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This is the "Citing Sources" page of the "Academic Writing" guide.
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Academic Writing  

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Citing Sources Print Page

Citation Styles

To achieve a clarity of communication, publishers have developed rules of style. These rules are designed to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Listed below are some of the most commonly used styles.



Understanding Citations

citation, or reference is a description of a particular source of information such as a book, article, website, video or government document.

Citations contain the information neccessary to find an original source of infomation and play an important role in establishing credibility in your writing. Properly citing sources is an important part of academic honesty and avoiding plagarism.

Many different citation styles exist and each has it's own set of rules about how the information is presented. The style that you use to cite your sources is usually determined by your subject matter, or by your professor.

While the information contained in a citation may be the same accross styles, there are important differences to the order and appearance of the information unique to each style. As an example of these differences, below is a simple comparison of a citation for a book with a single author in three different styles.

Common Citation Style Examples for a Book with a Single Author

Style Citation Bibliography Entry
APA (Author, Year) Author, N. (Year). Title of the work. Location: Publisher.
MLA (Author Page) Author, Name. Title of the Work. Location: Publisher, Year. Format.

(Author-Date Style) 

(Author Year, Page) Author, Name. Year. Title of the Work. Location: Publisher.



A bibliography is a list of all sources used in a research paper that usually appears as an appendix at the end of the paper. Depending on what citation style you are using and what type of work you are citing, entries in a bibliography may contain any of the the following details:

  • *Author
  • *Title
  • *Year
  • *City
  • State/Province
  • Country/Region
  • *Publisher
  • Editor
  • Volume
  • Number of Volumes
  • Translator
  • Short Title
  • Standard Number
  • Pages
  • Edition
  • Comments
  • Medium
  • Year Accessed

* denotes most typically required details, additional details are valuable to note if available, but usually only required when requested by the individual or institution you're submitting your paper to.


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