Different Styles of Citation


What is a citation style?

Citation style is a collection of recognized standards and resolutions for authenticating sources, determines how citations appear (format).


[Source: Gabriel, Richard A. Gods of our fathers: the memory of Egypt in Judaism and Christianity. Vol. 67. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002.]

Citation styles can be established by an association, like the Modern Language Association (MLA), a publisher, like the University of Chicago Press, or a magazine, like The AmericanCardiology Journal.


[Source: Bradt, Joke, Noah Potvin, Amy Kesslick, Minjung Shim, Donna Radl, Emily Schriver, Edward J. Gracely, and Lydia T. Komarnicky-Kocher. “The impact of music therapy versus music medicine on psychological outcomes and pain in cancer patients: a mixed-methods study.” Supportive Care in Cancer 23, no. 5 (2015): 1261-1271.]

These are the four basic writing styles utilized in professional and academic writing. Students will be expected to employ one of these common styles, so we should be familiar with them at the very least.

  1. Chicago style/Turabian Resource Guide
  2. MLA style (Modern Language Association)
  3. APA style (American Psychological Association)
  4. AP style (The Associated Press Stylebook)

Chicago style/Turabian Resource Guide

The Chicago Manual of Style is the basis for Chicago style (CMOS for short). Numerous book publishers prefer CMOS, and it is also utilized by authors and editors in various academic subjects, particularly in social sciences and the humanities.

Chicago specifies two techniques for source citations: (1) notes and bibliography and (2) author-date.


Schoenfeld, Alan H. “Measures of problem-solving performance and of problem-solving instruction.” Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 13, no. 1 (1982): 31-49.

MLA style (Modern Language Association)

For architecture, literature, religion, art, foreign languages, philosophy, and English, you’ll most likely be writing in MLA format. In a nutshell, any subject that falls under the humanities umbrella.

Author-page is a simplified version of author-date that is sometimes used in MLA.


Schoenfeld, Alan H. “Measures of problem-solving performance and of problem-solving instruction.” Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 13.1 (1982): 31-49.

APA style (American Psychological Association)

APA style is commonly used in papers on criminal justice, economics, political science, law, geography, sociology, education, communication studies, and business. The author-date style is followed in this citation.


Schoenfeld, A. H. (1982). Measures of problem-solving performance and of problem-solving instruction. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 13(1), 31-49.

AP style (The Associated Press Stylebook)

The Associated Press Stylebook provides the basis for AP style. Over half of the AP Stylebook is made up of dictionaries that explain how to use recommended spellings and abbreviations, as well as how to choose the proper term (and avoid using the wrong one) for a given situation. The book is updated annually because journalists and many other people who work with news and current events rely on it.

In journalism, the AP style is employed for writing. Instead of citing sources in an official bibliography or footnotes, sources are usually cited directly in the tale.

Sources are frequently listed or discussed in the text in AP style, with no bibliography.

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