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Citing Your Sources

What Citation Style Should I Use?

With so many different citation styles, how do you know which one is right for your paper?

First, we strongly recommend asking your instructor. There are several factors which go into determining the appropriate citation style, including discipline (priorities in an English class might differ from those of a Psychology class, for example), academic expectations (papers intended for publication might be subject to different standards than mid-term papers), the research aims of an assignment, and the individual preference of your instructor. 

Make sure you ask your instructor what style you will be using.

The most important thing to consider is citing correctly and avoiding plagiarism.

APA Style

APA Style is currently in its 6th edition.   It is a citation format established by the American Psychological Association. The format was developed to ensure consistency and to provide style rules for scientific writing.  For more information go to APA style.

This format is used mostly for:

  • Social Sciences (including Psychology, Education, Sociology, Economics, Criminal Justice, etc.)
  • Business

What does APA Style include?

  • the format & structure of your paper
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

          Five Top Reasons to Use APA Style:

  •  APA style is required for many classes.
  •  APA style helps you credit sources and distinguish your own ideas from others'.
  •  APA Style helps you avoid accidental plagiarism.
  •  APA Style communicates important information about your sources.
  •  APA Style looks professional and credible.

MLA Style

The MLA Handbook, 7th edition, is being superseded by the 8th edition, which was published in April 2016.  During this transition it is very important that you know which edition of the MLA Handbook your instructor is using for your class assignments.   If your instructor is NOT using the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, go to the subject guide for the 8th edition. Also, it is important to note that some databases may not have updated to the 8th edition, as well as some citation generators.   For more information visit MLA Style Center.

MLA is most often used in the Humanities disciplines including, but not limited to:

  • English Language & Literature
  • Comparative Literature
  • Cultural Studies
  • Foreign Languages
  • Other areas in the humanities

What does MLA Style include?

  • the format & page layout of your paper
  • stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chicago and Turabian Style are essentially the same style. 

What's the difference?

"Turabian is a kind of citation involving either footnotes or endnotes.  For the most part, it is a condensed version of the Chicago stylebook written especially for student writers." Hollins University Writing Center 

The Chicago Style is currently in its 17th edition.  Turabian is in its 8th Edition.  It was developed for students to support the writing process.  Go to Chicago Style for more information.

Chicago and Turbanian are most often used in the Humanities disciplines including, but not limited to:

  • English Literature
  • History
  • The Arts

What does Chicago Style include?

  • the format & page layout of your paper
  • stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

CSE Style

Council of Science Editors Documentation Style (CS) is currently in its 8th edition.

The Council of Science Editors (CSE) offers three systems of documentation. In all three systems, a reference list at the end of the paper provides all the information your reader needs to track down your sources. In-text references in your sentences show your reader which sources support the claims and information of that sentence.

CSE is used in all areas of science and related fields has been fully revised by the Council of Science Editors to reflect today’s best practices in scientific publishing

What does CSE Style include?

  • the format & page layout of your paper
  • stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper