There are different guidelines for citations of works in different fields. Literature and philosophy generally rely on MLA format, social sciences and sciences rely on APA format, and sometimes Chicago, as the preferred methods of citation. Make sure you check with your professor to determine which format to follow. The items below demonstrate the basic style for works cited using all three formats.
The MLA style follows in-text citations with a list of sources at the end of the paper entitled Works Cited. Alphabetize the Works Cited list by last name of the author or editor. If there is no author or editor, alphabetize by the first main word in the title, excluding the words A, An, The.
The APA style relies on in-text citations with a list of sources at the end of the paper entitled References. References are arranged in alphabetical order by the last name of the author or editor. If no author or editor, use the first main word in the title, excluding A, An, The.
The Chicago style uses either footnotes at the bottom of the pages of the paper or has a separate page of endnotes entitled just Notes and followed by a list of sources consulted entitled Bibliography at the end of the paper. With the Chicago style, all notes are listed by numbers only in the text of the paper with corresponding numbers either as footnotes or on a separate page at the end of the paper as endnotes (Notes) in the order they occur in the text. The Bibliography page lists sources in alphabetical order by the last name of the author or editor and, if no author or editor, by the first main word in the title, excluding A, An, The.
Indenting for Works Cited, References and Bibliography is the same for all three styles with the first line of each source entry flush to the margin and subsequent lines of the same entry indented a half inch or five spaces (usually one tab). Note: The Chicago style endnotes (Notes) are indented differently. The sequential numbers are indented one half inch or five spaces for the first line of each entry with subsequent lines flush to the margin.
Certain standard abbreviations are used in all documentation formats. Students need to learn them and know when to use them.