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Humanities Libertexts

8.2: Incorporating Sources and In-text Citations

In-text citations direct the reader to sources listed in a type of bibliography known as a Works Cited page. There should be a direct correlation between the information provided in the text of the paper and the Works Cited page. Here are a couple of examples of how someone could use a source in a paper and how it would refer to a Works Cited page.

Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

According to Dr. Ian Wilmut, chair of Reproductive Science at the University of Edinburgh, “about one quarter of the lambs that were born alive died within a few days because they hadn't completed normal development” (qtd. in Wade).

Later, Wilmut further noted that the science had not advanced enough to apply it to humans indicating “that for a clinician to be suggesting doing that [cloning humans] is quite appalling” (qtd. in Wade).

Sample Works Cited Entry

Works Cited

Wade, Nicholas. “The Clone Named Dolly.” New York Times, 14 Oct. 2013.

As you can see, the in-text or parenthetical citations include the author’s last name. When your audience refers back to the Works Cited page, the entry goes under the author’s last name, so the audience can quickly identify the original source.

Plagiarism: Using another writer’s words and ideas in an essay without giving proper credit to that individual. This is a violation of the student code of conduct.

Paraphrase: Taking a section of information from a source and rewording it to keep the essence of the text and ideas. This still requires a citation.

Summary: In your own words, stating the main idea and key points of the whole of the source.

Parenthetical citation: Placing the source information in parentheses after borrowed material. Usually you include the author and the page number, if available. Example: (Polliard 7)

If no author is given, use an abbreviated version of the title of the article. Example: (“Multiple Personalities in Hamlet” 7) would become (“Multiple” 7).

Attributive tag: An introductory phrase before a quote or paraphrase that indicates the source of the information by providing the author or the title of the article. Example: According to Professor Polliard, plagiarism can potentially result in a failing grade for the course.

ABC’s for Incorporating Sources

Always cite your information

  • Use an attributive tag to indicate where source material begins. Example: According to Dr. Ian Wilmut, head researcher at the Edinburgh Institute,
  • Use a parenthetical citation after information borrowed from a source whether you paraphrase it, summarize it, or quote it. “Simply being an introvert can also feel taxing—especially in America...” (Walsh 42)
  • Use quotation marks around material that is taken word for word from the source (see previous example).
  • Include a complete Works Cited page at the end of the essay (next lesson and assignments).

Balance the source material with paraphrases and quotations

  • Do not use an exact quotation for every piece of documented information.
  • Use quotes only when the information is highly technical or can’t be stated equally well in your own words.
  • Consider what the audience would find interesting in terms of quotations.
  • Only use the pertinent information. Do not include a whole paragraph when a sentence will do.

Connect the source material to the topic sentence with explanation between sources.

  • Don’t plan on using quote after quote without connective commentary.
  • Connective commentary means that you interpret the significance of the source material in relation to the topic sentence or thesis statement. Why is this information relevant? Use your own words and insight to illustrate the usefulness of the source information.
  • An essay should have more of your own words than it has source information; source information is meant to add “backing” or credibility to your ideas. At least 85% of the paper should be your work and ideas with no more than 15% of the information coming from outside sources.
  • Don’t be a name-dropper! Provide context to explain the background qualifications/ credentials of the person credited for the original information whenever possible.

Creating an Attributive Tag

  • Sample quote: “The fear response is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and so is largely impervious to higher order cognitive control, and the system is biased, that is, hyper-responsive and prone to erring on the side of caution.”
  • Where the quote came from: This quote was written by Dr. Mathias Clasen in his article, “Monsters Evolve: A Bio-Cultural Approach to Horror Stories” and was found on page 223.
  • Appropriate Attributive Tag: According to Dr. Mathias Clasen of Arhaus University, Denmark, “The fear response is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and so is largely impervious to higher order cognitive control, and the system is biased, that is, hyperresponsive and prone to erring on the side of caution” (223)

Sample Paraphrase and Summary from Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

The original passage:

Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

A legitimate paraphrase:

As indicated in Dr. James D. Lester’s book, Writing Research Papers, research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

An acceptable summary:

Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

A plagiarized version (bold text reflects exact words and/or phrasing from original source):

Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

The version considered plagiarism contains the exact words and phrasing from original source, and it does not give credit to Lester’s work.

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