Different Citation styles with Examples

Research papers need references or citations. These references show more information about the material like author name, work title, publishing company, and date.

Different formats of writing reference/Citation styles

Following are the formats of writing reference:

  • APA reference

APA is short for the American Psychological Association. As the name mentions, this reference is used in social sciences and psychology-related papers. In this citation, a general format is used through footnotes/endnotes, reference pages, and in-text.

For reference, the writing should be typed, with double space and paper should be standard-size with 1-inch margins on all sides. In APA referencing, your font size must be 12pt, Times New Roman. Indent should be ½ inch for the new paragraph. There must be a page header for page numbers flush right and title on flush left with capital letters. You can write up to 50 characters for the title including punctuation and spacing. 

There are four sections of the research paper to write in APA format that is as follow:

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract
  3. Main body 
  4. Reference


  • MLA research paper format

Modern Language Association format is used for  English literature, art, philosophy, and humanities. This format is used throughout the world. The latest version of this style is the 8th edition that was published in 2016. Like APA format, MLA has in-text citations.  While using MLA format, the title is “Works-Cited_List” for the reference list. 


In-text citation

There are two elements in this citation: 

  1. The author’s surname
  2. Page or page-range

There are two forms of in-text citation:

  1. Parenthetical 
  2. Narrative 

Both forms are inserted immediately after a natural pause and parenthetical or quote. In-text citations are used in material that you paraphrase or quote from. 

MLA works-cited list

In MLA format, there is a works-cited list rather than a reference list. In this list, there are all reference sources within the document having different elements and appearing at the end of the text. This list is set out alphabetically by the title and first author’s name.

Additionally, if there are more than one works of a single author, they can be set out by date. In case of publishing work in the same year, write them in alphabetical order by the title. In addition, the author’s name should be in the first reference.

Turabian/Chicago research paper format

Turabian and Chicago are interchangeable. Both are considered as the official Chicago format. However, the Turabian format is relatively simple. It is used in work that is not intended to be published. The last version of this format is the 8th edition.


There are two reference style conventions:

  1. The notes and bibliography style
  2. The author-date style


The notes and bibliography style are used in literature, arts, and humanities. It uses an endnotes and footnotes system. In the text, there is a correlated superscript number for each note. 


If we talk about the author-date style, the sources are cited by the last name of the author and the publication year of the work.


  • ASA research paper format

ASA is short for the American Sociological Association. This format is used by the students and scholars of sociology in their university research papers, manuscripts, or articles that they have to submit to the sociology department.


While using this format, you should consider the parts of the paper like the title page, heading format, abstract, reference list, and in-text citations. If the citation is not used correctly, your work might be discredited. 


ASA formatting resembles APA style. Both use parenthetical references that appear at the end in the reference section. In MLA style, this part is called “works Cited”.                


  • IEEE research paper format

IEEE is short for the institute of electrical and electronics engineers. This format of reference is used in research papers of engineering, electronics, computer science, information technology, and telecommunication. There are three major parts of this style:


  1. Author’s name
  2. Title of the work
  3. Title of journal or book

There are in-text citations as well as reference list citations in this format.


IEEE in-text citation

In this citation, references are written within the text in the form of sequential numbers in square brackets like “[numbers]. The bracketed numbers correlate to a specific work. In addition, citations are numbered sequentially. If the same source is referenced, the same number is written in both citations. 

Reference list citation

Here we will talk about major document types where reference list citation is used.


  • Print documents

If the work is to be published the titles are capitalized and italicized. The author’s name is written with the initial first and then his surname.


  • Internet document and software

For internet documents and software, you have to include:


  • The format like “[format]” 
  • Provide the URL in “Available: URL.” format. 
  • Provide the access date like “[Accessed Month Day, Year]”. 


  • AMA or NLM

AMA stands for American Medical Association and NLM stands for National Library of Medicine. This format of writing is used by the students of the medical fields like medicines, biological sciences, and so on.


In-text citation

In this format, you find flexibility regarding cite in-text. You can choose one style from the following styles.


  • Author-year system

In this style, you order the items alphabetically by the last name of the author, then the year of publication.


  • Sequence system

In this system, items are written within text in order of appearance. 


  • Author-sequence system

Here items are written alphabetically by the last name of the author, then the year of publication.


  • CSE

CSE is short for the council of science editors. This is also called the scientific style. This format is used by the editor, publishers, and authors of engineering and medical fields like biology and chemistry. Before 2000, this style was recognized as CBE (council of biology editors). The last version of this format came in 2006.

CSE also offers three styles of in-cite citations:

  1. citation-sequence system
  2. citation-name system
  3. Name-year system


To conclude, we can say that there are many formats of writing reference in research papers to use according to your requirements. They can help you to get the information about the author, title of work, publication, and so on.