The most commonly applied referencing styles in educational context are APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and OSCOLA

  • APA Guidelines

This article focuses on the new edition of APA (7th edition). 


  • Your typed essay should be double-spaced
  • Use a standard paper size (8.5" x 11")
  • 1" margins all around
  • Have a paper header (no “Running head”). 
  • Ensure the header contains a shortened title so that it does not go beyond 50 characters. 
  • Also, use a consistent font
  • Times New Roman (font size 12) should be used unless the instructions identify a different one
  • The major sections of your paper should be the Title pageAbstract (where applicable), the Body, and References page. 
  • The title page should contain the name of the authorinstitutional affiliationcourse name and codename of the instructor, and submission date.

How to Cite in APA 7th Edition

Individual Resources

  • If you are unable to see the contributor's name and the date information you are viewing was published, use the “no date” abbreviation (n.d.) and the cited name. For example:

Copasm Freelancers. (n.d.). Resource Title. Copasm Freelancers. http:// (web address).

  • However, if the contributor's name is available, and the date is as well indicated, cite it like this:

Name of the contributor. (Date edited). Title. Name of the site. https://web address

In-text Citations

APA in-text citations follow the author-date format. There, the in-text citation for an article written by Steve Altos in 2021 will appears as (Altos, 2021) OR Altos (2021). 

If you have some direct quotes from a text, however, ensure that you put the words in quotation marks (“…”) and include the page number in your citation. Use abbreviations such as p. or pp. to represent the page. Assuming that your direct quote is from p. 101 of the article I used above, your in-text citations will look like (Altos, 2021, p.101).

For example:

According to Altos (2021), “students will understand APA style better after this course” (p.101). OR

He wrote, “Students enrolling for this course want to learn APA style” (Altos, 2021, p.101). 

Citing Author Categories

Two Authors

Provide surnames of both authors in either parenthesis of signal phrase every time you need to mention them in your work. See below:

  • Altos and Saina (2021)  OR
  • (Altos & Saina, 2021)

Three Authors and Above

List all the authors the first time you cite their resource in your paper, then use “et al.” in subsequent citations. Like:

  • First time: Cena, Sean, Ward, and Doll (2021)
  • Subsequent: Cena et al. (2021)

OR in Parenthesis:

  • First time: (Cena, Sean, Ward, & Doll, 2021)
  • Subsequent: (Cena et al., 2021)

Unknown Author

If no author name is indicated in a source, cite it by title (take the first word or two). If you refer to a book or article’s title in your paper, italicize them. However, if you are referring to a web page, put in quotation marks (like “Web Page,” 2021).

For instance, if the title “Learn APA Format Style” is from a web page, in-text citation will be like (“Learn APA,” 2021) or “Learn APA” (2021).

Cite an Organization as the author

Refer to the government or private organization the same way you would an individual author.


  • World Health Organization (2021) report indicated that the world’s nations should accept Covid-19 vaccination. 
  • World Bank (2021) and International Monetary Fund (2021) reports showed that the organizations are willing to support ailing economies regain financial stability. 

How to Cite More than One Work in Parenthesis

If you have to include two or more resource citations in a common parenthesis, arrange them alphabetically and place a semi-colon after each one of them.


  • (Altos, 2021; Cena et al., 2021)

If you want to include two authors in parenthesis and they have the same surnames, you should use their first name initials to differentiate one from the other.

Example: If I have two authors with the surname Sur but their first names are Heni and Jed, the names should appear as follows:

  • (H. Sur, 2021; J. Sur, 2021)

Cite an author with more than one work in the same year

If you find yourself in such a situation, use letters a,b,c… to organize your work. For example, if my author Siir produced three works in January February, and March and I happened to use all in my paper, I will cite as follows:

  • Sir (2021a) 
  • Sir (2021b) 
  • Sir (2021c) 

Read here for more information about APA in-text citations.

The Reference List

The list appears at the end of the paper. The information included should assist your readers to find the same source you used. Ensure all the sources you’ve included in in-text citations are in the reference list. 

The reference list should be on its own page. Label it “References” (in bold), and place it at the center of the upper section of the page.

References rules:

  • Indent to half-inch (0.5) every line after the first one. In other words, use a hanging indent for your sources.
  • Start with surnames of authors followed by initials of first and middle names
  • In APA 7th edition, you should write all the names of up to 20 authors. The 6th edition allows for the writing of the first 6 only. So if a book or article has 21 authors, write the first 20 then add an ellipse after the 19th authors then type the last author’s name.
  • Use a comma to separate authors’ names, and include an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. 
  • Ensure the authors’ names are arranged alphabetically
  • If you have several references from one author, arrange them from the oldest to latest (based on years of publication)

Reference Books

When writing book or chapters/section titles, only capitalize the first letter of the first word. If the source has a subtitle, however, capitalize the first word of the first letter of the subtitle (usually comes after a full colon). 

The overall format is:

Author’s surname, first name initials. (Year of publication). Title [in italics]. City of publication: Publisher.


Joo, K. O. (2020). How they wish they lived their lives. London: Sage. 

If the book has editors, write as follows: 

Editor, P. A. (Ed.). (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. City published: Publisher. DOI 

Articles within Academic Journal

Write the full article title, and italicize the journal’s title. Also, capitalize all the major words within the title of the journal. Follow this illustration:

Author’s surname, initials. (Year). Article title. Academic Journal Title, vol. (no.), pp. 1-10. DOI 


Sai, K. M., & Jay, L. G. (2020). The next big thing in the digital marketing industry: What will happen to Instagram? Journal of Technological Invention, 911(90), 80-110.

The process is similar to that of a periodical.

Surname, A., J. & Surname, K. W. (Year). Title of article. Periodical’s Title, Vol. (Issue), pages (p. or pp.). DOI

The webpage or other Internet sources

If the name of the author is included, write the reference as:

  • Surname, P. Q. (Year, Month and Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

If the author is a company or group, the reference should include:

  • Group name. (Year, Month, and Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

If you can’t see the author’s name, start with articles, a title like:

  • Title of page. (Year, Month, Date). Site name. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL

If no date is available, go with the abbreviation of “no date” (n.d.), and write as:

  • Author/Group/Organization name. (n.d.). Title of page. Site name (if applicable). URL

YouTube and other Streaming

Surname, B. V. [Username]. (Year, Month, and Date). Title of video [Video]. YouTube. URL

Legal/Law References

For overall legal citation go here

For the different ways in which APA style cites the same click here.

Request for Assignment Help for only $8 per page 

  •  MLA Guidelines

MLA has the following benefits:
  • It offers familiar cues when citing sources of information thereby aiding comprehension and navigation of a written text
  • Some instructors and tutors find the format simple and capable of engaging readers 
  • There are also academic disciplines that use MLA to achieve consistency of format in that field

General MLA Format

How to Format the Paper

  • The appropriate paper dimensions are 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Times New Roman (size 12) is the most preferred font, as it makes a clear distinction between the normal and italicized sections in a paper.
  • Use double-spacing throughout the paper
  • 1″ on all sides (or select the normal option under margins)
  • Use the “Tab” key to indent the first line of every paragraph (set it at 0.5 from the left margin). See how this is done in the video above
  • Unlike APA, there is no need for a “Different first-page” selection. Therefore, you should set the header to number all the pages similar, consecutively.
  • If you type the works you cite have longer titles, italicize them
  • In case your paper includes endnotes, place these on a different page. The endnotes should come before the Works Cited. Make sure you label them as “Endnotes” and center the title.

First Page of MLA Paper

  • MLA does not require a title page (but ensure to include one if instructed to do so)
  • Use the Tab key to push the header marker to the upper right corner. Here, type your surname (last name), space, and the page number. Use Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). Your instructor may ask you to avoid numbering the first page.
  • Use the upper left corner of your first page to list these:
  • Student’s Name
  • Instructor’s Name
  • Course Code
  • Date of Submission
  • Immediately you complete the above, write the paper’s title and align it to the center. Use the normal font for the title; no italics or quotation marks or underlining should be used. Capitalize the necessary words. Watch the video to get this right. 
  • If you include a certain book’s title in your paper’s title, however, ensure you italicize it (if it is long) or use quotation marks (for short titles).
  • After the title, hit the enter key and start typing your paper.

Endnotes and Footnotes

Using Quotations in MLA Paper

In-text Citations and Referencing (Works Cited Page)

MLA 8th edition requires that when reading, a writer should capture source components such as source title, authors, publisher, year of publication, etc. The page numbers where every piece of information is picked should as well be noted. With all these details, referencing and citation becomes very easy.

Some tips:

  • Use commas after Publisher then write the Publication Date
  • If DOIs are available, use them instead of URLs

The overall MLA Works Cited Format is:

Author. Title. Container’s title (not applicable with novels and related books), Editors, Version/Edition, Volume and no., Publisher, Publication Date, DOI, or URL.


1. Basic Book

One author

Last Name, First Name. Book’s Title. City Published, Publisher, Date.

Two or more authors:

Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name. Title. Publisher, Publication Date.

E.g.: Spiel, Lapul, and Lerna Nel. My Favorite Poetry Guide Book. Copasm & Co., 2021.

(Note: 8th edition allows for the City of publication to be dropped)

In-text Citation:

Use the authors’ last name and the page no. inside the parenthesis the first time you refer to the source. E.g. (Spiel & Nel 97). If you only use one book throughout your paper, like with book review, only indicate the page numbers for subsequent citations.

Here is my example:

Poetry is easier when you realize that you can always write about anything and everything around you, “wind, sun, trees, people, etc.” (Spiel & Nel 97). I like writing rhymes and I feel that they add “music-like rhythm” (98) to my poem. I also like repetitions, especially in the last line of each stanza. It is so much fun to hear the audience recite along. According to Spiel and Nel, a poem with these features improve audience engagement (99).

2. Book without Author Name

If this happens to be your situation, list the book by its title. For example:

Unsung Heroes’ Encyclopedia. Somerset, 2021.

In-text citation: If the book has no author, use shortened title version in quotes and the number of pages in parenthesis.

For example: (“Unsung Heroes,” 54)

3. A book with Subsequent editions

The book’s citation will follow the normal procedures, described above, only that you will add the edition after typing the title. See the example below.

Ley, Rons, and Whea and Derab. Ancient Theories that influence us. 5th ed. Wiley, 2021.

5. Short Story or Poem

Author. “Title.” Location (or Collection). Editor(s), Publisher, Publication Date, Page.


Runs, Beto. “School Days.” Top 10 Poems, edited by Lee Thompson, Dawn, 2020, p.91.

6. Magazine or Newspaper Article

Author(s). “Article’s title.” Periodical’s Heading, Day/Month/Year, Pages.


Mezik, Thomas. “New Advertisers make These Mistakes.” Forbes, 19 Jan. 2021, pp.79-83.

7. Scholarly Journal Articles

A scholarly journal is the “container” and plays a role similar to that of a website or short story/poem collection. Ensure you indicate the volume number (Vol.) along with the issue number (no.). The overall format is:

Author(s). “Article’s Title.” Journal’s Title, Vol., No., Year, Pages.


China, Alex. “Academic Writing Tips: Beginners and Pros.” Studies in Academic Excellence, vol. 9, no. 11, 2019, pp. 53-67.

8. YouTube Videos

Follow the format below to document video or audio sources.

Author. “Title.” YouTube, Name of person that uploaded it, Date, URL.


Neji, Mark. “Videos that go Viral.” YouTube, uploaded by Tevin King, 3 February 2020,

9. Additional Resources

Read how to cite Bible, Government Publications, Pamphlets, and Dissertation/Thesis.

See how to cite reviews, Editorials, Anonymous articles, etc.

This is how you cite Electronic Sources or Web Publications.

  1. MLA URLs

Sources such as magazines, newspapers, and websites have URLs. Unlike APA where “https://” is essential, MLA wants you to exclude this part. MLA URLs begin with “www.” Use DOI instead, if it is available.

Request for Assignment Help for only $8 per page 

Chicago Gudelines

  • Set the margins to a minimum of 1-inch all around
  • Works with Times New Roman (font size 12) or Courier (not below size 10)

Paper Sections

  1. Title Page
  2. The academic paper’s title is placed down the page and centered
  3. Next is Your Name, Course Information, and Submission Date
  4. If you have a subtitle, place it after several lines below the submission date
  5. Include the word count
  6. Main Body
  7. Italicize the titles of periodicals and books (larger publications) that you use in your paper
  8. Use quotation marks for shorter publications (articles, and chapter headings)
  9. Italicize play titles
  10. References
  11. Name it “Bibliography” or “References” (If using Author-Date format)
  12. Arrange sources alphabetically
  13. Do not use an ampersand (&), instead work with “and”
  14. If the work has 2 authors, write all their names in the in-text citation
  15. If there are 4-10 authors, write their full names in the bibliography but in the in-text, only write the surname of the first author then add “et al.”. This applies to both notes and in parenthesis
  16. If the source you use has no identification details, cite it by the title – both in-text and in the reference list (but shorten the title)
  17. When you are unable to find the date a work was published, use the no-date abbreviation (n.d.).
  18. Should always write the Publisher’s details in full
  19. Provide the DOI for journal articles but if not available write the URL
  20. When citing a section that may be in law paper use abbreviation (sec.), also use “eq.” for equation and “vol.” for volume.
  21. Footnotes


  • The numbering of notes begins with “1” and should follow the correct order.
  • Ensure that numbering applies superscript.
  • The superscript should appear at the point where the appropriate clause or sentence


  • Use full-size numbers and place a period after each. DO NOT raise these numbers
  • Tables and Figures
  • Should appear below the main body paragraph that describes it. 
  • Use the caption to explain the content of the figure or table
  • Also, cite the source of the table/figure using full information as you would do on a Reference page. Start with “Source:” then include the reference and end with a period.
  • Citation
  • Footnote:

Follow the procedures listed below to enter your sources in the footnote.

  • Cite a Website written by an organization
  • “Resource Title,” Publishing Organization or Name of the website, URL.


  1. “Complete Academic Writing Course,” Copasm’s school,
  2. Cite a Book
  3. Full Name (First then Last Names), Book’s Title (City of publication: Publisher, Year published), Pages.
  4. Cite a Periodical (e.g. Academic Journal)
  5. Author(s) Full Name(s), “Title,” Name of Periodical vol., no. (Year): page no. 

  1. Bibliography/References
  • A Website is written by an organization

“Complete Academic Writing Course.” Copasm’s school.

  • A Book

Surname, First name. Book’s Title. City of publication: Publisher, Year published.

[For Multiple authors]:

Surname, First Name, and First Name Last Name. Title. City of Publication: Publisher, Year.

  • Cite a Periodical (e.g. Academic Journal)

Surname, First Name. “Title of the article.” Periodical’s Name vol., no. (Year): Pages.

Read how to cite Magazines, Electronic periodicals, and Websites with authors’ names, etc.

  • Harvard Guidelines

Harvard style is popular in Philosophy, humanities, and behavioral sciences. Still, you may be instructed to use it to complete assignments in any field of study.

General Guidelines

  • Apply 1″ margin all around
  • Preferred fonts are Times New Roman (size 12) and Arial
  • The paper should be double-spaced
  • Left-align all the texts
  • Indent every first line of a new paragraph by 0.5″
  • The title should be on the “title page” 

Cover Page 

Use your cover page to type and center-align the title. NOTE: The title should be in Uppercase (Capitalized) but do not indent, underline, bold, or italicize it. 

The cover page should contain the following:

  • Place the “all caps” title about a third way down the cover page
  • Your name follows and should be somewhere around the middle of the cover page
  • The course and code should appear at about two-thirds down the cover page. The Professor’s Name appears next, then the University Name, and at the bottom, you should indicate Date of Submission.

Page Numbers and Headers

The page numbers should be typed in the header section of the paper. Place a “shortened version of your title” in the header before adding the page number. Type the shortened title and page numbers at the right corner of the header. No need for a “Different first page.”

Main Body

Use subheadings in this part of the paper to indicate the sections and subsections of the work you are handling. The levels 1&2 headings are recommended. Level 1 is appropriate for the main title while level 2 show the important points found within the main title. 

Harvard Citations and References

In-text Citations

To avoid plagiarism, ensure you cite all the sources of information used when writing a paper. Harvard in-texts are very similar to APA only that a comma is not used inside the parenthesis. For instance, if my information source is from the work by Andes and Summers published in 2020, my in-text citation would appear as (Andes & Summers 2020) in parenthesis or Andes and Summers (2020). 

Note: If you have some direct quotes to display. You should include the number of the page where such information is found. For example: Do not forget to “remove the comma used in APA parenthesis when using Harvard” (Andes & Summers 2020, p.102). 

If your direct quotes belong to an article from the website (which has no page numbers) indicate the paragraph number. For instance, if my quotes above came from the third paragraph of a website article, my in-text citation would be: In the work by Andes and Summers (2020, para. 3) or in parenthesis (Andes & Summers 2020, para. 3). 

Note: I hope you realized that I used “&” parenthesis and “and” when mentioning authors outside the parenthesis.

Authors in In-text citation

If several authors or researchers agreed on a common point that you intend to pass across, you should include all the authors in the parenthesis as follows:

Harvard referencing is close to but not similar to APA (Songs 2019; Mitha 2020; Jones & Mayas 2021).

If No Authors

Simply use the title of the work in the in-text. Italicize such titles if they belong to reports, periodicals, brochures, and books. For a website or newspaper articles, use single quotation marks (‘’). Again, you should only capitalize the first word.

The example below is for periodicals, reports, books, and brochures:

Students must understand the referencing styles used in their field of study (The complete academic writing guide: a summary 2021)


According to The complete academic writing guide: a summary (2021) students should understand the referencing styles used in their field of study.

Works from Newspapers, Web, or Chapter titles and Articles


            Every journey begins with a single step (‘Great life quotes’ 2021)


            The ‘Great life quotes’ (2021) post states that every journey starts with a single step.

[Note: If the title is too long, shorten it.]

If No Date

Use “no date” (n.d.) if you cannot find the date when the article or post was published. For a newspaper or website post in this instance, an in-text citation may look like:

There are more than three ways to prove that the earth is a sphere (‘Studies on earth science’ n.d.).

Et al. use

Applies to subsequent citations of works with at least 4 authors. This means that the full names of authors should be written for three or two authors.

Reference List

It may at times be named “Bibliography.” Should appear at the center of the page and be in bold. 

Other rules:

  • List the sources alphabetically. The grouping should depend on the first letter of the author’s surname or article’s title. (Ignore “the”, “an” or “a” at the start of the title and arrange the source based on the word that follows next).
  • Some entry placements rule out indentation. In such cases, all the sources are aligned to the left. Read the instructions carefully to know how your instructor wants these to appear.
  • Double-space the references
  • All the main titles of books or chapters and Web articles capitalize the first letter of the first word only. Capitalization only appears to the actual names of journals or newspapers. In all cases, however, prepositions or conjunctions or pronouns, etc. are never capitalized in titles.
  • List the name of all authors. There is no limit here. You are required to type all even if the work has over 20 authors.
  • Similar to other contexts, use the lower case letters a, b, c, etc. next to the year of publication year for works belonging to the same author. 

Example: Sahil and Nomat 2021a

                Sahil and Nomat 2021b

Cite a Book

Surname, Initials, Publication Year, The book’s title: Add subtitle if available. Publisher, City, Abbreviation of State.

One author example

Dinit, N 2021, The nightmare that keeps me awake: Life treasures and filth. Routledge, London, UK.

Four authors

Vanse, K, Shaw, Q, Polan, L & Naim, M 2020, Whether they believe me or not: The universe has everything a person desires. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Cite a Journal article

Surname, Initials, Publication Year, ‘Title of the journal article’, Name of the Journal Entry, vol. x, no. y, pp. k-m.


Banes, ER 2018, ‘Hotels are impacted by what happens in the tourism industry’, Hospitality and Tourism, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 81-97.

Read here on how to reference e-books, edited/translated books, more periodical, and other electronic sources.

Request for Assignment Help for only $8 per page 

  • OSCOLA Guidelines

The Oxford University Standard of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) offers a guide on how to reference legal documents.

Click right here to download a guide. It is a pdf file that you will refer to when using OSCOLA. 


Similar to Chicago, OSCOLA is a footnote referencing format. You should make use of superscript numbers. They look like “1, 2, 3, 4, etc.” and should be used to enter the source details at the bottom of the page. 

In the very large OSCOLA papers, you may be instructed to provide an abbreviations list and cases table at the beginning of the paper.


  • A quotation of up to 3 lines is considered short and should be placed within quotation marks
  • However, quotation beyond 3 lines is long and is placed in an indented paragraph


  • Primary Sources: E.g. Cases, Parliamentary Acts, etc.

Below is how to cite Wales and England Cases:

            Case Name | [year] | Case number, | [year] 


            (Year) | Volume | abbreviation of the report | No. of the first page

  1. Secondary Sources: Books, Journal articles, etc.

The overall procedure for writing the Books is”

            Author, | source title | (further source details, | edition, | publisher | year of publication)

The format for referencing Journal article is:

          Author(s), | ‘Title’| [year] OR

            (year) | vol./issue no.| journal name (or abbreviation)| < web address > | access date

Read here for more ways to cite documents or materials used in OSCOLA.

Request for Assignment Help for only $8 per page