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It is a set of standards for writing and the layout of documents, different fields or disciplines have different standards. Common style guides are APA, MLA, Turabian, Chicago, and CSE (Council of Science Editors).
Which style should I use?
Your professor will state the style guide you are expected to use for class assignments. Check your syllabi or talk with your professor. Should you decided to submit a manuscript for publication, the journal or publisher will determine the style guide.
Citations let your professor, or anyone else that reads your work, find the sources you used in your research. The key to a successful citation is providing all of the information so your reader can find the book, article, or other item you are citing.
Citing builds your credibility and shows that your ideas are shared by other scholars studying in the same field. Citing scholarly peer-reviewed sources lends extra credibility to your work.
Citation avoids plagiarism! Citing your sources properly gives credit to the original author.