Dissertation Formatting Help: Which Formatting Style Should You Use?
November 2, 2015
It’s likely that your school, department, or dissertation advisor will tell you which citation and writing style guide to use for your dissertation. But if you’ve got the choice, how can you tell which one is right for you? There are a number of different citation styles you could choose from. Among the most commonly used are APA Style, Chicago/Turabian Style, and MLA Style.
APA Style refers to the style guidelines established and used by the American Psychological Association. It is widely used in the social sciences and in some scientific disciplines. The most reliable source for information about using APA Style is the APA Publication Manual. The Publication Manual includes guidelines on how to write concisely and effectively, how to format your document or dissertation so that it meets APA standards, and how to document and cite sources. In APA style, sources are documented using in-text citations. These are citations that are included in parentheses in the body of the text and that refer to a reference list located at the end of your document or dissertation. The APA Publication Manual also includes instructions for how to correctly format the items in the reference list.
Chicago and Turabian style are used by scholars in a range of disciplines, including scholars in anthropology, history, and in some humanities fields. The Chicago Manual of Style is so called because it is published by University of Chicago Press. You may also be familiar with Turabian style: Turabian is named after Kate Turabian, the author of A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, also published by the University of Chicago. The guidelines in Chicago and Turabian style are essentially the same: Turabian’s Manual for Writers distills Chicago Style so that it can be more easily used by academics and students.
Chicago and Turabian differ from APA Style because they use footnotes and a bibliography to document sources rather than in-text citations and a reference list. You should consult either the Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian’s Manual for Writers for full guidlines on how to format your footnotes and bibliography if you are writing a dissertation in Chicago or Turabian style.
MLA Style, or Modern Language Association Style, is commonly used in the humanities, particularly in fields that deal with literature and language. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is the go-to reference source for users of MLA Style. Like APA Style, MLA Style uses in-text citations. In MLA Style, the reference list is referred to as the Works Cited page. You should consult the MLA Handbook for guidelines on how to properly format citations and the Works Cited page.
So . . . Which Style Guide Should You Use For Dissertation Formatting?
If your department or institution doesn’t specify which style to use, find out what is standard in your field. You can ask your dissertation advisor for guidance, or check with a dissertation consultant. You might discover that your field uses its own style guide that is adapted from one of the commonly used style guides. For instance, the American Anthropology Association and the Organization of American Historians publish their own style guidelines that are based on Chicago Style.
Formatting your dissertation so that it complies with style guidelines can be a huge headache. Why not entrust the task to us? Our dissertation formatting experts know the ins and outs of all of the commonly used academic writing styles. We can take care of your formatting your MLA, Chicago/Turabian, or APA-Style dissertation. You could also hire a dissertation editor to make sure that your dissertation is polished and perfect. Give us a call today!