Why Cite Sources?
Research relies on the use of the works of other people. Whether you take ideas directly an author of a book or article, incorporate an image created by someone else, refer to a particular scene in a movie, or quote someone's words from any source, giving clear attribution for others' work you use is required in academic writing.
In-text citations are those you provide within the text of your own essay (or other type of research project). These clearly indicate exactly which words or phrases came from someone else's work. Different citation styles (see the box to the right) use different conventions for in-text citations. Most also require a list of sources at the end of your work which gives sufficient details so your readers can refer to your sources for deeper reading or to see the original context of your quoted sources.
What Should I Cite?
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Why Are There Different Styles?
Scholars in various disciplines prefer certain stylistic conventions. These have been codified in the accepted style manuals for their fields.
- The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is used by many scholars in the Humanities.
- The American Psychological Association (APA) style is favored by many in the Social Sciences.
- The University of Chicago Press is behind Chicago Style (or Turabian Style) which is prefered by many historians.
- The Council of Science Editors (CSE) have created a style used by many scientists and mathematicians.
- The four styles listed above are most commonly used, but other disciplines and publishers may have other styles ...
Which style should I use?
- Use the style assigned by each professor. These are likely to vary from course to course, especially outside your major field.
- If your professor tells you to use any style you like as long as you are consistent, refer to the list above to help make your decision.
How Do I Cite Sources in a Particular Style?
Responding to the question of "How" is the core purpose for this guide.
Choose from the TABS along the top of this page to get information for the style you need.
Don't hesitate to ask for help. Use the "Ask Questions" tab for contact info for librarians.