Writing Styles Guidelines

December 22, 2016

Academic writing entails writing of academic materials is it assignments, term papers, research papers among others, following stipulated sets of rules of writing. Writing styles are the different methods used in formatting the assignments and these styles have rules which have to be met to make your academic writing tasks valid.

The major and common writing styles are MLA, APA, Harvard, Chicago and Oxford styles.

Academic Styles

These styles have different rules of writing but they share a majority of similarities. In each of the styles, an academic paper should contain a title page which includes the learner’s name, the name of the course, instructor’s name and the title of the assignment being undertaken.

The MLA style differs a little since it contains the opening paragraph of your assignment on the title page, while the other styles dictate that the title page stands on its own. All the writing styles require one to use in-text citations in writing of academic papers. Oxford and Harvard styles are those which focus a lot on in-text citations, and Oxford style requires citing sources be done using superscript numbers with corresponding footnotes.

Citing in APA style requires the author’s name to be used, followed by the date of publication.

Referencing in the different styles of academic writing is crucial in your academic paper. The list of references should start on a fresh page in all the styles. MLA stipulates that a reference entry appears in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names. It also provides for you to add the phrase ‘et al’ where the number of authors exceeds three.

In Chicago style, referencing is done using footnotes, which contain the authors’ first names and the last names, the title of the book which is written in italics, publisher’s name, and year of publication and town of publication.


Adding to the page number is not a must but is advantageous. Referencing in Oxford style has rather more rules than the other styles, the order in which elements appear is the same as footnotes, but the family name of the author comes from the initials and all the entries should appear in alphabetical order according to the author’s family name.

Oxford styles insist no numbering should be used, and if a reference is used more than once, the whole reference should not be repeated but the author’s last name and the pages referenced are used.


In editing your paper in the MLA style, a double spacing is used on the title page. The title of the essay should be center-placed and the first paragraph should begin under the title with a ½ inch tabbed indent. One inch margins are used on all the four sides of the pages in all pages, which also apply to the other styles.

A 12-point font is used, and they’re no restrictions on font type provided it’s legible.


On all following pages, a header is placed at the upper right corner, with your last name and the page number. Chicago styles stipulate that numbering of pages be done at the introductory section with roman numbers, and Arabic numbers are used in the rest of the pages placed at the bottom of the page.

Harvard style stipulates the use of New times Roman font and a double spacing. In APA style, pages are numbered at the top-right corner and every page has a running header at the top left, which includes the first few words not exceeding 50 characters.

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