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How to Cite a Research Paper: APA, MLA, and Chicago Formats | ProEssays.net

How to Cite a Research Paper: APA, MLA, and Chicago Formats

Published by on 2021-06-25 18:51:46

Irrespective of the academic text you are working on, proper citing is a must, as it will give an opportunity to ignore plagiarism and other inaccuracies in the paper. Although there is a plethora of citing styles, APA, MLA, and Chicago are the typical ones that can be applied in scholarly works. Thus, apart from the deep and profound analysis of the topic and its aspects, the learner should also pay due attention to the specifications of the selected citing styles. It will not only contribute to the relevance of the dissertation or thesis but will also contribute to its scholarly value. 

How to properly cite sources in a research paper? This is the most common issue learners are concerned about the first time they are assigned with a writing task. Are you ready to dive into the essay creation process? Start with the definitions. 

A citation is a way writers give credit to people for their intellectual works used to support their research. In the overwhelming majority of instances, it is used to present certain ideas without being accused of plagiarism. There is a range of aspects that should be included in the citation:

  • the author’s initials;
  • date;
  • the publishing company;
  • the title of the journal;
  • digital object identifier. 

How to Properly Cite Sources in a Research Paper


A citation style is a unified way to structure data. Adhering to a definite citation format, the student gets data on how to order the basic facts and format them. 

Once you perceive the concernment of the proper citation in your work, you should keep investigating existing data to discover the exact citation type to use in a paper. 

There are undeniably numerous ways the student can cite resources used in work. Nonetheless, the choice is not always individual, as it will depend on a few factors, with the academic discipline being the fundamental one. Thus, works in Education, Sciences, and Psychology are cited with APA style, essays in Humanities require MLA citing format, while Business, Fine Arts and History works should be presented in Chicago format. 

Once you are ready to make the final choice that will contribute to the educational value of your work, it is critical to pay attention to another substantial aspect of the research paper writing process, such as the approach to citation. While most scholars working on Science use in-text citations, scholars crafting essays in Humanities prefer endnotes. Anyway, none of them are hard to adhere to, so the main task of the scholar is to sort out the citing style rather than focus on the single approach. 

APA Format: How to Cite Research Papers

APA is the abbreviation for American Psychological Association. The research paper format is employed substantively in texts associated with social sciences and psychology. Adhering to the rules of this style, the learner can deal not only with in-text citations but also endnotes and reference page. It is critical to highlight that the APA format features generic writing requirements. Check out some of the basic guidelines you should adhere to in order to craft a properly structured work.

  • the paper size is 8.5” x 11”;
  • margins are 1” on all sizes;
  • spacing - double;
  • font – Times New Roman, 12 pt.;
  • page header on every page.

Once you are aware of the fundamental directives to the APA formatting, you should pay attention to other aspects of the writing, such as the title page, abstract, main body, and references. 

As for citing rules, it is indispensable to mind that they may vary depending on the source of the data you use. Here are some of the most common examples the writer can use:

  1. Books: Author, year, a month of publication. The title of work. The city of the publisher, State: Publisher. 
  2. Websites: Author, year, a month of publication. The title of the article. Retrieved from. 
  3. Magazines: Author, year, a month of publication. The title of the article. The title of Magazine, Volume, pp,-pp. 

How to Cite an Academic Paper in MLA Format

The Modern Language Association format is another citing style used in Humanities and Liberal Arts works. Unlike other formatting styles, MLA does not presuppose particular rules to adhere to but rather offers generalized principles. Nonetheless, striving to simplify the writer’s task, there are numerous guidelines to adhere to:

  • font – Times New Roman, 12pt.;
  • spacing - double;
  • margins – 1” on all sides.

At this point, it is inevitable to mention that general guidelines and recommendations are not enough, as the accuracy of the reference page is critical. Check out fundamental instruction on how to cite a research paper in a paper in the MLA style:

  1. Book: Last, first names of the author. The title of the book. The city of the publisher: Name, Year of publication. 
  2. Websites: Last, first name of the author. “The title of the page.” The title of the website. Publisher. Date of publication: number of pages. 
  3. Magazines: Last, first name of the writer. “The title of the article.” Magazine name and date of publication: number of pages. 

How to Cite an Academic Paper

How to Cite a Research Study in Chicago Format

Comparing to the citing styles mentioned above, Chicago is less popular and used, as the area of its application is limited. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most typical formats for works in Humanities. As specified in the requirements of the style, the author should cite sources in endnotes. The format is exceptionally valued by the writers who love to include quotes and refer to famous works in their papers. 

It is indispensable to mention that the Chicago style requirements are slightly different than the ones of APA and MLA formats. Thus, it is inevitable to mind the specifications and adhere to them throughout the work:

  • font – Times New Roman, 12pt.; 
  • spacing – double. The exceptions include table titles, block quotes, due date, and figure captions; 
  • margins – 1” on all the sides;
  • page number – in the header of the first page, starting with number 1.

Apart from the comprehensive principium, the writer should also mind distinct citing requirements. Adhere to the guidelines to succeed with the work and contribute to its academic value:

  1. Books: Last and first name of the author. The title of the book. The city of the publisher: Name, Year of publication. 
  2. Websites: Last and first name. “The page title.” The title of the website. Web address.
  3. Magazines: Last and first name. The title of the article. The title of the magazine, Month, Year of publication. 

Finally, it is indispensable to mention that some requirements may vary, standing upon the college. Additionally, the writer should also mind the specifications listed by the professor.