Whenever you are researching a certain topic and writing a paper based on the research, you need to create a list of the scholarly articles, books, and other sources you used. This list is known by the name bibliography. It should always be positioned on a new page at the end of the paper, and it should contain properly formatted information about all sources that contributed towards the writing of your paper.

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When it comes to citing works in academic writing, there are three major styles that are most commonly used: the Chicago style (taken from the Chicago Manual of Style), MLA (Modern Language Association) style, and APA (American Psychological Association) style. Different sciences prefer different styles. For example, works from the publishing industry and history niche are written with the implementation of Chicago style; humanities-related areas (like literature) prefer MLA; and social sciences (such as sociology, psychology, and business) prefer the APA style.

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The basics of MLA format

The works cited list should be positioned on a new page at the end of your paper, and you should put Works Cited as a centered title. The entries in the list should be alphabetized according to the last names of their authors, with the usage of the letter-by-letter rule. If the name of the author isn’t known, you should use the title of the publication in order to position it in the alphabetized list (don’t forget to ignore An, A, or The).

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The basics of APA format

The most important thing to remember is that the list of work cited should be placed on a new page at the end of a paper with a title References (centered). The entries in the list of works cited should be placed in alphabetical order, taking the author’s last name into consideration and using the system of letter by letter. You should only provide the initial of the first and middle name of the author. In case you don’t know the name of the author (this commonly occurs with online sources), you should position the source in the alphabetized list according to the title (make sure to ignore The, A, or An at the beginning of the title).

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Citation rules and protocols vary between different academic disciplines, which turns academic writing into a more difficult task than it already is. For instance, for some disciplines you will only need to create a ‘works cited’ list, while others will require a complete bibliography of the works you consulted; some disciplines require the use of parenthetical in-text citing, while others use footnotes. All these different rules can be distracting, but it is necessary to learn and implement the particular protocols required for the discipline you are working in.

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