Skip to Main Content

Citation Guide: In-text Citations

A guide for navigating various citation styles in order to create citations for resources cited in research papers.

In-Text Citations

General Formatting

  • Cite the last name of the author and year of publication.
  • Include page numbers within the citation when directly quoting the authors’ words or paraphrasing a passage.
  • If the author's name is used in the text, put the date in parentheses.
  • When Duncan (1959) studied...
  • If the author's name is not in the text, enclose last name and year in parentheses.
  • When these relationships were studied (Gouldner 1963)...

Using Quotes

  • Short quotations in the body of the manuscript should be surrounded by quotation marks.
  • Block quotations (direct quotations of more than 40 words) should be offset from the main text and may be single-spaced. Do not include quotation marks with block quotes.
  • Pagination follows the year of publication after a colon (note that in the in-text citation, there is no space between the colon and the page number).
  • As tabulated by Kuhn (1970:71) the results show...

Multiple Authors

For joint authors, give both last names.

(Martin and Bailey 1988)


For three authors, give all last names in the first citation in the text; in subsequent citations, use the first name and et al.             

First citation: (Carr, Smith, and Jones 1962)...
Later citations: (Carr et al. 1962)

For four or more authors, use the first author's last name plus et al. in all citations.

(Nilson et al. 1962)

Name of Author Unknown

For institutional authorship, supply the minimum identification needed from the beginning of the complete reference to find it in the reference list.

(U.S. Bureau of the Census 1963:117)

Multiple Citations

Separate a series of references with a semicolon and either alphabetize or place them in chronological order, but be consistent throughout the manuscript.

(Burgess, 1982; Marwell et al. 1971)  
(Marwell et al. 1971; Burgess 1980)

Citing a Reprinted Work

If the work being cited was published earlier and then re-released, list the earliest date first and then the most recent date, separate these with a slash.

(Finke and Stark 1992/2005)

Citing Unpublished Work

For unpublished papers, cite the date, or, if scheduled to be published soon, use forthcoming in lieu of a date. If no date is given, use n.d.

Jones (n.d.) discusses the relationship between students and parents.

For archival sources, use abbreviations when possible.

Meany Archives, LRF, Box 6, March 18, 1970).