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Citing Sources: What is a Citation Style?

Use a citation generator!

Citation Styles

Once you have decided what to cite, and whether to use direct quotations or paraphrase, you need to select a citation style. Citation styles provide the particular formats for in-text citations and bibliographies that appear in your research paper.

Usually, the choice of citation style will be based on the discipline in which you are writing. Often your professor will indicate the citation style he/she would like you to use.

Some common citation styles:

  • APA Style: frequently used in the social sciences
  • Chicago Style: 1) Notes and Bibliography format is often used in the humanities; 2) Author-Date format is often used in the social sciences and sciences
  • MLA Style: widely used in the humanities
  • Turabian: a variation of Chicago Style, also used in the humanities
  • Harvard: often used in the sciences

[Important Note: Do not confuse citation styles (APA, Chicago, MLA) with citation managers (EndNote, Refworks, Zotero). Citation styles provide the particular formats for in-text citations and bibliographies that appear in your research paper. Citation managers are software programs used to download, organize, and output your citations. You can output thousands of different citation styles (including APA, Chicago, and MLA) using citation managers.]