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Sources in Conversation

This guide is designed to help you synthesize research in your writing.

What is In-Text Citation?


In-text citation is a short reference that identifies the source a piece of information comes from. An in-text citation refer to a source listed in your bibliography. Typically, the reference states some of the following information: the author's last name, a date, and a page number.  

It is important to give credit to the person whose work you are referencing in your writing. In-text citations also allow your audience to identify what sources you are interacting with in your argument, allowing them to find more information on the topic if they are interested. 

When should you include an in-text citation?

Whenever you are paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting from a source. If you are including information that is not common knowledge or mentioning someone else's opinion it is good to include a citation.

If you are not sure if you need to cite something don't be afraid to ask your professor, reach out to the Library, or contact the Oxford Writing Center. We at the Library and the Writing Center are always happy to answer your citation questions! 

MLA In-Text Citations


If you are using MLA for your project use parenthetical citations. Only include the author's last name and the page number in parentheses. Typically, you put this at the end at the end of the sentence just before the period.  

Format:

(author's last name, page number) 

Example: 

According to one scholar, Superman, while having many impressive superpowers, is bad at the investigative parts of crime fighting (Wayne, 5). 

To cite more than one source put a semicolon between the two sources' citations.

Format: 

(author's last name, page number; author's last name, page number)

Example:

While these two scholars disagree about many things, both think the Justice League of America is the most effective crime fighting organization in existence (Wayne, 5; Kent, 8).  

For more information on MLA, see the Purdue OWL page about in-text citation.

APA In-Text Citations


APA uses parenthetical citations for in-text citation. You only include the author's last name and the date of the work. Typically you put this at the end of the sentence just before the period.  

Format:

(author's last name, date)  

Example:

Scholars argue about who is the original leader of the Justice League, but one scholar is convinced it is Superman (Kent, 1938).

In APA only include the page number if you are directly quoting a source. (If quoting more than one page, use pp. instead of p.).

Format:

(author's last name, date, p. page number)  

Example:

While impressive, some claim that Batman's skills are "overblown by the Gotham police" and his actual contributions to the recent decrease in crime in the city are minimal (Kent, 1938, p. 12).

To cite more than one source, put a semicolon between the two sources' citations.

Format:

(author's last name, date; author's last name, date) 

Example:

Despite the disagreement, both authors agree that global crime has decreased thanks to the effort of the Justice League (Kent, 1938; Wayne, 1939).  

For more information on APA, see the Purdue OWL page about in-text citation.

Chicago In-Text Citations


Chicago has multiple options for in-text citation so always check with your professor about which citation style they prefer, author-date or note-bibliography. 

Author-date:

 Chicago’s parenthetical citations include the author's last name, the date, and a page number. Note that you do not put a comma between the author's last name and the date in Chicago style parenthetical citations. 

Format:

(author's last name date, page number)  

Example:

In contrast, some scholars argue that Superman and Batman are destructive in their crime fighting actions (Prince 1941, 3). 

To cite more than one source put a semicolon between the two sources' citations.

Format:

(author date, page number; author date, page number)  

Example:

Of all the Justice League members, Aquaman is the least well liked and is often only praised for his ability to speak with fish in the literature (Wayne 1939, 63; Clark 1938, 108). 

Note-Bibliography:

In note-bibliography style you are using footnotes for in-text citation. This means in your text, you have a note number superscripted at the end of the clause or sentence you are citing. Then you have a corresponding full-sized number followed by a period in your footer that lists the full note for the source.

Example:

According to one source “Superman is the least impressive member of the Justice League.” 1 

 

  1. Bruce Wayne, Why Batman is the Greatest Detective (Gotham: Wayne Industry Press, 1939), 12.  

The full note needs to correspond to a source listed in your bibliography. Full notes, while providing the same information as a citation in your bibliography, have different formatting. Be aware of these differences when creating your notes and bibliography. 

After you cite the source for the first time in the subsequent citations of the source you can use a shortened version of the citation. That is just the author’s last name, a shortened title, and page number. Make sure to include enough of the title that readers can recognize the source.  

Example:

1. Wayne, Why Batman, 6.  

Most word processors will insert footnotes into your work for you and keep track of the order. You will just need to supply the citation. Zotero also can insert footnotes - make sure to select Chicago full note when setting up your document preferences.  

For more information about Chicago, see the Purdue OWL page about in-text citation.