Citation and Documentation Resources

Introduction to Citations

Citations function to give proper credit to the authors and works that have shaped your research and writing. Citations help readers understand how your own statements stand in relation to research or ideas that others have articulated before you.

We encourage students to learn more about the various citation styles on their respective official websites. However, there are many helpful citation resources to be found online, including the Purdue University Online Writing Lab, or OWL.

Attention Students!

Visit the Purdue OWL for a student-friendly guide to citation use.

Citation styles and preferences differ across disciplines, media, and readers. Some of the most frequently used citation styles in academia are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Note, however, that there are many other style guides available online.

For the most comprehensive explanations of a citation style, we recommend referring to the online guides put out by the sponsoring association.


MLA (Modern Language Association) style is typically used in the humanities, such as literary studies and philosophy.

MLA Style Guide


APA (American Psychological Association) style is generally used in the social sciences, such as psychology and sociology.

APA Style Guide


Chicago style is often used for the disciplines of history, business, and the fine arts. This guide covers the Author-Date System and Notes-Bibliography System.

Chicago Style Guide

For coursework at Miami, you should ask your instructor which citation styles will be expected for different writing tasks. They may request that you use a style different from those listed here.

If you are submitting work to an academic journal, find out what that journal’s specific style guidelines are. This information is frequently available online.

How to Get the Most Out of Citation Guides

Citation style guidelines will provide information about how to:

  • Cite a source in-text (or as it comes up in your writing, whether quoted or paraphrased).
  • Cite a source at the end of your writing (in a Works Referenced, Works Cited, bibliography, etc).
  • Handle footnotes or endnotes.
  • Format your writing (e.g. titles, headers, block quotes, etc.).

You should also note that citation style guidelines are frequently updated. The guidelines from five years ago may no longer hold true today.

Using the citation style that your readers expect and citing your sources properly is crucial for academic writing. Citing sources puts your writing in conversation with the writing and research completed by the researchers and thinkers who preceded you and who have shaped the nature of your inquiry. 

Want some help with your citations? Make an appointment with a writing consultant!

Schedule Your Consultation