The Purpose of Citations
Citations are used in research papers to give credit to the source of facts, quotations and ideas that are not your own. Not doing so is plagiarism -- the theft of ideas -- which is a serious offense in the academic community. If you are found guilty of plagiarism, your work could be discredited and you could be suspended or face other disciplinary charges. Another purpose of citations is to make it easy for those reading your paper to look up your references for themselves.
The fields of business, nursing and social sciences typically use the American Psychological Association, or APA, style when formatting research papers. To cite a lab manual in APA format, first list the company that issues the manual, followed by a period. In parentheses, give the year the manual was published, followed by a period outside the parentheses. Next, in italics, list the name of the manual, followed by a period. Finally, list the place of publication, followed by a period. For example: Lab Manual Publisher. (1992). Common Lab Manual. New York, New York.
Modern Language Association, or MLA, formatting is used when citing humanities work, especially in the field of English. While the MLA format may look similar to APA, there are differences. When citing a lab manual in MLA style, start with the author's last name, followed by a comma, then the first name, followed by a period. Put the location of the manual, a colon and then the publisher, followed by a comma, the year of publication and a period. Also, list the way the manual was read, either online or in print. For example: Smith, John. New York, New York: Lab Manual Publishers, 1992. Print.
All research papers will require you to have a bibliography of sources you used while writing your paper. The bibliography is a record of the sources you used in your paper, and it's found at the end of the document on a separate page. Both APA and MLA formats require you to organize your cited works by the author’s last name. This will help the readers of your paper find your sources quickly. You will then cite your sources according to which style is required.