Answered By: Judy Brink
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2016     Views: 107

A citation is a way of giving credit to individuals for their creative and intellectual works that you utilized to support your research. It can also be used to locate particular sources and combat plagiarism. Typically, a citation can include the author's name, date, location of the publishing company, journal title, or DOI (Digital Object Identifier).

A citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting.

There are many different citation styles. The citation style sometimes depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) is used by Education, Psychology, and Sciences
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used by the Humanities
  • Chicago/Turabian style is generally used by Business, History, and the Fine Arts
  • IEEE style is often used in Engineering

You will need to consult with your professor to determine what is required in your specific course.

For help with citing your sources, check out our Citation Help guide.

Additionally, Purdue University has created an excellent source for help with citing in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. It’s called the Purdue OWL. Take a look for in-depth help.

You can also get help with citing your sources by making an appointment at the Writing Center.


There are many citation management tools available that will help you to organize your research and create citations. If you are interested in learning about EndNote or Mendeley, sign up for one of our classes.

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