Caribbean Culture and Arts

Brookhaven Library

Citation Formats

What Are Citation Formats?

Citation formats are rules and guidelines that make writing styles uniform within a specific work or publication. They cover the following:

  • Layout of the paper (margins, spaces between lines, font size, etc.)
  • In-Text documentation of sources (parenthetical citation)
  • Source documentation at end of paper (Works Cited in MLA, References in APA)

There are many citation formats. Some of the more commonly used ones are MLA format, APA format and Chicago format.

Why Cite Sources?

There are several reasons why you would want to cite your sources...

  • Lend authority and credibility to your work
  • Allow readers (including your instructor!) to cross‐referencesources easily
  • Provide consistent format
  • Acknowledge academic debts and avoid plagiarism

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is giving the impression that you wrote or thought something that you borrowed from someone else.

  • Even accidental plagiarism can lead to failing your class or being expelled.
  • Plagiarism in your professional career can result in being sued, fired, and publicly embarrassed.

How Can You Avoid Plagiarism? Cite your sources using a citation format.

What Must Be Cited?

  • Directly Quoted Information – Info straight from a source, which goes in quotation marks
  • Paraphrased Information – Ideas from source but phrasing changed to your words
  • Summarized Information – Ideas from large passage of source condensed using your words
  • Factual Information – Factual information that is NOT common knowledge

Material Is Probably Common Knowledge If...

  • Same info is undocumented in at least five other sources
  • Your readers probably already know the info
  • Facts found in many places and likely known by a lot of people

From: The Online Writing Lab. Purdue University

Frequently Used Formats

  • MLA Format – Created by the Modern Language Association. Used for research papers in many college and academic classes, including English classes.
  • APA Format – Created by the American Psychological Association.
  • Chicago Format – Published by the University of Chicago Press in The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • AMA Format – Made by the American Medical Association for writing medical research.

How do you know which format to use? Your instructor will let you know which format is required for your class and assignments.

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each source, which is called an annotation. Depending on your assignment, your annotations may include one or more of the following:

Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source.

  • What are the main arguments?
  • What is the point of this book or article?
  • What topics are covered?

Assess: After you summarize a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it.

  • Is it a useful source?
  • How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?
  • Is the information reliable?
  • Is it this source biased or objective?
  • What is the goal of this source?

Reflect: Next, determine how the source fits into your research.

  • Was this source helpful to you?
  • How does it help you shape your argument?
  • How can you use this source in your research project?
  • Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Use the links below to access more information and samples.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools can help you create citations in various formats. Click on the links below for more information about the two citation management tools available through the library.

MLA Format

Click on the link below to access the MLA Citation QuickStart Guide

Click on the link below to access the MLA Citation Guide from the Purdue OWL

APA Format

Click on the link below to access the APA Citation QuickStart Guide

Click on the link below to access the APA Citation Guide from the Purdue OWL

AMA Citation

AMA Style


Click on the links below for help with AMA format

National Library of Medicine Catalog