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Citation Style Guides

A guide covering information regarding citation styles and where to find more information on them.

What is a citation?

A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:
  • information about the author
  • the title of the work
  • the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
  • the date your copy was published
  • the page numbers of the material you are borrowing>

By citing a source, you are giving credit where it is due. Citing also provides a sense of authority and context to your writing. This shows the type of experts, evidence, and opinions you used in your writing, thus making you more credible. Citations also help your readers (and your instructors) find the information that you relied on to help write your paper or presentation. Citations also show off how much work and effort you put into a project, highlighting how knowledgeable you are on a particular topic.

But most importantly, citations help you avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct.

It is very important to cite all sources used for a paper or project. Remember that if the information or idea was not originally yours, cite it.

It is extremely important to cite your sources whenever:

  • you use quotes
  • you paraphrase or summarize
  • you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
  • you make specific reference to the work of another
  • someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas

There are various citation styles that can be used. However, your instructor may require the use a a specific style for the course. The three most commonly used citations styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian. Each style is often used by a specific academic discipline. However, which style used will often be determined by your instructor while you are a student.

  • APA (American Psychological Association) is often used by Education, Psychology, and Science disciplines.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is often used by the Humanities discipline.
  • Chicago/Turabian style is often used by Business, History, and the Fine Arts disciplines.