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Create citations

posted Nov 28, 2011, 4:46 AM by Peter Knowles   [ updated Nov 28, 2011, 4:49 AM ]

Whenever you use information from your research -- whether you quote directly from a text, paraphrase, summarize, or just use facts and figures -- make sure your reader will be able to locate the material by providing the author and page number for the material, and cross-reference that information with a properly formatted reference list. This type of documentation is known as a CITATION.

One way to do this is to clearly refer to the author in your writing as an introduction to the quote or information, and provide the page number afterwards in the proper format. For example, if you were using a book by Arthur Toynbee to write a paper on Julius Caesar and you used information from page 375 of that book in your paper, you could cite it like this:

Toynbee states that Julius Caesar was "a victim of his own strength" (375).

...or like this

Julius Caesar's death was a result of the threat he posed to other leaders in Rome. He was in fact "a victim of his own strength" (Toynbee 375).

Either way, it is clear that the information you've used can be found on page 375 of the book by Toynbee on your reference list.

(HINT: It's easier to get your citations right if you've already created your properly formatted list of references.)

Citation format:

Include citations for any direct quote, significant idea, facts and figures, or unusual claim to show where you got the information.

Place the citation where a natural pause in your writing occurs, and as close as possible to the material it documents.

Use parenthetical, or in-text, citations for documenting the source of quotes or ideas.

  • For most sources, you'll use the author's last name and page number of the material within parentheses. 
    EX: (Toynbee 375)
  • For electronic sources (web pages, etc.) there is no page number, so you'd use the author's name alone. 
    EX: (Toynbee)
  • For any source where you have been unable to locate the author, use an abbreviated title and page number. 
    EX: ("Pharaohs" 689)
  • For electronic sources (web pages, etc.) where you have been unable to locate the author, use an abbreviated title alone. 
    EX: ("Pharaohs")
  • If your research involved more than one work by the same author, use the author's last name followed by an abbreviated title for the work you're referring to and page number. 
    EX: (Dickens Copperfield 224)

Include the citation before your closing punctuation. (Notice where the period appears)

EX: "... strength" (Toynbee 375).

NOT "... strength." (Toynbee 375)