Citation and Documentation

Citation styles serve different purposes and have different emphasis. APA, for example, requires writers to include dates, so the reader is aware of the currency of information. MLA emphasizes page numbers for easy look-up. Chicago style uses footnotes so that in-text citations don't distract the reader. Read this overview on locating reference information to familiarize yourself with the different types of citation styles used in academic writing.

Research papers at the college level will require some kind of documentation style. Documentation styles provide students, teachers, and researchers standards and specifications to follow for paper set up, in-text documentation, and references. They also will have recommendations for writing style, word choice, and in some cases, organization.

The most common documentation styles are APA (from the American Psychological Association) and MLA (from the Modern Language Association), and some fields require Chicago Style (from the University of Chicago Press).

While it may feel tedious learning the different aspects of a documentation style, it's important to remember following style guidelines helps add credibility to your writing by providing you with a structured method for sharing your research with your audience.

Having Trouble Locating Reference Information?

As you'll learn in this section of Citation & Documentation, part of writing within a particular documentation style, such as APA or MLA, is building a References or a Works Cited list with full publication information. But what happens when you're looking at your sources and just are not sure where to find all the necessary information like publication dates, volume numbers for journal articles, edition numbers, and the like?

The following images link to PDFs which include helpful information about locating publication information you'll need to build your References or Works Cited lists.

Print Book (Title, Author and Publisher)

Locating References Book

Print Book (Date of Publication)

Book - Date of Publication

Journal Article from a Database

Locating References Database

Online Journal Article

Locating References Journal Article


Locating References Website

Source: Excelsior College,
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Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2021, 5:05 AM