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Citation Guides

About Style Guides

Style guides are most often referenced at a student level for properly citing research sources, but they also include comprehensive instructions on how to format, and even write, the entire project. From the font type and size, to the grammatical style and tone of voice used, each style guide is designed so that each paper written will have the same look and "feel" to it for a sense of consistency and professionalism within its field. Writing styles are similar corporate brands in the sense that, when used properly, it is possible to tell at a glance which style is used, just as we can tell at a glance if a smart device is an Apple or an Android.

The four most commonly used styles, all of which are used at the University of Mary, are AMA (American Medical Association), APA (American Psychological Association), Chicago (or Turabian), and MLA (Modern Language Association). These are the only four styles covered in this guide, and are generally going to be the only styles needed by University of Mary students.

This guide includes a brief overview of each style, the basics of formatting a project, and examples of how to cite a variety of source types. For additional help beyond what this guide provides, you can find more information at each of the style guides' official websites, linked below. You can also book a Reference Appointment with our Reference Librarian for one-on-one assistance.

Choosing A Style

Choosing the right style guide for your project usually depends on which academic discipline you are writing for, though often a single discipline can make use of several styles. Each professor usually will have a specific style that they prefer (or require) for any projects in their class, so be sure to ask them which you should use.

Generally speaking, the citation styles are used by the following academic disciplines:

  • MLA style (Modern Language Association) is typically used by the Humanities 

  • APA style (American Psychological Association) is most often used by Education, Psychology, and Business

  • Chicago (Professor Turabian, University of Chicago) is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts.

  • AMA (American Medical Association) is used for medical research.

Bottom line: Check with your professor to make sure you use the style required for that class. And whatever style you choose, BE CONSISTENT!

Additional Resources

This guide is designed to assist you with learning how to properly apply each writing style to your research project. However, there are several other resources you can consult if you need additional assistance:

  • Consult the actual style handbook, which is of course the ultimate authority on how the style should be applied. Multiple physical copies are available for checkout at the library, and more may be requested from other libraries via the Library Catalog. The official website for each style guide is also linked above under "Choosing a Style," each of which provides a variety of useful tools for learning about the style.

  • Look for other citation guides on the internet, such as the Purdue Owl or Easy Bib. As with anything on the internet, however, remember to be cautious when taking what you see at face value. It is always best to double-check each citation by hand, even when directly copy-pasting from a citation generator. Citation generators can be a very useful tool, but their accuracy relies entirely on the accuracy of the information you provide it.

  • Visit the Writing Center in Welder 204. Online students can access the Writing Center by sending an email to If submitting via an email, be sure to attach information about the assignment and the rough draft on which you are seeking feedback.

  • Ask a librarian! Welder Library staff are available to help you find and document the resources you need to produce your best work. Sign up for a one-on-one reference appointment by clicking below.