Style Guides

These are help docs the Writing Center has created to help you properly format and cite academic articles. They are divided by the three major style guides:

When to Cite

Citing sources is about making sure that when we use sources in our papers we give recognition to those whose work we build upon. This doc will help you discern what should be cited.


APA refers to an editorial style developed by the American Psychological Association. It was created for students in the social sciences, but has been adopted by many disciplines, particularly those that use data driven research. Stylistically, APA focuses on timeliness, which entails talking about research and texts in the past tense and including dates in in-text citations. The following help docs are adapted from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition.


Chicago style, sometimes called Turabian style, is a humanities based style guide most known for placing the citations in footnotes. The citation style has two major manuals: The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition and the 8th edition of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.


APSA is a style used by scholars in the field of political science. It very closely resembles Chicago Style.


MLA refers to a citation style developed by the Modern Language Association. It is used most predominantly in English but is also used in other humanities disciplines. Most notably, MLA addresses all texts in the present tense. The major style guide for MLA is the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.


AP Style is a style guide that comes out of the Associated Press. It is the most widely used style guide for newspapers, magazines, and journals and is gaining popularity in other fields. AP changes very quickly to adapt to new forms of media. Be sure to always check for the most recent AP Style Guide when working within AP style.