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Citation Formats and Style Manuals

This guide will help you to find resources on citations styles: MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, etc. You will also find help with citation management: EndNote, Zotero.

Why does it matter if and how you cite a paper?


In academic writing, it is important for you to keep the same formatting and citations throughout your paper. This will allow your readers to easily see your sources, understand your argument, and to not get distracted from unnecessary formatting like weird fonts and large indents. 

It is also very important that you avoid using Plagiarism. Plagiarized works, even accidental, would constitute a failed grade for the assignment, and even could result in academic suspension or expulsion from the school. Sticking with the correct citations is the safest and easiest way to avoid plagiarism. 

Quick Overview

There are several different styles to choose from when citing your work. Most often, your professor will let you know which style to use. Different styles also are used my the different disciplines. The most common styles are:

When in doubt, cite your source!

A citation is needed usually when:

  1. You are stating some else's words, thoughts, or ideas
  2. New information that is considered "uncommon knowledge"
  3. You refer to or use an image, clip, tweet, post, or anything of that nature.

A citation is not needed when:

  1. You are stating YOUR opinion on a subject (i.e. I really do not like the new Star Wars as much as it was hyped up to be.)
  2. It is common knowledge (i.e. Nashville is the capital of Tennessee in the United States.)

The UT Libraries has paid for two citation generators for the students and staff to choose from to keep track of their resources and automatically generate citations for them. These are:

To pick which one is right for you and your research, please see the comparison chart to make your decision. 

Remember that citation generators save much sweat and toil, but they are not perfect! Please check your citations and do not assume they are perfect.

The UT Graduate School offers one-on-one Thesis and Dissertation consultations. For more information, contact the consultant: 

Sarah Stone 
111 Student Services Bldg
Knoxville, TN 37996-0211
Phone: (865) 974-1337
Email (preferred)