This guide provides an overview of the resources available for the three most common citation styles, APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian. Broadly speaking, they are used by discipline as follows:
|APA||Social sciences, Education, Business|
|MLA||Art, Literature, Philosophy|
Some disciplines, such as law and geography, use more specialized styles. If you're not sure which style you should be using, ask your instructor.
Additional Citation Styles:
Some information does not need to be cited. "Common knowledge" is basic, unremarkable information that most people in a given cultural context would know without needing to look it up. For example, most people living in the United States know that George Washington was the first American president, and therefore you could include this information without a citation. However, if you expanded on this in the same sentence by writing "George Washington, the first president, lost all his real teeth" you would need to cite a reliable source, since Washington's dental history is not common knowledge.
Here's another example:
"McDonald's is a chain of fast food restaurants."
Pretty obvious, right? However, if you wrote the following, you would need a citation:
"McDonald's signature burger, the Big Mac, contains 563 calories."
You would probably be safe if you just wrote that the Big Mac is the chain's signature burger, but caloric information is something that needs to be supported, such as by an online menu. This is true of most statements that include numerical facts or figures, excluding, once again, basic facts that mostly everyone in the United States (and many people outside of it) would know, such as the fact that there are 50 states.
What Needs to be Cited?