Learn common citation styles and formats used in law papers

If you think that you are the only one for whom wrapping your head around references, citations, and paper formats has become a challenge, there could be nothing that is farther from the truth.

There are several popular styles that you may already have come across or at least have some familiarity with. APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and Turabian are some of the most frequently used ones. Although all of these reference styles have one thing in common: they aim at making it easier to cite a source and offer detailed information regarding it so that a reader can get essay help to access and cross-check whenever need be.

Moreover, these styles are also necessary to maintain the integrity of research by standardizing the formats of papers so that no biases and ambiguities remain.

To carry on with the tradition of valuing integrity, honesty, and clarity as an academic scholar, you need to make sure that you don’t have a lackluster approach towards the hefty manuals no matter how dull the entire ordeal may seem. There is, indeed, a light at the end of this tunnel and that is an evolution into a better researcher.

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The Myriad Styles…

Each of these styles has its own manuals and some of them have been devised particularly for a specific field. For example, there is an APA manual that delineates all the rules for writing papers that exclusively belong to the field of psychology. The American Sociological Association (ASA), the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) are some more examples of organizations that have come up with their own protocols for academic writing.

Apart from the most obvious practice of all the fields using their specific formats and styles, other academics can also use these formats according to their needs and requirements. It is not like only psychologists have the right to use APA format, or that no one but engineers can follow the IEEE guidelines.

MLA (Modern Languages Association) format is not limited to being practiced by humanities and linguistics.

How to Decide…

The decision to use a style may depend upon the requirements of any publication or publisher whom you want to publish your research. If you want to become a part of certain journals, you may have to look into their preferences for certain styles and formats to increase your chances of getting published.

Law is a field that can and has been known to use any of the above-discussed styles and formats. But like everything else, there are some particular citation guides that aim at catering to legal papers, briefs, academic research, and publication. As a law student, you will need to be familiar with all of these.

Let’s try to get a quick glimpse of what these are and how they look like but there is no getting around the fact that you will need some practice to master these and follow them to the t. There can be no alteration in these regulations and conventions, otherwise, you can run the risk of being rejected by all the good publications that can make your CV so much attractive by putting their names on it.

OSCOLA

The most popular one is OSCOLA, which is short for the Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities. As is evident by reading the name, this style has been devised by Oxford. All the postgraduate law students are required to follow this format in any kind of academic projects.

According to the OSCOLA manual, whenever you paraphrase or quote directly from a source, you will insert a digit in superscript as an in-text citation. There are no detailed in-text citations that require the name of the author or year of publication. All that information is to be provided in the footnotes that will appear at the end of each page.

These footnotes go something like this: Name of the Author(s) (in italics), [Year of Publication], Title of the Source.

Please note the placement of commas and the period at the end of each entry. These may appear random but they can mean the difference between an acceptable and unacceptable paper. Academics can be quite unforgiving in matters such as these.

You can also add page numbers if you want to or need to. You need to pinpoint the exact page and mention it.

For the detailed list of references, you have to follow this pattern: Name of the Author, ‘Title of the Source’ [Year of Publication] or (Year of Publication) Number of the Volume Publication’s Name Page Number

When it comes to citing sources that have already been cited, the footnotes need to have each and every repeated entry in the form of an Ibid page number. In the reference list, no such entries are needed. You just need to enlist the sources used in alphabetical order.

You have an additional option to enumerate all your secondary sources. This kind of format lets you cite bills, legislations, and all the legal documents because it is tailor-made for the requirements of law students.

There is much more that can be said and explained about these citation styles but the constraints of time and space limit us. You can also use the basic blue book or the maroon book as a guide. In any case, you must be familiar with their names, at least. In case they pop up somewhere, you can avoid being clueless.

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