MLA and APA are the most common citation styles, but there are many others. Below are brief descriptions and links to helpful guides to a few styles that you may see or use in some of your classes.
Chicago style is most commonly used in history and the sciences. It includes two systems for documenting sources: the Notes-Bibliography system and the Author-Date system.
- The Notes-Bibliography system uses footnotes or endnotes after the cited material in the text, which then list the citation and any commentary either at the bottom of the page or at the end of the publication. The NB system is preferred in historical research.
- The Author-Date system uses parenthetical citations, where abbreviated citation information, such as the author, date of publication, and page range directly follows the referenced material.
A reference list is then found at the end of the document to provide the full citation for anything referenced in text. This system is preferred in the sciences.
Details about how to use Chicago style can be found in the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide, The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition), or Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL). The University Libraries History Guide also has information on Chicago style.
Associated Press (AP) style
AP style is used for writing in journalism. Sources are typically cited within the story or narrative, instead of in an official bibliography or footnotes, so there is no one format used to cite information. Details about writing in AP style can be found at the AP Stylebook Online. The Stylebook contains information about how to write about a variety of topics, and also includes guidelines for grammatical questions, like abbreviations or punctuation.
American Medical Association (AMA) style
The American Medical Association has its own manual of style, used in its publication, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Citations consist of both an in-text reference using a superscript and a reference page at the end for full citation information. You can cite multiple sources at one time. For details on this citation and writing style, consult the AMA Manual of Style online or the Purdue Online Writing Lab AMA page.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has set guidelines for writing within the fields of engineering, computer science, and similar technological fields. Citations consist of an in-text reference, usually a number surrounded by brackets, e.g., , that correspond to a reference page at the end of the paper. More details can be found at the Purdue Online Writing Lab IEEE page, including the general format for an IEEE paper as a whole and information on formatting tables, figures, and equations.
Council of Science Editors (CSE)
The Council of Science Editors has set guidelines for writing within the life sciences, including biology, biochemistry, environmental science, neuroscience, and agriculture. There are three main styles.
- The Citation-Name system uses numbers as an in-text citation, either as a superscript, in parentheses, or in brackets, after the content being referenced. These numbers correspond to a reference list at the end of the document. The reference list is organized alphabetically by the name of the author.
- The Citation-Sequence system also uses numbers as an in-text citation, like the Citation-Name system. The only difference between the two is that the reference list is organized numerically. The references are listed sequentially, by the order they are used in the document.
- The Name-Year system uses parenthetical in-text citations that reference the author’s name and the year of publication, with an alphabetical reference list at the end of the document.
More information about the three CSE styles can be found at this guide from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.