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Citation Styles

Citation Stylesstack of books

American Chemical Society (ACS)

For a quick introduction to ACS style, check out Concordia University's quick guide.

American Sociological Association (ASA)

For the ASA quick guide or Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL).

For more information, please visit the library to consult the American Sociological Association Style Guide (4th ed.).

​American Psychological Association (APA)

In 2020, the American Psychological Association unveiled a new version of APA style (7th edition); however, the transition to a new version often takes some time. At present, most resources offer support with the 6th edition of APA style, and most professors still accept papers formatted according to the 6th edition. However, you can expect to see a transition over the months ahead. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) already offers information on both versions: 6th edition and 7th edition. Both guides give lots of examples and include a full sample paper, complete with notes explaining the relevant citation rules. 

For detailed questions, please visit the library to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). A copy of the 7th edition is forthcoming. 

​Chicago/Turabian (CMS)

The University of Chicago publishes two handbooks for writers: The Chicago Manual of Style and A Manual for Writers of Research Papers (originally written by Kate Turabian). Both handbooks cover two areas: (1) document formatting (page numbers, title pages, figures, etc.) and (2) citation (footnotes, bibliography entries, etc.). In the second area--citation--they are exactly the same, so many people use the terms "Chicago" and "Turabian" interchangeably. If you are looking for information on citation, you can use resources marked as either "Chicago" or "Turabian." However, if you're looking for information about document formatting, you might need to look more carefully: The Chicago Manual of Style is meant for people writing books, whereas A Manual for Writers (aka. "Turabian") is geared for students writing papers. 

When it comes to citation, Chicago/Turabian gives writers two options: notes-bibliography (Chicago NB) and author-date (Chicago AD). Chicago NB uses footnotes, whereas Chicago AD uses parenthetical citations (kind of like ASA or APA). Chicago NB is by far the more common option, and most instructors at Ambrose expect students to use this version. However, if you're not sure, check with your instructor. 

For a general introduction to Chicago/Turabian (specifically Chicago NB), check out Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL). This site is handy because it includes both the basic rules for citation (which are the same in Chicago and Turabian) and the guidelines from Turabian on how to format a student paper (rather than a book). You'll find lots of examples and a sample paper to guide you. For citation specifically, you can also visit the CMS website and check out their quick guide. This guide does not cover document formatting, but it does give good examples of how to format your citations in Chicago/Turabian. 

Council of Science Editors (CSE)

In the sciences, many instructors will simply say, "Use an acceptable scientific citation style, and use it consistently." If you already know one, great! If not, CSE may be a good choice.

When you use CSE style, you may choose from one of three versions: name-year, citation-sequence, and citation-name. Citation-sequence and citation-name are very similar: the only difference is the order of entries in the references list. ​​Of the three styles, name-year is most common, but, unless your instructor has specified, you can choose any of the three.

The official style guide for CSE is Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th ed. (2014). Unfortunately, this book is not currently available in the Ambrose library. However, the resources below should answer most questions. If you have further questions, check with your instructor, the writing centre, or the library.

The Council of Science Editors offers a fairly detailed quick guide on their website. Also, check out this summary sheet from Dalhousie University.

​Modern Languages Association (MLA)

In 2016, the MLA released the eighth edition of MLA style (MLA 8). This edition differs substantially from previous editions, so not all instructors have adopted it. At Ambrose, some professors still accept the seventh edition (MLA 7). Please check your instructor's preferences, and choose the appropriate resources.

For MLA 8, start by checking out Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL). For more detailed questions, please visit the library to consult the MLA Handbook (8th edition).

For MLA 7, consult a written handbook (e.g., The Concise Canadian Writer's Handbook) published prior to 2016, or visit the library to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). Be wary of online sources: most online resources now describe MLA 8.

Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)

SBL style is an adaptation of CMS that offers specific guidelines for the bible, bible commentaries, and so on, making it especially useful for courses in biblical studies and theology. For an introduction to SBL style, see the second edition of the Student Supplement for The SBL Handbook of Style, published in 2015.

For more detailed information, consult the second edition of The SBL Handbook of Style (2014), which you can borrow through the Ambrose Library. The library holds an electronic copy of this book, which you can find in the library search engine and access from your computer. This book is also on reserve, so you can access a physical copy by speaking to someone at the circulation desk.