The Research Process: 5b. Citation Styles

A getting started and step-by-step guide to the research process.

Which Citation Style Should I Use?

Requirements for citation format vary by discipline. Keep in mind that even within disciplines, different situations may call for different practices, that one size does not necessarily fit all. One of the tasks of the scholar or student is to determine which format to use. Consult with your instructor if you aren’t sure which style to use.

Citation Generators

These are some of the more well-known online citation generators. Explore each to find the one best suited for your purposes:

1. Citation Machine

2. BibMe

3. NoodleTools

4. EasyBib

5.. Zotero

As always, be sure to double check your citation! Generators, while useful, do not work perfectly.

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations followed by a descriptive summary and evaluation. Sometimes the annotation will reflect the applicability of the source to the needs of the researcher. The purpose of this type of bibliography is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.


Gurko, Leo. Ernest Hemingway and the Pursuit of Heroism. New York: Crowell, 1968. This book is part of a series called "Twentieth Century American Writers": a Brief Introduction to the Man and his Work. After fifty pages of straight biography, Gurko discussed Hemingway's writing, novel by novel. There's an index and a short bibliography, but no notes. The biographical part is clear and easy to read, but it sounds too much like a summary.

Example borrowed from the Writing Center at UNC- Chapel Hill.

Citation Guides

star to indicate key point Our citation guides offer comprehensive, in-depth information for creating common citations. 

Popular Styles

Several handbooks will familiarize you with the most common styles, but these following handbooks set the golden standard:

MLA Paper Formatting

APA Paper Formatting

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