As you start writing for your English and history classes, you learn many new terms. You learn you need to cite your research sources, but you may not understand exactly what each term means. Learning the terms used in academic writing helps you understand the process. To define what in-text citations are for academic writing, we’ll first start by defining citations in general.
What Are Citations?
No matter what style your teacher asks you to use, you must always cite your sources. Your sources are where you find the information to use for your research.
For example, let’s say your teacher asks you to write an English paper about famous female poets. You might start with a web search to find sites that tell you about this subject. From there, you’ll also need to go to the library and find some biographies or poetry books. These websites and books are your research sources.
Once you’ve decided what sources to use, collect key information about them. This includes the author or authors, date of publication, publisher, and so on. You might even create a preliminary bibliography. Organize these sources according the style your teacher tells you to use. For middle and high school English, you’ll probably use MLA 8 style.
Examples of In-Text Citations
As you start writing, you may want to add direct quotes or paraphrase from your sources. An in-text citation shows where you’ve quoted or paraphrased another person’s work. Always give credit to the original writer to avoid plagiarism. In-text citations direct the reader to the full source entry in the bibliography, works cited or reference list.
These example show in-text citations in MLA 8 format.
In-Text Citation Examples
Rudolfo Anaya describes the night sky as “a deer moon, sister of the sleeping son” (107).
Writers and poets often describe objects in beautiful ways, such as calling the moon a “sister of the sleeping son” (Anaya 107).
These in-text citations tell the reader where to find the exact source in the works cited list. Every in-text citation matches with a source entry.
Follow this example for the related works cited entry:
Works Cited Entry Example
Anaya, Rudolfo A. Heart of Aztlan. Justa Publications, 1976.
How to Use Style Guides
Your teacher will tell you what style to use. You’ll find that MLA is commonly used for your high school classes. Chicago/Turabian is used for social sciences and history. APA style is used for subjects such as psychology and other social sciences. Follow your teacher’s guidelines, and read these articles to find other in-text citations for your academic writing courses.
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