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ATS Citation Quick Guide

Before you begin, please understand that it is not possible to cover all possible types of sources in a single resource. If you have additional questions, please contact the Writing Center using the "Register for an Appointment" button on the left or by emailing

Why do we cite? 

Citations serve several purposes in academic or scholarly writing: 

  • Shows the audience that you have properly researched the topic at hand, strengthening your authority as the writer.
  • Allows the audience to follow up with your resources if they want or need additional information on the topic.
  • Helps to position your essay in an ongoing scholarly conversation.
  • Allows you to avoid plagiarism by properly giving credit to the original source of the words or ideas referenced in your paper.

Why do we have to cite a certain way?

Different academic fields place varying degrees of emphasis on different things. Because of this, different citation styles have evolved over time to meet the specific needs of the discipline. Mastering the appropriate citation style is an important part of joining a scholarly community. Currently, the Seminary recognizes five citation styles: MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and SBL

Common Elements

All citation styles have certain things in common. They exist to help your readers identify and find your sources. Regardless of style, you will need the following: 

  • Author's name
  • Title of the text
  • Publisher
  • Publisher's location
  • Date of publication

If the source you are using is a journal article, you will also need the following: 

  • Journal title
  • Volume/Issue number
  • Page numbers of your article

The following pages will cover the basic format of citations in each style.