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The Styles

There are a few main styles for citing sources, so check with your instructor about which style to use for your research. 

APA, American Psychological Association, is used for scientific and technical research. Instructors in behavioral science and hard science courses may require you to use APA  style for your references or bibliography page.

MLA, Modern Language Association, is used for research on general topics and literary criticism. Most instructors in English and Developmental Studies classes will require  you to use MLA style.

A few instructors prefer Chicago Manual of Style.  This style is used primarily in history and other social science research.


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Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. Released in beta in November 2004, the Google Scholar index includes most peer-reviewed online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertationspreprintsabstractstechnical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents.[1] While Google does not publish the size of Google Scholar's database, scientometric researchers estimated it to contain roughly 389 million documents including articles, citations, and patents making it the world's largest academic search engine in January 2018.[2] Previously, the size was estimated at 160 million documents as of May 2014.[3] An earlier statistical estimate published in PLOS ONE using a Mark and recapture method estimated approximately 80–90% coverage of all articles published in English with an estimate of 100 million.[4] This estimate also determined how many documents were freely available on the internet.


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Open Access

What is Open Access?

  • Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. Many OA journals are peer-reviewed and have high publishing standards. For more information, see Peter Suber's overview of Open Access. (from the Cornell University libguide)