Citing sources is a fundamental aspect of academic and scholarly writing. Proper citation not only gives credit to the original authors but also allows readers to trace the sources and verify the information that is presented.
Citation styles provide guidelines for referencing sources and for formatting citations both within the text (in-text citations) and in a separate list of references or bibliography. Citation styles vary across different disciplines, and it is important for authors to be familiar with the appropriate citation style for scholarly writing.
In this blog, we will explore the various citation styles and provide examples to help you to understand citation styles and referencing:
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style (8th Edition) Guidelines:
These are commonly used in the fields of humanities, literature, language, and cultural studies. The in-text citations in this style typically consist of the author’s last name and the page number from the source (e.g., Jones 45).
MLA Style Examples
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]. Example: Hamilton, Jon. “Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again.” National Public Radio, 2 Oct. 2008, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794.|
APA (American Psychological Association) Style (7th Edition) Guidelines
This is often used in the fields of social sciences, including psychology, sociology, and education. 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:
APA Style Examples
|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
Chicago Manual Style Guidelines
This is used in the fields of history, literature, and humanities. This style features either footnotes or endnotes for citations. These provide detailed source information and also allows for explanatory comments. In the main text, the in-text citations are referred with superscript numbers. The bibliography includes the author’s name, title of the work, publication details, and page numbers (if applicable) listed in alphabetical order.
Please also note that Chicago style offers both the “notes and bibliography” (widely used in Humanities) and “author-date” (widely used in Sciences) citation systems, so it is important to adhere to your publication’s specific requirements.
Chicago Style Examples
|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. Example: World Health Organization. “How Do Vaccines Work?” World Health Organization, December 8, 2020. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-do-vaccines-work.|
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Style Guidelines
This is predominantly used in technical and engineering fields. In an IEEE paper, citations are presented using numerical references in square brackets within the text. The reference list at the end of the document is numbered and provides 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 Style Examples
|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).|
AMA style (11th Edition) Guidelines
This is widely used in articles in the field of medicine and related sciences to support evidence-based practices and research integrity. In this 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 list typically includes author names, article titles, journal names (italicized), publication details, and page numbers and is formatted as follows:
AMA Style Examples
|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.|
While citations and the associated style guides may appear confusing and demanding, they remain an indispensable component of scholarly writing. Whether you’re an aspiring student, a dedicated researcher, or a professional writer, mastering the art of citation is a skill that will serve you well throughout your academic and professional journey.