Citing Sources

Academic writing whether theses, assignments, reports or scholarly articles often include quotes with ideas and opinions from scholars and other authors in your own writing. Knowing how to cite another person's work properly helps you to:

  • give credit and acknowledge their ideas
  • avoid plagiarism
  • direct readers to the sources on which your research is based

How to Cite Sources

Citation Styles are a set of rules or standards established by a specific society, association or publisher for documenting various sources of information. These sources of information may include journal publications, books, thesis, online sources, unpublished manuscripts, magazines, etc. Detailed descriptions of the citation styles (often known as Style Manuals or Publication Manuals) can be found on the websites of those societies, associations or publishers who set and maintain the citation standards. Styles may be revised from time to time in which case new or up-dated Manuals are released. It is a good practice to consult the original Publication Manuals for updates.

Different disciplines use different citation styles therefore it is important to know which citation style is most popular in your discipline. Ask your instructor which citation styles you should use in your assignments. 

ACS Style Guide (American Chemical Society)

APA Style (American Psychological Association)

ASA Style (American Sociological Association)

ASCE Style (American Society of Civil Engineers)

CSE Style (Council of Science Editors)

Formerly CBE and used in biology and other natural science disciplines

Chicago Style

Widely used in the humanities and social science, and history in particular

Harvard Style

Harvard is a style of referencing primarily used by university students to cite information resources

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Commonly used in Engineering especially in Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • IEEE Citation Reference  A guide in PDF from Bath University that provides an overview of IEEE Citation Style Components to be used as a quick reference.
  • IEEE Editorial Style Manual The IEEE Style Manual 2017  includes information on the consistent use of: Punctuation, Capitalization, Abbreviations, Section headings, Numbers, equations, Footnotes, How to cite and style references, Biographies. 
  • IEEE Style Guide with examples (Murdoch University) 

MLA (Modern Languages Association)

Used in literature, arts, and the humanities

Turabian Style

Used in many disciplines in humanities, social sciences, and sciences and is a variation of the Chicago style

Vancouver Style

Used in the health sciences disciplines

Special Formats of Material

Business Sources

The following guide will help you cite business sources in APA style. 

Government Publications and Statistics

The following guides provide general citation examples for different types of government publications and statistics and are intended to supplement, not replace, standard citation manuals such as Chicago, MLA, etc.

Legal Materials

The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (popularly known as "the McGill Guide") is the authoritative source in Canada for citing legal materials.

Unofficial legal citation information available on the web:

Maps and Other Cartographic Materials


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Citation Management

Use citation software to organize your own library of citations, incorporate quotes into your assignments, and compile reference lists (bibliographies) for your assignments. Citation managers will take care of the citation style required for your assignments and can help ensure that all citations and bibliographies are organized in accordance with the standards. 

Please see our Citation Management guide for more information.