Understanding Citations: The Basics of APA, MLA, Chicago, and AP Styles
Whether it’s a research paper, article, or a blog post, whenever we use information derived from other sources, it’s crucial to acknowledge them correctly. This practice not only validates your work but also helps avoid plagiarism. However, citation can be a baffling task due to different styles each with its unique rules. In this blog post, we’ll demystify the four primary citation styles – APA, MLA, Chicago, and AP.
1. APA (American Psychological Association): APA style is commonly used in the social and behavioral sciences. It emphasizes the author’s last name and publication year within the text. Reference entries include the author, date, title, and source. For example:
In-text citation: (Smith, 2020)
Reference entry: Smith, J. (2020). Understanding Citations. Psychology Today, 15(3), 65-69.
2. MLA (Modern Language Association): MLA style is predominantly used in literature, arts, and humanities. In-text citations include the author’s last name and the page number where the information was found. Reference entries include the author, title, container (book, journal, website, etc.), other contributors, version, number, publisher, and publication date.
In-text citation: (Smith 23)
Works Cited entry: Smith, John. “Understanding Citations.” Language Artistry, vol. 15, no. 3, 2020, pp. 23-30.
3. Chicago (Chicago Manual of Style): Used primarily for history and some science publications, the Chicago style offers two styles – Notes/Bibliography style for humanities and Author-Date style for sciences.
N/B Style in-text citation: (Smith 2001, 23)
Bibliography entry: Smith, John. 2001. “Understanding Citations.” Language Artistry 15(3): 23-30.
Author-Date Style in-text citation: (Smith 2001, 23)
Reference entry: Smith, John. 2001. “Understanding Citations.” Language Artistry 15(3): 23-30.
4. AP (Associated Press): Mostly used in news writing, AP style follows a more streamlined approach of parenthetical citation with a preference for attributions within the text.
Direct quotation: John Smith, author of “Understanding Citations,” says, “…….”(AP does not use “Works Cited” or “Bibliography”)
Each style has its unique requirements for formatting elements like title page, headers, page numbers, spacing, etc. Therefore, always check the specific guidelines for the style you are using. Furthermore, automated citation generators and professional proofreading services like PaperBlazer can make the task of citing sources less daunting.
Remember, proper citation not only adds credibility to your work but it’s also a matter of academic integrity, acknowledging the efforts and contributions of others. When in doubt, cite it out!
“APA Citation Guide.” Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
“MLA Citation Guide.” Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_general_format.html
“The Chicago Manual of Style.” The University of Chicago. https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
“The Associated Press Stylebook.” Associated Press. https://www.apstylebook.com/