In-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. They should cause minimal disruption to the reading flow. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the works cited list at the end of the paper.
In addition to giving credit, the purpose of the in-text citation is to give the reader enough information to find the full citation for the source on your Works Cited page.
Since the Works Cited page is in alphabetical order, you only need to identiry the last name of the author(s). If there is no author, use a shortened version of the title.
Basic format for parenthetical citations
You only need the author's last name and the page number.
Connect both authors' last names with and, followed by the page number.
(Case and Brand 57)
(Strunk and White 36)
(Sturken and Cartwright 134)
Use the first author's last name and et al., followed by the page number.
(Case et al. 57)
(Franck et al. 327)
Use a shortened title of the work. Don't include initial articles like "A", "An" or "The".
(Cell Biology 12).
When available, use stable page, chapter, or section numbers. If none is available, omit it.
(Scalzi Chap. 7)
("New Student Orientation")
It can get more complicated if you are citing mulitple sources by the same author. If possible, use signal phrases to identify which source you are citing. Please refer to the MLA and the Purdue OWL (links below) for more guidance.
Other online guides to help you with in-text citations:
When you quote directly from a source, enclose the quoted section in quotation marks. Add an in-text citation at the end of the quote with the author name and page number:
Mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (Hunt 358).
What Is a Long Quotation?
If your quotation extends to more than four lines as you're typing your essay, it is a long quotation.
Rules for Long Quotations
There are 4 rules that apply to long quotations that are different from regular quotations:
Example of a Long Quotation
At the end of Lord of the Flies the boys are struck with the realization of their behaviour:
The tears began to flow and sobs shook him. He gave himself up to them now for the first time on the island; great, shuddering spasms of grief that seemed to wrench his whole body. His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. (Golding 186)
Sometimes an author of a book, article or website will mention another person’s work by using a quotation or paraphrased idea from that source. (This may be called a secondary source.) For example, the Kirkey article you are reading includes a quotation by Smith that you would like to include in your essay.
The basic rule is that in both your References list and in-text citation you will still cite Kirkey. Kirkey will appear in your Works Cited list – NOT Smith.
You will add the words “qtd. in” to your in-text citation.
Examples of in-text citations:
According to a study by Smith (qtd. in Kirkey) 42% of doctors would refuse to perform legal euthanasia.
Smith (qtd. in Kirkey) states that “even if euthanasia was legal, 42% of doctors would be against this method of assisted dying” (A.10).
Example of Works Cited list citation:
Kirkey, Susan. "Euthanasia." The Montreal Gazette, 9 Feb. 2013, p. A.10. Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies.
When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion.
Paraphrasing from One Page
Include a full in-text citation with the author name and page number (if there is one). For example:
Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 65).
Paraphrasing from Multiple Pages
If the paraphrased information/idea is from several pages, include them. For example:
Mother-infant attachment became a leading topic of developmental research following the publication of John Bowlby's studies (Hunt 50, 55, 65-71).
If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the page number (if there is one) at the end of the quotation or paraphrased section. For example:
Hunt explains that mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (358).
If you're using information from a single source more than once in succession (i.e., no other sources referred to in between), you can use a simplified in-text citation.
Cell biology is an area of science that focuses on the structure and function of cells (Smith 15). It revolves around the idea that the cell is a "fundamental unit of life" (17). Many important scientists have contributed to the evolution of cell biology. Mattias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, for example, were scientists who formulated cell theory in 1838 (20).
Note: If using this simplified in-text citation creates ambiguity regarding the source being referred to, use the full in-text citation format.
If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon.
(Smith 42; Bennett 71).
(It Takes Two; Brock 43).
Note: The sources within the in-text citation do not need to be in alphabetical order for MLA style.