A citation gives information to your reader so they can locate your sources. Think of it as a road map of directions. Important information such as the publisher name, volume and issue numbers, date of publication, author name(s), title, etc., helps your reader discover the sources you used for your research paper or project.
Citation styles are tailored to the needs of each subject discipline. Some styles give the author's last name and first initial, while other styles use the complete full name. Where to place dates also varies, with some dates immediately following the author's name and other dates close to the end of the citation. Puncutation varies from style to style. Each unique citation style creates a list of sources that can be easily read for authority, timeliness and overall quality of resources. There are many citation styles based upon the needs of the reader evaluating and locating resources.
Students should always use the citation style specified by their professors. Often the course syllabus will indicate what citation style to use for assignments. Here is a general list of citation styles by associations.
Biology majors - Council of Science Editors
Chemistry majors - American Chemical Society
Criminal Justice majors - American Psychologicial Association
Education majors - American Psychological Association
English majors - Modern Language Association
Nursing majors - American Psychological Association
Political Science majors - American Political Science
Pre Med majors - American Medical Association
Psychology majors - American Psychological Association
Sociology majors - American Sociological Association