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Essay Writing: In-Text Citations

The Monroe College Guide to Essay Writing presents the information necessary to write effective essays.

What is Plagiarism?

Image: Important Sticky NoteAvoid plagiarism! Cite your sources! Image Happy Star

Using in-text citations:

  • shows the reader that you have done your research
  • shows that you know how to credit the sources of your information.
  • points your reader to the full citation on your References page for more information.

Defining and Understanding Plagiarism - an important concept in the research and writing process.

From the Website:

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

Links to cite it for you:


CiteFast citation generator provides both complete APA Citations and also pre-formatted In-text Citations.

 - KnightCite Citation Service  

KnightCite is an online citation generator service provided by the Hekman Library of Calvin College.

Purdue Owl

The rules of how to use in-text citations and cite anything tricky for MLA or APA papers.‚Äč

Scribber APA Citation Generator

Worldcat (for citing printed books)

Find your book and click on the “cite” tool at the top right of the screen.

In-text Citation Tutorial

Download the In-text Citations presentation  (above) for an in-depth look at how to correctly cite your sources in the text of your paper.

Narrative vs Parenthetical Citation

Narrative vs Parenthetical In-text citations:

narrative citation gives the author name as part of the sentence.

  • Narrative citation: According to Hartmann (2003), although the movement drew widespread criticism, it also led to fundamental reforms in the organizational structure of American amateur athletics.

parenthetical citation gives the source information first or last, but not as part of the narrative flow.

  • Parenthetical citation: Although Tommie Smith and John Carlos paid a heavy price in the immediate aftermath of the protests, they were later vindicated by society at large (Hartmann, 2003).

Helpful Presentations

Presentation: How to Use the Databases


Formatting In-text Citations, Full Citations, and Block Quotes
In APA 7 Style

Using In-text Citations


Sample In-text Citations

Parenthetical In-text Citation: 

Studies have shown music and art therapies to be effective in aiding those dealing with mental disorders as well as managing, exploring, and gaining insight into traumatic experiences their patients may have faced. (Stuckey & Nobel, 2010)
-- The source is cited at the beginning or end of the paraphrased/summarized material. ---
Hint: (Use an ampersand between author names when they appear in parenthetical citations.)

Narrative In-text Citation: 

Stuckey and Nobel (2010) noted, "it has been shown that music can calm neural activity in the brain, which may lead to reductions in anxiety, and that it may help to restore effective functioning in the immune system." 

-- Information is directly quoted, using quotation marks "..." around the cited material.

The source authors are part of the sentence, and the year of publication appears in parentheses next to the author name(s). ---

Note: This example is a direct quote. It is an exact quotation directly from the text of the article. All direct quotes should appear in quotation marks: "...."

Try to keep direct quotes to a minimum in your writing. You need to show that you understand the material from your source by being able to paraphrase and summarize it. 

List the author’s last name only (no initials) and the year the information was published, like this:

(Dodge, 2008).
(Author, Date).


If you use a direct quote, add the page number to your citation, like this: 

(Dodge, 2008, p. 125).

(Author, Date, page number)

Examples of Basic In-text Citations

In-text Citations for Sources with Multiple Authors

Sample Slide Showing Variations on the Standard In-text Citations Format

SIgnal Phrase Activity

Paraphrasing Activity from the Excelsior OWL

In-Text Citation Quiz