Citation systems

From English Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Citation systems are developed by professional academic organizations and academic publishers as means of citing and referencing sources in a particular field. Students need to learn to use the style or styles relevant to their fields - college students, but especially at the graduate school level. Writing teachers need to become familiar with the various styles that their students need to learn. Some common systems include:

  • APA (American Psychological Association): in various social science and education fields
  • MLA (Modern Language Association): in literature and other humanities fields
  • Chicago Manual (CM): in various humanities fields
  • IEEE: engineering
  • Citation systems in science fields, e.g.: ACS (American Chemical Society), APS (American Physics Society), CBE (Council of Biology Editors)

1 Basic types

These specify exact format and methods for in-text citations and end references (bibliography). In-text citations consist of either parenthetical citations (e.g., APA, MLA, CM) or numerical citations (IEEE, CBE, APS). Parenthetical citations in the text are usually authord-date systems, i.e., with the author and year - e.g., (Smith, 1999), while a few are author + page number systems - e.g., (Smith 232). Occasionally, a few humanities books or papers use footnoting or endnoting systems, which are generally based on MLA or CM format. Finally, a few fields like law might have styles that use footnotes or endnotes exclusively, instead of end references. Here is a breakdown of some common styles.

1.1 Parenthetical, author + date

The in-text citation provides the author and year of publication, e.g., (Smith 1999).

  • APA (American Psychological Association; common in various social sciences)
  • Turabian (similar to Chicago style; used in history)
  • Harvard style, which is similar to the APA style; this is an older style for various fields
  • Vancouver, parenthetical citation version (used in nursing and health sciences; it also has a numerical citation version, and some journals prefer one or the other version)
  • CBE / CSE (Council of Biology Editors / Council of Science Editors; it also has a numerical citation version)
  • ASA (American Sociological Association)

1.2 Parenthetical, author + date (+ page number)

  • CM (Chicago Manual or Chicago style; used in various humanities fields)

1.3 Parenthetical, author / author + page number

The in-text citation provides the author and when relevant, the page number for the particular piece of information, e.g., "... (Smith)..." or "...(Smith 232)...".

  • MLA (Modern Language Association, used in humanities, particularly in literary studies)

1.4 Numerical citation

The in-text citation consists of merely a number that indexes the citation, and full reference information is in the end references, e.g., "... (1) .... (2) ..." The enumeration and end references may be ordered alphabetically, or they may be ordered sequentially, based on the order in which they are cited in the text. This sounds complicated, but reference managers (e.g., Endnote, Zotero, Mendeley), and document processors used in STEM fields (namely, Latex) can automate this very well (STEM = science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

  • ACS (American Chemical Society)
  • APS (American Physics Society)
  • CBE/CSE, numerical version (Council of Biology Editors / Council of Science Editor)
  • Vancouver, numerical version (nursing, health sciences)
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers)


The in-text and end reference citation styles prioritize different types of information, depending on what is considered important in the field. For in-text citations, author names are more important in humanities fields, somewhat so in social sciences, but unimportant for science and engineering. For literature studies, page numbers are important, but dates are not, as sources could easily be very old. For social sciences, dates are important, as sources are most often not more that 20 years old. In science and engineering, sources are usually not more than five years old, and dates are not important for in-text citations, as it is assumed that they are recent. The end references also prioritize differently. Names and dates are fairly important to social scientists, so these are the first things in APA end references. MLA is less concerned about dates, and puts these near the end.


Look at the following examples, which are adapted from a published research article about L2 writing (Lee, 2013)[1].


2 APA (American Psychological Association)

See also: APA (overview) and the complete APA style guide.

As readers read a text, they construct a mental model of the semantic contents of the text, and their model construction is facilitated by various contextual and individual reader factors (Gernsbacher, 1990; Kintsch, 1998; McNamara, Kintsch, Songer, & Kintsch, 1996). Discourse connectives impart logical and textual coherence to texts. Reading experiments show that discourse connectives facilitate and readers’ comprehension of texts, in that they provide explicit cues about the logical relationships among referents, propositions, and clauses, and thus help readers to construct online mental representations of the meaning of a text (Degand, Lefèvre, & Bestgen, 1999). Subordinating conjunctions also facilitate reading times and coherence by marking information as relatively secondary, so that readers can focus more on the content of main clauses (Traxler & Gernsbacher, 1995). However, excessive use of connectors may not be felicitous, as some studies suggest that explicit markers can interfere with readers’ text comprehension (Millis, Graesser, & Haberlandt, 1993). To what degree such relationships need to be made explicit depend on the genre or text type, and the readers’ level of expertise and background knowledge (McNamara & Kintsch, 1996).

In recent years, applied linguists have begun to conduct corpus-based studies of second language (L2) writing in English, particularly by comparing native English writers and L2 in their use of connectors (i.e., connectives, transitionals). Some studies have examined ESL/EFL writers from Western language backgrounds, such as one seminal study (Granger & Tyson, 1996) of English connective use by L2 writers, compared to native writer (L1) patterns. Their study revealed patterns of overuse, underuse, and sometimes infelicitous use of particular transitional expressions by L2 writers of French and other European backgrounds.


2.1 References

Degand, L., Lefèvre, N., & Bestgen, Y. (1999). The impact of connectives and anaphoric expressions on expository discourse comprehension. Document Design, 1(1), 39–51.

Gernsbacher, M. A. (1990). Language comprehension as structure building. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Granger, S., & Tyson, S. (1996). Connector usage in the English essay writing of native and non-native EFL speakers of English. World Englishes, 15(1), 17–27.

Kintsch, W. (1998). Comprehension: A paradigm for cognition. Cambridge University Press.

McNamara, D. S., Kintsch, E., Songer, N. B., & Kintsch, W. (1996). Are good texts always better? Interactions of text coherence, background knowledge, and levels of understanding in learning from text. Cognition and Instruction, 14(1), 1–43.

McNamara, D. S., & Kintsch, W. (1996). Learning from texts: Effects of prior knowledge and text coherence. Discourse Processes, 22(3), 247–288.

Millis, K. K., Graesser, A. C., & Haberlandt, K. (1993). The impact of connectives on the memory for expository texts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 7(4), 317–339.

Traxler, M. J., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (1995). Improving coherence in written communication. In M. A. Gernsbacher & T. Givón (Eds.), Coherence in spontaneous text (pp. 216-237). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

3 MLA (Modern Language Association)

See also: MLA guide

As readers read a text, they construct a mental model of the semantic contents of the text, and their model construction is facilitated by various contextual and individual reader factors (Gernsbacher 12; Kintsch 15; McNamara et al. 247). Discourse connectives impart logical and textual coherence to texts. Reading experiments show that discourse connectives facilitate and readers’ comprehension of texts, in that they provide explicit cues about the logical relationships among referents, propositions, and clauses, and thus help readers to construct online mental representations of the meaning of a text (Degand, Lefèvre, and Bestgen). Subordinating conjunctions also facilitate reading times and coherence by marking information as relatively secondary, so that readers can focus more on the content of main clauses (Traxler and Gernsbacher 216). However, excessive use of connectors may not be felicitous, as some studies suggest that explicit markers can interfere with readers’ text comprehension (Millis, Graesser, and Haberlandt). To what degree such relationships need to be made explicit depend on the genre or text type, and the readers’ level of expertise and background knowledge (McNamara and Kintsch 287).

In recent years, applied linguists have begun to conduct corpus-based studies of second language (L2) writing in English, particularly by comparing native English writers and L2 in their use of connectors (i.e., connectives, transitionals). Some studies have examined ESL/EFL writers from Western language backgrounds, such as one seminal study (Granger and Tyson)of English connective use by L2 writers, compared to native writer (L1) patterns. Their study revealed patterns of overuse, underuse, and sometimes infelicitous use of particular transitional expressions by L2 writers of French and other European backgrounds.


3.1 Works Cited

Degand, Liesbeth, Nathalie Lefèvre, and Yves Bestgen. “The Impact of Connectives and Anaphoric Expressions on Expository Discourse Comprehension.” Document Design 1.1 (1999): 39–51. Print.

Gernsbacher, Morton Ann. Language Comprehension as Structure Building. Routledge, 1990. Print.

Granger, Sylviane, and Stephanie Tyson. “Connector Usage in the English Essay Writing of Native and Non‐native EFL Speakers of English.” World Englishes 15.1 (1996): 17–27. Print.

Kintsch, Walter. Comprehension: A Paradigm for Cognition. Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.

McNamara, Danielle S. et al. “Are Good Texts Always Better? Interactions of Text Coherence, Background Knowledge, and Levels of Understanding in Learning from Text.” Cognition and instruction 14.1 (1996): 1–43. Print.

McNamara, Danielle S., and Walter Kintsch. “Learning from Texts: Effects of Prior Knowledge and Text Coherence.” Discourse processes 22.3 (1996): 247–288. Print.

Millis, Keith K., Arthur C. Graesser, and Karl Haberlandt. “The Impact of Connectives on the Memory for Expository Texts.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 7.4 (1993): 317–339. Print.

Traxler, Matthew J., and Morton Ann Gernsbacher. “Improving Coherence in Written Communication.” Coherence in spontaneous text (1995): 215–238. Print.


4 MLA footnote/endnote style

As readers read a text, they construct a mental model of the semantic contents of the text, and their model construction is facilitated by various contextual and individual reader factors1. Discourse connectives impart logical and textual coherence to texts. Reading experiments show that discourse connectives facilitate and readers’ comprehension of texts, in that they provide explicit cues about the logical relationships among referents, propositions, and clauses, and thus help readers to construct online mental representations of the meaning of a text2. Subordinating conjunctions also facilitate reading times and coherence by marking information as relatively secondary, so that readers can focus more on the content of main clauses3. However, excessive use of connectors may not be felicitous, as some studies suggest that explicit markers can interfere with readers’ text comprehension4. To what degree such relationships need to be made explicit depend on the genre or text type, and the readers’ level of expertise and background knowledge5.

In recent years, applied linguists have begun to conduct corpus-based studies of second language (L2) writing in English, particularly by comparing native English writers and L2 in their use of connectors (i.e., connectives, transitionals). Some studies have examined ESL/EFL writers from Western language backgrounds, such as one seminal study6 of English connective use by L2 writers, compared to native writer (L1) patterns. Their study revealed patterns of overuse, underuse, and sometimes infelicitous use of particular transitional expressions by L2 writers of French and other European backgrounds.


――――――――――――

  1. Morton Ann Gernsbacher, Language comprehension as structure building, vols. (Routledge, 1990); Walter Kintsch, Comprehension: A paradigm for cognition, vols. (Cambridge university press, 1998); Danielle S. McNamara et al., “Are good texts always better? Interactions of text coherence, background knowledge, and levels of understanding in learning from text” Cognition and instruction. 14.1 (1996): 1–43.
  2. Liesbeth Degand, Nathalie Lefèvre, and Yves Bestgen, “The impact of connectives and anaphoric expressions on expository discourse comprehension” Document Design. 1.1 (1999): 39–51.
  3. Matthew J. Traxler and Morton Ann Gernsbacher, “Improving coherence in written communication”Coherence in spontaneous text. (1995): 215–238.
  4. Keith K. Millis, Arthur C. Graesser, and Karl Haberlandt, “The impact of connectives on the memory for expository texts”Applied Cognitive Psychology. 7.4 (1993): 317–339.
  5. Danielle S. McNamara and Walter Kintsch, “Learning from texts: Effects of prior knowledge and text coherence” Discourse processes. 22.3 (1996): 247–288.
  6. Sylviane Granger and Stephanie Tyson, “Connector usage in the English essay writing of native and non‐native EFL speakers of English”World Englishes. 15.1 (1996): 17–27.


5 Chicago (CM, Chicago Manual)

As readers read a text, they construct a mental model of the semantic contents of the text, and their model construction is facilitated by various contextual and individual reader factors (Gernsbacher 1990; Kintsch 1998; McNamara et al. 1996). Discourse connectives impart logical and textual coherence to texts. Reading experiments show that discourse connectives facilitate and readers’ comprehension of texts, in that they provide explicit cues about the logical relationships among referents, propositions, and clauses, and thus help readers to construct online mental representations of the meaning of a text (Degand, Lefèvre, and Bestgen 1999, 49). Subordinating conjunctions also facilitate reading times and coherence by marking information as relatively secondary, so that readers can focus more on the content of main clauses (Traxler and Gernsbacher 1995). However, excessive use of connectors may not be felicitous, as some studies suggest that explicit markers can interfere with readers’ text comprehension (Millis, Graesser, and Haberlandt 1993). To what degree such relationships need to be made explicit depend on the genre or text type, and the readers’ level of expertise and background knowledge (McNamara and Kintsch 1996, 42).

In recent years, applied linguists have begun to conduct corpus-based studies of second language (L2) writing in English, particularly by comparing native English writers and L2 in their use of connectors (i.e., connectives, transitionals). Some studies have examined ESL/EFL writers from Western language backgrounds, such as one seminal study (Granger and Tyson 1996) of English connective use by L2 writers, compared to native writer (L1) patterns. Their study revealed patterns of overuse, underuse, and sometimes infelicitous use of particular transitional expressions by L2 writers of French and other European backgrounds.


5.1 Works Cited

Degand, Liesbeth, Nathalie Lefèvre, and Yves Bestgen. 1999. “The Impact of Connectives and Anaphoric Expressions on Expository Discourse Comprehension.” Document Design 1 (1): 39–51.

Gernsbacher, Morton Ann. 1990. Language Comprehension as Structure Building. Routledge.

Granger, Sylviane, and Stephanie Tyson. 1996. “Connector Usage in the English Essay Writing of Native and Non‐native EFL Speakers of English.” World Englishes 15 (1): 17–27.

Kintsch, Walter. 1998. Comprehension: A Paradigm for Cognition. Cambridge University Press.

McNamara, Danielle S., Eileen Kintsch, Nancy Butler Songer, and Walter Kintsch. 1996. “Are Good Texts Always Better? Interactions of Text Coherence, Background Knowledge, and Levels of Understanding in Learning from Text.” Cognition and Instruction 14 (1): 1–43.

McNamara, Danielle S., and Walter Kintsch. 1996. “Learning from Texts: Effects of Prior Knowledge and Text Coherence.” Discourse Processes 22 (3): 247–88.

Millis, Keith K., Arthur C. Graesser, and Karl Haberlandt. 1993. “The Impact of Connectives on the Memory for Expository Texts.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 7 (4): 317–39.

Traxler, Matthew J., and Morton Ann Gernsbacher. 1995. “Improving Coherence in Written Communication.” Coherence in Spontaneous Text, 215–38.


6 Chicago Manual, footnote / endnote style

As readers read a text, they construct a mental model of the semantic contents of the text, and their model construction is facilitated by various contextual and individual reader factors1. Discourse connectives impart logical and textual coherence to texts. Reading experiments show that discourse connectives facilitate and readers’ comprehension of texts, in that they provide explicit cues about the logical relationships among referents, propositions, and clauses, and thus help readers to construct online mental representations of the meaning of a text2. Subordinating conjunctions also facilitate reading times and coherence by marking information as relatively secondary, so that readers can focus more on the content of main clauses3. However, excessive use of connectors may not be felicitous, as some studies suggest that explicit markers can interfere with readers’ text comprehension4. To what degree such relationships need to be made explicit depend on the genre or text type, and the readers’ level of expertise and background knowledge5.

In recent years, applied linguists have begun to conduct corpus-based studies of second language (L2) writing in English, particularly by comparing native English writers and L2 in their use of connectors (i.e., connectives, transitionals). Some studies have examined ESL/EFL writers from Western language backgrounds, such as one seminal study6 of English connective use by L2 writers, compared to native writer (L1) patterns.

――――――――――――

  1. Gernsbacher, Language Comprehension as Structure Building; Kintsch, Comprehension: A Paradigm for Cognition; McNamara et al., “Are Good Texts Always Better? Interactions of Text Coherence, Background Knowledge, and Levels of Understanding in Learning from Text.”
  2. Degand, Lefèvre, and Bestgen, “The Impact of Connectives and Anaphoric Expressions on Expository Discourse Comprehension.”
  3. Traxler and Gernsbacher, “Improving Coherence in Written Communication.”
  4. Millis, Graesser, and Haberlandt, “The Impact of Connectives on the Memory for Expository Texts.”
  5. McNamara and Kintsch, “Learning from Texts: Effects of Prior Knowledge and Text Coherence.”
  6. Granger and Tyson, “Connector Usage in the English Essay Writing of Native and Non‐native EFL Speakers of English.”


7 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering)

As readers read a text, they construct a mental model of the semantic contents of the text, and their model construction is facilitated by various contextual and individual reader factors [1]–[3]. Discourse connectives impart logical and textual coherence to texts. Reading experiments show that discourse connectives facilitate and readers’ comprehension of texts, in that they provide explicit cues about the logical relationships among referents, propositions, and clauses, and thus help readers to construct online mental representations of the meaning of a text [4]. Subordinating conjunctions also facilitate reading times and coherence by marking information as relatively secondary, so that readers can focus more on the content of main clauses [5]. However, excessive use of connectors may not be felicitous, as some studies suggest that explicit markers can interfere with readers’ text comprehension [6]. To what degree such relationships need to be made explicit depend on the genre or text type, and the readers’ level of expertise and background knowledge [7].

In recent years, applied linguists have begun to conduct corpus-based studies of second language (L2) writing in English, particularly by comparing native English writers and L2 in their use of connectors (i.e., connectives, transitionals). Some studies have examined ESL/EFL writers from Western language backgrounds, such as one seminal study [8] of English connective use by L2 writers, compared to native writer (L1) patterns. Their study revealed patterns of overuse, underuse, and sometimes infelicitous use of particular transitional expressions by L2 writers of French and other European backgrounds.

7.1 References

[1] M. A. Gernsbacher, Language comprehension as structure building. Routledge, 1990.

[2] W. Kintsch, Comprehension: A paradigm for cognition. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

[3] D. S. McNamara, E. Kintsch, N. B. Songer, and W. Kintsch, “Are good texts always better? Interactions of text coherence, background knowledge, and levels of understanding in learning from text,” Cogn. Instr., vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1–43, 1996.

[4] L. Degand, N. Lefèvre, and Y. Bestgen, “The impact of connectives and anaphoric expressions on expository discourse comprehension,” Doc. Des., vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 39–51, 1999.

[5] M. J. Traxler and M. A. Gernsbacher, “Improving coherence in written communication,” Coherence Spontaneous Text, pp. 215–238, 1995.

[6] K. K. Millis, A. C. Graesser, and K. Haberlandt, “The impact of connectives on the memory for expository texts,” Appl. Cogn. Psychol., vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 317–339, 1993.

[7] D. S. McNamara and W. Kintsch, “Learning from texts: Effects of prior knowledge and text coherence,” Discourse Process., vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 247–288, 1996.

[8] S. Granger and S. Tyson, “Connector usage in the English essay writing of native and non‐native EFL speakers of English,” World Englishes, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 17–27, 1996.


8 See also

  1. APA (overview)
  2. the complete APA style guide.

8.1 Other pages on referencing / citation systems:


8.2 General references

  1. Lee, K. (2013). Koreans' use of English connectors and topic management in writing. English Language Teaching, 25(2), 81-103.