What's In A Citation?
A citation style tells you what information you need to include in a citation and what order to put it in, as well as punctuation, capitalization, and so forth. In order to correctly cite sources you need to follow these rules precisely.
However, almost all citations have a few things in common, and when learning a citation style, it can help to break the citation down.
All citations include
- The author
- The title of the work
- The year of publication
The order varies, but these piece of information are practically always present.
Most citation styles will incorporate additional information about certain sources. For example:
- Journal article citations always include the title of the journal and the volume and issue number
- When citing a book, most styles include the place of publication and the company that published
- Chapters or sections of edited books include both the title and author of the chapter as well as the title and editor of the book.
- Digital sources often (but not always) include a url, doi, or other way for the user to locate the resource. Many styles also ask for the date the writer accessed the source.
There are many different citation styles. Which you will need depends on the subject you are writing about. For example:
- APA Style is used by many social sciences, such as sociology or psychology
- MLA Style is used by the Humanities, such as english or art
- Turabian Style is used in history, business, and certain other fields
As a rule, you should ask your professor which citation style they want you to use. Last and most importantly, be consistant in your citations!