Citation Generation Tools & Definitive Guides is all about sharing the knowledge about academic referencing and writing in all of its shapes and forms. Our resource is entirely free to access for all the students. So don’t hesitate to check out our guides and use the referencing tools to make your works flawless.

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General Principles of Formatting

Lots of students, writers, and editors struggle to learn the rules of researching, writing, and formatting their papers according to different citation styles. American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association of America (MLA), University of Chicago Press are some of the most famous and influential organizations in academic writing for American English. Usually, the bottleneck for any trying to master the principles of academic writing is how to cite and format the sources used in text. Some citation styles slightly differ from each other while others have a huge gap in structuring reference list entries and formatting in-text citations. So, for each student, it’s a cornerstone of paper writing to learn the rules of the style they have to use.

There are two types of source mentions in academic writing:

In-text citations Reference list entries
A citation is the mentioning of a particular source in the body of the paper. It is the information about a source that you put on a separate page containing the list of all works cited in the paper.
Types of in-text citation:

Parenthetical citation: You list the sources in the reference list in alphabetical order. While referring to the source in text, you mention its author’s or editor’s last name, year, and/or page number in parentheses.
Note citation: You reference the source via a footnote or an endnote. Additionally, you may be required to list the sources in Bibliography.
Numeric citation: You use numbers to list the sources in the end of the paper and refer to the source in text using the corresponding number.
The title for the list of sources varies depending on citation style you use:

“References” in AMA, APA, Chicago (Author-Date), and Vancouver,
“Works Cited” in MLA,
“Reference list” in Harvard,
“Bibliography” in Chicago (Notes-Bibliography).

We have created comprehensive guides to all most popular citation styles and you can also use our citation generation tools for MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, Vancouver.

Why it is of great importance to correctly cite and reference all sources you use in your paper.

  • It helps you to avoid plagiarism.
    By citing and referencing your sources correctly, you acknowledge that the ideas and information you present came from another person’s work, thus avoiding plagiarism.
  • It ensures that you acknowledge other people’s input into the development of a subject field.
    Since many researchers are passionate about improving the volume of knowledge in their area of study. Hence, addressing their input shows that you respect their work and commitment. Citing and referencing is a part of professional ethics in the academic world.
  • It enables people to find more information on the topic.
    When people read your work, they might want to explore some ideas you used in more depths. By citing and referencing correctly, you help them to track this information down and locate other articles on the topic.

How to choose a citation style.

  1. Either use the citation style you are instructed to use in your assignment,
  2. Or, if given a choice, consider your discipline or the subject you are studying to select the citation style.

Below there is a table where you can see what disciplines a particular citation style is used for.

Citation style Disciplines Type of citation
MLA Humanities: Literature, Languages, Arts, History, and so on. Use parenthetical citations in-text and name your list of sources as “Works Cited”.
APA Communication studies, Economics, Education, Law, Political science, Psychology, Sociology Format citations in text in parentheses and use “References” at the end of the paper to refer to the sources used.
Chicago Notes & Bibliography Literature, History, and the Arts Refer to your sources in footnotes and link them to “Bibliography” list.
Chicago Author-Date Physical, Natural, or Social Sciences Resort to parenthetical in-text citations and “References” at the end.
Vancouver Physical Sciences, Medicine Use numeric citations in text and link them to the sources in “Reference list”.
Harvard Physical Sciences, Medicine Use parenthetical citations in-text and match them with the sources mentioned in “Reference list”. This style is similar to APA style in structuring reference entries.
OSCOLA (Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities) Law (mostly, for UK legislation) Use exclusively footnotes for primary sources (cases and other legal materials). Only secondary sources (such as book, articles, etc.) are mentioned in “Bibliography” as well.
AMA Medicine AMA is a documentary-note style. Put a number in your text to cite the source and list “References” in numerical order at the end of the paper.
Bluebook US legal documents This style is developed for both academics (The Whitepages) and practitioners (The Bluepages). Use citations either within text following the evidence they support or in footnotes if allowed or required.
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