APA Style

This guide is intended to help you cite sources in APA style, avoid plagiarism, learn what APA style is and includes, find examples  of APA style, lead you to campus resources that can help you cite sources in APA, and more.

Please note that the information provided on these pages is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. If you need additional assistance citing sources in APA beyond what is provided here, speak to your professor or contact the Wolak Learning Center (Campus Students) or Online Writing Center (Online Students) for additional help.

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Navigate through this guide by using the tabs to the left and visit the Citing Your Sources guide for more information.

What Style Should I Use?


There are many different citation styles that continue to evolve as technology and varieties of resources increase. Generally, a citation style is established by a ruling body, typically one of a specific profession or subject area, and provides rules and conventions that best fit the types of sources used by that profession/ subject area.

While in school, you should use the style required by your assignment or professor.

APA Style

APA Style, currently in its 6th edition, is a citation protocol established by the American Psychological Association. This style was developed to ensure consistency and to provide style rules for scientific writing. Click here for more information.

APA is most often used in the disciplines of:

  • Social Sciences (including Psychology, Education, Sociology, Economics, Criminal Justice, etc.)
  • Business
  • Nursing

What does APA Style include?

  • the format & structure of your paper
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

MLA Style

MLA Style, currently in its 8th edition, is a citation protocol established by the Modern Language Association. This style was developed for students to support the writing process. Click here for more information.

MLA is most often used in the Humanities disciplines including, but not limited to:

  • English Language & Literature
  • Comparative Literature
  • Cultural Studies
  • Foreign Languages
  • Other areas in the humanities

What does MLA Style include?

  • the format & page layout of your paper
  • stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

Chicago Style

Chicago Style, currently in its 17th edition, is a citation protocol established by the University of Chicago.

Chicago Style is most often used in the disciplines of:

  • History
  • Religion

What does Chicago Style include?

  • instruction for manuscript preparation and publication
  • guidelines for style, grammar and usage
  • rules for documenting your sources in-text including the Notes-Bibliography System (NB) and the Author-Date System
  • guidelines for a Bibliography at the end of your paper

Other Styles

First, it’s important that you use the citation style required by your assignment or professor (your syllabus or assignment guidelines/description should list the required citation style but if not, ask your professor).

If you are permitted to choose a citation style to use, it may be easiest to choose one of the most common citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago).

You may also want to choose a citation style based on the field of study you are working in. Here is a brief list of some major disciplines and the citation styles most commonly associated with them:

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