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What are Citation Styles and Style Guides?

Citation styles are part of style guides. Style guides are sets of standards for the writing, formatting, and design of documents, like term papers, essays, newspaper articles, books, and websites. A standard style ensures consistency within documents and across multiple documents, providing convenient structure for both readers and writers.

Citation styles dictate how sources are cited within the text of a document (with parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes), and how those citations are formatted in the document and in the citation list (commonly referred to as a Works Cited page or Bibliography). Most citations, regardless of the style, contain the same pieces of information, primarily the article/book title, author information, publisher information, and DOI/URL for online resources. 

On this LibGuide, you'll find a brief description of many of the styles used at Saint Mary's. If you need more information or don't see your style listed, please contact the library.

Citing Your Sources

Why cite your sources?

  • To give credit to authors/researchers/writers and ideas that are not your own
  • Using high quality sources helps support your argument
  • To allow readers/researchers to locate the sources you used
  • To maintain academic integrity and avoid academic dishonesty and plagarism

When in doubt, cite!

  • If you read it and use the idea or a quote, cite it
  • If it is in a research paper, cite it
  • If it is in a reflection paper, cite it
  • If you are using past research, cite it

When in doubt, cite!

Citing properly requires:

1. An in-text citation

When you use the work of another person, you must make note of this in the text. Do this by including an in-text citation which gives a brief reference and helps the reader locate the full citation that you'll include as part of your References list.

2. A list of works referenced

The last page of your paper is typically a list of resources you used/utilized/consulted.

Additional Resources

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Writing Center can help with all aspects of academic writing, from grammar and the writing process to revision and citations.

Find the Writing Center online


The Excelsior OWL from Excelsior College is designed to provide support for writers as they begin the process of writing for college and as they transition to writing outside of their introductory writing classes or programs.

In addition to extensive citation support, they offer a wide variety of interactive multimedia activities, quizzes, videos, interactive PDFs, and games – all designed to help writers understand important concepts about writing.