Citation Styles

Your professor will usually tell you which citation (or documentation) style to use, and many professors are very strict about getting it all right.

Again, different disciplines use different citation styles. This chart shows the most commonly used citation styles in various disciplines.

(American Psychological Association)
Social Sciences (e.g., Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, Criminology, Education); Business; Nursing and other Health Sciences
(Modern Language Association)
Literature, Languages, Art and other Humanities disciplines
Chicago Manual of Style or Turabian

All disciplines (especially History)

  • The Chicago Manual has two versions: A for arts and humanities; B for sciences and social sciences.
  • Turabian is a modified version of Chicago geared toward undergraduates.
[The OWL at Purdue provides a "complete discipline listing" of citation styles]

Style Manuals exist for each of the styles listed above. Some are available in print for purchase only, and others are available online. ODU Libraries has copies of the print manuals available in their reference collections.

Many universities have compiled samples from various styles and posted them on Web sites. You can find these, plus additional information on citing, writing, grammar, etc. from the ODU Libraries Web site.


Keep in mind that there are many other citation styles. Certain publishers and societies have developed their own formats which must be used when submitting a publication to them.
For example, to publish in American Sociological Association journals, you must use ASA Style; for publications of the IEEE (originally the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), use the IEEE Editorial Style Manual; some medical journals use the AMA citation style; etc.
If you're not sure, always ask your professor which citation style is required for your assignments.

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