Essay Format: MLA, APA, Chicago Styles & What How to Use Them

Writing guide
Posted on April 9, 2020

Being able to produce a decent argumentative, cause and effect, expository, informative, persuasive, narrative, or any other essay for high school and college subjects is an essential part of any academic level. However, writing a research paper or essay isn’t just about listing your ideas on a particular topic with subheadings. Many colleges and universities tend to ask their students to use certain essay format. The first examples that usually come to one’s mind when it comes to the essay or research paper format are the basic formats like Chicago, MLA, and APA format example.
Below, we will explain the main differences between the mentioned formats, as well as how to apply them to guarantee proper paper formatting.

APA Format Example

Whether it is a scholarship, compare and contrast, or reflection essay in Chicago, APA, or MLA style, proper structure is a must. The APA essay format is one of the most popular styles, which means being well aware of its peculiarities is important.

In case with the standard structure of the paper in APA format, the guidelines on how to structure the projects might look as follows:

  • Font: 12pt Times New Roman.
  • Margins: One Inch margins on each side.
  • Spacing: Double-space your text.
  • Page Numbers: At the top left of every page, you have to place a header that includes a shortened title of the paper, below fifty characters together with punctuation. Insert a number right there as well (top right corner).
  • Title Page: The paper title, the name of the author, education institution. Some extra info might be required as well, such as your instructor’s name, the course title, date.

Keep in mind that some college and university tutors may provide you with some deviations to the APA formatting, which means before you start working on the paper, ensure to consult your professor for any extra regulations.

How to Deal with MLA Format Essay

In order to produce an MLA format essay for any subject of high school or college program, you need to work in accordance with the rules officially set for this format. Here is a short step-by-step guide to follow:

  • Font: 12pt Times New Roman
  • Margins: One-inch margin at the bottom, on the top, right and left.
  • Spacing:
    • Double-space your text.
    • Do not provide any additional spaces, especially when it comes to the paragraphs.
  • Page Numbers: Put your last name and page number on each page of your project like a “header.” If not, it would become part of your essay text.
  • Heading: Provide an example of the heading in the upper left corner, on the first page.
    • Your name (Anne Pickoff)
    • Tutor’s name (Daniela Martinsson)
    • Your class (This point usually depends on your class or course)
    • Date (12 September 2020)
  • Title: Make sure to use an appropriate format for the essay title. Make sure to check any MLA sample to see how the text should be arranged. Center your title above the first line of the text. Make sure your title is of the same size and font as your project itself.
  • Align: The writer has to align to the left-hand side evenly.

How to Arrange Chicago Style Paper

Chicago style paper is a common project that students encounter in academic writing. One of the particular characteristics of the style is that it is mainly used in published works rather than college projects. In other words, it is crucial to make sure your essay includes footnotes and precise citations.

You may consult Purdue OWL lab for more information about the format, but here is a brief overview of how your speech, essay, or term paper should be formatted:

  • Title Page
    • Pay due attention to spacing, when working with Chicago style title page.
    • Provide the title of your paper down the page. In case your title takes more than a single line, do not forget to double-space it.
    • Provide your full name right in the middle of the page.
    • Provide the name of your professor, the course number, and the date down the page (double-space the lines!).
  • Margins: The writer should make use of one-inch margins apart from the essay page’s right side.
  • Spacing
    • You have to double-space your text.
    • Do not provide any additional spaces, especially when it comes to paragraphs.
  • Font: 12pt Times New Roman.
  • Page Numbers
    • On the top right, directly in the heading, ensure to provide the number of the page and the last name.
    • Your title page shouldn’t contain the page number. The first page that contains your essay text should be provided with number 2.
  • Footnotes: This style requires students to use quoted/paraphrased passages and footnotes.

Guidelines for Writing an Academic Paper

As a matter of fact, there are many different methods to write an academic paper. However, there are some solid recommendations to maintain a consistent and easy to understand the workflow. Whether you’re working on an APA sample paper for your application process or a research paper for Biology course, you have to follow a standard format, with no exceptions. To make it easier for you to provide a synthesis of available information and produce a supreme quality paper, we recommend taking the following steps.

  1. Begin with an introduction. The introductory part of any paper should start with something that catches your readers’ attention. After that, make sure to provide two sentences that will cover some general details on the chose topic. At the end of the introductory section, you need to insert your thesis statement.
  2. What is a winning hook? As an example, you may use an impressive statistic, a quote, or even an anecdote. An attractive hook for an essay about Holocaust might look as follows, “To make all Jews easily targeted, the Nazis ordered them to pin a yellow Star of David to their clothing, once World War II began.”
  3. Ensure your thesis statement is both strong and debatable. As you outline your paper of any format, place your thesis statement at the end of the opening part. In this section, you provide your stance and solid reasons that will be used later as a tool to defend your viewpoint. Give a short preview of what your essay contains, and use your thesis statement as your personal map as you write. Whether you work on Chicago or APA paper example, your thesis statement could look like this, “A life giving plan of actions must be enacted on several fronts in order to help orphans all over the globe, including providing shelters and that health programs, as well as setting a safe, well-structured environment that vulnerable children need for proper education.”
  4. Each of the points that you have should be developed in a separate paragraph. Each point used to support your thesis statement should be discussed in a separate paragraph that includes a topic sentence, solid evidence, as well as your own comments on how the evidence that you use supports each of your points. It is important to include transitions between the essay paragraphs to ensure the text flows smoothly. For instance, you may say, “On the one hand,” “At the same time,” “What is more,” etc.
  5. Make your essay look complete with a logical conclusion. At the beginning of your conclusion, you will have to restate your thesis statement. Then give a general, wrapping-up statement. At the end of the final paragraph, provide a CTA or a statement that will leave a strong aftertaste in your readers.
    • If you’re thinking about using a statement that will encourage prompt reflection on your topic, it might read as follows, “There are nearly seventy million children all over the globe who suffer from malnutrition.”
    • As for CTA, “Fewer orphans all over the globe suffering from malnutrition are possible, but only if people consider donating and working to end this crisis.”
  6. Provide parenthetical citations for APA/MLA formatting. In the case with MLA/APA formatting, you should provide the sourcing info at the end of the sentence, using parentheses. Thus, your readers will be able to understand where they can find this or that fragment of information.
    • In APA format, provide the last name of the author and the year of publication when you create your citations. In case the sentence includes the name of the author, you can use the year only.
    • For MLA format, ensure that each of your citations has the last name of the author together with the page number. In case the sentence includes the name of the author, you can use the page number only.
    • Sometimes your college professor may ask you to avoid parenthetical citations and choose footnotes instead, so make sure to follow their instructions.

Before you hand in your paper, go over it several times, concentrating on the smallest errors and eliminating each.

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