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Communication Studies: Citation Help

General resource for Communication Studies

Citations in Communication Studies

The two most common citation styles used in Communication Studies are Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA). Always check with your instructor or syllabus to determine which is preferred for your course.

Citations are important because they:

  • Demonstrate to your reader that you've done research on your topic
  • Show respect for the words and ideas of other authors by avoiding plagiarism and crediting those authors
  • Allow your reader to find the sources that you used because they are documented in your work

Although MLA and APA are different styles that follow different rules, both will require brief in-text citations as well as a page (or pages) at the end of your paper that give more detail on your sources. Knowing how to write according to your instructor's preferred style will influence your grade as well as your credibility as a scholar!

What about citation generators?

Citation generators can provide a useful start to citations, but they do not always produce accurate citations.

If you use a citation generator, even if it is from a database, it may not be correct. It's your responsibility to double-check the accuracy of the generated citation!

MLA Style

The newest MLA Handbook (8th edition) provides a universal guideline for citing sources that allows for more flexibility. Earlier editions had guidelines based on source type, but since new types of sources are created quickly, this new guideline allows citations to adapt more easily.

The general order and format of the citation follows this guideline:

MLA citation chart

Here's a sample Works Cited entry for an article found online:


Goldman, Anne. "Questions of Transport: Reading Primo Levi Reading Dante." The

Georgia Review, vol.64, no. 1, 2010, pp.69-88. JSTOR,


Further information (and more examples) can be found


APA Style

The updated edition of the APA Publication Manual provides new guidelines for student papers, in-text formatting changes, and citation revisions. Many other functional updates have been made in this most recent version of the manual.

The APA provides example of citation formats, like those shown below for journal articles and books. Clicking on the image will take you to APA's handout.

APA reference quick guide for journal articles and books

Further information (and more examples) can be found: