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Citations: Citation formats

About citation formats

Citation formats have an impact on the way that your references appear in the text and in the literature. Journals and publishers often require that a document is written in a specific citation format. Some disciplines outline their own formats of how to cite sources and format research papers. Ask your supervisor if that is the case for your study.


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Further reading

Citation guides in the reference management tool Mendeley:

APA Format. Available HERE

MLA 8 Format. Available HERE   

Harvard Format. Available HERE

How to cite a website. Available HERE

Citing formats

Some of the most used citation formats in English include APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Harvard, and Vancouver. 

All citation formats consist of two parts. An in-text citation, which gives enough information for the reader to find the reference in the second part, the reference list at the end of the document. 

Referencing formats fall into three main groups: 

1. Author-year

  • In-text citations consists of the author(s) name and date of publication
  • References listed in alphabetical order of authors surname in literature list

2. Consecutive numbering

  • In-text citations consists of a number
  • A new number is used each time a reference is cited
  • References listed in numerical order in literature list  

3. Recurrent numbering

  • In-text citations consists of a number
  • If a reference is cited more than once the number is re-used
  • References listed in numerical order in literature list

See also: 

DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are special strings of alphanumerical characters that form a persistent link to individual publications. A DOI is used to uniquely identify academic, professional, and government information, such as journal articles, research reports and data sets. DOIs are widely used, resolvable, and remain fixed as opposed to URLs.

Some citation styles require that you include DOIs for publications where they have been assigned.

Example of a DOI

E-books on citation formats