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Citing Sources: In-text and parenthetical citations

A guide to citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago format.


In-text citations (or parenthetical citations) point your reader to specific entries on the References page.

In-text citation are placed throughout the body of your paper, whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information from a source.


 One or two authors:

(Jones, 1997)

(Dunn & Diaz, 2008)

 Three or more authors - list all authors in first instance     then use et al. in subsequent citations:

(Phipps, Jones, Soto, & Blake, 2008)

(Phipps et al., 2008)

 Organization as author:

 first citation

        (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 2011)

 subsequent citations

            (NIH, 2011)

 No author (for an article):

(“Economy Perks Up,” 2011)     
**use first few words of the Title (in quotes)

  Always give page number(s) for a quotation:

(Spesard, 1998, p. 16)

for more examples of in-text citations, see

PCC's Guide to APA.

Page numbers are necessary if you are using a direct quote, but are also recommended if you paraphrase. You can cite references either within the text, or at the end of a sentence.

In-text citations include:

  • Last name(s) of the author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Page number(s), especially for quotations.

There are two ways to cite references:

(1) Within the text, with author name as part of a narrative:

Smith and Jones (2004) disputed the Committee’s conclusion that "funding the project was impractical" (p. 10).

(2) At the end of a sentence using author name and page number in parentheses:

Some researchers strongly dispute the Committee’s conclusion (Smith & Jones, 2004, p. 10).

On occasion, you may wish to cite a source within another source you are using. In this case, use the as cited in before the indirect source, and mention the source in the text:

Clark’s study (as cited in Smith & Jones, 1997, p. 10), indicates that…

In this situation, do not cite both articles. Instead, your References page will contain the article by Smith & Jones only. Clark is merely credited in the text of your paper. APA recommends using the original source when possible.