Citation Styles and Practices

"Citation needed"


Citation is about communication. It's about letting your reader know which sources, scholars and perspectives your argument is building on, and responding to. This page will introduce you to the tools you need to create and use citations effectively. If you need information about plagiarism, please consult the Avoiding Plagiarism page.




Common Citation Styles | Use a Style Guide | Select Bibliographic Software | Ask a Question

Common Citation Styles

Citation styles were developed by publishers and professional societies in order to facilitate communication within a community of practice (Butler said that? Judith or Joseph?). There are many different types of citation styles, and which style you use is determined by your community. At Barnard, this may mean the discipline of the class you're taking, or, if you are writing for a professional publication, the scope of the journal. The following are three of the most commonly used citation styles at Barnard, but you should ask your instructor or editor if you aren't sure which one to use:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) style is used primarily by students and scholars in the social sciences.
  • Chicago Manual of Style was developed by the University of Chicago Press, and is used by students and scholars working in history and some social sciences.
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) style is used in many sciences.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used by students and scholars in the liberal arts and humanities.

Use a Style Guide

Style guides provide all the information you need to successfully format your research paper. The guides' content extends far beyond when and how to cite, to how to convert data into a graph, create an image caption or write about a topic using gender neutral language. Online guides address basic issues, while print guides are available to provide more in-depth information.


In Print


Select Bibliographic Software

We admit it - bibliographic software doesn't sound very exciting, but trust us when we say it's a vital research tool. These software packages allow you to store your references conveniently, and cite them in papers and bibliographies. Not sure which one is best for you? Check out Columbia University Library's website for a functional comparison of each tool, as well as some basic pros and cons. For more in depth information, try Which Citation Tool Should I Use?

EndNote     Mendeley     Zotero

Ask a Question

Not sure if you should use footnotes or endnotes? Or how to cite a tweet? No problem! Your personal librarian is here to support you at every stage of the research process. E-mail her directly or request a research consultation.