Acceptable citation styles

  • MLA Style – Developed by the Modern Language Association, a non-profit member organization that promotes the teaching and study of literature and language. Visit
  • Chicago Style – Developed by the University of Chicago. This style is sometimes known as Turabian Style.

Both of these styles place bibliographic citations at the bottom of the page as footnotes, or at the end of a paper as endnotes. Both citation styles are equally acceptable, and each has a series of rules for the citation of different kinds of sources, such as books, journal articles, chapters in collected works, etc. Each style also has a particular format for your bibliography, which must be included at the very end of your paper for the reader’s information. The bibliography is sometimes referred to as the works cited page, and it is an alphabetized summary of all of the sources you have consulted during the investigation of your topic.

Whether you choose to use the MLA or Chicago citation style, what is most important is that you use that style consistently throughout your paper. This will help the reader to review your source material more easily. Keeping your citation format consistent is a key feature of a well presented and well referenced argument. Both the MLA and the University of Chicago Press publish comprehensive guides to their citation styles, which can be purchased through their web sites, as well as in bookstores. The MLA Handbook citation guide is also available in the Reference section of Koerner Library under the following call number: LB.2369.M63 1995. A series of basic examples in MLA style is found in Part III. A more comprehensive online resource for the MLA citation format is available through the Faculty of Arts web site.

Inappropriate citation styles for the Humanities include APA Style, developed by the American Psychological Association, and CBE Style, developed by The Council of Biology Editors. These styles are commonly used in the Social Sciences and the Sciences, respectively, and feature in-text citations instead of footnotes or endnotes. These are not generally accepted citation formats in History papers. Some work done in interdisciplinary fields may incorporate in-text citations, however. If you feel that using in-text citations might be appropriate for your paper, consult your instructor or TA.