Specific disciplines have created uniform style guides to ensure consistency in publication and formatting to make identifying and obtaining information from a specific source easier. Specific style guides tend to reflect the values of the discipline for which they were created; for example, APA places an emphasis on published research, therefore in text citations include the year of publication, whereas MLA places the emphasis on authorship, therefore in text citations include the author’s name and page number. Interestingly, APA also strives to remove gender bias in research, and therefore does not require more than a first initial when including a researcher’s name in a citation or signal phrase.

The Purdue OWL (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/) addresses some aspects of how the three major citations styles (MLA, APA, and CMS) are typically used:

 OWL.png

OWL.png

Fig. 1. This chart explains some of nuances of the three main citation styles commonly used in academic writing (Purdue OWL).