Online Guide to Writing and Research

Chapter 5: Academic Integrity and Documentation

Giving Credit to Sources

Style Guides

Style guides help us produce clear, consistent documentation. The rules for citing your sources depend on which style guide you use. A style guide is a set of rules for formatting and presenting information in written work. Scholars generally adhere to guides related to their discipline. Although there are many style guides, the three used most often for university research papers are:

  • Gibaldi, J. (1999). MLA handbook for writers of research papers (5th ed.). New York: The Modern Language Association. MLA style is used in languages, literature and some sciences.
  • American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.) Washington, DC: Author. APA style is used for research in linguistics; human, behavioral, social, and political sciences; education; computer science and information management; business and management; and environmental and physical sciences.
  • The Chicago manual of style (14th ed.). (1993). Chicago: University of Chicago. The Chicago style is used in some sciences and mathematics.

Because of its prevalence, APA style is recommended most often. This Guide to Writing and Research is documented using APA style, and you should use APA unless your teacher specifies otherwise. However, you will find in the workplace that these various style guides get modified to meet the needs of particular organizations.