Citations are a way to acknowledge others who have contributed information to your research. They also give your readers the information they need to find that source again.


Citing sources is essential to academic honesty and avoiding plagiarism. It can also strengthen your work by lending support to your ideas and preventing readers from taking your findings too personally if they are challenged. Read on Rank Boss to learn more.

In-text citations alert the reader to a source that has informed your writing. They are usually included in the text of a paper rather than in the reference list at the end of your work. They are important because they help you maintain consistency and avoid repetition in your writing. In-text citations are also used to indicate when an idea has been paraphrased or summarized.

Citations in the text typically contain the author’s name, the year of publication, and a page number when one is available. There are two basic in-text citation types: parenthetical and narrative.

If you cite a direct quote (a word-for-word recitation of another source), include the quotation within the parenthetical citation or reference in parentheses, using quotation marks when necessary. If the full reference has a title, use that title in your in-text citation or in parentheses as well.

When citing a work with canonically numbered sections, use the section numbers in your in-text citations. This makes it easier for the reader to find the specific passage he or she is interested in.

Multiple Works: If you cite more than one work by the same author, make sure that each work is listed in alphabetical order in your reference list. If the works have different publication dates, list them in chronological order.

Edited Books and Anthologies: In these types of sources, you often see a group of authors all writing together about the same topic. These compilations are commonly referred to as edited books or anthologies and can range from black history factual materials to literature about notable people, including scientists and politicians.

If a book or anthology includes several chapters written by a single author, list the chapter titles in your citations, with the individual author’s name included in parentheses when possible. For information about citing multiple sections in an edited work, see the MLA Style website.

Personal Communications: In this type of citation, you must provide the first initials and family name of the author, along with the phrase “personal communication.” A personal communication is considered a new source and should be cited only when it is genuinely unique or unpublished elsewhere.

Full citations are essential in order to identify sources and verify information that you use in your work. They also provide an easy way for readers to track down your references if they want more details about them.

Full citations must include the full name of the author(s) and publication year, plus any page numbers that are relevant. The first part of the citation should be used to identify the source in your paper, and then the second part should be used in the reference list at the end of your work to give readers full access to all the information about that source.

You should also add the journal title, which is usually italicized depending on your citation style, and the volume number of the journal, if applicable. This ensures that your readers can quickly distinguish a source from the rest of your article, so they can find it easily.

In addition to a full citation, a bibliography must also contain a footnote (APA and Harvard style), which is a superscript footnote that links to the full citation in your reference list. In this case, it is recommended that the footnote contain additional information, for example, a list of key words or a note about how a specific citation supports your paper.

If you are unsure whether a particular footnote supports your paper, check with your editor to determine whether or not it is appropriate to include the citation in the body of your work. If it is not appropriate, you should avoid using it in your paper.

Your editor will also determine if your work has been cited in other works and will likely review your bibliography for accuracy. If it is inaccurate, it may be edited to fix the problem.

As with other aspects of your work, it is important to follow the rules of citation. If you do not, your paper may be challenged or removed.