APA vs MLA vs Chicago vs Harvard Referencing Styles

It is important to know about referencing styles because they will be your guide to know about the spacing, citation and much more. Check out this APA vs MLA vs Chicago vs Harvard styles comparison table for the necessary information and bibliography help.

American Psychological Association (APA) Modern Language Association (MLA) Chicago Manual Style Harvard Referencing
Mostly used in social sciences liberal arts humanities
  • history courses
  • both notes and bibliography system;
    and author date system
  • most disciplines
  • common style
Spacing in text
  • double space
  • 1″ margins
  • double space
  • 1″ margins
  • double space
  • no less than 1″
    and no greater than 1,5″
  • double space
  • no other restrictions
Font size 12 pt. Times New Roman font font size 12 pt.
no restrictions on style
12 pt. Times New Roman or Palatino
  • Times New Roman
  • no other strict limitations
Main sections
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Main Body References
no precise guideline
  • Title
  • Main Body
  • References Footnotes
no precise guideline
  • author’s last name
  • year of the publication
(Jones, 1998)
author-page citation (Wordsworth 263) author-endnote (Stephen C. Pepper....12)
match 12 to endnote 12 at the
bottom of the page
12. Stephen C. Pepper,
Hypotheses (Los
Angeles: University of
California Press, 1961),
author-date system
(Smith & Bruce, 1997)
Direct citation
  • name
  • year
  • page number
According to Jones (1998, p. 199)
  • author
  • specific page
According to Folke, ... (184)
  • in quotation marks
  • address it to the footnote at the bottom
  • author
  • date
  • pager
... (Aitchison, 1981, p.67)
Long directcitation
  • 40 words or longer
  • omit quotation marks
  • free-standing block of typewritten lines
  • more than 4 lines
  • omit quotation marks
  • free-standing block of text
  • free-standing block of text
  • footnotes
free-standing block of text
More than 1 author two authors(Wegener & Petty, 1994) three authors and fewer(Smith, Yang, and Moore...(76) in bibliography or footnote
Scott Lash and John Urry,
Economies of Signs & Space
(London: Sage Publications, 1994), 241-51.
two authors
(Smith and Jones, 1948)
Three or more authors (Kernis et al., 1993) Jones et al. (76) Lash, Scott, and John Urry.
Economies of Signs & Space.
London: Sage Publications, 1994.
(Green, et al., 1995)
Unknown author
  • its title or
  • first word in parentheses
(American Psychological Organization, 2000)
  • shortened title of the work
  • page
(“Impact of Global Warming 6”)
Oxford Essential World Atlas...
  • use Anonymous or Anon
  • title
Marketing strategy (Anon., 1999)
Reference List
  • new page with the centered heading
  • double space
  • Works Cited page at the end of the research
  • double space
  • Bibliography
    (Notes and Bibliography Style)
  • References (Author Date Style)
new page with centered heading
Reference List Example https://www.usq.edu.au/library/referencing/apa-referencing-guide https://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/20090701095636_747.pdf https://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/pdf/1300991022_717.pdf http://utas.libguides.com/content.php?pid=27520&sid=219177

APA vs MLA Style: What to Know

APA Format Style

APA StyleIf you want to use APA referencing format, then you should be sure on where you will use it. Usually, the format style of APA is being use in social sciences. When it comes to the spacing, you need to use double space and you should use one inch margin in all sides. One more thing you should not forget is that you will use the 12 point Times New Roman as the font size. For main sections, you need to have title, abstract, main body and references. In addition, for in-text citation or paraphrasing, you need to write the last name of the author and the year of the publication.

  • For example: Jones, 2000. You also need to know about direct citation and in here, you will write the name, year and the page number. For instance, According to Smith (2000,p.200). For long direct citation, there are things you need to keep in mind. In  here, you need to write 40 words or longer, it is important to omit the quotation marks and have 2 authors. In writing the two authors, here is what you need to do. For instance; Petty and Wegener, 1995. In writing three or more authors, you should write the first name of the author together with et al. word and the year.
  • For example: Smith et al., 1994. In some cases, you will find unknown author. When it comes to this, you need to write the title or the 1st word in the parentheses.
  • For example: American Psychological Organization, 1990. In writing the reference list, you need to use double space and write in a new page with centered heading. Here is an example of a reference list.

Try our APA format generator and create your own bibliography in correct APA style!

MLA Format Style

MLA formatMLA Style is used in some universities and it is mostly used in liberal arts humanities. For margins, you need to use one inch in all sides. It is also important that you will use double space. The font size that is required to use is 12 and it is easy to follow because there are no restrictions on the style. When it comes to the main sections, there is no precise or definite guideline. For in-text citation or paraphrasing, you need to write the author and the page citation.

  • For example, Wordsworth 276. If you need to use direct citation, write the name of the author and specific page. For instance, “According to Pennis, … (185).” For long direct citation, you must have more than four lines, remove the quotation marks and have free standing block of text.
  • For authors more than one, here is what you need to do; Yang, Smith, and Moore… (87). For authors that is more than three and over, you need to write the last name and the page. For example, Jones et al. (98). For unknown author, you should shorten the title of work and the page. For example; “Impact on Climate Change”. In writing the reference list, it is important to use double space and the cited page should be put at end of research. For an example of writing, you can check out this reference list.

Try our MLA format generator to format your bibliography in proper MLA style!

There you go MLA vs APA formatting, if you want to know also about Harvard and Chicago format style, continue reading.

Harvard Format Style and Chicago Format Style

Harvard Format Style

Harvard StyleIf you are required to use the Harvard format referencing style, it is mostly use in common style and in most disciplines. For spacing, double space should be use and there are no any other restrictions. When it comes to font size, Times New Roman is preferred and there are no any other strict limitations. It is a good thing that there are no precise guidelines that should be followed in writing the main sections. In the in-text citations and paraphrasing, you need to write the author-date system.

  • For example: Bruce and Smith, 2000.
  • Additionally, in writing the direct citation; it is important to write the name of the author, date and the page. For instance, Smith, 2000, p.78. For long direct citation, you should use free standing block of text. Moreover, if you will write two authors; you need to write in this way, Jones and Smith, 1978 and if you need to write more than three authors, you need to write like this; Smith, et al., 1998.
  • In writing an unknown author, using Anon or anonymous is preferred. Make sure to include the title. For example, Climate Change (Anon., 2000). For the example of a reference, you need to write like this example.

Chicago Format Style

Chicago StyleAs long as you know the Chicago style format, you will not have a hard time. Chicago (also known as Turabian referencing style) is mostly used in history courses, both bibliography system and notes and author date system. For spacing, it is essential to use double space, not less than one inch margin and not greater than 1.5 margins. For font size, make sure to use 12 point Palatino or Times New Roman. One more thing, if you need to write the main sections; you should write the title, main body, references and footnotes. When it comes to in-text citation or paraphrasing, you need to write the author-endnote like this James D. Jones….”. Make sure that you match 12 to the endnote 12 at bottom of the page.

  • For example:
    James D. Jones,
    Hypothesis (California: University of California Newspaper, 2000).
  • For direct citation, you need to include in quotation marks and address it to footnote at bottom. Make sure also. In the long direct citation, you should use free standing block of text and footnotes. On the other hand, in writing more than one author, here is an example:John Urry and Scott Lash
    Economies of Space and Signs
    (Canada: Sage Publications, 2000), 223-33.
  • In writing more than three authors, here is what you should do. For instance:
    Scott, Urry and John Lash.
    Economies of space and signs.
    Canada: Sage Publications, 2000.
  • In writing an unknown author, you should write the title. For example, The Impact of the Climate Change… Also, in your reference list, make sure to have bibliography keeping in mind the bibliography and notes style and the references taking note of the author date style. For an example of reference list, you can refer to this guide.

Try our Chicago reference generator to get a bibliography in correct Chicago style!

You will not have a difficult time if you know what to do and if you know the format. You are lucky because this page provide some important details that you want to know.

Learn more about APA vs MLA vs Chicago vs Harvard referencing styles today!