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Which style guide?
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:26
Spanish to English
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Apr 18, 2006

I would like a second opinion about the MOST standard style guides to apply to certain kinds of academic articles, and according to market (USA or GB)

For example:

Arts & Humanities - MHRA (GB) and MLA (USA)
These are considered to be the industry standards (although the Chicago guide is also recommended)

Medicine - AMA (USA) and ???? (GB)

The other fields I'm interested in are:

hard sciences (geo, mining, eng, elec, etc etc)

social sciences (environment, psych, etc)



In fact, it would be great if we could pool our knowledge and draw up a list for the broad fields mentioned above.

The idea is to know which style to apply by 'default' when the author isn't forthcoming with the information (and in my experience, some of them know very little about this issue:-)).


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Trevor Butcher
Local time: 14:26
No idea, but worth investigating Apr 19, 2006


This is always a minefield, even the term 'style guide' is confusing as they are too often a porridge of what the author(s) of the guide considers important in language.

I would hesitate before suggesting that we should produce a style guide as too often the style guide becomes to be considered a prescriptive grammar, as well as being a source of strife between us professionals

If a customer has a style guide, or they have a target publisher with one, then it should be used. Other than that it is key that you make some choices and stick to them. It is good if you can find a source to use for the industry in which you work, and it is even better if you can intelligently argue the reasons for the choices that you make.

Perhaps what would be of use is a guide to how you produce a style guide to suit a customer's needs?


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Marcelo González  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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In the US, APA, MLA & Chicago Apr 20, 2006

As you've pointed out, it all depends on the academic discipline.

At the Graduate School of Language & Educational Linguistics of the Monterey Institute of Int'l Studies, the style guide of the American Psychological Association (APA) is used exclusively. In talking to others with US graduate degrees in Linguistics, including a professor of Hispanic Linguistics at the University of California at Irvine, APA is also used there. It's also the preferred style guide of the TESOL Quarterly and the Journal of Pidgins and Creoles.

In contrast, the MLA (Modern Language Association) is preferred in the area of literature/literary analysis.

In the broad area of social sciences, in addition to the style guide of the APA, the (University of) Chicago Manual of Style is often used. In fact, I've been proofreading/editing the work of a doctoral student in Urban & Regional Planning (at the University of Colorado), and the recommended style guide in this student's program is Chicago, though, as is often the case, consistency is encouraged almost as much as adherence to one manual; that said, when it comes to the actual thesis or dissertation, such freedom may not exist.

Regards from the US,


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MMUlr  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:26
English to German
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Styles in the field of Medicine Apr 25, 2006

Lia Fail wrote:

For example:

... Medicine - AMA (USA) and ???? (GB)

The UK association comparable to AMA is BMA, British Medical Association, BUT:

As far as I know, each and every single medical journal (U.S. or UK, etc.) has its own format or style of manuscript to be submitted by the authors, or even a specific citation style.

So you find in a journal's website a section 'Information for Authors" - see for example this online information of the New England Journal of Medicine ... The specific style, esp. of literature citation, is known as the 'Vancouver style' - actually the Journals 'own' style, developed 1978 by a group of editors (first published in 1979, the current version is the fifth now, published in the N Engl J Med 1997), but it's also one of the most commonly used and most popular citation styles in medical texts.

There are a few futher styles used, e.g., in European countries, 1) by the ELSE, European Life Science Editors, in cooperation with Ciba Foundation (used Springer world-wide media), 2) by the CBE, Council of Biology Editors, and 3) by the ACS, American Chemical Society.

[Edited at 2006-04-25 09:26]

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Clifton Silvers
Local time: 19:26
Thai to English
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In what format do these myriad of style guides exist? Jan 4, 2007

Forgive me for digging up a most interesting thread.

As observed above, there are quite a number of style guides out there: can one access the gist and detail of the style guides on the Internet? Is it free?; or, is each style guide more like a published reference compendium, copyright by law and bound to be bought?


[Edited at 2007-01-04 06:11]

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