Manuscript Format for Three Bibliographic Styles 

Be sure you know which style of documentation your instructor wants you to use for a research paper. Consult the references your instructor recommends to learn how to cite your sources properly. In addition to forms to use for citations, however, the various styles also include regulations about how to set up the pages and put the manuscript together. Type your paper using the page format that goes with the assigned documentation style, but be alert for special instructions from your instructor!

Red type has been used to highlight some of the major differences among the formats.

  MLA APA Chicago (Turabian)
Margins Exactly 1 inch on top, bottom, & sides, requiring a change from the  default margins used in Word 2003 (but not 2007). "At least 1 inch (2.54 cm)" on top, bottom, & sides At least 1 inch on top, bottom, & sides
Alignment Align the paper on the left margin. Do not justify the right margin. Align the paper on the left margin. Do not justify the right margin. Align the paper on the left margin. Do not justify the right margin.
Spacing Double-space everything--heading, text, works cited--everything. Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs or before or after your title. Set the word-processing program to double-space and type your paper. Double-space the text, indented quotations, and entries in your list of references. Double-space headings, title, footnotes, references, etc.-- double-space everything except special items like equations, tables, or figures. Double-space the text, including any indented quotations. Double-space between endnotes or bibliography entries, but single space within each one.
Title Page Not required by MLA, but check with your instructor. If you use one, omit the essay heading described below. (Make sure the listed information appears on your title page.) Generally required unless your instructor says otherwise. Check with your instructor about what should be included. In an undergraduate paper, the title page should be numbered as page 1. It should include the paper's full title. and the same information required in the MLA essay heading. It counts as p. 1, but no page number should be typed on it.
Abstract   If you are asked to prepare an abstract, it will come right after the title page and be numbered as page 2 (etc.).  The page is headed "Abstract" (centered, without quotation marks, after a 1-inch margin), and the abstract itself is double-spaced. (Like all other pages, the abstract page carries the running head--see below.)  
Essay Heading At top left corner, place the following (double-spaced):

Your name

Professor's Name

Course Identification

Date

See an example here.

   
Page Numbers Put them one-half inch below the top of the page in the upper right corner, with your last name (family name) before them (and a space in between). Number all the pages (including the list of works cited) with Arabic numerals. Put them in the upper right corner. Create a running head no more than 50 characters long by shortening your title. Type it in all uppercase, flush left at the top of the title page (identified by the label "Running head," without the quotation marks and followed by a colon). On the rest of your pages, the running head (all uppercase) should appear flush left at the top of the page, but the identification "Running head" should not be included.* Put them in the upper right corner. Use Arabic numerals. Ask your instructor about using your name or a short title.
Typeface (Font) Use an easily readable font and size, such as Times New Roman 12-point. Make sure the font you choose is one that makes italics clearly distinguishable from regular text. Use a serif font large enough to be read easily, such as Times New Roman 12-point.  
Indentations (paragraphs & long quotations) Indent the first lines of paragraphs one-half inch (5 spaces). Indent long quotations twice as much--one inch (10 spaces). Note: Like everything else, indented quotations should be double-spaced. Omit quotation marks for indented quotations. Both the first lines of paragraphs and all lines of an indented quotation should be indented one-half inch (5 spaces), as should the first lines of footnotes. Omit quotation marks for indented quotations. Both the first lines of paragraphs and all lines of an indented quotation should be indented one-half inch (5 spaces). Omit quotation marks for indented quotations.
When to indent a quotation (instead of using quotation marks) Indent prose quotations longer than 4 lines (unless you want to give them "special emphasis"). Indent verse quotations that include more than three lines. Quotations from drama must be indented if they involve more than one character--consult the MLA Handbook or your instructor. If a quotation has 40 words or more, indent it.  
Dividing words at the ends of lines (using hyphens). Don't do it. Don't do it. May be allowed; check with your instructor if you think you really need to do it.
Footnotes Consult the MLA Handbook if you want to use endnotes or footnotes to provide extra information about content or bibliography. Footnotes are used when the writer has obtained permission to reprint copyrighted material. They may also be used (sparingly) to provide extra information. They may be typed at the bottom of each page or on a single sheet at the end of the paper. Use superscript Arabic numbers, and make them consecutive throughout the paper. The 6th edition of the Publication Manual says they should be double-spaced.  
Endnotes Consult the MLA Handbook if you want to use endnotes or footnotes to provide extra information about content or bibliography. See above. Begin on a new page and enter the heading "Endnotes" (without quotation marks) just below the top margin. Continue numbering pages. Indent half an inch (5 spaces) before inserting the appropriate superscript number. Single space within each endnote, but double-space between endnotes.
List of Works Cited/References/ Bibliography Begin it on a new page. Center the heading "Works Cited" (without quotation marks) just below the top margin. Continue to number pages. Double-space.  Within each entry, indent every line except the first. (This is the opposite of the indentation pattern for a paragraph. It is called a hanging indentation.) Begin it on a new page. Center the heading "References" (without quotation marks) just below the top margin. Continue to number pages. Double-space.  Within each entry, indent every line except the first. (This is the opposite of the indentation pattern for a paragraph. It is called a hanging indentation.) Begin it on a new page. Center the heading "Bibliography" (without quotation marks) just below the top margin. Continue to number pages. Unless your instructor says otherwise, single space within the entries but double-space between them.
Holding the Pages Together Strict MLA style calls for a paper clip, but instructors often prefer a more durable fastening. Ask your instructor about this.    
Visuals & Other Requirements To find more information about how to number visuals, create a table of contents, or format any other items your instructor may require, consult the sources listed below.
Templates & Software If you download a template or use a site or program to generate bibliographic citations, be sure to check the results to make sure the style is being followed correctly. Do not assume that "reference" tools or templates included in word-processing programs are correct.  You are responsible for what you turn in, no matter whose template created the pages or entries!

*In Word 2007, a check-box for "Different First Page" appears on the Design tab when you insert a header or double-click inside the header.

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Research and Documentation Online is an online text by Diana Hacker. It gives details of the MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE styles, and it provides example papers for each. Highly recommended!

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O'Kelly Library provides handouts, presentations, and links to help with citation styles.

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The Lewis Library at Lamar State College Orange offers APA and MLA handouts that include some things (like how to cite an e-book) that don't often appear in other such documents. In addition, there are some very good links.

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The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers information about both page formats and bibliographic entries for both  MLA and  APA styles. Click the "Research and Citation" heading on the right to see even more resources. (The OWL site is a good source for other kinds of information as well.)

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MLA has divided its very useful FAQ into two parts: Frequently Asked Questions about the MLA Handbook and Frequently Asked Questions about the MLA Style Manual.  A number of the answers may be useful to users of any style.

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Chicago Style Q&A includes a link for "Manuscript Preparation."

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On the American Psychological Association's APA Style Web site, you'll find Frequently Asked Questions about APA style, a tutorial entitled "Basics of APA Style," and even a blog that discusses a variety of issues.

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The APA sample paper created by Dr. De' Marcus Jackson of Columbia State Community College combines clear directions with an example.

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The Chicago Manual of Style Online is another resource for Chicago style.

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For the most complete information, consult the official manuals: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.), the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), and A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (7th ed.) or The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.).  Normally these will be found at the reference desk in a university library. (Note: For each of these styles, there are also other authoritative sources. Consult a librarian.)

Note: The idea for this page came from seeing the very useful "Comparison of Three Bibliographic Styles" created by the Writing Center at Newman University.

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This is a personal web page. Opinions or views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official views of Winston-Salem State University.

This is a personal web page. Opinions or views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official views of Winston-Salem State University.