A Brief Introduction To Common Research Paper Reference Styles

Reference citation shows not only the author’s competence, but also guarantees protection of intellectual property rights. There are a lot of different reference styles. Each kind of cited source has its own proper style.

Usually the citation contains author’s name, the name of the source, the pages cited and information about the publication. Therefore, the reader can obtain additional information from original sources.

Writers and editors decide on their own what reference style to select, while students depend on their instructors’ preferences. Here are the most common reference styles used in essays and research materials:

  1. 1. Humanities Styles
    • Chicago styles is known as documentary note or humanities style. The citations are placed either at the bottom of the page or at the end of the work.
    • Modern Language Association (MLA) style presupposes the use of parenthetical references, in contrast to Chicago style footnotes. It means that citations in MLA are placed within the body of the text.
    • Turabian style is a simplified version of Chicago style used in historical works. However, it was created mainly for students. Footnotes or endnotes are preferred.
  2. 2. Sciences Styles
    • American Chemical Society (ACS) is applied for chemical research papers. The citation includes two elements: in-text citation and the reference list.
    • Council of Biology Editor (CBE) is the style of natural sciences. There are two ways of citing: the name-year system (based on APA) and the citation-sequence system (gives citations in the order of their appearance in the text).
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style is used for research on and patents of computing and electronics. As in CBE, citations are given in the order they appear in the text.
    • National Library of Medicine (NLM) style is used in medicine, when citing journals, magazines or studies. Its distinctive feature is reference numerical order.
    • Vancouver style (a type of biological sciences style) is used in medical publications. References are listed in numerical order at the end of the text.
  3. 3. Social Sciences Styles
    • American Anthropological Association (AAA) is similar to the Chicago style. It focuses on anthropology and is common for journal articles of this Association.
    • American Psychology Association (APA) style was originally used in psychological journals, but now it is popular in other disciplines as well. Parenthetical in-text citations are applied and the reference list is givenat the end of the text.
    • American Political Science Association (APSA) style deals with political science and radio or television. It resembles the Chicago Style (e. g., alphabetical citations).
  4. 4. Legal Styles
    • Legal style focuses on investigation of court decisions, legal publications and evidence submission in court.

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