Citation VS In-text citation

Some of you still have the problem of using incorrect in-text citations, and some of you still don’t have any ideas about it. This post will help you distinguish the difference between citations in Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Why do we need citations?

Usually, your ideas are not originally from you. They might be someone’s ideas. Thus, in order to avoid plagiarism, you have to cite everything that is not popular/common knowledge or from other people, not you. Particularly, in research essays, we do a lot of research to find the information to support the ideas, so citations are really important. They will help your essays more credible.

Citations in Works Cited list:

  • They are sources that you find the information (data, statistics, facts, names of people, quotations, etc.) you use to support your ideas in your essay.
  • They can be online articles, books, magazines, or videos. Thus, they have different format/rules of citations. Check this link to have the appropriate forms for each type of source: (It’s on Blackboard. You can find it in the Research Essay folder) or you can google it to have the latest update of MLA format for citations. You also have the handouts from Professor Aagard about Works Cited list; take advantage of them!
  • They are FULL citations, no short forms.
  • Example: Gaitskill, Mary. Interview with Charles Bock. Mississippi Review, vol. 27, no. 3, 1999, pp. 129-50.

In-text citations:

  • Purpose: to let readers easily know where the information comes from and what the original source is.
  • In-text citations are in short form, not too long so that they won’t confuse the readers. Thus, they MUST be SHORT and put in parentheses ()
  • For example, let’s suppose that you are using some information from this source: “Mimic and Moralist” of Kingsley Amis. Therefore, your citation in Works Cited page will be like this: Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin, 1987. HOWEVER, the in-text citation is not like this. It must be shortened. Thus, it will be like this: abc abc abc abc abc abc (Gleick). The short one in the parentheses is called in-text citation.
  • Many common rules/formats for in-text citations:
    • If your source is a book:
      • One author: In-text citation is the LAST NAME of the author.
      • Two authors: In-text citation is the two LAST NAMES of the authors.
      • More than two authors: In-text citation is the LAST NAME of the FIRST author plus “et al.” For example: (Gleick et al.); it means the book was writen by Gleick and some more other people.
    • If your source is an online article:
      • If there’s author’s name: Use the same rule as book – using the LAST NAME of the author.
      • If there’s no author’s name: In-text citation is the first TWO WORDS of the article (sometimes it can be one word). Remember in-text citation must be short, so please don’t put too many words in the in-text citations. The FIRST TWO WORDS are enough.
      • For example: The citation is “10 Tips on Writing the Living Web.” A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 16 Aug. 2002, Accessed 4 May 2009. For this one, the in-text citation will be (“10 Tips”). NOTE: If you put the words from the article in in-text citation, these words must be in quotation marks, and the whole phrase is inside the parentheses like this: (“10 Tips”).

These are some short reviews about in-text citations and full citations in Works Cited page. You should learn it by heart, or if you forget, remember that you have a lot of helpful resources on Blackboard, on the Internet, in the handouts from the class, on this blog or anywhere else. If some of you realize yourself having the mistake in using citations, please check this post to fix your errors. You only have one last chance to correct and improve your essay before the final draft. Let’s make your essay better!



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