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Citation Formats & Tools

When and What do I Cite?

Cite anything you write or create that uses or refers to the ideas of another person.

You do need to cite:

  • Direct quotations
  • Paraphrasing of passages
  • Indebtedness to another person for an idea
  • Use of another student's work
  • Use of your own previous work

You do not need to cite:

  •  Information that is common knowledge


When you include someone else's work as part of your work, you have to acknowledge them. This is true whether you are quoting them directly or just using one of their ideas. If you don't acknowledge them, you are plagiarizing, or stealing their work. This is a form of academic dishonesty and can have serious consequences as detailed in the University of Missouri Collected Rules & Regulations section on Student Conduct. The Purdue Online Writing Lab explains and gives examples of the right way to use other people's work. The UMKC Writing Center also provides one-on-one peer-tutoring sessions to help with writing.

Style Manuals

Which Style Should I Use?

Now that you know what to cite, you need to know how to cite it. Different disciplines use different citation styles. This guide lists the styles typically used in each displicine. The citation style to use is determined by your professor.

Citation Styles in the Sciences

The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information
American Chemical Society

AIP Author Resource Center
American Institute of Physics

AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors
Ameican Medical Association

Writing Style: Publishing books with ASCE
American Society of Civil Engineers

Scientific Style and Format : The CSE manual for authors, editors, & publishers
Council of Science Editors, 7th edition

IEEE Author Digital Tools
Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers: includes style guide and tools to assist with all stages of publishing with IEEE

Citing Medicine, 2nd edition: The NLM Style Guide for authors, editors, and publishers
National Libraries of Medicine

Scientific Writing & Communication: Papers, proposals, & presentations
by Angelika H. Hofmann; Oxford University Press, 2010

Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication
International Community of Medical Journal Editors