GrammarPhile Blog

Popular Style Guides and What You Need to Know About Each - Part 2

Posted by Kelly Creighton   Feb 8, 2018 7:30:00 AM

research booksAs promised last week, here are some popular style guides listed by industry.

By Industry

American Medical Association Style Guide (AMA)

The AMA style was developed by the American Medical Association for the purpose of writing medical research papers. Many scientists use this style too.

American Psychological Association Style (APA)

The APA style guide is the style manual of choice for writers, editors, students, and educators in the social and behavioral sciences. It provides vital direction on all aspects of the writing process, from the ethics of authorship to what words writers should choose to best reduce bias in language. And it offers guidance on choosing the headings, tables, figures, and tone that will result in strong, direct, and sophisticated scientific communication.

Council of Science Editors Documentation Style (CSE)

The CSE is used for documents (print and online) written for physics, chemistry, genetics, biological sciences, and astronomy. And it covers proper usage for numbers, units, mathematical expressions, and statistics. The eighth edition now also includes information on managing tables, figures, and indexes, along with a complete treatment of developments in copyright law, including Creative Commons. It’s for international works written in the sciences and covers guidelines and examples for citing online images and information graphics, podcasts and webcasts, online videos, blogs, social networking sites, and e-books.

Microsoft Manual of Style

Microsoft created its own style guide for technical communications and documents in the technology industry. While it was developed for writers and editors dealing directly with Microsoft products, many technical writers refer to it for guidance. Apple created a similar style guide for writers and editors too.

The Bluebook

Law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, and other legal professionals have relied on The Bluebook’s unique system of citation in their writing. In a diverse and rapidly changing legal profession, it provides a systematic method by which members of the profession communicate important information to one another about the sources and legal authorities upon which they rely in their work.

The Canadian Style

This style guide was created by the Canadian government. It provides concise answers to questions concerning written English in the Canadian context. It covers topics like the decimal point, abbreviations, capital letters, punctuation marks, hyphenation, spelling, frequently misused or confused words, and Canadian geographical names. It also includes valuable advice for drafting letters, memos, reports, indexes, and bibliographies. And it includes techniques for writing clearly and concisely, editing documents, and avoiding stereotyping in communications.

While this style guide was created with Canadian citizens in mind, it is very helpful for writers who write documents for any government in English, as well as for writers of important documents for communications departments.

The Manual of Scientific Style

Much like the Chicago Manual of Style, The Manual of Scientific Style addresses all stylistic matters in the relevant disciplines of physical and biological science, medicine, health, and technology. It presents consistent guidelines for text, data, and graphics, providing a comprehensive and authoritative style manual that can be used by the professional scientist, science editor, general editor, science writer, and researcher.


Associated Press Stylebook

The AP Stylebook is also known as the “journalist’s bible.” It was first published in 1953 and is revised regularly, especially with its newly enhanced online format and resources. It’s often used by editors and students but is used mainly in the journalism industry. It provides fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage, and journalistic style.

The Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) covers a variety of topics from manuscript preparation and publication to grammar, usage, and documentation. It’s also called the “editors’ bible.” Most writers like to consult The Chicago Manual of Style Online version nowadays.

The Notes-Bibliography System (NB) of the CMOS is often used by professionals in literature, history, and the arts. The other documentation style, the Author-Date System, is nearly identical in content but slightly different in form and is preferred in the social sciences.

In addition to referring to The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), college students and professors may find it useful to consult Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed.). This manual, which presents what is commonly known as the "Turabian" citation style, follows the two CMOS patterns of documentation but offers slight modifications suited more for student texts.

While there are many style guides listed here and in last week's post, there are still many more out there. If you don’t see a style guide listed above that addresses your particular writing or editorial needs, then you should consider creating your own style guide. Download’s e-book How to Develop Your In-House Style Guide to learn more.

Click to download e-book

Topics: Chicago Manual of Style, Style Guides, Popular Style Guides

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