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Citation Guides

Tools for formatting your citations and bibliography

What are Citation Guides?

A citation guide is a set of rules for how to cite the sources that you've used when you're writing an academic paper.  Confusion occurs because, in general, different faculties prefer different citation styles.  That's why there isn't just one correct way to cite sources!

For example, the History Department at BU has decided to use Chicago Style (notes & bibliography).  Other departments, such as Psychology, Health Studies, and Education prefer that students use APA Style.  The Sociology Faculty usually uses ASA Style, while the English Department leans toward MLA Style.

However, ultimately it's up to you to check with your professors on which style they would like you to use.  If you're not sure, always ask!

What Are Citations?

If you use another author's writing or ideas to create your own paper, you must give credit to that original author. You do this by providing brief information about the author and the date of their publication in the body of your essay.  This is called the in-text citation. It signals to the reader that you used information or ideas from another source. The full citation is provided in the reference list (also called a bibliography) at the end of your paper. It provides complete information for the source you used, so that the reader can find that original publication if they choose to. If you don't acknowledge the original author by citing the source, you are plagiarizing. For details on plagiarism see: