MATH 1044: Discovering Mathematics II: Understanding & Creating Citations

Citation Styles

There are over 6,000 different citation styles!  Most of the time, you'll be told which style to use by a journal editor or a professor.  The most important part of this is being consistent and being able to follow guidelines.  Check out the Virginia Tech Libraries' citation style page for guidelines related to the most frequently used citation styles:

Citation Style Guides

A few examples of these frequently used styles are:

  • ACS (American Chemical Society)
  • AIP (American Institute of Physics)
  • ALWD (Association of Legal Writing Directors(
  • AMA (American Management Association)
  • AMA (American Medical Association)
  • AMS (American Mathematical Society)
  • AP (Associated Press)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • ASA (Americasn Sociological Associaton)
  • ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
  • Chicago
  • MLA (Modern Language Association

Understanding Citations

You will need to be able to understand citation types AND citation formats in order to know what you are looking at and how to properly cite the sources in a list of references. 

Citation type: BOOK; Citation format: APA


Citation type: JOURNAL ARTICLE; Citation format: APA

Citation type: DATA SET; Citation format: APA

Citation type: WEBSITE; Citation format: APA

PLEASE NOTE: There are many, many types of web citations. Find more examples of how to cite web materials at:

As read through articles, books, and other resources, and use others lists of references or bibliographies in order to find  resources, you'll see a lot of different types of citations (book, journal, website, data etc.) and citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago etc.)

What a reference list should look like


  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • Authors' names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
  • Present the journal title in full.
  • Maintain the punctuation and capitalization that is used by the journal in its title.
    • For example: ReCALL not RECALL or Knowledge Management Research & Practice not Knowledge Management Research and Practice. 
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • When referring to books, chapters, articles, or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.



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