Here at Life Pacific University we are now using three different style guides based on your course program. Generally speaking, the undergraduate students are to use MLA, the graduate students are to use APA, and undergraduate Bible majors, in upper division major courses, will be using SBL.
MLA, the Modern Language Association, is an association of professionals, professors, editors, authors and experts that work in the area of English literature and modern languages. The guide is meant to be used by authors and editors for correctly formatting works to be published. It is also used in a large number of academic institutions as a general guide for writing papers for college courses. In the Spring of 2016 major changes were put in place with the new 8th edition of the MLA Handbook. This LibGuide will show both 7th and 8th format for one year.
APA, the American Psychological Association, is an association of professionals, psychologists, authors and editors that work in the area of psychology. This guide is meant to be used by authors and editors for correctly formatting works to be published. There are a large number of academic institutions that use this guide as a general guide for writing papers, especially in the sciences and business. The unique things that make APA stand out are: gender inclusiveness (author's first initial is given, not their first name), the prominent position of the date of publication (moved to the second position in citation, emphasizing currency), and the use of in-text citation (opposed to footnotes or endnotes favored in the humanities).
SBL, the Society of Biblical Literature, is an association of professionals, professors, pastors, authors and editors that work in the field of Biblical Studies. This guide is meant to be used by authors, editors and academics for correctly formatting works to be published. This work is only used in the area of Biblical Studies and some areas of Semitics research (languages related to Hebrew). This manual is really based on the Chicago Manual of Style with the added work being languages and citations for ancient works. The Chicago Manual of Style is itself based on the work of Kate Turabian and Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
APA and MLA both use in-text citation. Notations to the reader identifying where information came from are placed in parentheses. The content of the parentheses depends on the source of information and the style being followed. Typically, the content of the parentheses is the author/editor's last name and either the page number (MLA, but also APA if it is a quotation) or the year of publication.
SBL, following Turabian and Chicago Manuals of Style, uses footnotes. Footnotes should be handled by your word processor and not something you just try to put in the footer. The footnote should be in the same font, Times New Roman, but in 10 point font, as opposed to the 12 point font of the paper body. The content of the footnote depends on source and if it is the first time the resource is cited. The second, and following citation, the note is shortened greatly.