Are Citations Double-Spaced? Helpful guide

Are citations double-spaced? The answer to this common question depends on what style guide a writer uses.

When writing research papers and reports, you must make sure that you follow proper formatting for all aspects of the paper. This includes the citations and references page. For example, are citations double-spaced or single-spaced? The answer to this common question depends on the style guide you use.

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Are Citations Double Spaced?

Properly formatting citations is essential to creating a paper that follows the style guide assigned. Part of formatting is the spacing of the citation and the citations compared to each other on the list of references at the end of your paper. For APA and MLA style guide works, the references are double-spaced. However, Chicago style works; they are not.

To better understand citation formatting, take a closer look at the requirements for the three central style guides.

References Page for APA Papers

The American Psychological Association requires citations to be marked within the text using parenthetical citations. Then, the end of the paper requires a References page. The References page for an APA-style paper is on a separate page immediately at the end of the paper. The word “References” is included in bold on the front and center of the page. The citations each start on a new line, and they are double-spaced. You will not include any extra space between the individual citations. They need to be listed in alphabetical order. Each citation is aligned left for the first line, even with the margin. If it goes onto a second line, that second line is indented. This is called a hanging indentation

Here is an example:

  • American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the Americas

Psychological Association (7th ed.).

The APA format requires double-spacing throughout the paper. In-text citations are either written into the text itself or marked with parenthetical citations. Either way, they become double-spaced because they flow with the rest of the work but do not have their own spacing rules.

Works Cited Page for MLA Papers

If your paper follows the Modern Language Association rules, you will need to create a citation page called a “Works Cited” page. All references used to write the piece become part of this page. The title of the Works Cited page is center aligned. It is not bolded, but it is capitalized. It will be positioned one inch from the top margin. This page also gets a page number in the upper right-hand corner. This page has similar formatting to the APA References page. Each reference is left-aligned, but any lines below the first line get a hanging indentation. The references are listed alphabetically, and you will not add any additional spaces between them.

Here is an example citation in the MLA format:

  • MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

The MLA format uses parenthetical citations within the work to cite references. Thus, they are double-spaced, but only because the rest of the paper is double-spaced. There is no separate spacing necessary for the minor parenthetical citation.

Bibliography Page for the Chicago Style

Are citations double-spaced?
Example: The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2017

The Chicago style is the only one of the three styles that do not require double spacing for citations. Instead, this style requires a references page titled the “Bibliography.” All references used in the paper get included on this page. The title Bibliography is typed in the standard font at the top middle of the page. You will not use any special formatting or bolding for this title. The page will list all of the resources in alphabetical order. Each resource is single-spaced, but you will place an additional space between the individual resources. All resources are left justified and flush with the margin. If they extend onto the second line, you will use a hanging indentation.

Here is an example citation in the Chicago style:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2017.

The Chicago style uses footnotes to reference works within the text. These are also single-spaced. The formatting is slightly different from the Bibliography page, but the spacing is the same.

Why You Need Citations

Proper spacing is crucial when properly citing your sources, but the citation itself is more so. You need to cite your sources to protect yourself from accusations of plagiarism, which could lead to failure on an academic paper or professional discrediting. There are many types of academic papers that require citations.

These include:

  • Research papers
  • Academic essays
  • Reports
  • Scientific papers
  • Literature reviews

Any time you use the work or ideas of another writer, it needs to have a citation to protect you against accusations of plagiarism.

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