In academic writing, it’s crucial to give credit to the original ideas or statements that support your arguments. This practice, commonly referred to as citation, must be executed systematically to ensure the transparent presentation of source information. Proper citation supports the credibility of research and enables readers to locate and verify the sources.
Citation styles are standardized methods for crediting and referencing sources in scholarly writing. These style guides provide instructions for formatting citations, both within the text (in-text citations) and in a separate list of references or bibliography.
While several citation styles are available, some of the commonly used ones include the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago manual style, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and American Medical Association (AMA) formats, among others. Each style has its own specific guidelines for citing different types of sources, such as books, articles, websites, and more.
Different disciplines and organizations follow specific citation style guides as per their requirements, so it is important for authors to be familiar with the appropriate style for their work.
APA format Example (7th Edition)
APA 7 or the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the APA is a widely accepted style guide for scholarly writing, especially in the social sciences. According to this format, the key components of a research article must include a title page with the paper’s title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, and a running title. While the abstract should provide a concise summary of the study, the main body should be structured with headings and subheadings, elaborating the methods, results and conclusions, thereby aiding the readability. The In-text citations should follow the author-date system (e.g., Smith, 2021), with a corresponding reference list at the end, arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name. The corresponding entries in the reference list should be presented in the following manner:
|Book Citation: Author(s). (Year). Title of the book. Publisher. Example: Smith, J. (2020). The Art of Writing. XYZ Publishers.|
|Journal Article Citation: Author(s). (Year). Title of the article. Title of the Journal, volume(issue), page numbers. DOI or URL Example: Johnson, A. (2019). The effects of exercise on mental health. Journal of Psychology, 45(2), 123-137. https://doi.org/10.1234/jpsych.2019.45.2.123|
Author(s). (Year, Month Day). “Title”. Website name. URL Example:
Smith, J. (2022, January 15). “The Importance of Healthy Eating”. Health & Wellness Today. https://www.examplewebsite.com/healthy-eating
An example of APA reference page can be found at https://www.bibliography.com/apa/apa-reference-page-examples-and-format-guide/
MLA Format Example (8th Edition)
MLA format is commonly followed particularly in the field of humanities, literature, language, and arts. As per the 8th edition of the MLA guidelines, it is highly recommended to include the date of access for online sources, especially when the publication date is unavailable. In-text citations typically consist of the author’s last name and the page number from the source (e.g., Jones 45). The reference section at the end of the paper lists full details of all sources used, including books, articles, and websites and should be presented as follows:
|Book Citation Author(s). Title of the book. Publisher, Year. Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing. XYZ Publishers, 2020.|
|Journal Article Citation: Author(s). “Title of the article.” Title of the Journal, vol. issue, page numbers. Example: Johnson, Anna. “The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health.” Journal of Psychology, vol. 45, no. 2, 2019, pp. 123-137.|
|Website: Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Work.” Title of Site, Publisher, Date of Publication or Update Date, URL. Accessed Date [only if no date of publication or update date]. Hamilton, Jon. “Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again.” National Public Radio, 2 Oct. 2008, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794.|
An example of a model MLA paper can be found at https://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/mla-format/sample-paper-mla/
Chicago Manual of Style Example (17th Edition):
A CMS adheres to the guidelines outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style, widely used in articles in the fields of history, literature, and some other disciplines. According to this style, the article should typically include a title page with basic information such as title of the paper, the author’s name, and the date, followed by the main body, which features either footnotes or endnotes for citations. These notes provide detailed source information and allow for explanatory comments. In the main text, the in-text citations should be referred with superscript numbers. The paper concludes with a comprehensive bibliography, listing all cited sources in alphabetical order. Each entry should include the author’s name, title of the work, publication details, and page numbers if applicable.
Chicago style offers both the “notes and bibliography” and “author-date” citation systems, so it’s crucial to adhere to your instructor’s or publication’s specific requirements.
The corresponding entries in the reference list should be presented in the following manner:
|Book Citation: Author(s). Title of the book. Publisher, Year. Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing. XYZ Publishers, 2020.|
|Journal Article Citation: Author(s). “Title of the article.” Title of the Journal volume, no. issue (Year): page numbers. Example: Johnson, Anna. “The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health.” Journal of Psychology 45, no. 2 (2019): 123-137.|
|Website: Author’s Last Name, First Name or Site Owner. “Title of Page: Subtitle.” Date of Publication or Revision. Accessed Date of Access (if undated). URL.|
Here is an example of Chicago manual of style paper: https://library.mcmaster.ca/sites/default/files/1MA3_chicago_sample_paper.pdf
IEEE Citation Example:
IEEE format is commonly used in articles in engineering, computer science, and related fields. In an IEEE paper, citations are primarily presented within the text using numerical references in square brackets. A numbered list of references at the end of the document provides detailed information about each source, including author names, titles in quotation marks, the journal title in italics, volume and issue numbers (if applicable), page numbers, and the publication date. IEEE emphasizes brevity and clarity, making it ideal for technical documents.
The reference list should be presented as follows:
|Book Citation:  Author(s). Title of the book. Publisher, Year. Example:  J. Smith, The Art of Writing. XYZ Publishers, 2020.|
|Journal Article Citation:  Author(s). “Title of the article,” Title of the Journal, vol. issue, page numbers, Year. Example:  A. Johnson, “The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health,” Journal of Psychology, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 123-137, 2019.|
|Website: Author(s) Initial(s). Last name(s), “Page title.” Website name. Web Address (accessed date). Examples: M. Crawford, “Catching the Sun.” asme.org. https://www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/renewable-energy/catching-the-sun (accessed Feb. 5, 2022).|
An example for IEEE sample paper can be found at https://www.amity.edu/aiit/icrito2018/ieee-format.pdf
AMA Citation Example (11th Edition):
AMA citation style is widely used in articles in the field of medicine and related sciences to support evidence-based practices and research integrity. In AMA format, citations are generally numbered sequentially in the order of their appearance in the text. These numbers correspond to references listed at the end of the document. The reference list typically includes author names, article titles, journal names (italicized), publication details, and page numbers and is formatted as follows:
|Book Citation: Author(s). Title of the book. Publisher; Year. Example: Smith J. The Art of Writing. XYZ Publishers; 2020.|
|Journal Article Citation: Author(s). Title of the article. Title of the Journal. Year; volume(issue): page numbers. Examples:
Johnson A. The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health. Journal of Psychology. 2019;45(2):123-137.
|Website: Author last name Initials. Page title. Website Name. URL. Published Month Day, Year. Accessed Month Day, Year. Example: Smith A, Johnson B. Understanding Diabetes. Diabetes Foundation. https://www.diabetesfoundation.org/understanding-diabetes. Published June 15, 2021. Accessed September 30, 2023.|
A sample AMA paper can be found at https://libguides.astate.edu/citations/ama
Adhering to a specific citation style brings in consistency and clarity in writing and ensures reliability and credibility in academic writing.