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Citation Styles

Purpose of Citation

The purpose of citation is to:

  • allow other scholars to locate the work you used in your research
  • give proper credit to other researchers and creators 
  • avoid academic misconduct.

Different subject areas and journals have their own required citation styles. If you are preparing citations for a paper, check with your instructor to be sure you are following the citation style they want.

Without good citation, creators never get credit for their hard work!

Common Elements of Citations

These are the elements of all citations at their most basic. Remember, part of the point is to allow readers to find your source themselves. These elements may be formatted and ordered differently, depending on the specific citation style you use. But, the most basic elements are almost always the same.

Author Date Title Source

Maddox, J. T. I. (2020). Challenging the Black Atlantic: The New World Novels of Zapata Olivella and Gonçalves. Bucknell University Press


Depending on the particular style, you may also need to include page numbers, URL or DOI, or the date you  accessed the source. The formatting of the authors' name may be different, as well as the placement of punctuation. 

Reading Citations

Citation Management Software

Citation managers help you save, organize, and cite your references. See our guides to learn more.