There are a number of different citation styles that each have specific formatting rules. Each style includes similar elements, but presents them slightly differently. The citation style you use will depend on the subject discipline you are working in. Check with your instructor if you are uncertain about which style to use.
Examples of Popular Citation Styles
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)
APA is often used in communication, psychology, and social sciences. This style emphasizes the year in which a source was published, demonstrating to the reader how the research has evolved over time.
Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Manual
MLA is often used in English, modern languages, and other humanities. This style emphasizes the author's name and the page number so the reader can easily track down the original quotation and compare how one piece of writing has influenced another.
The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago)
Chicago is often used in history and other humanities. This style uses footnotes instead of in-text citations so the reader can focus on the evidence supporting the argument and can easily locate the original sources for further research.
For more information about using different citation styles, go to Western Libraries Citation Quick Guides & Style Manuals.