7 important citation styles that you'll need in college sooner or later

There are different citation styles that you can use in your college essay according to the instructions given by your professor. The seven most common reference styles that are used include MLA, APA, Harvard, Oxford, Chicago, Vancouver, and IEEE. Each of these styles has its own rules for citing sources properly.

There are three main categories of citation styles: parenthetical; documentary note style and numbered style. Now let’s look at each citation style in detail.

Documentary note styles

In this style, the references are mainly present in endnotes and are indicated by digits. Examples include MHRA and Oxford referencing style.

Parenthetical styles

In this style, the in-text references are mainly present in parenthesis and before a full stop. Examples include MLA, Harvard, and APA.

Numbered styles

In this style, the sources are usually added in Arabic numeral and in superscript or a square bracket. The reference list is also numbered that is added at the end of the paper. Examples include IEEE and Vancouver.

Harvard referencing style

This is an author-date referencing method in which sources are cited in the text by giving the author name followed by the publication date. The remaining details are added to the bibliography or reference list at the end of the paper. Indirect quotations and the page numbers are also added such as (Taylor 2018, p.43). The reference should be added in an alphabetical order containing the first author's last name. References with no authors are added alphabetically by the title first word.

APA citation style

APA citation style is also an author-date method referencing method. This is a citation style that is developed by the American Psychological Association. APA citation style is mainly used in writing a research paper in a field of social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, education, and psychology. In-text citations include the author's last name and publication year. The complete reference list should be present at the end of the paper on a separate reference page. If an essay writer is citing a direct quote, then page number must be added in the in-text citation in this format.


The MLA reference style was developed by the Modern Language Association for acknowledging the sources used in the academic research paper. This referencing style uses a parenthetical system for citing sources. The reference list contains a list of references in alphabetical order. In this style, the parenthetical references are kept short and clear. Usually, the last name of the author and a page number is added. Both print and online sources are cited in the same manner. If a page number is missing in an online source, then don’t add page number in a parenthetical reference. The references that are cited should appear in the end as Bibliography or Work Cited list. This list also gives information needed to retrieve or identify information that supports your research. All entries should be added in alphabetical order. Capitalize the first word of all titles and subtitles. Remember! Don’t capitalize the prepositions, articles, conjunctions, or infinitives.

Vancouver Referencing style

This citation style was developed in 1978 in Vancouver by the editors of medical journals. This is a numbered referencing style that is used commonly in the medicine and science research paper. This style cites the work of someone else by the use of numbers. At the end of the paper, a sequential numbered reference list is added that provides the complete details of the cited source. This style is now maintained by the US National Library of Medicine. In this style, the in-text citations are usually placed after the specific part of a sentence in parenthesis. If the same reference is used again in another part of the text, then you have to use the same number. Use Arabic numerals for references such as (1,2,3,4…) Keep in mind! The reference should only include those references that are present in the in-text citation. If you are thinking about who can write my essay in Vancouver style, then consult professional essay writers who will write your essay from scratch on any topic and at an affordable price.

IEEE Citation style

IEEE has a simple form of in-text citation in which you add numbers in the square brackets. This number corresponds to the referenced number in the endnotes such as [1]. The reference is added on the basis of their appearance order within the work. In this style, it is not necessary to mention the publication date, author's name in the in-text citations. If you are citing multiple sources in one place, then use each number in separate brackets such as [1], [3], [7], or [1] – [7].

Oxford Citation Style

This style uses footnote at the bottom of the page instead of in-text citation as in APA and Harvard. In this style, a superscript number is added at the place where you have cited the source. The superscript number should be inserted at the end of the sentence that contains the reference. At the bottom of the page, use a superscript number again that follows the full details such as author work and the page number. At the end of the paper add a bibliography on a separate page. The bibliography is divided into different sections such as Journal articles, Books, Reports, newspapers, etc.

Chicago Citation Style

Chicago style is used in any kind of writing from a one-page assignment to a full-length research paper. This is mostly used in social science and historical research papers. The CMOS sixteen editions have specified a citation style that permits the use of in-text citation and endnotes. The in-text citation includes the page number and publication year.

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