Skip to main content

Citation Styles: An Introduction: Home

Your professors keep telling you to use the APA, or MLA, or Chicago style. What are they talking about? Here's a brief guide to finding more information about citation styles.

Subject Index

Ask a Librarian!

Live chat sessions with library staff members are available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday during the regular academic year.

If chat is offline, please call 559-453-2090 for assistance during regular library hours.

Citation Styles: an introduction

An important part of academic writing is citing your sources, so that your readers know where you got the ideas expressed in your paper. Proper citation also helps ensure that you aren't committing plagiarism.

Within your paper, you must provide properly-formated citations for any quotations or ideas that you borrow from other sources. Depending on the style that you use, these may appear as in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes. You will also usually be expected to provide a bibliography (sometimes also called "references" or "works cited") at the end of your paper, which includes an alphabetical list of all sources that you used in the research and writing of your paper.

There are several different style guides that describe how to properly format a citation or bibliography. It's very likely that your professors will tell you which style guide they expect you to follow. If they don't tell you, it's probably a good idea to ask them if they have a preference.

The following handbooks and guides are for the the most commonly-used bibliographic formats.

You may also want to look into some kind of reference management software, which will properly create citations and bibliographies in most of these formats automatically.

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab has a helpful website describing the basics of these style manuals.‚Äč

Purdue OWL

Citation Styles

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

ISBN: 9781433805615
Publication Date: 2009-07-15

The Chicago Manual of Style

ISBN: 9780226104201
Publication Date: 2010-08-01

MLA Handbook

ISBN: 9781603292627
Publication Date: 2016-04-01

The SBL Handbook of Style

ISBN: 156563487X
Publication Date: 2014

Form and Style

ISBN: 0618216049
Publication Date: 2002

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th edition

For most mathematics courses at Fresno Pacific University, you will be asked to use the APA publication manual for formatting your paper and citing your sources. Be sure to check with your professor, however, to make sure that this information is correct for a particular course.