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Citation/Style Guides

Welcome to the Citation/Style Guides research guide.


This guide was designed to provide you with assistance in citing your sources when writing a paper.

There are different styles which format the information differently, so select the style you need and take a look at some examples.


There are quite a few different ways to cite resources in your paper. The citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • MLA style is typically used by the English Department.
  • APA style is used by Business, Education, and the Social Sciences.
  • Chicago/Turabian is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts and Religion courses.

Check with your professor to make sure you use the required style. 

Why doesn't everyone use the same style?

Not only does source citation give proper credit to the origin of an idea, quote, or fact, it also helps the reader by giving information about the author(s) and/or editor, quality of the source, how long ago it was published, and where it was published.  If the reader wants to study the topic further, all the information necessary to retrieve the original source should be easily available.

Different scholarly readers have different interests which have led to the diversity of documentation styles.  For example, in business, education, and the social sciences, the date of publication and the author is very important to the reader.  Therefore, in-text parenthetical citations used in those disciplines tend to include the year of publication (e.g. APA). 

Some scientific publications often use a style of numbering the works cited and then placing the number in the text as a superscript (e.g. CSE style).  If the author or year is important to the discussion, the writer has the option of putting that information in the sentence itself.

In scholarship associated with disciplines in the humanities, publication date is not as relevant in the context of reading.  Therefore, the documentation style of the Modern Languages Association (MLA) leaves out the date when citing in the text.  That information can be retrieved in the “works cited” list at the end of the document.

Some disciplines, such as History and Religion, require comment on the sources or additional explanation.  To expedite this need without disrupting the reading of the document, citations occur in the form of notes at the bottom of the page.  These disciplines may use the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) or similar styles.  Additionally, in these disciplines a Bibliography of all works consulted is helpful to the scholarly reader, as opposed to just a listing works cited in the document.

How to Cite from Library Databases

In many of the library databases, there is a "cite" icon on the right hand side of the screen.



After you click on the icon, several citations will appear in various styles. Scroll down to the style you need. Then, copy and paste the correct citation into your reference list.  Be sure to verify that the citation is correct.