What information is included in a citation?
You need to provide enough information for your reader to easily find your sources.
In general, citations include the following information:
How do I format a citation?
Scholars writing in the sciences typically use in-text (also called parenthetical) citations with a list of references at the end of the paper. The way citations appear (format) depends on the citation style, which is a set of established rules and conventions for documenting a source. Citation styles can be defined by an association, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Medical Association (AMA), or journal, such as The New England Journal of Medicine.
See the Citation Style Resources box on this page to learn how to format citations in a specific style.
Can you spot the differences in this one reference formatted in three different citation styles?
Citation in APA style
Dinkel, A., Berg, P., Pirker, C., Geinitz, H., Sehlen, S., Emrich, M., . . . Herschbach, P. (2010). Routine psychosocial distress screening in radiotherapy: implementation and evaluation of a computerised procedure. British Journal of Cancer, 103(10), 1489-1495. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6605930
Citation in AMA style
1. Dinkel A, Berg P, Pirker C, et al. Routine psychosocial distress screening in radiotherapy: implementation and evaluation of a computerised procedure. Br J Cancer. 2010;103(10):1489-1495.
Citation in The New England Journal of Medicine style
1. Dinkel A, Berg P, Pirker C, et al. Routine psychosocial distress screening in radiotherapy: implementation and evaluation of a computerised procedure. Br J Cancer 2010;103:1489-95.
Established rules and conventions for formatting a scientific manuscript can be defined by: an organization, such as the American Medical Association; publisher, such as the University of Chicago Press; or journal, such as Nature. When preparing a manuscript or grant proposal, always read the instructions carefully. The following style guides are commonly used when preparing biomedical manuscripts, and provide instruction on everything from how numbers should appear and preparing graphs and tables to formatting citations and bibliographies.