What is a citation?
A citation is a brief reference to a specific information source such as a book, a journal article, or a website, which acknowledges an original idea expressed therein and provides a means of locating the original source. In general, a citation includes both a notation in the body of a text and an entry in a list of sources following the text.
What is a citation style?
A citation style is a set of guidelines for formatting and organizing citations. Although there exist many different citation styles to suit different purposes, most academic research papers adhere to one of three major styles: American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago/Turabian, or Modern Language Association (MLA).
Which citation style should you use?
Use the style recommended or required by your instructor. If your instructor does not specify a style, choose one based on the discipline or field about which you are writing:
- APA Style for behavioral and social sciences, especially psychology
- Chicago/Turabian Style for either humanities or sciences
- MLA Style for humanities, especially language and literature
These free automated citation tools can help you to format your citations in various styles, but remember to check the results, as they are not always correctly generated.