How well do you know the writing style conventionally used in your specialist field?

Writing with authority means using the specific writing style and conventions expected of authors in your field. This helps your work look credible to other specialists.

Writing with authority extends beyond understanding and using grammar and set phrases well; it also covers, for example, knowing the latest accepted terminology and citation styles to use, following general formatting conventions, and properly writing about ethical considerations in your work.

There are a number of style guides used in academic and scientific writing. Choosing the right style guide to follow depends on the field you want to publish in. For example, authors who are publishing in medicine and healthcare may follow the style guides published by the American Medical Association (AMA) or the American Psychological Association (APA), while authors working in the humanities and education often follow the style laid out by the Modern Language Association (MLA). Although the principles and requirements of academic writing are broadly similar across disciplines, writing style differs in many more subtle aspects too, such as how to express numbers clearly, cite your sources, and appropriately use accepted terminology.

Free quizzes on style guides

Choose a style guide that best covers your specialist field and see how many stylistic conventions you don’t already know, so you can start incorporating them into your writing!

APA Seventh Edition

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

Seventh Edition (released 2020)

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the official source for APA style, which is used by professionals in psychology and related fields. Major changes from the previous sixth edition are highlighted.

    


 

 

AMA 11th Edition

American Medical Association (AMA) Style

Eleventh Edition (released 2020)

The AMA Manual of Style, published by the American Medical Association (AMA), is the official source for AMA style, which is used by clinicians, researchers and other professionals in various medical and healthcare fields. Major changes from the previous 10th edition are highlighted.

    


 

 

ACS Online Edition

American Chemical Society (ACS) Style

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ACS style is the primary style for academic writing in chemistry and related fields. The American Chemical Society previously published its style guidelines in The ACS Style Guide, which was last updated in November 2012 (third edition). From January 2020, however, updates to ACS style are shown in the online-only publication ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication, which requires a subscription to access.

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MLA 8th Edition

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style

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MLA style, as described in the MLA Handbook, is the style of choice for authors in the humanities, and especially for teachers and students. The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, released in 2016, replaces the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. It is available in print, online, and in e-book format.

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CSE 8th Edition

Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style

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CSE style, as described in Scientific Style and Format, is used in many areas of science and related fields. The style guide is a good general resource for authors, translators, editors, and publishers of scientific papers. The most recent version of this manual, the eighth edition, was published in 2014. CSE also offers an annual subscription to the online version, available here.

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IEEE Style

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Style

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IEEE publishes dozens of journals, transactions, letters, magazines, and more in technical fields such as electrical engineering, computing, biotechnology, telecommunications, and mathematics. These publications all follow IEEE style, as described in the IEEE Editorial Style Manual. The IEEE website provides this manual in PDF format for free, as well as a specialized IEEE Mathematics Guide and IEEE Reference Guide.

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