In their freshman English courses, many college students must use Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Some even learn MLA well enough to apply it in later undergrad papers. However, when they take classes outside of the English department, they often find they must learn other documentation styles. The more common among these additional styles are the American Psychological Association (APA) style and Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS or CMS; often referred to as Chicago style).
For graduate students and professionals engaged in scholarly writing, the documentation styles tend to be more varied, with many disciplines and professional groups having their own specific styles, including the Council of Science Editors (CSE), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Political Science Association (APSA), the American Sociological Association (ASA), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE, pronounced “I triple-E”). In addition, many other professional organizations have their specific styles, many journals have their own in-house styles, and some publishers have their own styles that apply to all of their journals or to those focused on certain fields.
The various styles can be very confusing. Besides the more salient differences (whether notes or parenthetical citations are used and whether dates follow authors’ names in parenthetical citations), the styles are often differentiated in the bibliographic entries by the use of parentheses and punctuation or the placement of the date.
To identify styles by the in-text citations, I generally apply the following system.
Numbers used to represent citations
- Are the numbers superscript (1) or regular font (in-line) in brackets (2)?
- Superscript numbers are used for different purposes in different systems.
a. In some documentation styles, superscript numbers indicate footnotes or endnotes that provide authorial comments only (used in MLA or APSA, for example). These notes are not used primarily to indicate references unless, as specified by MLA, a parenthetical citation would contain enough references so that its length interferes with reading the text.
b. In other styles, the footnotes or endnotes indicate the sources for information used in the text and may contain authorial comments (alone or with reference information). Such notes are used in the CMOS/Turabian notes-bibliography style. Notes corresponding to superscript numbers appear at the bottom of the page on which the numbers appear (footnotes), at the end of a chapter (chapter endnotes), or after the last chapter (endnotes). The information in these notes is repeated in a bibliography that often follows the final endnotes. The bibliography is in alphabetical order. This notes-bibliography style allows the use of shortened citations or Ibid. after the initial note giving the full publication information. However, many students complain about having to duplicate the information from a bib entry for a source in the first note referring to that source. Simply copying the information will not work because the punctuation in the notes is different from that in the bib entries.
c. Finally, superscript numbers can indicate entries in the final references list (often labeled References or References Cited). The entries in the final list are organized in the order in which they appear in the text and are numbered. Subsequent references to a source will be indicated by the earlier superscript number assigned to that source. Styles using this citation/sequence style include AMA and one of the CSE styles. AMA indicates page numbers in superscript parentheses immediately following the number: 5(p377).
- Non-superscript (in-line) numbers in brackets usually indicate a citation/sequence style (with entries in the references list organized in the order of their citation in the text). IEEE is an example of this style. However, ACM has an alternative name/sequence style in which sources in the references list are organized alphabetically by authors’ last names and numbered consecutively. In the text, a number in brackets (following punctuation marks if any are present) indicates the source being cited.
Parenthetical in-text citations
- Do parenthetical citations include the publication date?
- If parenthetical citations do not include a date, the documentation style is very likely MLA.
- Styles that include the date in parenthetical citations are often used in the social sciences and in some humanities. They include CMOS/Turabian author-date style, APA, ASA, APSA, ACM, and CSE name/year style. These styles can be further differentiated by the formatting of the citations.
a. If an ampersand (&) is used to join multiple authors’ names instead of the word and, the style is very likely APA or Harvard style. APA is further identified by a comma following the author’s name before the date and preceding the ampersand (Smith, Jones, & Brown, 2010) while Harvard style does not have either of these commas (Smith, Jones & Brown 2010). Both Harvard style and APA have the page number preceded by a p and a period: (2010, p. 5).
b. Styles that do not place a comma after the author’s name can often be differentiated by the way the date and page number are treated. APSA and CMOS/Turabian author-date styles separate the date from a page number with a comma (Name 2010, 23). CSE name/year style also separates the date from a page number with a comma and indicates the page number with a p with no punctuation following it: (Name 2010, p 23).
c. ASA separates the date from the page number with a colon: (Name 2010:23).
d. Some styles do not use parentheses for the in-text citations. Specifically, ACM uses brackets: [Name 2010].
Thus, the taxonomy for the documentation styles is as follows:
Numbers or Information in parentheses
If numbers, are they superscript or regular font?
If superscript, do the numbers indicate notes?
If so, do the notes contain source information?
If not, the style is probably MLA or APSA. (Skip to “parentheses” questions below.)
If so, the style is probably CMOS/Turabian.
If the numbers do not indicate notes, check the references list for numbered entries. The style is probably AMA or CSE.
If the numbers are not superscript, they are probably in brackets.
If the numbers are consecutive early on in the paper, the style is probably a citation/sequence style, such as IEEE, and the entries in the references list are not in alphabetical order.
If the numbers appear to be random, the style is probably a name/sequence style, such as ACM, and the entries in the references list are in alphabetical order.
If parentheses are used, do the in-text citations include dates?
If not, the style is probably MLA.
If so, is an ampersand used to connect authors’ names?
If so, does a comma appear before the date?
If so, the style is probably APA (which has a p and a period before the page number).
If not, the style is probably Harvard (which also uses a p. before the page number).
If an ampersand is not used to connect authors’ names, is the date separated from the page number with a comma?
If so, does a p without punctuation appear before the page number?
If so, the style is probably CSE name/year style.
If not, the style is probably APSA or CMOS/Turabian author-date style.
If the date is separated from the page number with a colon, the style is probably ASA.
Finally, if the author-and-date citation appears in brackets instead of parentheses, the style is probably ACM.
If you are having trouble, hire a good editing service such as Edit911.
Frank Lee Jackson Jr.’s book, Brothers Forever, is about love, trust, devotion, humanity, and respect of all races. The fact that the characters are all different races has no bearing at all to them. They will do anything for each other, even in a life or death matter, just as a very close blood family would do. It also examines the subject of who you are really related to.
Currently finishing up the screenplay for Brothers Forever, Frank, a father of three, drove tractor trailers and was a supervisor for over twenty years to put his kids through college, though the passion to write was burning in him. While he would be on long driving trips to other states, he would talk into his micro recorder, and later put in on paper. But after all the years on the job, he had to stop working because of a serious spinal injury that required surgery.
Frank had problems dealing with the situation because of the loss of income until his wife, who was by his side and there helping him deal with the situation, whispered some inspiring words to him. She characterized the injury as a blessing in disguise, one he needed to take advantage of by dedicating himself to his writing and taking it seriously. So he did.
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Frank is now proud to say that one of his children has graduated from college and two others are now attending college. He has completed his first book with more to come and also has a screenplay in the works. Frank believes it is never too late to pursue your dreams as long as you keep the faith.
You can reach Frank on Facebook (Frank Jackson), Twitter (Jackson@Boochill1), Linkedin (Frank Jackson), and Google+ (Frank Jackson).
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Do a quick search all you’ll find thousands of editing services. When we started back in 1999, there were probably less than 100. So how do you sort through the clutter to find the best one? By considering this comparison checklist.
Who Owns the Editing Service? Our owner is Marc D. Baldwin, PhD, whose bio, credentials, and contact information are right on the website (http://edit911.com/staff). He also runs the Custom Service department, often answering emails and phone calls himself. The buck stops with him. Few other editing services are up front about their ownership and fewer still have the owner himself readily available for questions and clarifications. Dr. Baldwin puts his professional reputation and career as a college professor on the line with every single editing job his company does.
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Do the Editors Themselves Actually Write and Publish Their Work? When you think about it, isn’t it absurd to hire an editor who doesn’t actually write anything? All of our editors are published authors of their scholarly articles, books, and novels. They also write blogs (http://edit911.com/blog), books, white papers, and articles for Edit911. Few other editing services provide any information at all about their editors, much less whether or not their editors are published authors.
Do the Editors Offer Any Mentoring and Advice as They Edit? Since almost all of Edit911’s editors are college professors, they enjoy teaching and helping their clients in any way they can. So, they explain their editing and offer constructive suggestions. These two samples of our editing reports demonstrate our editors’ level of engagement with their clients.
Is Their Editing Comprehensive? Most editing services have several different rates, depending on what you pay for. If you just pay for proofreading, they ignore all other issues, regardless of how serious they may be, because you didn’t pay for them to correct anything but basic “errors.” That’s like asking a medical doctor to just check your pulse. She may notice that your eyes are blurry and you have a fever, but she doesn’t treat those symptoms because you didn’t pay for them. We at Edit911 believe it is unethical to do anything other than everything we can possibly do for you. Therefore, we have one low rate for our full-service editing (See Services, FAQs and Order Service).
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Mike Bellamy is the author of The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing, owner of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions (www.PSSchina.com) and Chairman of the (not-for-profit) China Sourcing Information Center (www.ChinaSourcingInfo.org). Board member at Chibridge law firm and Asia Quality Focus, Mr. Bellamy moved to Asia in 1993 and has been based full-time in Shenzhen since 1999.
Recognized as an expert on China sourcing, Mike has been interviewed by the Financial Times, quoted on CNBC, and is a featured presenter for a number of high profile seminars and trade shows including Global Sources China Sourcing Fairs (HK, Shanghai, Dubai, Miami, Mumbai, Johannesburg), Boat Tech China, Rotary Foundation, US/British/French/Belgium/Luxemburg & German Chambers of Commerce, National Association of Purchasing Managers/Institute for Supply Management, Small Business Development Bureau, and the State Bar of California, among others.
Before the 2nd printing of The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing, Mike wanted its quality to match and reflect the quality and professionalism of his own work and career. As he explains, “Marc and his team were both professional and affordable. Before coming to Edit911, I hired a freelancer online for my book editing. That was a mistake as my first book went to print with spelling and formatting errors that forced me to reduce the price to liquidate my initial stock. It was a nightmare. When it came time for the second print run, I decided to do things right and find the best book editing service in the world. So I did my due diligence and after an exhaustive search, I hired Edit911. My only regret is not having found them sooner. There’s no doubt that I will use Edit911 for everything I write after this great experience with them. ”
Mike received his double degrees in Diplomacy and Economics in Washington DC and later went on to gain an International MBA from the University of South Carolina, which included a year of full-time graduate level courses at the Harbin Institute of Technology and University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. Mike also has worked with The Brock Group, an international trade and investment consulting firm managed by President Reagan’s former US Trade Representative and US Senator Bill Brock in Washington DC. After moving to China in 1993, Mike structured sourcing investments in over 250 production classifications for numerous clients.
Having mastered the China Intellectual Property (IP) and Quality Control monsters, Mike decided to develop the PassageMaker “Black Box Quality Gate” system (www.PSSchina.com) to extract the best pricing in China and protect IP without compromising quality and service. PassageMaker’s 100% US owned and operated Assembly Center in S. China serves as the client’s “black box” where inspection, final assembly, and branding takes place behind closed doors. In this fashion, Intellectual Property is physically secured and full quality inspection is conducted before product leaves China.
Edit911 is honored and excited to be working with Mike, a truly distinguished and successful international entrepreneur and businessman.
Purchase Mike’s book: http://chinasourcinginfo.org/book/
Read more about Mike and his work:
Interview in the Financial Times: “A Foot in Both Cultures”
Featured Clients & Their Books
Darlene Nelson, The Secret Is You
A spiritually inspiring international public speaker, Darlene Nelson is loved for her high-energy empowering presentations. She is famous for her “500-year vision that what we do today affects the next five generations… so you must make it count!” Darlene creates powerful shifts in her audience’s thought process, encourages immediate change, and inspires powerful lasting teamwork.
Edit911 editing service has had the great pleasure of editing all of Darlene’s powerful and inspirational books, as well as all of her website content. Frankly, Darlene’s work doesn’t need much editing since she’s such a clear thinker and talented writer. We’ve just suggested some more precise diction choices, made some syntactical sentence improvements, caught and corrected some repetition here and there, and made sure everything she publishes is well proofed and polished.
Darlene explains why she came to Edit911 for our editing services: “I had a book that needed editing fast. I did a lot of research and decided that Edit911 was the only qualified source I trusted. Marc is so professional, always quick to answer any questions I had and his editors got the job done so fast. The work was incredible. I now do all my work with Marc and his team at Edit911. Not only is their work 5 star quality, but the price is phenomenal too. I look forward to my next five books this year with Edit911! I would be lost without them!”
Well, truthfully, a lot of people would be lost financially and spiritually without Darlene. She’s positively influenced thousands of people over the years with her books and presentations. She is a truly wonderful human being and it’s been a joy and honor to work with her these past few years.
Darlene’s website: www.thesecretisyou.com
Darlene’s Facebook page:
Darlene’s Email: darlene (at) thesecretisyou (dot) com
Darlene’s Bibliography of published works:
Awaken a Miracle
The Secret is You
Attitude is Everything: Scriptural Based Proof God Wants You to be
Rich (a CD series)