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Citation Styles Guide: Cite This! Cite That?

Compares the core elements of APA, MLA & Turabian Citation Styles to help you write papers and create bibliographies, references, or works cited lists. Includes a section about plagiarism.

Style Manuals

Why do I have to use a "Style Manual"?

There is a reason why academic institutions require their students to use one style or another for writing papers and citing sources. The key purpose of a style guide is to make your life easier.

  • It provides a consistency for writers. You don’t have to guess about formatting headings or abbreviations.
  • It also provides answers to challenging grammatical questions.
  • A properly formatted paper has visual impact and demonstrates professionalism. Style manuals are accepted by the academic community and meet the conventions of scholarly writing. If you want your writing to be taken seriously, it is “the norm.”
  • And finally, it makes your paper easier to read because consistency reduces confusion.

Don't start from scratch, use a citation generator

There are three (3) easy ways to create citations for your list of sources.

  1. EasyBib. The Library has premium (full-verson) access to EasyBib. Create one citation or an entire Reference list, Works Cited, or Bibliography using EasyBib with templates for 59 different source types! EasyBib even formats the parentheical for in-text citation and footnotes.  Read more about it on the EasyBib tab.
  2. WorldCat. Create a citation for your BOOKS using the Library Catalog. The Library's Catalog can generate a book citation for practically every book ever held by a library. You can search for the work by author, title, or ISBN. Once you have located the correct publication, click on Cite/Export (upper right toolbar).  A screen will open with the book's citation in APA, MLA & Turabian (Humanities). You can also export the citation to EasyBib.
  3. Research DatabasesCreate a citation using a research database for your ARTICLES: All the research databases have some type of citation generator. 
For more information, videos or instructions, click on the EasyBib or the Other Citation Generators tab.

Comparing Citation Styles

This guide briefly compares the core elements APA, MLA & Turabian Citation Styles to help you see the differences while creating bibliographies, references, or works cited lists, especially if you take classes in several different disciplines.

APA MLA Turabian 




Need Help? Ask a Librarian

If you have a question about citing a source or fomatting your paper, ask your academic librarian. 

How to avoid Plagiarism

plagiarize pla·gia·rize verb \'pla-j?-? riz also -je-?-\ : to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source [Merriam-Webster]

Read about the relationship between plagiarism and SDC's and SCS's statements on academic integrity. Learn how plagiarism can be a problem with writing, use of source information and/or the accuracy of the citation. Go to the LIbGuide for Plagiarism & Academic Integrity.

Quick Links


This guide was originally created by the librarians at Bob Jones University.  Used with permission.  We have adapted it to fit our particular needs. Parts of the APA page have been adapted from the guide at Asbury University.  Used with permission. Parts of the CSE page have been adapted from the gude at Penn State.