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Citation Style Guides: Home

Use this guide to find examples, quick guides and useful websites for three common citation styles - ALA, MLA and Chicago

Why Do I Need to Cite?

Citations include information for the reader to find an original source of information. This is an important step in establishing credibility in your writing. Properly citing sources is an important part of academic honesty and avoiding plagiarism. Remember, you must cite any time you use information from a source, which includes directly quoting the source, paraphrasing, or borrowing an idea.

Cite your sources because...

  • Citing strengthens your writing.
  • Citing reveals that you have researched your idea and synthesized all the information into your own body of work.
  • Citing shows that you have reached beyond your own world and listened to the ideas of others.
  • Citing someone else shows that other important people support your own thoughts. 
  • By quoting opposing thoughts, you demonstrate that you have thought about both sides of an issue.
  • Citing makes you sound intelligent and will probably improve your grade.
  • It is the RIGHT thing to do!

Source: "Tools for Students" @

Citation Builders

Citation builders are online tools that automatically format your resources in a specific style.  They are certainly time savers, but REMEMBER TO CHECK the citations that these tools generate against the official style guide that your instructor requires you to use.  A common formatting error of most citation builders is that they rarely indent the second, and subsequent, lines of a citation. This is required by nearly all citation styles.  

Two easy to use citation builders are

Assistance with creating bibliographies in MS Word can be found at Microsoft.

What Citation Style Do I Need to Use?

Ask your instructor which citation style you should use.  Detailed information (examples, quick guides, and useful websites) on the most widely used style guides, APA (7th ed.), MLA (9th ed.) and Chicago (17th ed.), are provided in separate tabs in this Guide.  

Generally, these guides are used in the following disciplines:

  • APA for Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, Criminology, Fine Arts and Art History, Business, and Education
  • MLA for English Studies, including Language and Literature, Foreign Languages and Literature, Literary Criticism, Comparative Literature, and Cultural Studies
  • Chicago Style for History and Political Science

The Three Most Common Citation Styles

Subject Guide

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Rob Stere
Reference Librarian

Mount Aloysius College

Cresson, Pa.

(814) 886-6450

For More Citation Help

If you have a specific question that isn't answered in this guide:

  • Contact your instructor to
    make certain that you are using the correct citation style