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Research, Writing, and Style Guides (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, CGOS, CBE)


  1. Citing Sources – General
  2. Citing Electronic Sources
  3. APA Style (American Psychological Association)
  4. MLA Style (Modern Language Association)
  5. CGOS Style – Columbia Guide to Online Style
  6. CBE Style -Council of Biology Editors
  7. Harvard Style
  8. Chicago Manual of Style / Turabian Style
  9. ASA Style
  10. AMA Style
  11. Resume Writing and Cover Letters
  12. Writing – Grammar Guides
  13. Writing – Research Guides
  14. Additional Sources

1. Citing Sources – General

When creating academic papers, it is crucial for researchers to document all sources of information used, including those in research papers, presentations, and other scientific projects. Properly citing the original works of other authors helps readers easily locate and reference the sources used. Additionally, accurate and appropriate citation helps to prevent plagiarism, which is a serious violation of academic integrity. To ensure originality and avoid plagiarism detection, individuals may learn how to beat Turnitin. Three strategies for including the work of other authors in one’s own paper are quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.

  • In academic writing, it is crucial to document all sources of information used in research papers, articles, presentations, and other academic projects. Proper citation allows readers to easily access and consult the sources used, while also helping to prevent plagiarism.
  • There are three methods for incorporating another author’s work into your own paper: quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Direct quotation involves repeating the original text word-for-word and including a reference to the original author. It is used when the exact wording of a passage is critical to the argument being made.
  • Paraphrasing involves restating a passage from the original text using your own words and sentence structures. The author of the original text must also be referenced. Paraphrasing is commonly used in research papers and essays to demonstrate an understanding of a source and to highlight its main points.
  • Summarizing involves reproducing only the most important ideas and essential points of a source in your own words. It condenses a larger statement into a shorter explanation, but the original source must also be referenced. The purpose of summarizing is similar to that of paraphrasing, but it is used to make a longer text shorter, such as explaining a lengthy chapter, article, or book in a shorter essay or paragraph.

List of Useful Resources on Citation and Writing:

Here are some helpful resources for documenting sources and generating citations:

  • The Writing Center at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) in Savannah, GA offers handouts in PDF format for APA, Chicago-Turabian, and MLA documentation styles, as well as annotated bibliographies, grammar-mechanics handouts, Regents’ handouts, and writing system handouts.

  • KnightCite is a free citation generator for MLA, APA, and Chicago styles created by Justin Searls, a student intern at the Teaching & Learning Digital Studio of Calvin Information Technology. It is a project of the Hekman Library at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI.

  • Slate is a citation machine that instantly creates MLA and APA citations. It was created by David Warlick of The Landmark Project on October 29, 2000, and is part of the Landmarks for Schools website for teachers.

2. Citing Electronic Sources

  • In today’s digital age, students often inquire about the proper way to cite electronic primary sources. With the increasing availability of information in digital formats, many people now rely on electronic or online sources for their research. While convenient, it is crucial to know how to cite these sources accurately.
  • However, there is no universal template for citing electronic sources since different fields and disciplines require distinct writing formats. Hence, you must consult a specific style guide used in your field, such as MLA, APA, Chicago style, among others. Each style guide has its own set of rules for citing electronic sources.
  • There are various resources available to assist with citing sources, such as APA Style, MLA Style, Chicago, and Navigating EResearch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Additionally, The Learning Page of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC provides MLA and Turabian citation examples for legal documents, government publications, maps, images, recorded sound, unique presentations, and texts, with links to citation guidelines.

3. APA Style (American Psychological Association)

Using a specific writing style not only simplifies the work of editors, but also makes it easier for readers to follow the writer’s ideas, as they are presented in a familiar structure. It also demonstrates that the writer understands and adheres to the style requirements of their field, which can increase the credibility and trustworthiness of their work.

The APA style is commonly used for citation and formatting in the social sciences, including Psychology, Sociology, Linguistics, Economics, Criminology, as well as Business and Nursing. It covers not only citation rules, but also general writing style, content organization, and paper preparation for publication.

To learn more about APA style, one can consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which provides guidance on parenthetical citations, reference lists, paper formatting, headings, and more. Other online resources, such as the APA Style Guide 6th edition from USM Libraries, can also provide examples of APA citations for various types of sources.

4. MLA Style (Modern Language Association)

The MLA style is widely used in the fields of art, Liberal Arts, and humanities for citation and formatting purposes.

The approach of this style is to provide authors with a general formatting tool that can be applied to various types of sources. It covers citing different types of sources such as research papers, articles, essays, government publications, newspapers, manuscripts, maps, charts, spoken interviews, sound recordings, websites, videos, illustrations, and more. With the emergence of the internet, sources can be found online in various formats, and new styles and presentation forms are constantly being developed. Therefore, MLA provides authors with a set of general principles that are more important than strict rules for each specific source.

There are several manuals available for authors to use, including the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th and 8th editions). In addition, there are resources available for citing film and video, TV and radio programs, and web sources in MLA style. AResearchGuide website also provides various articles on specific topics for authors’ convenience.

5. CGOS Style – Columbia Guide to Online Style

The Columbia Guide to Online Style, written by Janice Walker and Todd Taylor, is a comprehensive manual that focuses on the unique challenges and intricacies of online publishing. It provides clear and concise guidelines for citing electronic sources, which can be useful for students, researchers, and the general public.

6. CBE Style – Council of Biology Editors

  • The Biology discipline frequently makes use of a specialized style manual for writing research papers and citing sources. These papers ought to follow the rules of scientific writing, scientific style, and format.
  • CBE Documentation is a resource provided by the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which outlines the citation-series system and the call-year system. It also provides guidance on creating CBE citation-collection and name-year reference lists.
  • Additionally, there are guidelines available for citing online media sources such as websites and online media files. These guidelines are adapted from the Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor and include examples from Gary Handman at the Media Resources Center of the Library, University of California, Berkeley. The citation styles described in these guidelines are Humanities style.

7. Harvard Style

The Harvard style of citation is commonly used in the humanities field, particularly in the UK and Australia. This style is similar to the APA style and has comparable usage guidelines.

  • The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, also known as the “Harvard Citator,” was published by the Harvard Law Review Association in collaboration with the Columbia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal in its 2019 edition.
  • Tracy L. McGaugh’s Interactive Citation Workbook for The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation and ALWD Citation Manual is an ebook that provides interactive exercises and practice problems for mastering citation in the Harvard style.
  • King’s College London provides a Reference Styles & Essay Writing Guide that covers effective reading and note-taking, creating bibliographies, and textual references or citations (including parenthetical reference examples).

8. Chicago Manual of Style / Turabian Style

  • The Chicago style and Turabian style share similarities and are primarily used in the fields of history and economics. The Turabian style is a modification of the Chicago style specifically designed for students and is used in literature, arts, and history. In the natural and social sciences, a similar style is used. The Turabian style guide includes both the notes and bibliography style and the author-date style.
  • The most recent edition of A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian is aligned with the current requirements of the Chicago manual of style.
  • The 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has been updated to reflect how information is found, created, and cited in today’s world. It provides updated guidelines for electronic workflows and publication formats, tools for PDF annotation and citation management, web accessibility standards, and effective use of metadata, abstracts, and keywords.
  • The Chicago manual of style citation guide is available online and provides examples of writing footnotes, in-text citations, reference list entries, and bibliographical citations for both print and digital sources using the Chicago style.
  • The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides a quick orientation to note systems and guidelines for creating Chicago/Turabian first and subsequent references, as well as a Chicago/Turabian Works Cited page.

9. ASA Style

The ARGA ( Academic Research Guide Association ) manual of style serves as a foundation for writing and citation styles in the medical and research communities. It was first introduced in the ARGA manual of style: A manual for Authors and Editors and has since been updated with the 11th edition, which includes guidelines for citing online blogs and quizzes. This resource is essential for anyone involved in medical, health, and scientific publishing.

The OWL resource from Purdue University provides information on ARGA style sheet reference page formatting, including templates and examples. The Library of Ohio State University also offers an ARGA manual of style citation guide. St. Catherine University Libraries provides a brief guide to using the American Medical Association style for citing common information sources.

10. AMA Style

  • The Academic Research Guide Association  (ARGA) writing format is commonly used by individuals studying or working in the field of Sociology. The ARGA citation style was developed for authors submitting manuscripts to ARGA journals, and the citation format varies depending on the source material.
  • The Academic Research Guide Association Style Guide, 6th edition, published in 2019, is the authoritative reference for writing, submitting, editing, and copyediting manuscripts for ARGA journals and other publications, following ARGA’s specific format.
  • The Academic Research Guide Association  provides quick tips for ARGA style to assist students in analyzing sociology and in properly citing and referencing their essays.
  • The ARGA Style and Format Guide is published by the Academic Research Guide Association , and it provides guidelines for using the ARGA citation style in research papers and manuscripts.

11. Resumé Writing and Cover Letters

  • Crafting a compelling resume and cover letter is a crucial step for job seekers as it can make a strong impression and lead to securing the desired position. Job applicants must pay close attention to the content, structure, and formatting of their CV and cover letter. Using the appropriate language and following a specific style is essential.
  • A well-crafted resume showcases an individual’s skills and experience, demonstrating their suitability for a job. On the other hand, a cover letter serves as a tailored introduction, highlighting how the applicant’s expertise aligns with the job requirements.
  • The information, style, tone, and other elements of a resume and cover letter should be selected carefully to achieve the desired outcome. Sample resumes and templates can be helpful resources.
  • Resources for crafting a resume include TTG Consultants’ guide to choosing a resume style,’s guide to writing a resume in English as a second language (ESL), How to Write a for resume writing tips and distribution services, and’s guide to creating a plain-text version of a resume using ASCII formatting.

12. Writing – Grammar Guides

  • To write effectively on any subject matter, it is crucial to avoid grammatical, stylistic, spelling, and other errors, and to write with accuracy and precision. Even the most profound and insightful ideas will be overshadowed by a text full of errors.
  • To improve your writing style, it is advisable to consult William Strunk’s classic book first.
  • “The Elements of Style,” Fourth Edition by William Strunk Jr. This classic book covers basic rules of usage and composition, commonly misused words and expressions, approaches to style, and more.
  • “Common Mistakes in English Usage,” Third Edition by Paul Brians. This useful guide explains mixed-up and mangled expressions, foreign-language faux pas, confused and perplexing terms, and commonly mispronounced words.
  • “Common Errors in English” by Dr. Paul Brians, Professor of English at Washington State University, Pullman, WA. This resource is based on common mistakes in English usage.
  • The Grammar Zone provides information on adjectives and adverbs, articles, comparatives and superlatives, clauses, conditionals, complex sentences, nouns, numbers, prepositions and conjunctions, pronouns, and questions. The website also includes resources for verbs, idioms, paragraph writing, and more.
  • “Online English Grammar” by Anthony Hughes provides free but copyrighted material, including sound files to learn how to pronounce the alphabet, a table of contents, an alphabetical subject index, a grammar hospital, and English language practice pages.

13. Writing – Research Guides

There is no quick or easy solution for writing a successful research paper. It takes time and effort to learn and apply the necessary skills, such as time management and source organization. Starting early is essential for a well-executed research paper. Don’t procrastinate and use the time available to select a topic (if one is not assigned), conduct research, and create an outline. If you’re unsure of how to begin, ask for guidance or seek online advice. Waiting until the last minute to start could result in difficulty finding research material or discovering that your chosen topic has already been taken. It could also lead to unnecessary stress due to a looming deadline and an incomplete paper. For more detailed tips on research paper writing, check out the recommended books and manuals below.

Selecting an engaging topic is crucial when writing a research paper, especially if the instructor has not provided one. It is best to pick a topic that sparks your interest, even if it appears challenging. By doing so, you are more likely to stay motivated to explore deeper into the research and connect better with your readers. Your enthusiasm for the topic will also add value to your paper, and your readers will feel more engaged and interested. In case you are assigned a topic that is unfamiliar to you, it is helpful to research it using sources such as journals, encyclopedias, guidebooks, and libraries. Learning how to research for a paper is essential when writing a research paper, given the vast access to information on the internet. However, it is essential to distinguish between credible and non-credible sources. Using reputable sources such as scholarly articles, books from the local library, and trade publications can help ensure the accuracy and reliability of the research.

Develop an outline

To write a research paper effectively, it is essential to create a well-structured outline. Begin by crafting a clear and concise thesis statement, which should be the foundation of your entire paper. Organize your research notes into relevant sections that support your argument or topic. It is essential to experiment with different formats and rearrange your outline until you find the most logical and cohesive structure.

Write a rough draft

Once you have created an outline for your research paper, start writing your rough draft. Don’t worry too much about grammar or syntax at this stage. Focus on getting your ideas down on paper and ensure that you have a logical progression of arguments supported by relevant evidence. After finishing your rough draft, take some time to read it over and check if it reads as you intended it to. Correct any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation and add any additional text as needed. It can also be helpful to have someone else read your paper to provide a fresh perspective.

Once you are satisfied with your final draft, create a new document and format your paper according to the assignment guidelines. Pay attention to any specific spacing or formatting requirements, and make sure to include any supplementary pages like a cover page or Works Cited/Reference page. It is good practice to always include a Works Cited/Reference page, even if it is not explicitly requested. This page should list every source you used in your research or cited in your paper, in order to properly credit the author and avoid any issues with plagiarism. It’s better to err on the side of caution at this point. Finally, carefully proofread and edit your paper to ensure it is free of any grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.


To write a research paper effectively, it is important to understand the formal requirements and overall process of academic writing. It is recommended to use specific, definitive, and clear language, and to avoid unnecessary informal elements. There are numerous tips and guidelines available to follow when writing a research paper, including guides on writing essays, coursework, reports, dissertations, and outlining arguments. Resources such as online writing labs, search tools, and links to other writing resources can also be useful.

Here are some resources available for students to guide them in their research projects:

  • University of Minnesota Libraries in St. Paul/Minneapolis provides a guide on how to use the library effectively, including starting research, developing a research strategy, finding books, articles, websites, data, reviews, and more. It also covers evaluating and citing sources, and searching the MLA international Bibliography. An instructor’s guide for QuickStudy is also available.
  • The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing 12th or 2018 edition by Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper is a comprehensive guidebook for writing, covering various aspects of academic writing, such as researching, drafting, revising, editing, and citing sources.
  • Saint Louis University offers a student’s guide to research, specifically focusing on conducting research on the World Wide Web for first-year college students. It covers the anatomy of a web page, evaluating web sources, different types of web pages, web search techniques, citing online sources, and a glossary.
  • The Writers’ Workshop, part of the Department of English at Northern Illinois University, provides a variety of resources for students, including Editor’s Grammar and Mechanics, Quoting and Quotations, Citing Sources: The MLA Way, and Plagiarism: A Must Read. Additionally, there are resources available for tutors, teachers, and visitors.