Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Circulation Desk
Email a Librarian

Citation Styles: APA, MLA: Getting Started

This guide is designed to provide you with assistance in citing your sources in an academic paper.

Citation Styles: APA, MLA, & CSE

What is a Citation Style?

  • Citations give credit to authors or creators for their intellectual works you use to support your ideas in academic papers. Usually, a citation includes some form of the author's name, the date, an article title, a journal title, and a DOI (Digital Object Identifier).
  • Citation styles tell which information is necessary for a citation, how the information is ordered within the citation, and punctuation and other formatting.

How do I Choose a Citation Style?

There are multiple ways to cite resources from your research. Usually your professor will tell you which citation style to use. In general, the citation style depends on the academic discipline that you are in. For example:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) is used for Education, Psychology, and the Sciences.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) is used for the Humanities which include English.
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) is used exclusively for Natural and Physical Sciences.

Go to the Madonna University Writing Center's Online Writing Lab (OWL) and click on the Formatting and Citation Guides to learn more about each type of citation style. You can also make an appointment with the Writing Center to have them look at your paper and your citations!