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Essay Samples > Definition > Formatting Styles
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Formatting Styles

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There are several different styles of formatting styles used in academic work: APA Style, MLA Style, and Chicago Manual of Style among other formatting styles. The two most common formatting styles are APA and MLA. All the formats define how a paper ought to be organized such that it appeals to the reader after printing: from the title page to the reference list. American Psychological Association, APA documented formatting system applied in social sciences, nursing, education, psychology, and sociology. On the other hand, there is the Modern Language Association, MLA documentation that slightly differs from APA in the general layout of papers for use in research on humanities, history, literature, and communication.

The choice of a formatting style will depend on a number of factors. To begin with, a course instructor would prefer his/her works done using a particular format. In addition, a formatting style would depend on the nature of materials and data that are used in finishing an assignment. According Campbell, (1998), Flowcharts, for instance, are often favored by engineers, scientists, and others with technical background,” (p. 134). A well-formatted paper should have insertions that would be visible at the first instant a reader goes through a particular work. This is aided by the use of headers, footers; where catchy words or phrases about a topic appear. The title page appears at the front and it contains information on the author, title of a paper, name of institution, and date of submission. It is also necessary to give an outline of the paper in which one states the content of the paper in logical and easy to follow steps. The function of an outline is to allow readers to peruse through a particular paragraph or section much faster, (Campbell, 1998).  

The use of secondary data within a particular document requires specific formatting criteria for the referenced materials. This according to Campbell (1998) allow that primary data to have their own primary format specialty in a document. However, a specific style; for instance, MLA or APA should be adopted in accomplishing a given task. This calls for consistency in making in-text citations and references on the reference page. The reference page gives detailed information of the secondary sources used in a document such as publication information, title, name(s) of author(s), and publications headquarters among other information.

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