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Citation Styles

Who Should Use This Guide

This Library Guide is intended to support the research needs of students and faculty who need information about:

  • when to cite a source
  • what citation style to use
  • how to create citations

This library guide will give an overview of several of the most frequently used citation styles as well as provide resources for additional styles used within the scientific disciplines. Official style guides will provide documentation on styles and give examples of how individual associations, journals or publishers format citations, bibliographies and footnotes.

How to Use This Guide

Use the tabs along the side of this guide to assist you in finding the relevant information. 

Individual citation styles [e.g APA, MLA, etc.] that are used across multiple disciplines warrant individual tabs with more detailed information. 

Multiple disciplines have unique citation styles; for example, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Nursing, etc., use citation styles specific to that discipline. A list of some of these citation styles can be found under the "More Citation Styles" tab of this guide. Note: Subject library guides will also include citation information (e.g. nursing subject guide). 

When & Why You Should Cite the Sources You Use

Why should you cite your sources?
  • Citations credit the author of the original work who provided you with the information or idea
  • Citations allow your audience to identify and find the source material in order to learn more about your topic
  • Citations give your paper more credibility because it shows you're supporting your arguments with high-quality sources
  • Citations help you avoid plagiarism & demonstrate your integrity as a responsible researcher and participant in your field of study 

When should you cite sources?

Information that contributed to your thoughts, analysis or synthesis of ideas should be cited. Following are examples of when you should always cite your sources.

  • Direct quotes of more than one word; the author’s words are used to make your argument
  • Paraphrase someone's ideas by putting the idea or words into your own words
  • Summarize someone elses ideas or thoughts
  • Information that generally may be considered common knowledge but is not familiar to your reader including statistical information
  • Information you are not sure should be cited should be cited to avoid plagiarism

Selecting a Citation Style

Deciding which specific citation style to use depends on several factors:

  • what style is most used in the discipline for which you are writing
  • what style is recommended or required by your instructor, department, school or college; always confirm with the instructor as to what specific style guide is allowed/required
  • what style is required by the editor, association or other source in which you are submitting a document for publication

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