Essay Formatting Styles and Guidelines



Oxford Format
Oxford format, which is also known as the documentary note system, is a three occurrence format, which is similar to the Turabian format, although used much less frequently. Three occurrences simply mean that when a reference is made in a paper, it is mentioned in three places in the paper. These places are an in text citation following the reference, a footnote at the bottom of the page the reference appears on, as well as the bibliography at the end of the paper, where all references are listed. The references use a numbered system which increases even through new pages, and author’s names are listed as first name initial, followed by whole last name.


Turabian Format
The Turabian format is a format for citing other author’s works in documents mainly in the field of social sciences, and natural sciences. It is largely based on the Chicago format and uses a system that lists the author and date of the publication in text, as well as notes that can be expanded on as footnotes and a bibliography at the end of the document. The main difference from Chicago format is that on the reference page at the end of the document, the works are referenced in the order in which they appear in the document as opposed to in alphabetical order. Authors are also listed last name first in this format.

Chicago Format
Chicago format is a very widely used citation format in the U.S. and can be found in use mainly in history courses. Chicago style makes use of notes and bibliography to cite references. When a source is referenced in Chicago style, the writer makes note of it either as an endnote or a footnote, however this should remain consistent throughout the work. The Chicago format is different from Oxford format in its use of notes, where the full name of the author is mentioned as opposed to just the initial of the first name and full last name as in Oxford format.


APA Format
APA format is a very commonly used format for writing documents and is the most popular format in use in the social sciences. APA format applies to more than just in text citations but also to the general format of the entire document including cover page and abstract. This title page is one of the main differences between APA and MLA format and is an easy way for students to differentiate between the two. The cover page includes title, author, and location where the author wrote the paper (name of school). The page number is at the top of the page and includes the title of the document in it, and a bibliography is used at the end of the document to list all referenced works.

MLA Format

MLA format, like APA format, is a very popular style used in education. MLA format is usually used with the liberal arts and is a general formatting style that applies to the entire document including the first page, which differs from APA format. The first page of an MLA paper includes the name of the author, the name of the instructor whom the paper is being turned in to, the name of the class, and the date. This information appears on the same page as the beginning of the document (no cover page). The page number is listed in the top right hand corner with author’s last name flush left. Instead of a bibliography, a works cited page is used at the end of the document to list referenced works.


Harvard Format
The Harvard style of referencing can vary in a few different ways, such as punctuation or the use of italicization which makes it a bit different from the more rigid Vancouver system. In text citations of books or journals using the Harvard format are followed by the author’s surnames, the publication date, as well as the page number for specific information, all placed within round brackets. The reference list at the end of the work should contain an alphabetical list of all the works referenced. Each entry should contain this information in this order: author, year, title, edition, and where the work was published.


Vancouver format
The Vancouver format, which is used primarily in the medical field, is a system for referencing other author’s works in original documents. This format differs from the Harvard format and other formats in that in text citations are simply numbered with an Arabic number in brackets at the end of the citation without direct reference to author’s names or name of the publication in the text. All of this information should be listed at the end of the document. This makes for a clean and stripped down citation in text, and the information can be found at the end of the work.