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.
university logo

University Library

All Style Manuals + Writing Guides

About Citing & Style Manuals


What is a Style Manual?


A handbook or guide that illustrates the accepted format for citing your sources (references) in term papers, theses, articles, etc.


Why should you cite your sources?


Well, mainly, because your professor expects you to (so you won't be accused of plagiarism).  That said, citing your sources also shows that you have done research using authoritative sources.  Also, bibliographies act as further reading lists and help guide the reader of your paper to additional sources on that particular topic.


Which style should you use?


In many cases, your professor will tell you which style they prefer. If they don't, here's a general break down:

AAA:  Anthropology

APA:  Business, Education, Psychology, and other Social Sciences

ASA:  Sociology 

Chicago (Documentary-Note Style):  Literature, History, and the Arts

Chicago (Author-Date System):  Physical, Natural, and Social Sciences

CSE:  Science

MLA:  Literature, Arts and the Humanities

Turabian:  History

What is a Bibliography?


A list of sources (books, articles, etc.) used or considered by an author in preparing a particular work.   Depending on the Style Manual you are using, the bibliography might also be called the "reference list" or "works cited"

    (Adapted from the Arkansas State Univ. Library Citation Guide)


John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300