Other citation styles

While APA is the most commonly used citation style or style guide used on campus, there are a number of others that are also widely used at CSULB and elsewhere. This page shares some useful resources for some of these other citation styles.

To look up what citation style(s) is(are) recommended for your department, visit the following handy page maintained by the Thesis and Dissertation Office: Departmental Style Guides.

Some general things to keep in mind:

  • You should always follow the advice of your professors/advisors, especially if you’re writing a thesis/dissertation. Sometimes, students have to format their thesis one way to make their thesis committee happy, and then have to change it or update it to before submitting it to the Thesis & Dissertation Office for publication. That can be annoying, but it’s part of the process of graduate study. Get used to it: much of academia involves balancing competing demands and trying to make different people happy!
  • When submitting your thesis/dissertation to the Thesis and Dissertation office, you should follow both (1) The style guide your department uses (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.) and (2) the CSULB Thesis & Dissertation formatting Manual. If there’s a conflict between the two, follow the Formatting Manual (i.e., formatting manual trumps departmental style guide).
  • If you have questions about the style guide, you should first ask your advisor. But you can also email me (see my email address below or go to my home page for contact info) or contact the Thesis and Dissertation Office (see the “Contact Us” section on the right hand side of the home page).
  • Any errors or omissions on this page are my own.
  • If you’d like me to add something to this page, or you have a great resource to share, email me at Omar(dot)Hussein(at)csulb(dot)edu.
  • You can also find helpful instructional videos on YouTube by searching such strings as “MLA formatting” or “APA citation.”
  • Your department likely has a graduate handbook that may discuss paper formatting and citations. For example, you can view the Biological Sciences, Music, Philosophy, and English handbooks online.

Finally, I need state the following cautionary advice, which is adapted from my APA format and citations page:

Major Word of Caution:

The “Cite this” buttons or other electronic methods of citation (e.g., Citation Machine or other online citation generators) are flawed and buggy, and should not be trusted ever. You can use them as a starting point or to save time, but you still have to meticulously edit the citations they produce. This meticulous editing includes paying attention to things like:

  • punctuation (e.g., where commas are used versus periods),
  • the use of italics,
  • indentation (e.g., hanging versus left-aligned),
  • capitalization (title case vs. sentence case).

and any other little things that the citation system you’re using emphasizes.

Chicago/Turabian

Current editions: Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed., 2017); Turabian’s A Manual for Writers (9th ed., 2019).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Anthropology; Art History; Chemistry & Biochemistry (but also use American Chemical Society &
Journal of Biological Chemistry guidelines, respectively); Dance; Music (Bob Cole Conservatory); Communication Studies (but also uses APA & MLA); Engineering (but more commonly uses IEEE); Geography; History; Linguistics (also uses APA); Mathematics & Statistics; Philosophy (also uses APA and MLA); Political Science; Physics (but more commonly uses Physical Review Style and Notation Guidelines); Religious Studies (but also uses MLA); Romance, German, and Russian Languages and Literatures (but also uses MLA); Theatre Arts (but also uses MLA).

What’s the difference between Chicago and Turabian styles, anyway? Well, the following blog post from the publishers of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) clears things up nicely: Is Turabian style the same as Chicago style? As it states on that page:

Turabian is the student version of The Chicago Manual of Style, aimed at high school and college students who are writing papers, theses, and dissertations that are not intended for publication. The Chicago Manual of Style is aimed at professional scholars and publishers. The two books are compatible; both are official Chicago style… For the most part, the citation styles are the same in both books. But Turabian gives paper formatting rules and covers the research and writing process in detail, whereas CMOS omits such advice and focuses on the publication process.

Here are some useful materials to help you with Chicago/Turabian style formatting and citations:

Modern Language Association (MLA)

Current edition: The MLA Handbook (9th ed., 2021).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Asian/Asian-American Studies (but also uses Chicago/Turabian); Communication Studies (but also uses APA and Chicago/Turabian); English & Creative Writing; Linguistics (but also uses APA & Chicago/Turabian); Philosophy (but also uses APA & Chicago/Turabian); Religious Studies (but also uses Chicago/Turabian); Romance, German, and Russian Languages and Literatures (but also uses Chicago/Turabian); Theatre Arts (but also uses Chicago/Turabian).

Here are some useful materials to help you with MLA style formatting and citations:

American Psychological Association (APA)

Current edition: Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA; 9th ed., 2019).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling; Art Education; Biological Sciences; Communication Studies (but also uses MLA and Chicago/Turabian); Criminology and Criminal Justice; Education; Educational Leadership; Emergency Management; Family and Consumer Sciences; Healthcare Administration; Health Science; Kinesiology; Linguistics (but also uses MLA and Chicago/Turabian); Nursing; Philosophy (but also uses MLA and Chicago/Turabian); Psychology; Recreation and Leisure Studies; Science Education; Social Work; Sociology; Speech Language Pathology.

I already have an entire page devoted to APA style, so I’m just including this here for comparison. Note that APA is used by some of the largest and “most popular” programs (in terms of applications and enrollment) on campus, including Education, Social Work, and Psychology.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Current edition: IEEE Editorial Style Manual (online).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Chemical Engineering; Computer Engineering and Computer Science (but also uses Chicago/Turabian); Electrical Engineering (but also uses Chicago/Turabian); Engineering, general.

Here are some useful materials to help you with IEEE formatting and citations:

The IEEE Author Center has several helpful resources, including:

You can also find helpful IEEE “cheat sheets” by searching online, such as this one from the University of Bath.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Current edition: ASME Journals Digital Submission Tool Guidelines and Information (online).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Here are some useful materials to help you with IEEE formatting and citations:

The ASME Journals Digital Submission Tool Guidelines and Information. That page states that “ASME primarily uses a form of the Chicago Manual of Style for reference format,” so you can also use the Chicago/Turabian resources listed above when figuring out how to cite specific sources.

As with IEEE, you can search for “cheat sheets” online, such as this one from Northern Illinois University.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Current edition: Publishing in ASCE Journals: A Guide for Authors (revised May 2022).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management (although this department may also use Chicago/Turabian–check with your advisor)

Here are some useful materials to help you with IEEE formatting and citations:

American Chemical Society (ACS)

Current Edition: ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication (online, by subscription).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Chemistry and Biochemistry (although this department may also use Chicago/Turabian–check with your advisor).

Here are some useful materials to help you with ACS formatting and citations:

Harvard Style

Although it’s not listed on the Departmental Style Guides page, I’ve heard some professors at CSULB informally recommend “Harvard Style” citation. The problem is that there is no definitive publishing manual for Harvard Style. Rather, “Harvard Style” is simply another way of saying “author-date style.” APA is one kind of author-date style. Chicago/Turabian: Author-date (as opposed to Chicago/Turabian: Notes and bibliography) is another kind. As it states on the Harvard University library’s What is the Harvard system for citing references? page:

The “Harvard System” is something of a misnomer, as there is no official institutional connection.

It’s another name for the author/date citation system, the custom of using author and date in parentheses, e.g. (Robbins 1987) to refer readers to the full bibliographic citations in appended bibliographies. Some Harvard faculty were among the first practitioners in the late 19th century, and the name stuck, particularly in England and the Commonwealth countries.

For a full explanation, please see the Wikipedia article for Parenthetical References; History. The definitive scholarly article on the subject is Chernin, C. The “Harvard System”: a mystery dispelled. British Medical Journal 297:1062-1063, October 22, 1988.

If you’re looking for authoritative guidance, there are many excellent sources freely available online, and the Chicago Manual of Style has an excellent chapter on Author-Date Referencing… Harvard Library has no guide to this system as most of our scholars use APA, Chicago, MLA, or another specific to their discipline.

So, if your professor asks you to use Harvard Style, you should be able to safely use APA or Chicago/Turabian: Author-date.

Geological Society of America (GSA) Bulletin

Current Edition: GSA Bulletin Author Guidelines (online).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Chemistry and Biochemistry (although this department may also use Chicago/Turabian–check with your advisor).

Here are some useful materials to help you with GSA formatting and citations:

You can also download a manuscript template on this page and below:

Physical Review Letters (PRL) Style

Current Edition: Physical Review Style and Notation Guidelines (online).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Physics and Astronomy (although this department may also use Chicago/Turabian–check with your advisor).

Here are some useful materials to help you with PRL formatting and citations:

American Medical Association (AMA) Style

Current Edition: AMA Manual of Style (11th Edition)

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: None officially listed.

Although AMA style is not currently included in the official Departmental Style Guide list, I’ve encountered some students in health and pre-health professions who told me that their professor wanted them to format a paper in AMA style. Therefore, I’m including AMA Style on this page.

Here are some useful materials to help you with AMA formatting and citations:

American Sociological Association

Current Edition: ASA Style Guide (7th edition)

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Sociology (although this department also accepts APA–ask your advisor for details).

Here are some useful materials to help you with ASA formatting and citations:

Annals of the Association of American Geographers (AAAG)

Current Edition: AAAG Instructions for authors (online).

Used/accepted by the following departments at CSULB: Geography (although this department also accepts APA–ask your advisor for details).

Here are some useful materials to help you with AAAG formatting and citations:

Don’t forget: When formatting your thesis to submit to the CSULB Thesis & Dissertation Office (often colloquially called “submitting to the library”), the University’s Formatting Manual always takes precedence over any of the styles listed on this page. In other words, if your style guide disagrees with the Formatting Manual, you should follow the Formatting Manual.

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