4. Citation Styles

Rules for citing sources and citation formats can get complicated. A number of style guides have been developed that provide consistency in how information is cited. Some of the most common styles are APA, Chicago, and MLA. Citation styles are often associated with certain professional groups and disciplines. For instance, APA, American Psychological Association, is often used in the social sciences while MLA, Modern Language Association, is popular in the literature and humanities area. Some professors don’t care which citation style you use as long as you are consistent.

Citation Style Examples

There are a variety of resources available to help you cite sources correctly. Internet sites can be a simple place to start. However, to understand all the rules and exceptions, be sure to use the official manual published by the style’s sponsor. Rules for citation styles change over time, particularly in regards to citing information available on the Internet, so it is important to use the latest style guide edition.

Helpful style guide web sites:

KnightCite can help generate citations for APA, Chicago and MLA styles. It can be a useful tool to get you started but you still need to check the final citation for accuracy.

Examples of style guide manuals in the CSUSM Library

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Last updated 8/23/2012 by Sue Thompson
contact: sthompsn@csusm.edu