Knowing how to properly and correctly document the sources you used for writing your paper is not only important in order to avoid plagiarism; it is also important because well-documented texts allow all of us, in our various professional and academic communities, to share information and develop ideas. Citation Manuals are, therefore, not just guides that tell you how to create a bibliography or reference list; they also tell you how professionals in various fields communicate with each other. In addition to the printed version of citation manuals, the sites listed here can assist you in navigating the jungle of accurately referencing and properly documenting ideas and facts.
APA Formatting and Style Guide
APA format is used in many social sciences, such as psychology, criminal justice/criminology, public administration, etc. This APA Formatting and Style Guide, developed by the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University, breaks down the complexities of formatting a paper, documenting in-text citations, creating reference lists, including tables and graphs, etc. according to APA style. Make sure you check out the APA sample paper, which shows you an example of a student research paper formatted according to APA guidelines.
APA Style Blog
If the Purdue OWL has not given you all the answers you needed, check out the blog maintained by the American Psychological Association (APA). This blog is constantly updated and will offer guidance on text genres that the publication manual, on which the Purdue OWL is based, might not include, for example how to cite social media sources.
UB School of Law Resources
The UB School of Law lists some really good sites for law students, including a link to Peter W. Martin’s Introduction to Basic Legal Citation.
MLA Formatting and Style Guide
The MLA format is used in many disciplines in the humanities, such as literature, composition, communications, etc. This MLA Formatting and Style Guide, developed by the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University, breaks down the complexities of formatting a paper, documenting in-text citations, creating reference lists, including tables and graphs, etc. according to MLA style. Make sure you check out the MLA sample paper, which shows you an example of a student research paper formatted according to MLA guidelines.
The Chicago Manual of Style Online
The online Chicago Manual of Style is a great online source for academic and professional writing, not just for documenting your sources, but also for formatting your papers. For citations help, check out “part three” on this site, which will lead you to the two ways of citation explained in the Chicago Manual of Style, either using footnotes and a bibliography, or using author-date references. Using the version with footnotes and bibliography is frequently used by historians.
Handout on the Turabian Style (University of Georgia Libraries)
The Turabian Style of in-text citations and references is based on the footnote and bibliography style of the Chicago Manual of Style. This handout provides a brief overview (just two pages) on how to cite major genres that are frequently used in research papers.
WARNING: This tool is not fool-proof! You should still familiarize yourself with how citations and references/works cited/bibliographies need to look like, based on the citation style that you are using, EasyBib is a great online resource that can assist you in generating citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago formats for your bibliography. It allows you to get a head-start on organizing your sources, especially for lengthy research papers.
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