The College Student's Guide to In-Text Citations

How do you give credit to the correct source? How do you know which citation style to use? Here are the answers to all of your citation questions. 

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In-text citations: Chicago Manual of Style

Another common style that uses in-text citations is the Chicago Manual of Style. This is closely related to Turabian, which was created as a version of Chicago style for students. Chicago/Turabian style is typically used in the disciplines of business, history, and fine arts.

The first way to cite using this style involves an author-date system to briefly cite sources within the text. With this system, the full references are listed alphabetically in a references list. For your in-text citations, you will add a shortened version that includes the author(s), year of publication, and page numbers.

For example, your in-text citation for a quotation from page 187 would look like this:

  • (McCullough 1992, 187)

Here you can find many examples of how to use Chicago/Turabian style when crediting various types of publications, including journal articles, news articles, and website content.

The second way to cite using Chicago/Turabian style is through the notes and bibliography system. This style involves numbered endnotes and footnotes that align with the bibliography at the end of the paper.

For example, if you were citing a book, the note would look like this:

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (New York: Modern Library, 1995), 111-13.

The corresponding bibliography entry would look like this:

  • Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Modern Library, 1995.

Note that bibliography entries are always listed in alphabetical order. You can find more examples here on how to cite using footnotes and bibliographies with Chicago/Turabian style.

In-text citations: MLA style

MLA (or Modern Language Association) is commonly used for humanities and liberal arts subjects, including literature. Unlike the two styles listed above, MLA style leaves the year out of the in-text citation and instead uses the author’s last name followed by the relevant page number.

Here’s an example of two different ways to format the same in-text citation:

  • According to Smith, more than 10,000 people participated in the march (122).
  • One researcher observed that more than 10,000 people participated in the march (Smith 122).

If there is no known author, use keywords from the title for your in-text citation. If you’re quoting an online article titled, “The Impact of Incarceration on Preschool-Age Children,” you might use:

  • More than half of the children who had incarcerated parents were under 10 years old (“Impact of Incarceration” 17).

Citing sources is a practice you will encounter often while in college, so it’s important to set aside time to understand the styles you will be using. If you’re unsure or looking to gain confidence in a particular style, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.


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