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Citation: What are the Different Styles of Citations?

 In scientific research, every information should have a source and evidence; even your unique point of view must be based on other references. In this way, you’re strengthening your research, besides allowing your readers to gain in-depth knowledge by tracking the references and knowing what other authors are saying in this area.

Due to falsification and fabrication, some papers are retracted; so, citation protects your reputation as it proves that it’s somebody else work. Moreover, not only do you add citations to agree with other authors’ ideas, but you can introduce a different point of view or opposing opinion.

But how can you cite the references in your paper?

Actually, not all authors cite their references in the same way; different styles of citations are available. And your choice will depend on the journal’s guidelines or your professor’s preference. In this article, we will talk about different types of citations, but let’s start with the definition of the citation.

What is a Citation?

The citation is defined as: “an abbreviated alphanumeric expression embedded in the body of an intellectual work that denotes an entry in the bibliographic references section of the work for the purpose of acknowledging the relevance of the works of others to the topic of discussion at the spot where the citation appears.”

What are the Major Styles of Citations?

APA, Chicago, MLA, and AMA are the four major used referencing styles. However, many factors may impact your choice while citing your references: journal’s guidelines, professor’s preference, and your area of research.

APA Format

APA is the abbreviation of the American Psychological Association. This style is commonly used in social sciences, education, and business.

We will apply the steps of APA referencing style in the following example:

John, J., & Tang, T. (2019). The effect of temperature on COVID-19: Current knowledge. (Report No. 5678).

  1. Start by adding the author’s last name, then add a comma and write the first letter of the last name in capital letter (first initial).Because your reference may include multiple authors, you can separate the authors’ names and initials by adding “comma” followed by “&” or “and”.
  2. After writing the authors’ names and their initials, add the paper’s publication year between brackets.
  3. Now, it’s your time to add the title of the research; capitalize the first word in the title and the proper nouns too. Your reference may include a subtitle; in this case, add a colon, then write the subtitle, and also capitalize its first letter.
  4. If you use the database of your university or any other organization, add the paper’s index number between brackets after the title.
  5. When you write a statement or paragraph from this research, place the last names of the authors and the paper’s publication year between brackets. For example: (John & Tang, 2019).

Chicago Format (Notes and Bibliography)

Chicago referencing style (known as Turabian citation) is used in many fields. We will apply the Chicago referencing style in the following example:

Smith, John. “The Effect of Temperature on COVID-19: Current Knowledge.” Alaska University, 2019.

  1. Start with the author’s last name, add a comma, then add the first name.
  2. Between the quotation marks, add the title and capitalize the first letter of each word except the conjunctions (and, or, etc.), articles (a, an, the, etc.), and prepositions (on, in, at, etc.) if they aren’t at the beginning of the sentence.
  3. After the title, add the publisher’s name or the journal name followed by the publication year of the paper.

The previous steps are related to the bibliography section at the end of your paper. But as soon as you’re using a sentence or paragraph (quotations, summary, etc.) from any reference in your paper, add a Note to acknowledge your readers with the used references.

The Note may be either Endnote (at the page’s end) or Footnote (at the chapter’s end). If your paper doesn’t include the bibliography section, the Endnote or Footnote should include the complete citation information.

Let’s say you borrow this sentence from a reference:

Would young Einstein be characterized as belonging somewhere on the autism spectrum?”

You’ll cite the reference by adding the number of the reference at the end of the sentence (superscript):

“Would young Einstein be characterized as belonging somewhere on the autism spectrum?”  1

Then, write the complete citation information for your reference in either Endnote or Footnote. For example:

  1. Silver, Nate. “Beautiful Minds.” The New York Times. July 13, 2013. Accessed August 04, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/books/review/the-boy-who-loved-math-and-on-a-beam-of-light.html?ref=books&_r=0.

And if you write the bibliography section in your paper, the Note can just include author’s last name, an abbreviated title of the reference (about four words), and the page number.

MLA Format

It’s the abbreviation of the Modern Language Association. MLA referencing style is usually used in the humanities (history, philosophy, religion, literature, languages, etc.). Follow these steps to cite your references in MLA format:

  • Start with the author’s last name, then write the first name.
  • Add the title and subtitle between quotation marks and capitalize the first letter of each word except articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.

Have you noticed the similarities between the MLA and Chicago format in the two previous steps?

However, the MLA reference style follows the container’s role. You start with the small container followed by the larger one. However, your reference may include just one container, e.g., a book or website.

Each container should include the container’s title (written in Italic font, like the title of the book), other contributors (precede the name with the role, like directed by Sam James), version, numbers (version or edition), publisher (s), publication date, and location (page number or URL).

As soon as you paraphrase, quote, or summarize any sentences or paragraphs from the reference, place the author (s)’s names and the page number (where you find information) between parenthesis (brackets). For example: “(John & Tang, p. 34).”

AMA Format

Medicine, Nursing, biomedical sciences, and dentistry usually use AMA style to cite their references. Let’s apply the AMA format referencing style in the following example:

“John J, Smith S. The Effect of temperature on COVID-19: Current knowledge. Nat Med. 2010; 12(4): 1429-1434.”

  1. Start with the last name of the author, then write the first initial (without adding a comma). But, use comma to separate multiple authors.If your reference includes more than six authors, add the first three names followed by “et al”.
  2. Then, write the title; capitalize only the first word and proper nouns, and in case your reference includes a subtitle, add a colon and capitalize the first word in the subtitle.
  3. Write the abbreviated journal’s title in italic font, then add the year of publication followed by the issue number, and finally the page number (where you find the information).
  4. Then reveal where you find the paper; for example: if you find it via an online website, add its link.
  5. To cite a text in your paper, add a superscript number after the text you cite, and it’ll be the same number of your reference in the bibliography section.

Let’s say you’re citing this sentence: The rise in temperature was inversely proportional with the cases’ number of COVID-19. 2

The superscript number “2” will precede your reference in the bibliography section.

Finally, you may think we have covered all styles of citations, but actually other styles of citations are available. Several sciences use particular styles for citation, like CSE citation style in biological sciences and AMS citation style for mathematics and computer sciences; however, the major referencing styles are APA, Chicago, MLA, and AMA citations.