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Citation Styles: Home

Writing & Citation Guides

The following writing websites offer both citation help and instruction in how to format your paper in a particular style.  Some also give tips and advice on how to write different types of documents, from persuasive essays to research papers.


What is a citation?

A citation is what tells your reader that you got information from another source.  This is used to prevent plagarism, recognize another author's work, and make sure that you are using accurate information.

End of text citations make up your References (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) pages.  These are the two most common citation formats used.  To learn how to use either of these formats for your list of references, click on the tabs above.


There are many different ways to cite resources in your paper. At CSI, the two most commonly used citation styles are APA (from the American Psychological Association) and MLA (from the Modern Language Association). 

  • APA style is often used by Business, Law and the Social Sciences (Education, Psychology, Sociology).  At CSI, it is also used in the Health Sciences departments.
  • MLA style is typically used by the Humanities (Art, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Religion).

Here are a few other commonly-used styles that you may run across in your research:

  • Chicago/Turabian is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts.
  • CSE style is used by most of the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, and Nursing).
  • National Library of Medicine is used by medical researchers

IMPORTANT: Check with your instructor to make sure you use the style they require. And whatever style you choose, BE CONSISTENT!

Free Citation Tools

Free citation helpers can be good places to start recording the descriptions of your reference sources.  Usually they start you through the process by asking what style you want to use (APA, MLA, etc.) and what type of item you have (book, article from a database, website, etc.).  After that, they give you a series of boxes to fill in with the different parts of the citation (author, title, etc.).  Some give advice about details such as what words to capitalize.  When you have filled in all the necessary boxes, the helper will give you a citation to copy and paste into your report.

The question to ask about each of these helpers is how well do they fit the style rules?  Some leave out important fields (such as the doi or "retrived from" in APA), prompt you for information that is no longer needed (such as the name of the journal database in APA), or ignore the correct line spacing and indentation.  Don't just copy & paste!  Always compare your citation to an example from an official source.  It's an extra bit of bother, but will save you more work making corrections later.

Here are some helpers to try:

More help

Less help

  • EBSCO databases: Click the title of any article in a results list. One of the options on the right is "Cite". (Not caught up with latest MLA Handbook.)
  • MS Word: References (at the top of the screen)

Quick & Helpful LibGuides

Guides to Other Common Citation Styles

You might not be asked to use any of these styles at CSI, but you might run into them while doing your research.

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Dave Horalek
(208) 732-6519