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7.6.2: Create In-Text Citations

  • Page ID
    190100
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    What is an In-Text Citation?

    If you are using MLA style, then your citation of the source in the body of the essay will point to the works cited page at the end. You must cite your sources as you use them, including the first element of the works cited entry, which is usually the author’s last name (or the title of the article if there is no author), and a page number (if available) in an in-text citation which directs the reader to the full works cited entry at the end of your paper in your works cited list. The reader will quickly find your works cited entry because you format your list in alphabetical order of the first element (last name or article title), and you’ve indented each entry after the first line (referred to as a hanging indent), so all the entries can be quickly scanned from the left margin.

    Definition: In-Text

    In-text citation: A brief reference at the end of a quoted or paraphrased sentence which directs the reader to the source information in the works cited entry. The in-text citation contains the first element of the works cited entry (author's last name if available, or if not, the title of the work) and the page number of the work (if available).

    Example: (Buiten 58).

    Guidelines for In-Text Citations

    In-text citations give readers a brief reference to the first element (usually the author's last name) of the works cited entry. Listing more information than necessary in the in-text citation can interrupt the logic of your argument as well as disrupt your readers' concentration. A reader who wants more information about the source can look up that element alphabetically in the works cited list to find the publishing information and date of the source. The following examples illustrate basic rules for documenting sources within the text of your paper in MLA style.

    Author named in the introduction to the paraphrase or quote: Jacob Leibowitz found that low-carbohydrate diets often helped subjects with Type II diabetes maintain a healthy weight and control blood-sugar (56). Leibowitz states, “People with Type II diabetes should follow a low-carbohydrate diet in order to prevent weight gain and unbalanced blood-sugar levels” (56).

    Author named in parentheses: One source indicates that low-carbohydrate diets often helped subjects with Type II diabetes maintain a healthy weight and control blood-sugar (Leibowitz 56). A noted nutritionist advises diabetics: “People with Type II diabetes should follow a low-carbohydrate diet in order to prevent weight gain and unbalanced blood-sugar levels” (Leibowitz 56).

    Unknown author: One website points out that a low-carbohydrate diet may aggravate a heart condition by raising a person’s bad cholesterol (“Cholesterol and the Low-carb Diet”).

    Unknown or No Page Reference: The risks of following a low-carbohydrate diet outweigh any benefits according to one researcher (Jones). Gerald Jones believes that “a balanced diet is still the safest and most effective approach to good health.”

    A source quoted in another source (an indirect quotation): “For the chronically overweight,” states Martin Rogers, “a low-carbohydrate diet may provide a viable option for weight loss” (qtd. in Evans 46).

    Note

    In-text Citations Must Tie to Works Cited Entries

    If your source contains a quote from another source, your in-text citation should reference both. For example, if Miriam C. Buiten quotes Sergey Brin in her article “Towards Intelligent Regulation of Artificial Intelligence" and you use Brin's quote in your paper, list both names in the citation: (Brin qtd. in Buiten). If you only listed Brin as the source of the quote, your readers would look for that name in the works cited list but not find it.