline, university, and professor's name (if required by the professor).

Next, the learner will need to write the abstract, which should be a basic overview of the literature review. Depending on the length of the review, this abstract can be one paragraph or two paragraphs, but no more—even if the review is very long.

Following the abstract, the student needs to create the body. The body should contain an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. When the student references a source in the body, he/she should properly cite that source according to APA style, which differs depending on the resource. Finally, the references should be included at the end. Each reference should be cited differently.

When searching for "Literature review APA style" in Google, a student will soon discover that APA is different from MLA style in many ways. Most obviously, literature reviews in APA format should include a specific title page that contains the running headline as well as the header that will be used throughout the document. Citations, font size, and font type may also vary. Students should always review APA style guidelines before writing a literature review in APA style to ensure that they follow the correct standards and don't confuse them with MLA standards.

APA Style and Bibliography Format

When completing an academic paper with APA style citations and bibliography format, the instructor will likely require that the student cite references and write a bibliography showing the sources that were used to conduct the research. The purpose of citing this information is partially to add clout to the report while also providing the reader with information that he/she may pursue in order to learn more about the subject.

When following the APA style of citation, there are several rules to which the student must strictly adhere. If the written work is a copy manuscript, for example, it's necessary to double space all of the lines when utilizing APA style. If the writer is using the style in order to create a final manuscript, on the other hand, single space is the required format. In this case, however, it's necessary to skip a line between each of the listed references. If writing a paper for a course, it's important to ask the instructor which of these formats is necessary.

When completing the reference list, all of the items that are listed must be placed in alphabetical order according to the author's name. When listing the author's name, the author's first and middle names should be listed by initial only, while the author's last name should be written fully. If the name of the author isn't known, the reference should be listed with its title first with the date following this information.

When writing the title of an article or a book, the writer should capitalize only the first word of the title and the first word of the subtitle. When writing the title of a periodical, on the other hand, the writer should capitalize all of the significant words found within the title.

When using magazine articles as references, the writer must include the month and day on which the magazine was published. In addition, when utilizing Web sites, the writer must show the date on which the particular webpage was created. If this information isn't available, the writer should use "n.d." in place of a date.

Since the rules used when writing in APA style are quite strict, it's essential for the writer to gain a more solid understanding of how to properly complete an essay with this style. In many cases, the instructor will provide the students with a handout that shows the basics of completing an essay with this style. Nonetheless, it's crucial for the student to acquire more information on this type of formatting before finalizing the document. The library at the school the student attends will typically be able to provide him/her with more information regarding APA style and bibliography format.

APA Style Research Paper

D uring their academic careers, the majority of students are called upon to write one or more research papers. As part of the requirements for these papers, students are usually required to format their documents according to a particular style guide. An APA style research paper is one that is completed to conform to what is called APA formatting. APA formatting is a style of formatting papers and citing references determined by the American Psychological Association. The latest version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was published in 2001.

Unlike some other formatting guides, the APA style research paper calls for a cover page. At the top of the cover page, the student should place what is called a "running head". The running head is simply the title of the report and it's placed in the upper left header of the title page. The title can be shortened if it's exceptionally long. The cover page should also include, centered on the page, the title of the document, the name of the student, and the university affiliation. Never type the title of the report in all caps.

The pages of the project itself should be numbered in the upper right corner of each page. The entire document should be double-spaced and each paragraph should be indented five to seven spaces (one half inch). Even the title page should be double-spaced. However, the abstract of the report and long (block) quotations shouldn't be double-spaced or indented. Every page other than the title page should be aligned left. Many APA style research papers are required to have an abstract and it should appear alone on the second page. The body of the document should begin on the third page.

APA style research papers require that headings be placed in outline form. Main headings should be centered using uppercase and lowercase typing. Secondary headings should be aligned left again with uppercase and lowercase typing. Third level headings (and so on) should be indented with uppercase and lowercase typing. Headings don't need to be bold or in any different font styles.

Each APA style report should have a references page. This page should be an alphabetical listing of each reference cited in the body. Citation styles vary according to the type of reference, therefore students should consult the most recent version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for in-paper citation formatting advice. The reference page should have the word "references" at the top of the page and it should begin on a new page. The first line of each reference should be indented one half inch. This is called a hanging indent.

APA style research papers are easily recognizable by their formal cover pages and their unique citation styles. Some instructors don't require the cover page but may require that all of the other APA formatting rules be followed. Students should be certain to follow the guidelines as dictated by their instructor.

Sample MLA Research Paper

M LA, which stands for Modern Language Association, is a standardized style in which many professors require that their learners write their documents. It is a popular academic writing style, but not necessarily a professional writing style that's used by professional writers. By reviewing a sample MLA research paper, learners will not only learn how to cite their sources, but they will also learn how to format a reference project.

From a sample MLA research paper, learners should first recognize the basic formatting and writing guidelines. For example, the sample MLA report should be typed on standard computer paper (which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches). All MLA reports should also be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Unlike some other research paper formats, MLA requires that there's only one space after each period, comma, or other punctuation mark. Paper margins should be set at one inch on all four sides. The first line of each paragraph also needs to be indented by half an inch (which is different than Web writing).

When citing sources, sample MLA research papers should indicate that all citations are done using either italics or with an underline. Endnotes should be included in their own section, not in the works cited section. In order to reference a citation within the body of the document, the last name of the author and the page number should appear in parentheses directly after the citation. The sample MLA research paper citation might look something like this: (Jones 5).

Proper citation sections of sample MLA research papers also require MLA format. Each type of document should be cited using a specific format. For example, the format that one would use to cite a book is very different from the format one would use to cite a Web site resource. Sample MLA research papers will usually have examples of several types of citations.

A sample MLA research paper is different from a sample AP (Associated Press) paper. The AP style and MLA style are very different. AP style is one of the most common styles for professional writers, such as reporters. For that reason, many English students and students studying media writing should be very familiar with AP style as well as MLA style.

MLA style is a largely academic writing style that puts a special emphasis on proper citations. When a student reviews a sample MLA research paper, he/she should always make sure that the report has been writing in MLA style instead of AP style, though the two are similar.

APA Research Paper Examples

M any students will have to write APA research paper examples for their courses in all grade levels. Such papers are common academic assignments that allow students to learn about a particular subject in-depth and then communicate their findings in a thoughtful manner. When a student has to complete a paper, he/she needs to follow a particular style guide, such as MLA or APA style. Because these two styles are very popular, but different, students may wish to access an MLA or APA research paper example for more information about the format they will need to follow.

When students need to complete a paper using APA style, they should look for a well-written APA research paper example. There are many resources for APA research paper examples, including online resources, an on-campus writing center, and even a professor. Therefore, learners should find it fairly easy to get their hands on several different APA research paper examples that can help them understand more about the APA format.

One of the most important things that students need to think about when looking for APA research paper examples is the validity of the example. All APA reports should follow the same basic format and specific style. Therefore, it's important for students to find examples that truly represent APA style in all manners.

Students many want to compare their APA research paper examples with APA guidelines in order to ensure that the example they're using follows the guidelines accurately. Students may also want to compare one APA research paper example to another in order to look for discrepancies that could affect their own formatting and style choices.

Basically, all APA research paper examples should have a cover page that contains a title abstract, title, author name, page number, date, and several other elements that are consistent with APA style. Each page, aside from the cover page, should be completed in size 12 Times Roman font with half inch margins around the page. Sentences should be double-spaced, as well. Each paragraph should be indented by five spaces.

There are differences between APA research paper examples and MLA paper examples that students should be aware of in order to ensure that they get the right examples. While MLA and APA styles are very similar, they differ in many important ways, as well. For example, the cover page of an APA paper contains more information and a different format than the cover page for an MLA paper. Therefore, finding the right examples is critical.

MLA Research Paper Examples

W henever a student is required to complete an MLA research paper, it may help helpful for him/her to see an MLA research paper example for tips on how to format the report and what types of sections he/she should plan to include (such as a cover page or appendix section).

Students in all levels of academic study may have to follow the MLA format when writing reports, as the MLA format is one of the most common and widely accepted formats. Therefore, it may be helpful for all students to review MLA research paper examples before they write their first MLA papers.

In order to find MLA research paper examples, learners can access a variety of resources. Many students are given MLA research paper examples by their professors, which are usually papers that former students have completed. Other students may find MLA research paper examples through a campus writing center, which are usually located on most campuses. Another resource where students may be able to find an MLA research paper example is online.

When a student looks for a MLA research paper example online, he/she should begin by checking the source. Many excellent MLA research paper example sources are university Web sites. For example, many university writing centers have an online division where students can access MLA style and format examples of all different types of academic papers.

Some professors will publish MLA guidelines online as well in order to ensure that students have access to the guidelines when and where they need them. Some professors will post MLA research paper examples next to these guidelines so that students can use the examples as a reference.

If a student is looking online for an MLA research paper example, he/she needs to be sure that the information that he/she is receiving in the example is accurate. One way to check this information is to cross-reference the example with a list of basic guidelines. For example, all MLA research paper examples should be double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font. They should also have a cover page, which lists the title of the report as well as the student's name.

When students look for MLA research paper examples, they need to be sure that the examples that they're using follow MLA format and not APA format. Both formats are similar and can be easily confused. For example, both formats require that students use double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font. Therefore, students may want to double check with the owner of the example to make sure that it was completed using MLA style.

APA Research Paper Samples

I n many cases, when learners write research papers, they will need to follow a very specific format. APA and MLA formats are the two most common paper formats for all levels of academic study. While the two formats are common and very similar, there are enough differences to require students to learn more about the specific styles, if they want to get good grades. In order to learn about APA style, students may wish to review APA research paper samples.

APA style research papers have very common requirements. For example, all words should be typed in black Times New Roman font in size 12. All lines should be double-spaced. The first sentence of each paragraph should be indented by five spaces, or one tab point. The margins on all sides of the page should be half an inch wide. Also, the title of the report, page number, and student's last name should appear at the top of each page.

When students wish to review APA research paper samples, they need to be sure that the samples follow APA style. APA style is very similar to other styles, making it difficult to distinguish between the two, in some cases. However, APA research paper samples will have a title abstract and page number on the cover page, which should quickly distinguish them from other samples.

There are many resources where students may be able to find an APA research paper sample. Many professors will supply their students with APA research paper samples to review if they're required to write papers using APA research paper formats. Students may also find an APA research paper sample from an on-campus writing center. When students use these resources, they may be able to find that they're more reliable than some internet resources.

However, there are many benefits to using an APA research paper sample from the Internet. Not only are APA research paper samples available whenever and wherever a student wants, but there's also a great deal of variety online, which may help students to learn even more.

Students need to keep in mind that no matter where they find their APA research paper samples, the samples should always be accurate and in APA style. The major competing style is MLA format. However, in MLA format, the cover page is very plain with only a title, the student's name, and a date. Therefore, learners should be able to quickly distinguish between the two styles by looking at the cover page.

What is MLA Format?

A rguably, the common format for college writing is MLA research paper format. In fact, most professors recommend that if a specific format isn't assigned to students, they should follow the MLA style guidelines for their documents. Therefore, an MLA research paper isn't only a common format for assignments, but it's also a format that all students will most likely need to become familiar with during their academic careers.

When it comes to completing an effective and correctly formatted MLA research paper, students need to take a look at two basic elements: MLA style and the role of the research paper. First, a research paper is a very common assignment for all grades levels and courses of study. When students are assigned research papers, they will need to study one particular topic in-depth and then communicate their findings in a well-flowing document. Many students spend weeks or months researching and writing such a document.

Secondly, students need to understand what the MLA part of MLA research papers means. MLA is a very ubiquitous style for all levels of study and all subjects. There are several distinguishing characteristics of MLA research papers. However, students would be wise to look for specific MLA guidelines, which they can obtain from a trusted source online or from a professor.

There are many different considerations that go into the MLA format. First, all MLA research papers need to have a cover page that includes the title and the student's name. Many professors also require learners to include the date, course, and professor's name.

The body of an MLA report should also be completed in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Text should be left-justified and placed within 1/2-inch margins around the page. MLA reports should also have a header that contains the page number.

Students who are required to write MLA reports should be aware that there are many different formats for writing assignments. Therefore, when they look for examples of reports or writing style guides, they need to be sure that they're using MLA examples and guides and not APA or Chicago resources, for example.

While MLA and APA are very similar style guides, they do have different formats for the reference section and the cover page that alert professors immediately if a student has followed the wrong format.

APA Format Research Papers

T he American Psychological Association (APA) has a specific format or style for writing quality research papers. Formatting, editing, and citing references in the text are the three major areas that writers must carefully consider while composing these standardized documents.

First of all, the APA format report should be double-spaced. It must also have one inch margins for the top, bottom, left, and right side of every page. The writer must indent five to seven spaces (or inch) at the beginning of every paragraph within the document. Moreover, the writer must use a 12 point, traditional typeface such as Times New Roman. For page numbering, the student must remember to add numbers to the upper right-hand corner of every page, following the running head, which is a short title.

For editing content and style, the APA format research paper is typically uniform in terms of structure and scope. Students must be sure to write clearly in order to help the reader understand the intended scope or purpose. To facilitate the writing of coherent and unified APA format research papers, students must prepare rough drafts. Then, each student can carefully read and correctly revise the rough draft according to universal grammar and usage rules. Any student who has difficulty with the writing of an APA format research paper must practice organizing thoughts and ideas prior to completing the rough draft and composing the final copy. Further, learners can seek both online and offline assistance with APA styling and formatting. Libraries often provide reference materials that illustrate APA format. Also, there are many Web sites online that offer tutorials which show how to follow APA procedures for documentation.

For referencing citations in the text of APA format research papers, the student must be aware of collecting current and reliable sources of materials that substantiate the purpose or thesis of the document. While performing these research steps, the student must give credit to the sources of information that he/she used to compose the document. By clearly indicating where any quotes or statistics were obtained, every student can avoid plagiarism. Moreover, using in-text citations instead of lengthy footnotes, the APA format is both concise and accurate. Lastly, the student must prepare a reference page where he/she delineates all reference materials alphabetically in order to give the reader a comprehensive listing of relevant sources.

Research Paper Bibliography

A research paper bibliography is the section of a document in which a learner will include all relevant resources that he/she has used in order to create the document. Research paper bibliographies can include a few resources to many dozens of resources, depending on the level of information that a student has used during his/her assignment. The minimum recommended number of resources is usually about five.

In order to complete a research paper bibliography, the learner will need to include the name of the publication that he/she has used for the research, its author(s), publication date, publisher, and any page numbers that the student referenced. A bibliography can include sources for books, periodicals, journals, magazines, Web pages, and more.

There are specific formats that students should use for the document bibliographies. For example, MLA format requires that the student include the last name of the author, first name, name of publication, publisher, publication date, and pages used. However, each format will be modified for the specific reference. The way a student would reference a magazine is different from the way a student would reference a book. A professor will indicate which format a student should use.

It is important for students to be aware that when they include a bibliography in their documents, it should refer to a specific resource that the student used. In most cases, a professor will only allow students to include resources that they actually cited in their work. Therefore, every entry in the bibliography should link directly to a part of the report in which the student used the resource.

Research paper bibliographies also only include those materials that a student used first-hand. In some cases, if a student has used another report or resource that has its own set of resources, he/she will mistakenly copy his/her resources bibliography. For example, if a student used a college dissertation as a resource, he/she may copy all of the references from the college dissertation bibliography to use in his/her own paper. However, a learner should only include references that he/she used directly—not second-hand resources.

A research paper bibliography is different than research paper footnotes. Research paper footnotes often contain references, just like a bibliography. However, research paper footnotes serve to clarify or reinforce a particular idea that a student presented in an analysis assignment. The research paper footnotes should only include references that are also included in the bibliography, as well.

Sample APA Research Paper

A sample APA research paper may help some students to learn how to format their documents according to APA style. APA style is a particular type of style that's often preferred by journalism professors and students studying media. A sample APA research paper will help a learner to learn about the required APA font, font size, margins, cover page inclusions, and more.

A style guide is basically a system of determining a particular style that should be used. The style helps to make all reports consistent. In most cases, a professor will prefer one style over another. For example, if students have to write sample APA research papers, the professor most likely prefers APA style to MLA style.

Many style guides are very similar in that they require learners to use Times Roman font at size 10 or 12. They also require learners to have one inch margins around the edge. These particular style guide requirements help professors to assess paper length and general word count in order to ensure that a student has correctly completed a project according to the professor's guidelines.

Style guides often vary in terms of what should be included on the cover page. Students using sample APA research papers will notice that there isn't only a title on the cover page, but there's also a title abstract, which helps to describe the title. Most sample APA research papers also have an abstract that's about one paragraph long on the page after the cover page.

If a professor assigns a particular style, the professor expects students to use it. The professor may mark points off of the final project grade if students don't use the style guide correctly. Therefore, it may be wise for students to find or buy a sample APA research paper in order to make sure they understand what the required style entails.

There is a difference between sample APA research paper and MLA research papers. Again, one of the biggest differences has to do with the cover page of the report, where APA reports should have a title abstract. However, the page title and page number location on each page will also vary based on whether the paper is MLA or APA style. Students should, therefore, be sure that they use a sample APA research paper if they're required to follow APA style and not a sample MLA paper.

MLA Research Paper Format

T he MLA research paper format is the style that a learner will have to use as he/she completes his/her assignment. All professors and institutions adopt a particular style guide that they require their students to use. However, some professors are stricter than others when it comes to enforcing the style guide.

The two most popular style guides for research papers are MLA and APA. The MLA research paper format is the most popular style, as it's most widely used in all levels of study and by all academic departments. APA style is preferred by journalism professors, in most cases.

The MLA research paper format basically states that students should always have a cover page with their documents. On this cover page, the student should state the title of the report in the center of the page about one third of the way down the page. Just under the title, the student should state his/her name. At the bottom of the cover page, the student should state the date and the course title.

The font that students should use throughout the document is 12-point, Times New Roman. The MLA research paper format also requires that students have one inch margins around the four sides. The indentation at the beginning of each paragraph should be five spaces, or the equivalent of the TABS key, in MLA research paper formats.

Also, MLA research paper formats require that students put their last name followed by the page number at the top of each page, except the cover page. In some cases, professors might ask students to leave their names out, though.

The purpose of MLA research paper formats is to ensure that all papers that a professor receives are uniform. This uniformity helps the professor to be sure that the reports are of an appropriate length and he/she isn't distracted by formatting issues.

There are many similarities between MLA research paper formats and APA formats. However, the differences are enough to make them two separate formats. Therefore, students need to be aware that if they're required to complete an assignment according to MLA style, they shouldn't compose a report according to APA style. The major difference between the two styles will appear in the cover page, as APA requires student to put page numbers and an abstract of the title on the cover page.

Parts of an APA Research Paper

A n APA research paper is a lengthy text that examines one topic by reporting on a variety of scholarly views on that topic in the writing style preferred by the American Psychological Association (APA). An APA research paper is different from other types of academic works only in its style and formatting requirements. These requirements are typically expressed by the instructor of the course for which the APA research paper is being composed. They may also be found in the APA Publication Manual.

The content of most research papers, regardless of style and format, will be similar. They will present multiple scholarly resources on the topic they're examining and discuss what the findings and ideas of those scholarly resources suggest about the topic at large. APA research papers are no different. Students will need to devote significant time and dedication to a scholarly investigation of their topic and then present it in a logical and organized way. The difference in APA research papers is simply in the way in which that content is presented.

The first element of an APA research paper is the title page. The title page should present the title of the report, the student's name, and the name of the student's course, professor, and institution. It should also list the date on which the work is being submitted, and what is known as a "running head." A running head is an abbreviated form of the paper's title, and should be presented on the first line of the title page, justified to the left.

Following the title page, some instructors will require that APA research papers include abstracts. An abstract is a summary of the main points. If included, the abstract should be brief but should encapsulate the primary points of each of the paper's main sections.

The body of APA research papers will vary depending on the writer's topic and field. However, it's customary for all APA research papers to be divided into several different sections that are each clearly labeled with a different heading. For instance, the beginning of an APA research paper may be labeled "Introduction," the research problems may be labeled "Research Problems," etc. Frequently, an instructor will determine what sections and headings he/she wants the report to have.

Within the body of the text, the learner will incorporate the findings of his/her research. Note that APA style favors the use of paraphrasing over quotation. Therefore, use quotations only when the phrasing can't be successfully reworded, or when the author's statement is most clear when it's left in quoted form. Otherwise, summarize researchers' findings in a paraphrase. Both paraphrases and quotations need to be accurately cited according to APA style, which requires that the name of the author and the year the study was published be documented for all sources. For quotations, the citation must also include the page number from which the source came.

At the end of the document, the student must include a page titled "References" that lists, in alphabetical order, all of the sources mentioned. These must be documented according to APA requirements, which are detailed in the APA Publication Manual.

Writing a Dissertation Abstract

A dissertation abstract is one of the most misunderstood, highly overlooked, difficult requirements for a dissertation writer to conquer. Yet, in reality, a dissertation abstract is relatively easy to write. College students read dissertation abstracts regularly without realizing that they're doing so. As part of the research for many of the papers that a learner will be required to write in college, that student will peruse dozens, maybe hundreds, of abstracts, including dissertation abstracts. Reading these abstracts thoroughly will give students a good idea about what purpose dissertation abstracts serve and how to write them.

A dissertation abstract serves as a short summary. Although they appear at the beginning of an academic paper, dissertation abstracts are usually the last part that's completed. This is because it's nearly impossible to complete a summary of a document that hasn't yet been completed.

The dissertation abstract is rarely more than one or two paragraphs of text which summarizes the results. It generally also includes the thesis. Dissertation abstracts are found in journals, journal article and dissertation listings, and they're sometimes included in a job applicant's curriculum vitae or resume. The dissertation abstract serves as a brief summary, which helps readers and researchers determine if the entire paper is something that they need/want to read.

Although some college report abstracts can be up to two pages long, the shorter the better. When preparing a dissertation for a journal or for use on a CV, it's advisable to limit the abstract to no more than 500 words. Dissertation abstracts should also make use of keywords, which are words or phrases that a student or researcher might use to search within a database for a dissertation pertinent to his/her own studies.

For instance, if a university report is about the use of drugs on college campuses, the report abstract should make use of keywords such as "drugs," "college," "drug use," "drugs on campus," and other words and phrases which pertain to the topic. One way a student can make sure that he/she uses the right keywords and keyword phrases is to think about what words and phrases he/she might use to find a similar reference project.

Although, it's difficult to summarize what is often a dissertation of a hundred or more pages into a few short paragraphs, it's important to complete a thorough dissertation abstract that's truly representative of the study. Since dissertation abstracts serve so many important functions, there's no doubt students should pay particular attention to creating the best abstract possible.

Research Paper Abstracts

A research paper abstract is often an integral part of a writing assignment. Not all students will need to write abstracts however, when a professor assigns a research paper abstract, students need to know how to write one succinctly and effectively.

A research paper abstract is basically a recap of the main document's content. An abstract is usually one paragraph (depending on the size of the report) that summarizes what the paper is about in very clear terms. Many people write abstracts in order to help readers to decide whether or not they want to read the document.

All research paper abstracts should be completed only after the student has completed the paper and drawn his/her own conclusions. The abstract doesn't necessarily recap the conclusion, though. Instead, the abstract tells readers what they will be reading, but not necessarily what they will learn from the document.

In many cases, the report abstract will appear before the introduction and after the cover page. However, some professors prefer that students put the abstract on the cover of the document. For this reason, students need to be sure that they read the project requirements thoroughly before submitting their final work.

In order to complete a research paper abstract, learners can review their document outline to get a better idea of the key points that they expressed. These key points should be addressed in the abstract, but they don't necessarily have to be explained.

A research paper abstract is very similar to other parts of an academic paper, such as an introduction. An introduction also tells readers more about what they're going to learn from the document. However, the difference between introductions and research paper abstracts is that introductions provide background information and introduce the topic. Abstracts give a general overview of the report, but may not include any background information.

Writing Thesis Abstracts

A thesis abstract is a brief but comprehensive summary of an undergraduate or graduate thesis&mdasha long and original investigation-based document. Thesis abstracts are presented at the beginning of theses to provide the reader with an overview of the contents.

Thesis abstracts are different from abstracts a student may have completed for other texts, such as conference papers and journal articles, because thesis abstracts are typically required to be no more than 350 words. This is the maximum abstract word limit of UMI Publishing, an international thesis and dissertation publishing database to which most graduate theses and dissertations are sent. Most universities require their graduate students to submit completed theses to UMI therefore, must universities require that their graduate students cap their abstracts at 350 words. Writing a comprehensive summary of a large research text in 350 words or less can be a great challenge thus, the primary hurdle of thesis abstract writing is concision.

To begin, the student should write what he/she considers a thorough summary. This includes discussing the research question, providing a reasonably detailed outline of the research methodology, and offering a thorough report on the findings and implications of the project. In essence, all of the major components of the thesis project should be discussed in brief. Students should remember that their audience will be primarily researchers who are searching the UMI database for information regarding the student's thesis topic, and should strive to include all of the information of interest to a researcher in the abstract.

Once the student has composed the first draft of the thesis abstract, he/she must begin eliminating excess information and words. The student should first attempt to eliminate excess information&mdashanything that's repeated or unnecessary to the understanding of the thesis project. It is likely that the learner will be able to eliminate a few sentences by critically determining what material is absolutely indispensable to the full comprehension of the student's thesis and discarding what is not.

The abstract must next be pared down by eliminating excess language. This requires the student to rewrite each sentence in the most direct way possible. Adjectives that aren't entirely necessary for the understanding of the content should be deleted and long, complex sentences should be recast in simple structures. The student should do this until the abstract has been narrowed to 350 words. If the student finds this process exceptionally difficult, he/she should consult a friend, peer, or teacher, as it's often easier for third-party revisers to cut down texts than for writers to pare down their own.

Dissertation Abstracts International

D AI is an electronic database of graduate theses and dissertations. Most North American institutions of higher learning, and some institutions abroad, require their graduate students to submit a copy of their paper and dissertation to DAI. DAI then publishes an abstract of the thesis or dissertation in its database so that researchers may find and order a copy of a thesis or project that may be relevant to their area of study.

Dissertation Abstracts International is a database of theses and dissertations only. It shouldn't be confused with more comprehensive databases containing the works of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. Furthermore, though dissertations and theses are valid pieces of scholarship because they have been completed under the advisement of a committee of advanced professors, they may not always carry the same credibility as research studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

Different from many full-text databases, Dissertation Abstracts International often doesn't provide searchers of its database with immediate access to all theses and dissertations listed. Instead, DAI will provide an abstract of all listed theses or dissertations so that researchers may assess whether or not the full document will be useful to them. The full thesis or report itself must typically be ordered.

Because the abstract is frequently the only available indicator of the scope and topic of a thesis or dissertation that is listed in the Dissertation Abstracts International database, doctoral students who are completing a thesis or dissertation are encouraged to complete a comprehensive abstract of their document. Dissertation Abstracts International mandates that these abstracts be less than 350 words therefore, the abstract writer must be concise while attempting to present a thorough understanding of his/her work. The abstract should offer a summary of each section, taking care to include information such as the type of study the thesis or dissertation is reporting on, the subject of the study, the participants used, the instruments and data analysis tools implemented, and the study's findings. The abstract writer should also include important terms or ideas addressed in the body of their paper or dissertation to guide researchers looking for texts on those terms or ideas to their particular text.

Dissertation Abstracts International can be accessed via the online resources of most universities and educational institutions. Dissertation and writers may visit the site to determine more DAI guidelines and to view samples of abstracts.

Research Paper Abstract Writing

A research paper abstract is a scholarly, academic writing that requires students to gather, analyze, and synthesize information about an existing research paper. It is basically a concise summary of a lengthy document.

In order to write research paper abstracts, students must carefully follow steps that lead to the compilation of accurate compositions. First of all, the student must select a topic and formulate a specific research question. Then, it's the student's responsibility to gather facts that support his/her answer(s). By finding current and relevant sources or materials such as books, magazines, encyclopedias, and journals, the student can begin to take notes based on information found in references. It is very important to gather both factual evidence and opinions from reliable sources.

The next step is to outline the research paper abstract. The best research paper abstracts are generated from well-developed outlines. Students must carefully review their subject, purpose for writing, and the kind of materials found during their research activities. By sorting through notes, learners can categorize the sections of the research paper and provide supporting details in the form of examples, reasons, and ideas for each section. This outlining step is the key to arranging the research paper abstract and writing a good first draft.

After writing the first draft, the next step is to polish and proofread the research paper abstract. Students who edit their work and check for proper spelling, phrasing, and sentence construction often find that their final drafts are exemplary. The abstract is typically placed in the first section of the paper and sums up the paper's major points in 100-350 words. It expresses the main purpose and argument. A good abstract is unified, coherent, and concise. It offers logical connections between the writer's reflections and information.

Therefore, research paper abstracts provide the reader with the research topic, the research problem, the main findings, and the main conclusions. The main sections of the actual paper include the abstract, an introduction, body, conclusion, and a references page. Students must carefully adhere to the citation and referencing guidelines provided by the instructor.

  • Who is the author(s)? What is their background?
  • What reviews exist? Are they from academic journals or popular publications?
  • When was the book published? (Generally, the more recent, the better, because you want the latest most up-to-date information)
  • From whose perspective is this written? (You’re likely to get vastly different accounts of World War II depending on where in the world you live)
  • Does this seem like a balanced account, or does it have a positive or negative spin to it?

“By its very nature, history is always a one-sided account.” ― Dan Brown

  • Who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys”?
  • What evidence exists to support these “facts”?
  • How often does the book cite its information? (footnotes, endnotes etc.)
  • What/how many primary sources does it use?

I don’t totally agree with the following quote:

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” ― Napoleon Bonaparte

But you’re definitely not getting all the facts from history books…

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” ― Winston S. Churchill

“History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, ‘What is history, but a fable agreed upon?” ― Dan Brown

Department of History

The purpose of a book review is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a particular book. It is different from a book report, which simply summarizes the content of a book. In a book review, you also report on the content of the book, in addition to explaining to your readers what you found to be its most valuable contributions or shortcomings. (Preferably you can do this without resorting to the first person [“I”]. Since readers assume that as a reviewer you are expressing your own opinions, it is unnecessary to preface your statements with “I think,” or “in my opinion…”)

To understand your own reaction to a history book, you must first read it carefully and critically. As a critical reader, you should ask questions of the book and note your reactions to it as you read. Your book review should then discuss those questions and reactions.

A standard structure for a book review includes:

  • relating the author’s main point – or thesis – at the beginning.
  • describing the author’s viewpoint and purpose for writing the book, noting any aspects of the author’s background that are important for understanding his or her perspective.
  • noting the most important evidence the author presents to support his or her thesis and evaluating its persuasiveness.
  • concluding with a final evaluation of the book, possibly discussing who would find this book useful and why.

Maintain the same attention to structure and grammar that you would in any history paper – i.e. your review must have an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. Your introduction should discuss your thesis, and the conclusion should summarize your argument. The body should develop your thoughts and support your thesis with specific examples from the text.

Book Review Dos

Tell the reader which book you are reviewing

Place the complete publication data at the top of the review: author, title, edition (if applicable), place of publication, publisher, date of publication.

Determine the thesis of the book

What is the major thesis, or argument, the book makes?
What is the author trying to prove?
Are there any more “narrow” sub-arguments that support the overall thesis?

Determine the book’s evidence

What evidence does the author use?
On what sources and secondary literature is the book based? How are they used?

Analyze the book critically

What are its strengths and weaknesses?
What was good about it?
Be fair to the book and its author(s), but be honest to yourself as well. If you feel that the book is biased, say so and why. The reader of the review wants to know whether the book is worth reading!

Read Book reviews before you write your own

Consult published book reviews in academic journals, such as the American Historical Review or the Journal of Modern History. Other sources for book reviews are the Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times and The New York Review of Books.

Think about history and politics

History writing can be, and has been, highly political and partisan. In many cases, a history book has “an axe to grind.” Can you detect one in the book you are reviewing?

Use direct quotations sparingly

One or two quotations should suffice to emphasize a particular point, or argument you are making in your review

Familiarize yourself with the University’s plagiarism policies

Ask your professor if you are not sure what constitutes plagiarism.

Use either footnotes or endnotes

See Part III: “Guide to Writing Footnotes and Bibliographies” below, or consult the Chicago Manual of Style if you are in doubt about the format of footnotes or endnotes.

Revise your review

Leave your review aside for a day, and then get back to it and read it with a fresh eye. Aim for clarity and concision as you make your first revisions. No history paper – whether a book review, a short essay, or a research paper – is “finished” after the first draft!

Proofread your final draft

Do not trust the spell check to do it for you. There is nothing like the critical and attentive human eye and intellect in a computer.

Book Review Do Nots

Do not merely summarize the book

Chapter by chapter summary is not a book review it is a summary of a book.

Do not use the passive voice

The reader wants to hear your opinion about the book.

Do not neglect punctuation

When in doubt, consult the Chicago Manual of Style or an English grammar book for proper punctuation.

Do not overuse such phrases as

I thought it was interesting,” “In my opinion”, “The author says/argues….”.

Do not use “this” to refer to the previous paragraph, sentence or word

Always avoid using “this” without the “thing” it modifies.

Do not write wordy or long sentences

Would you like to read such sentences?

Historical Papers

The purpose of history papers is for you to interpret sources and arrive at a conclusion about the significance of your subject. It is not merely a description of “what happened” rather, history papers must take the form of an argument in support of a thesis explaining how and why something happened and why it is important.

Every history paper, whether long or short, must be a work of persuasive writing. Based on your sources, you must provide a thesis statement at the beginning of your paper that reflects what you have concluded about your topic after a critical analysis of your materials. The thesis statement is always an arguable or debatable point, so that your history paper becomes your own argument in favor of a particular historical explanation. Instead of merely summarizing material, you persuade your reader with enough evidence to convince him or her that your thesis is correct.

The body of your paper must support your thesis, paragraph by paragraph, by presenting evidence from your sources. You should also respond to counter evidence (information that seems to contradict or weaken your thesis) to persuade your reader that your original position is the more compelling argument.

Short Essays

As their name implies, short essays are relatively brief assignments for papers roughly 4 to 7 pages in length. The topic and texts for short essays are usually assigned by your professor and can be framed in a number of different ways. You might be asked, for example, to analyze a source or group of sources and respond to a specific question about them. Or you might be asked to compare the views of two modern historians on a given problem or document. Whatever form your short essay assignment takes, it will require the same type of historical analysis.

To begin with, you should confront your sources directly, without being unduly influenced by the opinions of others. The purpose of writing history papers is for you to work with original materials and consider them critically in light of further reading. You will want to read the source more than once, making notes whenever you find it appropriate in order to illustrate the aspect or aspects you will discuss in the essay. In substantiating your argument, you should be able to include an illustration, quotation, or other direct reference to the source under examination to prove every assertion you make. Your conclusions should be based on your own evaluation of your evidence. In this way, you refrain from turning your paper into a page-by-page commentary or paraphrase of your sources. Under no circumstances should it be a summary of another historian’s work. Rather, your paper should be a logical and coherent explanation of your response to the assigned essay on the basis of your reading, with illustrations drawn from your sources for evidence.

To complete such an assignment successfully, you must

  1. Understand the assignment. Make sure you read the assignment carefully and limit yourself to the topic provided by your professor. Believe it or not, failure to write about the topic that has actually been assigned is one of the most common problems with short history essays! If the assignment asks you to compare two views on a particular document, you must understand both the similarities and the differences of the two views and give approximately equal weight to each of them in your discussion. If the assignment asks you questions about a specific text, you must explore the issues raised by the question and present your analysis based on a close, critical reading.
  2. Consider the significance of the material. It is not enough to summarize the content of the texts (documents or books) you have read. Your essay must consider the significance of the issue you are examining. In a compare/contrast essay, your professor will expect that you examine not only the ways the two points of view are similar and different but the meaning of those similarities and differences. In writing the essay, you would be expected to discuss why a given similarity, or a difference, is important. You should also think about the historical context of your sources, using it as a way to explore the broader historical issues underlying the assignment.
  3. Construct an argument in support of a thesis. Like any history paper, a short essay must have a thesis that is supported by evidence presented in the body of the paper. Your thesis reflects what you have concluded about the issue after careful reflection on the assignment and any reading you have done for it. After stating it clearly in the introductory paragraph, you must be able to support your thesis with evidence taken from the texts under examination in the body of your essay.
  4. Document your paper. Even short essays require that you cite and document the sources of your information. (See Part III: Guide to Writing Footnotes and Bibliographies)
Research Papers

The purpose of a research paper is to allow students to practice the craft of history writing at a more sophisticated level than is possible in other history assignments. Like shorter history papers, a research paper takes the form of argument supported by evidence. Unlike other assignments, however, a research paper requires that you find material about your topic outside of the course’s assigned readings.

Choose a topic that can actually be researched by an undergraduate whose main reading language is English. You can start with a fairly broad area, but you will need to focus your topic as your research progresses.

How do I locate books that pertain to my subject?

  1. Read what your textbook and other course books have to say about the topic. Your textbook can lay out the broad outlines of the material so you will have a better idea of terms to use when searching through databases.
    • Locate general texts about the period or subject you are studying and check those texts’ footnotes or bibliography. Look also at bibliographical essays at the end of books or at the end of chapters to the course’s textbooks. Remember that your textbook may have the most useful bibliographies you can find.
  2. Go to the library to consult scholarly encyclopedias and dictionaries. World Book, Colliers, Encyclopedia Britannica and the like are not appropriate sources. Instead consult reference books written by specialists in the field. The entries that you find in these sources can expand on the general knowledge you have already learned from your course books. They can also give you some initial bibliography and point you toward related topics. Here are some examples for the Middle Ages:
    • The Dictionary of the Middle Ages (13 volumes) Ref. D 114 .D5 1982
    • The Cambridge Medieval History (8 volumes) Ref D 117.C32
    • The New Cambridge Medieval History (Ref)
    • The New Catholic Encyclopedia (Ref)
    • The Encyclopedia of Islam (ref)
    • The Oxford Dictionary of the Catholic Church (ref)
    • The Encyclopedia Judaica (ref)
  3. Examine Polk Library’s Online Catalog. ( Use either a keyword or subject search for your topic. If you have little luck with Polk’s collections, expand your search to UW Madison’s library catalog. ( Use WorldCat ( then scroll to the bottom and select WorldCat) to expand your search further. Remember: Polk’s collection is good, but it is limited. Other, larger libraries may contain books that are relevant to your topic. Interlibrary loan allows you to order books from virtually any library in the United States. (The interlibrary loan order form is available on-line at the Polk Library website.)
  4. Remember always to look through the bibliographies of all the books and articles that you find. This can be the very best way to find sources.
  5. Ask your instructor for sources. Most instructors are quite willing to assist your search for good books.

Where do I find primary sources?

Remember, primary sources are those original sources that date from the period you are studying: songs, movies, diaries, interviews, letters of correspondence, written works, etc. Often, you can find primary sources in the same ways that you find secondary sources.

  • Look first in the bibliographies of course books and general texts on your subject. Usually the bibliographies will contain a separate section listing primary sources.
  • Remember, too, that primary sources often come in collections of sources. i.e. a book edited by a modern historian containing extracts or whole sources from the period under consideration.
  • Check the library catalogue and other databases for your topic plus the word “sources.” This search strategy will often turn up primary source collections.
  • Despite the warning about using the internet for research below, it is possible to find primary sources on the web. Some useful examples include:
  • Ask you instructor for guidance.

May I use information from the web as primary and secondary sources?

Many professors discourage the use of the web for information about historical subjects. The internet is a great tool for research, but it is also a storehouse of misinformation. As a tool, the internet can help you locate information. Unfortunately, relying on the web as a source of information carries hazards. Generally speaking, it is safest to consult published journals and books—particularly journals and books published by prestigious organizations or publishers. In sum, then: Determining whether a source available over the internet is reliable or not is tricky. Err on the careful side and don’t hesitate to consult the instructor for advice. [But see notice above on primary source collections on the Internet]

Where can I find recently-written journal, magazine, and newspaper articles about my topic?

To find both journal/periodical articles and books, you should make use of on-line indices and some book indices.

For Periodicals alone, you can consult these paper volumes located on the index tables in the reference room.

  • International Index to Periodicals 1907-1965
  • Social Science and Humanities Index 1965-1973
  • Humanities Index

For items published after 1973, see the on-line versions of these last two indices listed under Wilson Journal Indexes on the library’s web page.

See Polk Library’s web page ( for indexed articles. Hit “articles & more by subject.” Good online indexes include:

  • Ebsco Academic Elite
  • Wilson Journal Indexes
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe
  • First Search

What if I cannot find the journal/magazine/newspaper I need?

  1. Try getting the article from the full-text databases we have available online. Hit “articles & more by subject.” Choose “Ebsco Online articles.” To see which full-text journals are available, hit “Journals with some Full Text online!”
  2. Order it through interlibrary loan (the order form is available on-line at the Polk Library website (

Where do I find old journal/magazine/newspaper articles?

  1. For old magazine and journal articles, there is really only one place to go, the venerable Readers Guide to Periodical Literature (Call no: Reference-Index Tables, 1st floor South AI3 .R48.) These volumes are located in the reference section of Polk Library. Consult the volume pertaining to the period(s) you are interested in, then look up your subject. You will there find references to articles published in various magazines.
  2. There is only one national newspaper that is well indexed, The New York Times. Consult the index for the relevant year, just as you would for the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature.

Where do I turn for help at the library?

Ask a reference librarian (and tell them I sent you.) Reference librarians are there to help you, and they all enjoy working with students who are engaged in research.

Historigraphical Essays

The purpose of a historiographical essay is for you to consider how different historians approach the same historical issues. Even when consulting the same body of information, historians do not necessarily reach the same the same conclusions. They are influenced by their personal backgrounds, by the times in which they live, and by their approaches to history, i.e. economic, intellectual, military, political, feminist, etc. The study of how historians write history is called historiography, and this assignment will give you some practice in the area.

Whatever the exact parameters of your assignment, your task is to compare the authors’ views of the works chosen, noting the points on which they agree and disagree.

To complete such an assignment successfully, you need to choose your authors carefully. Follow these instructions:

  1. Define your final topic. Once you have compiled your bibliography and done some reading, you should have a better sense of your final topic. It will be easier to write this paper if you set up your topic as a question, such as “Did the Venetians Deliberately Send the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople?”
  2. Then you should choose two or three of the secondary sources on your bibliography (or whatever the number required by your instructor). Select items that disagree with one another, at least in part. Works that were written some years apart in time often have differing viewpoints. For instance, many of the conclusions reached by Steven Runciman in A History of the Crusades have been modified by later historians.
  3. Read the works with a view to analyzing the authors’ arguments and methodologies. It is not enough merely to recite the contents of the article. You must focus on why the author has written the article, what the peculiarities of his/her arguments are, what sources the author uses, etc. Give some thought to this part of the assignment and consult with the instructor if you are uncertain of how to proceed. Your analysis should consider these three elements:
      1. Understanding. In this assignment, your most important task is to understand the two (or more) authors and explain their central ideas and arguments to the reader. This should constitute the bulk of your paper. You should also comment on the authors’ approaches: are they interested most in political, economic, social, or intellectual questions? What type of sources do they use? In short, what are the authors’ methodologies, in as far as you can determine them? You should also consider each author’s own cultural values and assumptions. Where these are apparent, they should be brought to the reader’s attention and related to the author’s approach to the subject. Contemporary Authors is a good source of information on many authors’ backgrounds. [Available in the database section of Polk Library’s website.]
      2. Context. Historians do not write in a vacuum their ideas always have some relationship to those of other historians. Pay particular attention to prefaces and introductions, which generally offer reasons for writing the article, and to passages which mention opposing views. Try to relate your authors’ views to the general historiographical context of the subject, i.e. to the other books written on the topic.
      3. Criticism. Although you may not feel qualified to criticize your historians, do not hesitate to point out problems or inconsistencies where you see them to exist. Remember that the act of putting an author’s ideas into historiographical context is also criticism.

      You should include a bibliography of all of the sources that you have used in the paper at the end of the assignment.

      Part 2: Writing Style

      History is a written discipline. In order to learn it, we read. In order to express what we know about it, we write. Writing allows us to make our assertions clearly and to persuade our readers that our interpretation of the past is convincing.

      Effective writing requires that one observe the common conventions of grammar: attention to structure, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and so on. If one were to use a sports analogy, one might assert that writing is like baseball – there are specific rules by which to play, and if the rules are broken, the game is compromised. Similarly, writing has rules for clarity of expression, and if writers disregard them, they compromise the meaning they want their work to communicate.

      When writing a paper, follow these basic steps – and never hand it in without proofreading it carefully: