- By Daniel Millions
- Published 09/25/2008
When a term paper is assigned, the instructor will inform the students of the citation style that is preferred for the term paper writing assignment. Failure to produce a paper in the requested style can cause a final rejection of the paper. When a term paper has the power to determine a student’s success in a course, it is important for a student to become familiarized with the different styles used in term paper writing. The different style formats concern the proper citation of digital sources of information. A citation for electronic sources is meant to give as much information as possible about the source. This is important because web pages can be impermanent and the Internet source that was once there, can disappear overnight. The more information that can be detailed about an Internet source, the easier it will be later to verify the previous existence if that becomes necessary. The main styles that are used for term papers citations are the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago and Turabian styles. The MLA and APA are used at many colleges. It is the instructor’s preferences that will determine the required style for the term paper.
If the instructor does not assign a certain style for the term paper, you can use a general guideline for choosing the style which suggests that the MLA style is suitable for social science term papers and that the APA is good for humanities, literature and arts programs. The Turabian is versatile an
d can be used for most, if not all term papers. As for the the Chicago style, it is used for consumer products such as magazines, books, new stories and published material that is not generally used for graded papers, although some teachers will allow its use. You should check with your instructor before using the Chicago style. Other educational institutions use their own styles such as the Harvard style, the Council of Biology Editors style and the Columbia Guide To Online Style. The different styles concern the placement and formatting of the various elements of the citation. You will be inserting information into each citation that concerns the author’s name, title of the work, bibliographic data, publishing information, date of retrieval of the source, date of the copyright, url and any other information that will identify the electronic source. As you conduct your research, keep an up to date log of your research with accurate citations that are taken the day that you access the source. This will prevent the loss of information if the page is removed before you have collected the information. Without the proper citation, you cannot properly use a source of information in your term paper.
By carefully adhering to the citation rules that are set by any style, you can produce a correctly formatted list of your information sources. For many instructors, the style of the term paper is just as important the sources used in the background research for term paper writing. You can pass your term paper with flying colors when you can use a citation style that will keep your instructor happy.