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A publication of the harvard college writing program.

Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

  • The Honor Code
  • Citing Sources

Citations provide information to help your audience locate the sources you consulted when writing a paper or preparing a presentation. Some of your instructors will specify which citation format you should use; others will tell you to choose your own citation format as long as you use it consistently. The most common citation formats are MLA (Modern Language Association) style, which is primarily used for papers in the humanities; APA (American Psychological Association) style, which is primarily used for papers in the social sciences; and Chicago style (The Chicago Manual of Style), which is used for both humanities and social science papers.

Some of your courses at Harvard will require you to use other citation formats. Some science courses may require you to use the citation style of the American Medical Association (AMA). AMA style is considered a standard citation format for academic writing in the sciences and is used in many textbooks and medical journals. The AMA Manual of Style is available online . The American Chemical Society publishes its own style guide , which you may be asked to use in chemistry courses. The Harvard Department of Economics provides students with a departmental style guide, which you can find  here . If you are not sure which format to use for a specific course, consult your instructor.

Both APA and MLA styles require you to credit your sources in two ways. First, you must include a parenthetical citation in the text of your paper that indicates the source of a particular quotation, paraphrased statement or idea, or fact; second, you must include a list of references at the end of your paper that enables readers to locate the sources you have used. You can read more about MLA style here and APA style here .

Chicago style also requires you to credit your sources both in the text and at the end of your paper. Chicago offers guidance on two types of in-text citations–notes or parenthetical citations. You can read more about Chicago style here .

If you have questions about which citation style to use, you should always check with your instructor.

  • Citation Management Tools

PDFs for This Section

  • Online Library and Citation Tools

Citing sources: Overview

  • Citation style guides

Manage your references

Use these tools to help you organize and cite your references:

  • Citation Management and Writing Tools

If you have questions after consulting this guide about how to cite, please contact your advisor/professor or the writing and communication center .

Why citing is important

It's important to cite sources you used in your research for several reasons:

  • To show your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information
  • To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way of footnotes, a bibliography or reference list

About citations

Citing a source means that you show, within the body of your text, that you took words, ideas, figures, images, etc. from another place.

Citations are a short way to uniquely identify a published work (e.g. book, article, chapter, web site).  They are found in bibliographies and reference lists and are also collected in article and book databases.

Citations consist of standard elements, and contain all the information necessary to identify and track down publications, including:

  • author name(s)
  • titles of books, articles, and journals
  • date of publication
  • page numbers
  • volume and issue numbers (for articles)

Citations may look different, depending on what is being cited and which style was used to create them. Choose an appropriate style guide for your needs.  Here is an example of an article citation using four different citation styles.  Notice the common elements as mentioned above:

Author - R. Langer

Article Title - New Methods of Drug Delivery

Source Title - Science

Volume and issue - Vol 249, issue 4976

Publication Date - 1990

Page numbers - 1527-1533

American Chemical Society (ACS) style:

Langer, R. New Methods of Drug Delivery. Science 1990 , 249 , 1527-1533.

IEEE Style:

R. Langer, " New Methods of Drug Delivery," Science , vol. 249 , pp. 1527-1533 , SEP 28, 1990 .

American Psychological Association   (APA) style:

Langer, R. (1990) . New methods of drug delivery. Science , 249 (4976), 1527-1533.

Modern Language Association (MLA) style:

Langer, R. " New Methods of Drug Delivery." Science 249.4976 (1990) : 1527-33.

What to cite

You must cite:

  • Facts, figures, ideas, or other information that is not common knowledge

Publications that must be cited include:  books, book chapters, articles, web pages, theses, etc.

Another person's exact words should be quoted and cited to show proper credit 

When in doubt, be safe and cite your source!

Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when you borrow another's words (or ideas) and do not acknowledge that you have done so. In this culture, we consider our words and ideas intellectual property; like a car or any other possession, we believe our words belong to us and cannot be used without our permission.

Plagiarism is a very serious offense. If it is found that you have plagiarized -- deliberately or inadvertently -- you may face serious consequences. In some instances, plagiarism has meant that students have had to leave the institutions where they were studying.

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources - both within the body of your paper and in a bibliography of sources you used at the end of your paper.

Some useful links about plagiarism:

  • MIT Academic Integrity Overview on citing sources and avoiding plagiarism at MIT.
  • Avoiding Plagiarism From the MIT Writing and Communication Center.
  • Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It From Indiana University's Writing Tutorial Services.
  • Plagiarism- Overview A resource from Purdue University.
  • Next: Citation style guides >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 16, 2024 7:02 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.mit.edu/citing

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to Cite an Essay in MLA

How to Cite an Essay in MLA

The guidelines for citing an essay in MLA format are similar to those for citing a chapter in a book. Include the author of the essay, the title of the essay, the name of the collection if the essay belongs to one, the editor of the collection or other contributors, the publication information, and the page number(s).

Citing an Essay

Mla essay citation structure.

Last, First M. “Essay Title.” Collection Title, edited by First M. Last, Publisher, year published, page numbers. Website Title , URL (if applicable).

MLA Essay Citation Example

Gupta, Sanjay. “Balancing and Checking.” Essays on Modern Democracy, edited by Bob Towsky, Brook Stone Publishers, 1996, pp. 36-48. Essay Database, www . databaseforessays.org/modern/modern-democracy.

MLA Essay In-text Citation Structure

(Last Name Page #)

MLA Essay In-text Citation Example

Click here to cite an essay via an EasyBib citation form.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • Works Cited
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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To cite your sources in an essay in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author’s name(s), chapter title, book title, editor(s), publication year, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for in-text citations and a works-cited-list entry for essay sources and some examples are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author on the first occurrence. For subsequent citations, use only the surname(s). In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author(s).

Citation in prose:

First mention: Annette Wheeler Cafarelli

Subsequent occurrences: Wheeler Cafarelli

Parenthetical:

….(Wheeler Cafarelli).

Works-cited-list entry template and example:

The title of the chapter is enclosed in double quotation marks and uses title case. The book or collection title is given in italics and uses title case.

Surname, First Name. “Title of the Chapter.” Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Year, page range.

Cafarelli, Annette Wheeler. “Rousseau and British Romanticism: Women and British Romanticism.” Cultural Interactions in the Romantic Age: Critical Essays in Comparative Literature , edited by Gregory Maertz. State U of New York P, 1998, pp. 125–56.

To cite an essay in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author(s), the essay title, the book title, editor(s), publication year, publisher, and page numbers. The templates for citations in prose, parenthetical citations, and works-cited-list entries for an essay by multiple authors, and some examples, are given below:

For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author (e.g., Mary Strine).

For sources with two authors, use both full author names in prose (e.g., Mary Strine and Beth Radick).

For sources with three or more authors, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Mary Strine and others). In subsequent citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” (e.g., Strine and others).

In parenthetical citations, use only the author’s surname. For sources with two authors, use two surnames (e.g., Strine and Radick). For sources with three or more author names, use the first author’s surname followed by “et al.”

First mention: Mary Strine…

Subsequent mention: Strine…

First mention: Mary Strine and Beth Radick…

Subsequent mention: Strine and Radick…

First mention: Mary Strine and colleagues …. or Mary Strine and others

Subsequent occurrences: Strine and colleagues …. or Strine and others

…. (Strine).

….(Strine and Radick).

….(Strine et al.).

The title of the essay is enclosed in double quotation marks and uses title case. The book or collection title is given in italics and uses title case.

Surname, First Name, et al. “Title of the Essay.” Title of the Book , edited by Editor(s) Name, Publisher, Publication Year, page range.

Strine, Mary M., et al. “Research in Interpretation and Performance Studies: Trends, Issues, Priorities.” Speech Communication: Essays to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Speech Communication Association , edited by Gerald M. Phillips and Julia T. Wood, Southern Illinois UP, 1990, pp. 181–204.

MLA Citation Examples

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  • Research Process
  • Find Background Info
  • Find Sources through the Library
  • Evaluate Your Info
  • Cite Your Sources
  • Evaluate, Write & Cite

Cite your sources

  • is the right thing to do  to give credit to those who had the idea
  • shows that you have read and understand  what experts have had to say about your topic
  • helps people find the sources  that you used in case they want to read more about the topic
  • provides   evidence  for your arguments
  • is professional and  standard practice   for students and scholars

What is a Citation?

A citation identifies for the reader the original source for an idea, information, or image that is referred to in a work.

  • In the body of a paper, the  in-text citation  acknowledges the source of information used.
  • At the end of a paper, the citations are compiled on a  References  or  Works Cited  list. A basic citation includes the author, title, and publication information of the source. 

Citation basics

From:  Lemieux  Library,  University  of Seattle 

Why Should You Cite?

Quoting Are you quoting two or more consecutive words from a source? Then the original source should be cited and the words or phrase placed in quotes. 

Paraphrasing If an idea or information comes from another source,  even if you put it in your own words , you still need to credit the source.  General vs. Unfamiliar Knowledge You do not need to cite material which is accepted common knowledge. If in doubt whether your information is common knowledge or not, cite it. Formats We usually think of books and articles. However, if you use material from web sites, films, music, graphs, tables, etc. you'll also need to cite these as well.

Plagiarism is presenting the words or ideas of someone else as your own without proper acknowledgment of the source. When you work on a research paper and use supporting material from works by others, it's okay to quote people and use their ideas, but you do need to correctly credit them. Even when you summarize or paraphrase information found in books, articles, or Web pages, you must acknowledge the original author.

Citation Style Help

Helpful links:

  • MLA ,  Works Cited : A Quick Guide (a template of core elements)
  • CSE  (Council of Science Editors)

For additional writing resources specific to styles listed here visit the  Purdue OWL Writing Lab

Citation and Bibliography Resources

Writing an annotated bibliography

  • How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
  • << Previous: Evaluate Your Info
  • Next: Evaluate, Write & Cite >>

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How to Write an Academic Essay with References and Citations

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Written by  Scribendi

If you're wondering how to write an academic essay with references, look no further. In this article, we'll discuss how to use in-text citations and references, including how to cite a website, how to cite a book, and how to cite a Tweet, according to various style guides.

How to Cite a Website

You might need to cite sources when writing a paper that references other sources. For example, when writing an essay, you may use information from other works, such as books, articles, or websites. You must then inform readers where this information came from. Failure to do so, even accidentally, is plagiarism—passing off another person's work as your own.

You can avoid plagiarism and show readers where to find information by using citations and references. 

Citations tell readers where a piece of information came from. They take the form of footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical elements, depending on your style guide. In-text citations are usually placed at the end of a sentence containing the relevant information. 

A reference list , bibliography, or works cited list at the end of a text provides additional details about these cited sources. This list includes enough publication information allowing readers to look up these sources themselves.

Referencing is important for more than simply avoiding plagiarism. Referring to a trustworthy source shows that the information is reliable. Referring to reliable information can also support your major points and back up your argument. 

Learning how to write an academic essay with references and how to use in-text citations will allow you to cite authors who have made similar arguments. This helps show that your argument is objective and not entirely based on personal biases.

How Do You Determine Which Style Guide to Use?

How to Write an Academic Essay with References

Often, a professor will assign a style guide. The purpose of a style guide is to provide writers with formatting instructions. If your professor has not assigned a style guide, they should still be able to recommend one. 

If you are entirely free to choose, pick one that aligns with your field (for example, APA is frequently used for scientific writing). 

Some of the most common style guides are as follows:

AP style for journalism

Chicago style for publishing

APA style for scholarly writing (commonly used in scientific fields)

MLA style for scholarly citations (commonly used in English literature fields)

Some journals have their own style guides, so if you plan to publish, check which guide your target journal uses. You can do this by locating your target journal's website and searching for author guidelines.

How Do You Pick Your Sources?

When learning how to write an academic essay with references, you must identify reliable sources that support your argument. 

As you read, think critically and evaluate sources for:

Objectivity

Keep detailed notes on the sources so that you can easily find them again, if needed.

Tip: Record these notes in the format of your style guide—your reference list will then be ready to go.

How to Use In-Text Citations in MLA

An in-text citation in MLA includes the author's last name and the relevant page number: 

(Author 123)

How to Cite a Website in MLA

How to Cite a Website in MLA

Here's how to cite a website in MLA:

Author's last name, First name. "Title of page."

Website. Website Publisher, date. Web. Date

retrieved. <URL>

With information from a real website, this looks like:

Morris, Nancy. "How to Cite a Tweet in APA,

Chicago, and MLA." Scribendi. Scribendi

Inc., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2021.

<https://www.scribendi.com/academy/articles/how_to_cite_a_website.en.html>

How Do You Cite a Tweet in MLA ?

MLA uses the full text of a short Tweet (under 140 characters) as its title. Longer Tweets can be shortened using ellipses. 

MLA Tweet references should be formatted as follows:

@twitterhandle (Author Name). "Text of Tweet." Twitter, Date Month, Year, time of

publication, URL.

With information from an actual Tweet, this looks like:

@neiltyson (Neil deGrasse Tyson). "You can't use reason to convince anyone out of an

argument that they didn't use reason to get into." Twitter, 29 Sept. 2020, 10:15 p.m.,

https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/1311127369785192449 .

How to Cite a Book in MLA

Here's how to cite a book in MLA:

Author's last name, First name. Book Title. Publisher, Year.

With publication information from a real book, this looks like:

Montgomery, L.M. Rainbow Valley. Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1919.

How to Cite a Chapter in a Book in MLA

Author's last name, First name. "Title of Chapter." Book Title , edited by Editor Name,

Publisher, Year, pp. page range.

With publication information from an actual book, this looks like:

Ezell, Margaret J.M. "The Social Author: Manuscript Culture, Writers, and Readers." The

Broadview Reader in Book History , edited by Michelle Levy and Tom Mole, Broadview

Press, 2015,pp. 375–394.

How to  Cite a Paraphrase in MLA

You can cite a paraphrase in MLA exactly the same way as you would cite a direct quotation. 

Make sure to include the author's name (either in the text or in the parenthetical citation) and the relevant page number.

How to Use In-Text Citations in APA

In APA, in-text citations include the author's last name and the year of publication; a page number is included only if a direct quotation is used: 

(Author, 2021, p. 123)

How to Cite a Website in APA

Here's how to cite a website in APA:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year, Month. date of publication). Title of page. https://URL

Morris, N. (n.d.). How to cite a Tweet in APA, Chicago, and MLA. 

https://www.scribendi.com/academy/articles/how_to_cite_a_website.en.html       

Tip: Learn more about how to write an academic essay with  references to websites .

How Do You  Cite a Tweet in APA ?

APA refers to Tweets using their first 20 words. 

Tweet references should be formatted as follows:

Author, A. A. [@twitterhandle). (Year, Month. date of publication). First 20 words of the

Tweet. [Tweet] Twitter. URL

When we input information from a real Tweet, this looks like:

deGrasse Tyson, N. [@neiltyson]. (2020, Sept. 29). You can't use reason to convince anyone

out of an argument that they didn't use reason to get into. [Tweet] Twitter.

https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/1311127369785192449

How to Cite a Book in APA

How to Cite a Book in APA

Here's how to cite a book in APA:   

Author, A. A. (Year). Book title. Publisher.

For a real book, this looks like:

Montgomery, L. M. (1919). Rainbow valley.

Frederick A. Stokes Company.

How to Cite a Chapter in a Book in APA

Author, A. A. (Year). Chapter title. In Editor Name (Ed.), Book Title (pp. page range).

With information from a real book, this looks like:

Ezell, M. J. M. (2014). The social author: Manuscript culture, writers, and readers. In

Michelle Levy and Tom Mole (Eds.), The Broadview Reader in Book History (pp. 375–

394). Broadview Press.

Knowing how to cite a book and how to cite a chapter in a book correctly will take you a long way in creating an effective reference list.

How to Cite a Paraphrase

How to Cite a Paraphrase in APA

You can cite a paraphrase in APA the same way as you would cite a direct quotation, including the author's name and year of publication. 

In APA, you may also choose to pinpoint the page from which the information is taken.

Referencing is an essential part of academic integrity. Learning how to write an academic essay with references and how to use in-text citations shows readers that you did your research and helps them locate your sources.

Learning how to cite a website, how to cite a book, and how to cite a paraphrase can also help you avoid plagiarism —an academic offense with serious consequences for your education or professional reputation.

Scribendi can help format your citations or review your whole paper with our Academic Editing services .

Take Your Essay from Good to Great

Hire an expert academic editor , or get a free sample, about the author.

Scribendi Editing and Proofreading

Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing transformed into a great one. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained numerous degrees. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.

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How to Cite Sources

Last Updated: July 11, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Diane Stubbs and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Diane Stubbs is a Secondary English Teacher with over 22 years of experience teaching all high school grade levels and AP courses. She specializes in secondary education, classroom management, and educational technology. Diane earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware and a Master of Education from Wesley College. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,662,220 times.

When you paraphrase or quote information from another source in a research paper, essay, or other written work, cite the original source of the information. Otherwise, your readers believe you are trying to pass this information off as your original thought. Proper citation adds credibility to your work and provides evidence to support any arguments you make. Your citations also give your readers the opportunity to further explore the topic of your work on their own. [1] X Research source

Citation Help

can you cite sources in essay

Gathering Information about Your Sources

Step 1 Determine what citation style you need to use.

  • Generally, you'll have full citations listed at the end of your paper. The citation list may be called a reference list, bibliography, or Works Cited, depending on the type of citation style you're using.
  • Within the body of your paper, use in-text citations to signal that the material preceding the citation is not your original work. The in-text citation allows your reader to find the full citation at the end of your paper. In-text citations may use the in-line parenthetical, footnote, or endnote style.

Step 2 Identify the author and title for each source.

Tip: Save time and reduce the risk of error by making a photo or screenshot of the title page or top of the article that clearly shows the author and title.

Step 3 Write down publication information for each source.

  • For a print source, find the publication information on the back of the title page. Look for the copyright information. In print magazines and journals, this information typically appears on the same page as the table of contents, or on the page that lists the periodical's staff.
  • For articles online, use the date that appears on the article itself – not the copyright date for the website. To identify the publisher of the website, look for an "about" page. You may also be able to find this information at the bottom of the homepage.
  • If you're citing an article that appears in a magazine or journal, write down the pages on which the article appears.

Step 4 Copy direct URLs for online sources and record the date of access.

  • If you accessed a scholarly article from an online database , it may have a digital object identifier (DOI). Use this number instead of a URL.

Tip: Double-check your online sources the day before you turn your paper in. That way if anything has moved or changed, you can make sure you have the most up-to-date information. Use that date as your date of access in your citations.

Placing In-Text Citations

Step 1 Cite immediately after you paraphrase or quote source material.

Note: For some citation styles that use footnotes or endnotes, the superscript number appears immediately after the paraphrased or quoted material, rather than at the end of the sentence. Consult the guide for the citation style you're using to make sure.

Step 2 Use author-date parenthetical...

  • If you include the author's name in your text, put the year in parentheses immediately after their name. For example: Allison (1987) demonstrated that leaving the ground in sod increases the organic matter of the soil by 15 percent in 10 years.
  • If you're quoting the source directly, include the page number in your in-text parenthetical citation. For example: Allison (1987) asserted that "leaving the ground in sod increases the organic matter of the soil by 15 percent in 10 years" (p. 45).

Example: Leaving the ground in sod increases the organic matter of the soil by 15 percent in 10 years (Allison, 1987).

Step 3 Insert footnotes for Chicago style in-text citations.

  • Generally, you'll separate the elements of the citation with commas rather than periods. Publication information typically is set off in parentheses. The only period in a Chicago-style footnote occurs at the very end. For example: Kent Portney, Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003).

Example: Leaving the ground in sod increases the organic matter of the soil by 15 percent in 10 years. 1

Step 4 Include the author's name and page number for MLA in-text citations.

  • If the source you're citing doesn't have an author, use a shortened version of the title instead. Use enough of the title that your reader could easily find the full reference entry in your Works Cited. Put the title in quotation marks. For example, if you were creating a parenthetical citation for a source called "Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously," and it didn't have an author, you might use: ("Sustainable Cities" 57).

Example: Leaving the ground in sod increases the organic matter of the soil by 15 percent in 10 years (Alison 45).

Writing a Reference Entry

Step 1 Start with the name of the author.

  • The most common format for author's names is to place the last name first, followed by a comma, then the first name. Typically you will close this portion of the reference entry with a period. For example: Hawking, Stephen.
  • For some citation styles, such as APA style, only include the author's first initial in your reference entry, rather than their full first name. For example: Hawking, S. W.
  • If you're citing a work with three or more authors in MLA or APA, or one with more than 10 authors in Chicago style, you'll need to cite with cite with "et al." instead of listing all authors.

Step 2 Provide the year of publication for APA reference entries.

  • For example: Hawking, S. W. (1998).
  • For some sources, such as magazines and newspapers, you need a more specific date. Type the year first, followed by a comma. Then type the month and day the article was published. For example: Hawking, S. W. (2005, July).

Step 3 List the title of the source using appropriate formatting.

  • Journal article example: Hawking, Stephen. "Information Loss in Black Holes." Physical Review , July 2005.
  • Most citation styles require titles in title-case, meaning that all nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs are capitalized. For example: Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time .
  • APA style uses sentence-case for titles, capitalizing only the first word and any proper pronouns. For example: Hawking, S. W. (1998). A brief history of time.

Step 4 Include publication information for the source.

  • APA example: Hawking, S. W. (1998). A brief history of time. New York: Bantam.
  • For print sources, most styles call for the city and state where the source was published (or city and country, for sources published outside the U.S.) to be listed first. The location is typically followed by a colon, after which the name of the publisher is listed. For example: Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time . New York: Bantam, 1998.
  • For most citation styles, the year the source was published follows the name of the publisher. Typically only the year is needed, although for periodical publications, such as newspapers or magazines, you may need a more specific date.
  • The year of publication typically is the copyright year. However, for online sources, look for a date the specific article was published rather than using the copyright year of the website as a whole.

Step 5 Provide the URL and date of access for online sources.

  • Many scholarly articles are available through online databases. If you accessed an article through one of these databases, you'll typically provide the article's unique digital object identification (DOI) number, rather than a URL. For some citation styles, you must also include the name of the database in your reference entry.

Example: Clark, Stuart. "A Brief History of Stephen Hawking: A Legacy of Paradox." New Scientist , 21 March 2018. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731700-100-a-brief-history-of-stephen-hawking-a-legacy-of-paradox/. Accessed 2 October 2018.

Community Q&A

wikiHow Staff Editor

  • Format your reference list following the guidelines for the citation style you're using. For most citation styles, references are listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the author. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Commonly known facts don't require a citation. However, observations, conclusions, opinions, and the like all require attribution. If you aren't sure, you may be able to get help from your instructor or supervisor. When in doubt, provide a citation. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Even letters need to be cited if they're used in your research and writing. Check out How to Cite Letters if you're using letters in your work. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

can you cite sources in essay

  • Failure to cite sources properly could lead to charges of plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious issue that can have dire consequences in academic and professional settings. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

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Do Footnotes

  • ↑ https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/choosingsources/chapter/why-cite/
  • ↑ https://libguides.brown.edu/citations/styles
  • ↑ https://libguides.mit.edu/citing
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_books.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_electronic_sources.html
  • ↑ https://guides.rasmussen.edu/apa/intext
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
  • ↑ https://politics.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/chicago%20style%20guide.pdf
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/apa/references/examples
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles/author-date
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/conducting_research/internet_references/urls_vs_dois.html

About This Article

Diane Stubbs

To cite sources, first determine whether you’re using in-text, MLA, Chicago, APA, or Turabian citation, since each style has different rules. Then, while you’re writing your paper, be sure to put an appropriate reference next to each cited statement. If you're using MLA, for example, write the author's name and the page number being cited. When it’s time to write your bibliography, alphabetize all of your references or works cited, then format your document based on whichever style you’re using. To learn more about citing books, newspapers, and online magazines, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • Referencing

A Quick Guide to Referencing | Cite Your Sources Correctly

Referencing means acknowledging the sources you have used in your writing. Including references helps you support your claims and ensures that you avoid plagiarism .

There are many referencing styles, but they usually consist of two things:

  • A citation wherever you refer to a source in your text.
  • A reference list or bibliography at the end listing full details of all your sources.

The most common method of referencing in UK universities is Harvard style , which uses author-date citations in the text. Our free Harvard Reference Generator automatically creates accurate references in this style.

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Table of contents

Referencing styles, citing your sources with in-text citations, creating your reference list or bibliography, harvard referencing examples, frequently asked questions about referencing.

Each referencing style has different rules for presenting source information. For in-text citations, some use footnotes or endnotes , while others include the author’s surname and date of publication in brackets in the text.

The reference list or bibliography is presented differently in each style, with different rules for things like capitalisation, italics, and quotation marks in references.

Your university will usually tell you which referencing style to use; they may even have their own unique style. Always follow your university’s guidelines, and ask your tutor if you are unsure. The most common styles are summarised below.

Harvard referencing, the most commonly used style at UK universities, uses author–date in-text citations corresponding to an alphabetical bibliography or reference list at the end.

Harvard Referencing Guide

Vancouver referencing, used in biomedicine and other sciences, uses reference numbers in the text corresponding to a numbered reference list at the end.

Vancouver Referencing Guide

APA referencing, used in the social and behavioural sciences, uses author–date in-text citations corresponding to an alphabetical reference list at the end.

APA Referencing Guide APA Reference Generator

MHRA referencing, used in the humanities, uses footnotes in the text with source information, in addition to an alphabetised bibliography at the end.

MHRA Referencing Guide

OSCOLA referencing, used in law, uses footnotes in the text with source information, and an alphabetical bibliography at the end in longer texts.

OSCOLA Referencing Guide

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

In-text citations should be used whenever you quote, paraphrase, or refer to information from a source (e.g. a book, article, image, website, or video).

Quoting and paraphrasing

Quoting is when you directly copy some text from a source and enclose it in quotation marks to indicate that it is not your own writing.

Paraphrasing is when you rephrase the original source into your own words. In this case, you don’t use quotation marks, but you still need to include a citation.

In most referencing styles, page numbers are included when you’re quoting or paraphrasing a particular passage. If you are referring to the text as a whole, no page number is needed.

In-text citations

In-text citations are quick references to your sources. In Harvard referencing, you use the author’s surname and the date of publication in brackets.

Up to three authors are included in a Harvard in-text citation. If the source has more than three authors, include the first author followed by ‘ et al. ‘

The point of these citations is to direct your reader to the alphabetised reference list, where you give full information about each source. For example, to find the source cited above, the reader would look under ‘J’ in your reference list to find the title and publication details of the source.

Placement of in-text citations

In-text citations should be placed directly after the quotation or information they refer to, usually before a comma or full stop. If a sentence is supported by multiple sources, you can combine them in one set of brackets, separated by a semicolon.

If you mention the author’s name in the text already, you don’t include it in the citation, and you can place the citation immediately after the name.

  • Another researcher warns that the results of this method are ‘inconsistent’ (Singh, 2018, p. 13) .
  • Previous research has frequently illustrated the pitfalls of this method (Singh, 2018; Jones, 2016) .
  • Singh (2018, p. 13) warns that the results of this method are ‘inconsistent’.

The terms ‘bibliography’ and ‘reference list’ are sometimes used interchangeably. Both refer to a list that contains full information on all the sources cited in your text. Sometimes ‘bibliography’ is used to mean a more extensive list, also containing sources that you consulted but did not cite in the text.

A reference list or bibliography is usually mandatory, since in-text citations typically don’t provide full source information. For styles that already include full source information in footnotes (e.g. OSCOLA and Chicago Style ), the bibliography is optional, although your university may still require you to include one.

Format of the reference list

Reference lists are usually alphabetised by authors’ last names. Each entry in the list appears on a new line, and a hanging indent is applied if an entry extends onto multiple lines.

Harvard reference list example

Different source information is included for different source types. Each style provides detailed guidelines for exactly what information should be included and how it should be presented.

Below are some examples of reference list entries for common source types in Harvard style.

  • Chapter of a book
  • Journal article

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Your university should tell you which referencing style to follow. If you’re unsure, check with a supervisor. Commonly used styles include:

  • Harvard referencing , the most commonly used style in UK universities.
  • MHRA , used in humanities subjects.
  • APA , used in the social sciences.
  • Vancouver , used in biomedicine.
  • OSCOLA , used in law.

Your university may have its own referencing style guide.

If you are allowed to choose which style to follow, we recommend Harvard referencing, as it is a straightforward and widely used style.

References should be included in your text whenever you use words, ideas, or information from a source. A source can be anything from a book or journal article to a website or YouTube video.

If you don’t acknowledge your sources, you can get in trouble for plagiarism .

To avoid plagiarism , always include a reference when you use words, ideas or information from a source. This shows that you are not trying to pass the work of others off as your own.

You must also properly quote or paraphrase the source. If you’re not sure whether you’ve done this correctly, you can use the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker to find and correct any mistakes.

Harvard referencing uses an author–date system. Sources are cited by the author’s last name and the publication year in brackets. Each Harvard in-text citation corresponds to an entry in the alphabetised reference list at the end of the paper.

Vancouver referencing uses a numerical system. Sources are cited by a number in parentheses or superscript. Each number corresponds to a full reference at the end of the paper.

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Essay Writing: In-Text Citations

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In-text Citations

What are In-Text Citations?

You must cite (give credit) all information sources used in your essay or research paper whenever and wherever you use them.

When citing sources in the text of your paper, you must list:

● The author’s last name

● The year  the information was published.

Types of In-Text Citations: Narrative vs Parenthetical

A  narrative citation gives the author's name as part of the sentence .

  • Example of a Narrative Citation: According to Edwards (2017) , a lthough Smith and Carlos's protest at the 1968 Olympics initially drew widespread criticism, it also led to fundamental reforms in the organizational structure of American amateur athletics.

A  parenthetical citation puts the source information in parentheses—first or last—but does not include it in  the narrative  flow.

  • Example of a 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 (Edwards, 2017) .

Full citation for this source (this belongs on the Reference Page of your research paper or essay):

Edwards, H. (2017).  The Revolt of the Black Athlete: 50th Anniversary Edition.  University of Illinois Press.

Sample In-text Citations

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 keeping direct quotes to a minimum in your writing. You need to show your understanding of the source material by being able to paraphrase or 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 )

What information should I cite in my paper/essay?

Credit these sources when you mention their information in any way: direct quotation, paraphrase, or summarize.

What should you credit?

Any information that you learned from another source, including:

● statistics

EXCEPTION: Information that is common knowledge: e.g., The Bronx is a borough of New York City.

Quick Sheet: APA 7 Citations

Quick help with apa 7 citations.

  • Quick Sheet - Citing Journal Articles, Websites & Videos, and Creating In-Text Citations A quick guide to the most frequently-used types of APA 7 citations.

In-text Citation Tutorial

  • Formatting In-text Citations, Full Citations, and Block Quotes In APA 7 Style This presentation will help you understand when, why, and how to use in-text citations in your APA style paper.

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.

SIgnal Phrase Activity

Paraphrasing activity from the excelsior owl, in-text citation quiz.

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MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

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This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

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Extended Essay: Step 7. Identify & Annotate Sources

  • Extended Essay- The Basics
  • Step 1. Choose a Subject
  • Step 2. Educate yourself!
  • Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps
  • Identify Keywords
  • Do Background Reading
  • Define Your Topic
  • Conduct Research in a Specific Discipline
  • Step 5. Draft a Research Question
  • Step 6. Create a Timeline
  • Find Articles
  • Find Primary Sources
  • Get Help from Experts
  • Search Engines, Repositories, & Directories
  • Databases and Websites by Subject Area
  • Create an Annotated Bibliography
  • Advice (and Warnings) from the IB
  • Chicago Citation Syle
  • MLA Works Cited & In-Text Citations
  • Step 9. Set Deadlines for Yourself
  • Step 10. Plan a structure for your essay
  • Evaluate & Select: the CRAAP Test
  • Conducting Secondary Research
  • Conducting Primary Research
  • Formal vs. Informal Writing
  • Presentation Requirements
  • Evaluating Your Work

The Research Process

Question mark, conceptual image - Britannica ImageQuest

See this page for information on:

Annotating Sources: Origin, Purpose, Value, Limitation Selecting appropriate information Why you need a range of sources Searching effectively in databases and on the Internet Using Boolean Operators Cautions from IB on using online encyclopedias (such as Wikipedia)

Annotating Sources: Origin, Purpose, Value, Limitation

Questions to answer in your annotation of each source

Point source water wave formation in a ripple tank - Britannica ImageQuest

  • Who wrote and/or published this piece?
  • Is there evidence that they are qualified and/or credible to discuss and/or comment on the topic?

ORIGIN - the annotation

This is a [type of article] from [name of specific source] accessed through [name of the database].

ORIGIN - annotation examples:

  • This is a reference article from the E ncyclopedia of Countries and Their Cultures accessed through the Gale in Context High School database.
  • The World factbook is a website developed and published by the CIA .

Leonardo Boff, reads from his book "Sustentabilidade", "sustainability" at a panel discussion, UN Conference on Sustainable Development  - Britannica ImageQuest

  • Imagine yourself in the author's shoes.
  • What was the author's purpose in writing and/or sharing this piece?

PURPOSE - the annotation:

This article was published by the author to:

  • entertain...
  • persuade...
  • help people understand...
  • raise awareness of...
  • advocate for...

PURPOSE - annotation example:

  • This article was published by the author to educate people on the basic facts about Afghanistan's geography and culture.

Chemistry databook - Britannica ImageQuest

  • How is this source useful to YOU?
  • Does it help your knowledge, learning, or understanding of the topic?
  • Does it offer a unique insight, viewpoint, or perspective on the topic?

VALUE  - the annotation:

This article is valuable to me for my research because it helps me...

VALUE  - annotation examples:

  • This article is valuable to me for this part of my research because it helps me to understand some of the basic facts about the government and culture of Singapore.

Something's missing: 30th June 1947: Racing driver, John Cobb (1899 - 1952) at the wheel of a Railton-Mobil-Special at Thomson and Taylor's Brookland's works - Britannica ImageQuest

  • How might this source be limited or incomplete in its coverage of the topic?
  • What might be missing?
  • What does the author leave out?

LIMITATION   - the annotation:

This article is limited for my research because ...

LIMITATION   - annotation examples:

  • This article is limited for my research because it was published in 2013 which might mean that some of the statistics have changed over time.

Selecting appropriate information

Using boolean operators, cautions from ib on using online encyclopedias (such as wikipedia) and other similar information websites.

Hazard warning attention sign - Britannica ImageQuest

  • they tend to be general encyclopedias
  • very often the author is unknown
  • there is no guarantee that the content meets standards of academic rigor —it may not, for example, have been through a process of peer review
  • the content can be unstable , in that it can change at any time.

Your teachers and EE supervisor may choose to caution you against using free online encyclopedias and other similar information websites. A bibliography that only cites these for reference or an argument that is overly reliant on them will not demonstrate the necessary “range of sources” required by the assessment criteria for the extended essay. They may also not be relevant or appropriate for the research question being explored.

Many online encyclopedias are not scholarly sources; however, if used appropriately and critically they can offer a useful starting point when undertaking research. 

If using free online encyclopedias, do the following.

  • Follow the references provided by the encyclopedia; this will help to verify the information given.
  • Consider whether the article is part of a larger project, where a number of people are contributing to the discussion. If it is, then it implies that the writers have more than a casual interest in the topic being written about.
  • Look to see if there is a rating for the information provided. If there is then this means that the information has undergone some sort of peer review and been given a rating. While not the same as an academic peer review, it can aid the judgment of the “quality” of the information.

The key point to remember, if you do use information that is found on the Internet, is that you are responsible for ensuring that it is both reliable and accurate. One way to make sure you are considering the quality of your sources is to produce an annotated bibliography as part of your Researcher’s reflection space. An annotated bibliography provides a concise summary of each source and some assessment of its value and relevance.

A good annotated bibliography will:

  • encourage you to think critically about the sources you are using and how these relate to  yourchosen research area in terms of their relevance 
  • provide a way to help you determine whether a source is of use to you in your research
  • allow you to keep track of your reading and enable you  to make informed decisions about which sources to use in writing your essay.

Adapted from "The research and writing process; Academic integrity, Using online encyclopedias and other similar information websites", from Extended Essay Guide , International Baccalaureate Organization, 2018.

Twelve-step Plan for Researching the Extended Essay - Step 7

7.  Begin to identify how and where you will gather source material for your research.

can you cite sources in essay

Why you Need a Range of Sources

There are many information sources, from the obvious ones like books, magazines, newspapers and Internet sites to those you may not immediately think of such as maps, annual reports, conference proceedings and theses.  All sources have strengths and weaknesses and you should consider these when deciding on the most appropriate sources to use in your research.

Searching effectively in databases and on the Internet

By using effective search techniques you can find useful, relevant information without having to waste lots of time trawling through all those unwanted search results!

Use these tips to help you search a variety of information sources including databases, library catalogs, and the Internet.

  • If you have a choice, choose the Advanced Search  option, it will allow you to limit your search in a number of ways.
  • When planning your search, remember to use the keywords you identified in the 'Define' section.
  • Don't forget to use Boolean Operators (find more information on this page) to create your search strings.
  • The truncation symbol (*) can be used to find variations of a keyword that begin with the same letters.  For example econom* would find economy, economic, economics, economical etc.
  • Keep track of the searches you use so you don't go round in circles.  Note down particularly useful search strings.
  • Use quotation marks to group a number of words together (ie "Top Gear" would search for all results with the phrase 'Top Gear' but would ignore those where 'top' and 'gear' only appear seperately).
  • Verify important information by looking for the same information in a number of reliable sources.

Bookmarking & Organizing Tools

can you cite sources in essay

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  • Last Updated: May 8, 2024 3:48 PM
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  • Free Tools for Students
  • Harvard Referencing Generator

Free Harvard Referencing Generator

Generate accurate Harvard reference lists quickly and for FREE, with MyBib!

🤔 What is a Harvard Referencing Generator?

A Harvard Referencing Generator is a tool that automatically generates formatted academic references in the Harvard style.

It takes in relevant details about a source -- usually critical information like author names, article titles, publish dates, and URLs -- and adds the correct punctuation and formatting required by the Harvard referencing style.

The generated references can be copied into a reference list or bibliography, and then collectively appended to the end of an academic assignment. This is the standard way to give credit to sources used in the main body of an assignment.

👩‍🎓 Who uses a Harvard Referencing Generator?

Harvard is the main referencing style at colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is also very popular in other English-speaking countries such as South Africa, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. University-level students in these countries are most likely to use a Harvard generator to aid them with their undergraduate assignments (and often post-graduate too).

🙌 Why should I use a Harvard Referencing Generator?

A Harvard Referencing Generator solves two problems:

  • It provides a way to organise and keep track of the sources referenced in the content of an academic paper.
  • It ensures that references are formatted correctly -- inline with the Harvard referencing style -- and it does so considerably faster than writing them out manually.

A well-formatted and broad bibliography can account for up to 20% of the total grade for an undergraduate-level project, and using a generator tool can contribute significantly towards earning them.

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's Harvard Referencing Generator?

Here's how to use our reference generator:

  • If citing a book, website, journal, or video: enter the URL or title into the search bar at the top of the page and press the search button.
  • Choose the most relevant results from the list of search results.
  • Our generator will automatically locate the source details and format them in the correct Harvard format. You can make further changes if required.
  • Then either copy the formatted reference directly into your reference list by clicking the 'copy' button, or save it to your MyBib account for later.

MyBib supports the following for Harvard style:

🍏 What other versions of Harvard referencing exist?

There isn't "one true way" to do Harvard referencing, and many universities have their own slightly different guidelines for the style. Our generator can adapt to handle the following list of different Harvard styles:

  • Cite Them Right
  • Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
  • University of the West of England (UWE)

Image of daniel-elias

Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

IMAGES

  1. How to properly cite sources in an essay

    can you cite sources in essay

  2. 021 How To Cite Sources In An Essay Example College Writing Citing

    can you cite sources in essay

  3. 4 Ways to Cite an Essay

    can you cite sources in essay

  4. How to cite sources in an essay samples

    can you cite sources in essay

  5. How To Properly Cite Sources In An Essay

    can you cite sources in essay

  6. How to cite sources in an essay examples

    can you cite sources in essay

VIDEO

  1. Can you cite using footnotes?

  2. What info do I need to make an MLA Works Cited entry?

  3. How do I use quotes in my essay?

  4. How do I cite an online journal in APA format?

  5. You Cite Sources so people can find out for themselves 🤷🏽‍♀️

  6. Can you cite in-text?

COMMENTS

  1. How to Cite Sources

    At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays, research papers, and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises). Add a citation whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

  2. How to Cite Sources

    The Chicago/Turabian style of citing sources is generally used when citing sources for humanities papers, and is best known for its requirement that writers place bibliographic citations at the bottom of a page (in Chicago-format footnotes) or at the end of a paper (endnotes). The Turabian and Chicago citation styles are almost identical, but ...

  3. 4 Ways to Cite an Essay

    3. Include the title of the essay. Type the title of the essay in sentence case, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns in the title. If the essay has a subtitle, type a colon at the end of the title and then type the subtitle, also in sentence case. Place a period at the end.

  4. Citing Sources

    First, you must include a parenthetical citation in the text of your paper that indicates the source of a particular quotation, paraphrased statement or idea, or fact; second, you must include a list of references at the end of your paper that enables readers to locate the sources you have used. You can read more about MLA style here and APA ...

  5. Overview

    Citing a source means that you show, within the body of your text, that you took words, ideas, figures, images, etc. from another place. Citations are a short way to uniquely identify a published work (e.g. book, article, chapter, web site). They are found in bibliographies and reference lists and are also collected in article and book ...

  6. How to Cite an Essay in MLA

    Create manual citation. The guidelines for citing an essay in MLA format are similar to those for citing a chapter in a book. Include the author of the essay, the title of the essay, the name of the collection if the essay belongs to one, the editor of the collection or other contributors, the publication information, and the page number (s).

  7. Library Guides: Start Your Research: Cite Your Sources

    A citation identifies for the reader the original source for an idea, information, or image that is referred to in a work. In the body of a paper, the in-text citation acknowledges the source of information used.; At the end of a paper, the citations are compiled on a References or Works Cited list.A basic citation includes the author, title, and publication information of the source.

  8. How to Write an Academic Essay with References and Citations

    When learning how to write an academic essay with references, you must identify reliable sources that support your argument. As you read, think critically and evaluate sources for: Accuracy. Objectivity. Currency. Authority. Keep detailed notes on the sources so that you can easily find them again, if needed.

  9. How to Cite an Article in an Essay? (APA and MLA)

    Your in-text citation is a link to the works cited page at the end of your paper. There are two ways of using a quote in an essay MLA. The in-text method requires only the page number of the source used in parentheses at the end of the quote. The parenthetical one requires you to include both the author's last name and the page number.

  10. 4 Ways to Cite Sources

    2. Use author-date parenthetical citations in APA. To cite paraphrased material in the text of your paper, put the author's last name in parentheses at the end of the sentence where the paraphrase appears. Place a comma after the author's name, then type the year the source was published.

  11. A Quick Guide to Referencing

    In-text citations are quick references to your sources. In Harvard referencing, you use the author's surname and the date of publication in brackets. Up to three authors are included in a Harvard in-text citation. If the source has more than three authors, include the first author followed by ' et al. '.

  12. How should I cite sources in a college application essay?

    A college application essay is less formal than most academic writing. Instead of citing sources formally with in-text citations and a reference list, you can cite them informally in your text. For example, "In her research paper on genetics, Quinn Roberts explores …".

  13. Appropriate level of citation

    Figure 8.1 in Chapter 8 of the Publication Manual provides an example of an appropriate level of citation. The number of sources you cite in your paper depends on the purpose of your work. For most papers, cite one or two of the most representative sources for each key point. Literature review papers typically include a more exhaustive list of ...

  14. In-Text Citations: The Basics

    When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  15. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

  16. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Author/Authors How to refer to authors in-text, including single and multiple authors, unknown authors, organizations, etc. Reference List. Resources on writing an APA style reference list, including citation formats

  17. Monroe College LibGuides: Essay Writing: In-Text Citations

    When citing sources in the text of your paper, you must list: The author's last name. The year the information was published. Types of In-Text Citations: Narrative vs Parenthetical. A narrative citation gives the author's name as part of the sentence. Example of a Narrative Citation: According to Edwards (2017), although Smith and Carlos's ...

  18. MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

    Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author's name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once.

  19. Extended Essay: Step 7. Identify & Annotate Sources

    The Research Process. In this stage of the research process it's time for you to locate the information you need - identify the "how and where" for the sources you will use to write your essay. The important thing to remember is to not be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, just collect what you think might be useful to you.

  20. Citation Generator

    Thesis Paper AI Proofreader Essay Checker PhD dissertation APA editing Academic editing College admissions essay Personal statement English proofreading Spanish, French, or German. ... Citation Generator. Accurate citations, verified by experts, trusted by millions. Cite a webpage, book, article, and more. Cite. Cite manually. Scribbr. Our ...

  21. Free Harvard Referencing Generator [Updated for 2024]

    A Harvard Referencing Generator solves two problems: It provides a way to organise and keep track of the sources referenced in the content of an academic paper. It ensures that references are formatted correctly -- inline with the Harvard referencing style -- and it does so considerably faster than writing them out manually.