Choosing Citation Styles

There are many different citation styles and choosing one can be difficult. Instructors often specify which style they want their students to use, but sometimes the choice is left to the student. Below is a list of commonly used citation styles and the disciplines with which they are associated. Regardless of which style is used it is most important that that the same style is used consistently throughout the paper or manuscript.

Citation Styles

  • The ACS style is the American Chemical Society style format and is often used in chemistry literature.

  • The APA style is the American Psychological Association style format used in psychology.

  • The Style Manual for Political Science, is the American Political Science Association (APSA) style used in political science and history.

  • The CBE style is the Council of Biology Editors style format and is used in scientific papers and research.

  • The Chicago Manual of Style is used by some social sciences and humanities scholars and is nearly identical to Turabian style.

  • The Columbia Style offers models for both the humanities and the sciences.

  • MLA style is the Modern Language Association style most often used in English studies. More information can be found in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

  • ASA style is the American Sociological Association style format used in the area of sociology.



There are many Web Sites that offer summaries of the various styles, as well as suggestions for citing electronic resources.


  • MLA Handbook (2003)
    located at the O'Leary Reference Desk, UMass Lowell South.

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001)
    located at O'Leary Reserves, UMass Lowell South.

  • The Chicago Manual of Style (2003)
    located at both the O'Leary Reference Desk and in the Lydon Reference collection.

  • The ACS Style Guide: A Manual for Authors & Editors (2006)
    located at the Lydon
    Reserve Desk, UMass Lowell North.