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Style and Citation Guides: What’s the Big Deal?
Using a citation and writing style guide can be tedious and time consuming. Any university student can tell you how frustrating it is to spend an extra hour (at least) on each essay to make sure that it meets all of the tiny, meticulous rules of the required style. MLA, APA, Chicago: they all seem to have such precise, yet completely different rules. So why is using a style guide or citation style so important to quality writing anyway? Well, the simplest explanation is that it ensures consistency. A Business 2 Community article noted that the three most important reasons for using a style guide (in school and in business) are to streamline the writing process and to save time, to enhance professionalism, and to serve as a training tool.
But you’re probably wondering, how does this apply to me? Well, as much as you might cringe when your professor asks for ten sources, all cited in MLA style and referenced in a Works Cited page, there are plenty of reasons why it’s important.
Reference: You might think that it’s tedious to put these sources together, but having everything consistently organized in one place makes everything easier, for everyone. When studying at the end of term, you’ll be able to look back on the work you completed and the research you did, without scrambling through your search history. Your professor will be able to quantify your sources much easier, and therefore they’ll be able to mark your paper faster (and you’ll get a better mark!).
Consistency: Consistency is the key to academic and professional writing. If you write USA in one place and U.S.A in another, your reader will notice and you will lose credibility. Style and citation guides ensure that your usage is the same across the board.
Future Applicability: Learning style guides like MLA, APA, and Chicago will give you an edge as you move into your career. If your intention is to work in a professional setting, there will be guidelines set for you in terms of your workflow and daily routine. Style guides are notoriously complex, so if you can master a style manual, the corporate world will be a breeze!
Concrete rules for citation and usage styles are not set down as torture devices for your professors to use at will. They are tools that, if used correctly, can increase the professionalism and quality of your writing exponentially. Consider a writing style guide as a map to success: learning to follow it correctly will surely get you there faster. But hey, if you’re still having a tough time understanding why APA style asks for a title page and MLA does not, we’re here to help. One of our experienced writers can help you with academic writing help and custom essay writing. Reach out to us to find out more! We’re passionate writers who know the ins and outs of academic writing, and we’re happy to help!
Yuille, Brigitte (2011, July 16) Three Reasons for A Writing Style Guide at Work Business 2 Community. Retrieved August 24th, 2015 from http://www.business2community.com/content-marketing/three-reasons-for-a-writing-style-guide-at-work-044226