Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Help Desk and Reference Resources

Purpose of this Guide

This guide is intended to provide both general and discipline-specific help pointers for citation and annotated bibliographies.  This landing page points to basic citation help, while the navigation pages provide more in-depth guidance regarding annotated bibliographies and citation styles in the various colleges, 

And remember, for citation and research questions you can also go get live help on 24/7 Live Chat.

Popular Citation Styles - APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, CSE/CBE, Harvard, IEEE

APA Style

Established by the American Psychological Association.  This style is standard for multiple disciplines including many in the Social Sciences.  The official APA style site provides robust citation examples and support.


MLA Style

Citation style established by the Modern Language Association.


Other Styles

CHICAGO, TURABIAN and CSE/CBE, HARVARD,  IEEE  

CSE/CBE refers to the citation format established by the Council of Biology Editors. CBE is the format preferred by writers in Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine, and Physics.

Should I cite a database?

It is rarely helpful to cite a database (because most works are discoverable via more than one database). 

APA Style Guidance on Citing Databases 

An exception is when the database contains proprietary information that cannot be accessed in another way, such as some of the business resources Cal Poly subscribes to (such as MRI Simmons). 

Guidance on how to cite such sources is not as detailed as for other kinds of information, so in some cases you (or your instructor) must choose an approach, with the goal of presenting enough information for the reader to locate your source material.  

Example: For MRI Simmons reports, you can follow APA guidelines for a dataset.  Examples are linked on this external library page: https://libguides.stthomas.edu/c.php?g=612648&p=4280359

Citation Generators

There are various online tools that will help you generate citations,  Some, such as EasyBib and Citation Machine, provide  a limited number of citations before asking for some form of payment. 

The OWL at Purdue has FREE citation generators for several styles. 

WARNING:DO NOT BLINDLY TRUST ANY GENERATORS, AND BE PREPARED TO ADJUST THE CITATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PARTICULAR STYLE, INCLUDING INDENTATION, CAPITALIZATION, ITALICIZATION, AND THE ORDER OF THE CONTENT.

Zotero Citation Management Software

EndNote

Mendeley