Term Paper Writing Help: Style Considerations

You have a term paper due. You've gathered your information and are reading to put it to paper? But what about style? What does style even mean?

Let's start with the basics: What does it mean to use a style in your term paper? Term papers require that you document, or cite, anytime you use work that belongs to someone else as well as use standard formatting guidelines. Term papers also require guidelines on formatting the physical paper (such as spacing and font size) as well as editing standards. How you format this documentation, or the citation format, and format the paper itself, is called the style.

Types of Styles

There are a wide range of style types, but some of the most common are the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (MLA), the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), The Bluebook and The Elements of Style.

Guidelines For Choosing Your Style

So how do you chose a style? There are several factors that go into choosing a style. If you are unclear as to what style to use, it is typically most appropriate to chose a style that falls within the framework of the term paper that you are working on.

First, look to what your instructors prefers. This may be reflected in a syllabus or by instructions given in class. If you are unclear as to what style to use, try asking your instructor. Next, consider what your discipline requires. Certain fields use certain styles consistently. For example, the legal field often uses The Bluebook, Humanities typically use the MLA format and the Social sciences most normally use the APA format.

Other Important Considerations

One of the main keys to keep in mind when thinking about style is that you are gathering the needed information during your research phase and then documenting that information properly in the paper. Depending on the style that you are choosing, you will need to document your sources both within your paper in a short form and then with a full form citation either in a separate page or within the footnotes. Make sure to gather all the information about the source you are using while you are researching. This can include the author, title, page numbers, website URL, date of publication and other such information.

Make sure that whatever guide you use, you use the most up to date one. The versions change quite regularly. Keeping it near by will ensure that you have quick reference to accepted spelling, formatting, and documentation. Following the proper style guidelines will increase the reliability and professionalism of your paper and improve your academic grades.