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Citation Styles

Help with different citation styles including how to format citations.

Who Should Use This Guide

This Library Guide is intended to support the research needs of students and faculty who need information about:

  • when to cite a source
  • what citation style to use
  • how to create citations

This guide will give an overview of several of the most frequently used citation styles - APA, MLA, and Chicago - as well as provide resources for additional styles used within other disciplines. Official style guides will provide documentation on styles and give examples of how individual associations, journals or publishers format citations, bibliographies, footnotes and more.

How to Use This Guide

Use the tabs along the side of this guide to assist you in finding the relevant information. 

Citation styles that are used across multiple disciplines (APA, MLA, Chicago, AMA) warrant individual tabs with more detailed information. The "Citation Generators" tab will contain information about the use of citation generators, how to generate citations on One Search and other databases, and how to cite Generative AI.

Multiple disciplines like Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Nursing use citation styles that are unique to them. A list of some of these specific citation styles can be found under the "More Citation Styles" tab.
Note: Subject library guides will also include citation information (e.g. Nursing subject guide). 

When & Why You Should Cite Sources

When should you cite sources?

Information that contributed to your thoughts, analysis or synthesis of ideas should be cited. The following are examples of when you should always cite your sources:

  • Direct quotes of the author’s words that are used to make your argument
  • Summaries or paraphrases of someone else's thoughts or ideas by putting their words into your own words
  • Information that may be considered common knowledge but is not familiar to your reader (including statistical information)
  • Information you are not sure should be cited should be cited to avoid plagiarism
Why should you cite sources?

  • Citations credit the author of the original work who provided you with the information or idea.
  • Citations allow your audience to identify and find the source material in order to learn about your topic.
  • Citations give your paper more credibility because it shows you're supporting your arguments with high-quality sources.
  • Citations help you avoid plagiarism and demonstrate your integrity as a responsible researcher and participant in your field of study.
  • Citations promote academic integrity and good scholarly ethics as you engage with other researchers and colleagues.

Selecting a Citation Style

Deciding which specific citation style to use depends on several factors:

  • What style is most used in the discipline for which you are writing
  • What style is recommended or required by your instructor, department, school, or college
    • Always confirm with the instructor as to what specific citation style and style guide edition is allowed/required for the course or assignment
  • What style is required by the editor, association, or other source in which you are submitting a document for publication

Related Library Guides and FAQs

  • Citation Management Tools - Manage your research with tools like Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote, and more.
  • For additional citation style resources, consult the ASU Library's FAQ

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.