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Popular Academic Paper Formats used in Academic Writing

In academic writing, the presentation of your information is just as vital as the facts you are conveying. Several formatting systems have been developed over the years, and as a student, you are expected to follow the rules. In order to have your paper even looked at, and compared to others, you need to understand the format and apply it. It would be a shame to have your academic paper format penalized due to a few technical inefficiencies.

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There are three famous writing formats adopted in academic writing.

1. The American Psychological Association(APA)

2. Modern Language Association(MLA)

3. Chicago Manual Style(CMS)

Each of these styles has been updated over the years to fit modern technology. Usually, your supervisor will advise you on the format you are expected to use in your academic paper.

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APA Academic Paper Format

The American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the most popular formats used in academic paper writing. If asked to follow the APA format, here are some of the guidelines you are expected to follow:

  • All the margins should measure 1 inch
  • The font for the entire paper is the Times New Roman in 12 pt.
  • Adopt double spacing for the entire paper.
  • Space twice after a punctuation at the end of a sentence.
  • Alignment should be to the left
  • The use of the active voice
  • The pages should follow each other in the following order: Title Page> Abstract> Body> References >Appendices> Footnotes> Tables> Figures.
  • The page number should be one inch from the right corner of the paper.
  • The title page should contain the title, your name as an author, your institution’s details, and if necessary, an author’s notes. Remember that the Title page is the first page, and all the details should be double-spaced. Usually, the author’s note is an opportunity to acknowledge the financial support and any assistance given, and also include an address for future communication.

    The abstract is a summary of your paper and is usually typed in a block format. It usually consists of 150 to 200 words and is your second page. The body of your paper begins on the third page, and should always be typed flush-left. Every first line in your paragraphs should be indented about 5-7 spaces from the left.

    Citation of sources should be done within the body of the paper, and a full reference list should be stated at the end of the paper. In the Reference section of your paper, the author(s) of the source, the year of publication, the title of the work, URLs form the internet, should all appear.

    MLA Style of Writing

  • e Modern Language Association is popular among liberal arts and humanities papers. When writing, consult the latest edition to ensure your work reflects the latest MLA academic paper format. Some of the general guidelines you should observe under this format are:
  • The paper print out should measure 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Maintain double spacing in your text. MLA provides for a choice of font, as long as it is legible and be 12 pt.
  • Only one space should be left after periods or any punctuation.
  • The margins should measure 1 inch on all sides
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph, one half-inch from the left.
  • Use Italics when using longer titles in the work
  • Do not include a title page for the paper unless specifically requested to do so
  • In the upper left corner of your paper, list your name, the instructor, course, date, while maintaining double-spacing.
  • The title should be centered, not underlined or italicized, but use standard capitalization.
  • CMS Academic Paper Format

    Currently, in its 17th edition, the Chicago Manual Style is popular with business, history and fine arts. This format provides guidelines on manuscript preparation, grammar, usage, and documentation. One of the popular documentation styles under CMS is the Note and Bibliography style (NB style), commonly used in humanities. This style provides a referencing system through footnote and endnote citation, and also through bibliography pages. The bibliography is written just before the index and includes all sources, stated in an alphabetical order.

    The author-date system is common in sciences and social sciences. In this system, sources are briefly cited within the text and are usually included in parenthesis, including the author’s name and date of publication. A full reference list is provided at the end with complete bibliographic information.

    Academic Paper Format Help

    Seeking professional help for your academic papers is a wise move, especially if unsure of all the rules pertaining to each format. provides assistance to students at all levels of education and produces quality academic papers that are acceptable, and grade-worthy. For more information on our academic paper format help, kindly contact us.

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