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Citation Styles Playbook

The purpose of this playbook is to help you cite the sources used in your academic research.

In text vs. parenthetical citations

What is an in-text citation?

In an in-text citation, the author's name appears in a sentence and not in parentheses.  Please note that in MLA citing, page numbers (if available) usually go in parentheses.  This is the same whether paraphrasing or quoting.


Andersen argued this point (27-32)

Mills wrote that "turnout was poor during the early morning hours" (109).

What is a parenthetical citation?

A parenthetical citation (also called "in reference") is one where the required information is placed in parentheses.


Only 17% of students agreed with the decision (Thomas 97).

During her second year as instructor, attendance "increased by leaps and bounds" (Gerou 21).

In-text/parenthetical citations and the works cited list

Please note that in-text and/or parenthetical citations must parallel the works cited entries. See the examples below -- parallel elements are in maroon.


Parallel Elements:
In-text/parenthetical citations Works Cited
Garber writes that "dark chocolate hasn't had a glass of Merlot since it saw Sideways."

Garber, Megan. "Milk Chocolate is Better than Dark, the End." The Atlantic, 27 Oct. 2016,

While chewing is normal and has health benefits for dogs, they need to be taught what they can chew and what they can't ("Destructive Chewing").

"Destructive Chewing." ASPCA,

Duckworth writes that cadets with high scores are as likely to drop out of West Point as cadets with low scores (6).

Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Scribener, 2018. 


Formatting in-text and parenthetical citations

Examples of In-Text and Parenthetical Formats:
One author in text

Johnson has argued that both interpretations of the story are valued (178).

Note: Location information, such as page numbers, must be given if available, both when quoting directly and with paraphrases.

One author, parenthetical Between 1968 and 1988, television coverage of presidential elections changed dramatically (Hallin 5).
Two authors in text Others, like Jakobson and Waugh (210-11), hold the opposite point of view.
Two authors, parenthetical This view is not generally disputed (Jamison and Waverley 98).
Multiple authors, parenthetical The dystopian concept resonates deeply with readers (Rabkin et al. vii).
Multivolume work

When referring to a specific page reference in a multivolume work, follow this format: (Author Last name Volume number: page numbers)

Some believe this stance to be antiquated (Greene 2: 1-10).

When referring to an entire volume of a multivolume work, follow this format: (Author Last name, vol. number)

Between 1945 and 1972, the political party system underwent profound changes (Schelsinger, vol. 4, 3-7).

Work with no author, parenthetical

Give the full title or an abbreviated version of the title:

International espionage was as prevalent as ever in the 1990s ("Decade" 27).

Note: In this example, "Decade" is a shortened form of the full title, "Decade of the Spy."

Corporate author

Preferred form (include the corporate author in text):

According to a study sponsored by the National Research Council, the population of China around 1990 was increasing by more than fifteen million annually (15).

Alternate form (corporate author in parentheses, may abbreviate):

Around 1990, the population of China was increasing by more than fifteen million annually (Natl. Research Council 15).

Two or more works by the same author, parenthetical

(Author's Last name, Title of Work page numbers)

Shakespeare's King Lear has been called "a comedy of the grotesque" (Frye, Anatomy 237).

Two or more works by the same author, in text Northrop Frye considers Shakespeare's King Lear a "comedy of the grotesque" (Anatomy 237).
Indirect source, parenthetical

Cite the source you consult, not the indirect source.

Example: The source you consulted was written by Boswell. Boswell mentions something that Samuel Johnson said. Here is how you cite it:

Samuel Johnson admitted admiration for writer Aaron Burke (Boswell 126).

Note: Always paraphrase the material.

Multiple works in a single parenthetical citation

Use a semicolon to separate multiple works cited in a single parenthetical reference,

(First work Author Last name page number; Second work Author Last name page number)

Longitudinal studies show these findings are valid (Fukuyama 42; McRae 101-03).

Digital media enhances creativity (Craner 308-11; Moulthrop, pars. 39-53).

Direct quotation in text, under 4 lines

If a direct quotation is under 4 lines, incorporate it into the text, placing the quotation between quotation marks. Include the page number in parentheses at the end of the quotation, before the period.

Riedling writes that “students who are information literate operate comfortably in situations where there are multiple answers” (5).

Direct quotation in text, 4 lines or more

Quotations of 4 lines or more must be set off from the text and should begin on a new line. Indent the quotation one inch from the left margin, and type it double-spaced. Do not use quotation marks. Include the page number in parentheses at the end of the quotation, after the period.

In reference to the Kerala tradition, Blackburn writes that:
The Kerala tradition, however, seldom honors our expectations: it lives in performance but holds no interactive audience; it presents one of the most popular stories in Indian literature but is not primarily a narrative tradition; and the interminable, chaotic War Book, rather than one of the tightly plotted, earlier books, occupies center stage. (134)

Quoting Poetry

If you quote part or all of a line of verse that does not require special emphasis, put in quotation marks within the text, just like a line of prose. You can incorporate two or three lines in this way, using a forward slash with a space on each side ( / ) to indicate line breaks.


Bradstreet frames the poem with a sense of mortality: "All things withing this fading world hath end...."

Reflecting on the "incident" in Baltimore, Cullen concludes, "Of all the things that happened there / That's all that I remember."

If a stanza break occurs in the quotation, mark it with two forward slashes with a space on each side ( // ).


The Tao te ching, in David Hinton's translation, says that the ancient masters were "so deep beyond knowing / we can only describe their appearance: // perfectly cautious, as if crossing winter streams...."

Verse quotations of more than three lines should be set of from your text as a block. Unless the quotation involves unusual spacing, indent it half an inch from the left margin. Do not add quotation marks not present in the original.

Citing a work without page numbers

If a source does not include page numbers, but does provide explicitly marked paragraph or section numbers, cite these. In these situations, include a comma after the author’s name. If there are no explicit subdivisions, use only the author's last name in the parentheses.

“Eagleton has belittled the gains of postmodernism” (Chan, par. 41).

When a source has no page numbers or any other kind of reference numbers, no number is given in the parenthetical citation.

The utilitarianism of the Victorians “attempted to reduce decision-making about human actions to a ‘felicific calculus’” (Everett).

Bible, Qu'ran, or another common source

Add edition information to the first parenthetical citation for a common source such as The Bible.

In one of the most vivid prophetic visions in the Bible, Ezekiel saw “what seemed to be four living creatures,” each with the faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezek. 1.5-10).

Common literature source

Add information (such as chapter and section numbers) that would help a reader locate the quotation in any edition of the work.

In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft recollects many “women who, not led by degrees to proper studies, and not permitted to choose for themselves, have indeed been overgrown children” (185; ch. 13, sec. 2).