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Citation Style Guide

This guide was created to provide basic instruction on commonly-used citation styles across the faculties of Dalhousie University.

Photo of stacked books. Text: Welcome to the Citation Styles Guide!

Getting started:  How to use this guide

This guide was created to assist with selecting and correctly using a citation style while writing a paper.  There are many different styles to choose from when working on a paper.  Many fields of study prefer one particular style. Always check with your instructor or syllabus when in doubt!

What is a citation and citation style?

citation is a way of giving credit to individuals for their creative and intellectual works that you used to support your research. A citation can also be used to locate particular sources and combat plagiarism. Typically, a citation can include the author's name, date, location of the publisher, journal title, or DOI (Digital Object Identifer).

citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting.

How do I choose a citation style?

There are many different ways of citing resources from your research. The citation style sometimes depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) is used by Education, Psychology, and Sciences
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used by the Humanities
  • Chicago style is generally used by Business, History, and the Fine Arts
  • Vancouver style is used by the Health Sciences
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) is used primarily by the sciences
  • McGill is typically used in Law

Table of Contents

Click the links below to navigate to the page for the citation style you wish to learn more about. You may also use the tabs on the upper left hand side of the guide.

1. APA

2. MLA

     3. Chicago

         4. Vancouver

Why is proper citation important?

When you quote or refer to another person's words or ideas in your writing, you must credit your source with a proper citation. Why is proper citation important?

  • Citation gives due credit to the sources you have used to support your own work.
  • Citation helps others access the helpful sources you have used.
  • Citation allows you to maintain your own academic integrity by protecting yourself against charges of plagiarism. Plagiarism involves taking credit for words or ideas that are not your own.