citation (research)

The Facts on File Guide to Research by Jeff Lenburg (Checkmark, 2005).


A source quoted in an essay, report, or book to clarify, illustrate, or substantiate a point.

Failure to cite sources is plagiarism.

As Ann Raimes says in Pocket Keys for Writers (Wadsworth, 2013), "Citing sources shows your readers that you have done your homework. You will earn respect for the depth and breadth of your research and for having worked hard to make your case" (p. 50). See Examples and Observations, below.

See also:

From the Latin, "summons"

Examples and Observations:

  • "Unless it is a scientific or academic report, parenthetical documentation (instead of footnotes and bibliography) may work best for citing sources. Follow this style for parenthetical documentation: Humorist Dave Barry cited a headline that read 'Search for Woman in Fertilized Egg Suit Goes Nationwide' in his Sunday column ('Grammar Just Loves a Good Infarcation,' Bergen Record, Feb. 25, 2001)."
    (Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene, The Business Style Handbook. McGraw-Hill, 2002)
  • What to Cite
    "The following . . . shows what you must always cite and indicates when citing is not necessary. If you are in doubt about whether you need to cite a source, it always safer to cite it.
    What to Cite
    - exact words, even facts, from a source, enclosed in quotation marks
    - somebody else's ideas and opinions, even if you restate them in your own words in a summary or paraphrase
    - each sentence in a long paraphrase if it is not clear that all the sentences paraphrase the same source
    - facts, theories, and statistics

    What Not to Cite
    - common knowledge, such as nursery rhymes and folktales handed down through the ages; information that is available from many sources, such as the dates of the Civil War and chronological events in the lives of public figures"
    (Ann Raimes, Pocket Keys for Writers, 4th ed. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2013)
  • In-Text (or Parenthetical) Citations
    "In the body of your paper, when incorporating information, quotes, or ideas from a credible source into a paragraph or sentence, you must cite the source that you have used. Usually the citation appears at the end of the sentence or paragraph with the name of the source enclosed in parentheses. . . .

    "An in-text citation typically includes either the last name of the author, the title or publication name (in quotations), or the name of the company, organization, or Web site, if no author or article title is known. Each source you cite should correspond with those listed in the Bibliography, Works Cited, or References of your paper. . . .

    "One of the most common forms of in-text citation is simply citing the last name of the author of your source within the sentence or paragraph where it appears:
    When a woman stays home with her children she is able to 'give more of herself to her infant at least during the crucial first year, when a child's brain doubles in size, and preferably for the first five years, while the brain trebles in size to attain three-fourths of its final growth' (McCollister).
    "Notice, in the following example, the above citation corresponds with the first word of the source as listed in the Bibliography . . .:
    McCollister, Betty. 'The Social Necessity of Nurturance.' Humanist. Jan/Feb 2001. Academic Search File. 25 Sep. 2003:"
    (Jeff Lenburg, The Facts on File Guide to Research. Checkmark, 2005)
  • MLA Citations for a Web Page
    Clark, Josh. "Does Gum Really Stay in You for Seven Years?" How Stuff Works. Discover, 18 Dec, 2007. Web. 12 Aug. 2008.
    "[T]he author's name is first, followed by a period because it answers the question 'Who wrote the information used?' The title of the article in quotation marks comes next. Usually a period would follow the title, but there is none here because the title includes a punctuation mark. The name of the Web site comes next to answer the question 'Where was the information found?' However, because information found on the Web can, and often does, change, it is important to include some additional information to answer the location question. The sponsor of the Web site helps specific the site, as well as the date of the posting. Finally, the descriptor 'Web,' followed by the date of access, assures the researcher and the reader that information was available on a specific date."
    (Marilyn Heath, MLA Made Easy: Citation Basics for Beginners. Linworth, 2009)
  • The Importance of Citations
    "Citations protect you from a charge of plagiarism, but beyond that narrow self-interest, correct citations contribute to your ethos. First, readers don't trust sources they can't find. If they can't find yours because you failed to document them adequately, they won't trust your evidence; and if they don't trust your evidence, they won't trust your report or you. Second, many experienced researchers think that if a writer can't get the little things right, he can't be trusted on the big ones. Getting the details of citations right distinguishes reliable, experienced researchers from careless beginners. Finally, teachers assign research papers to help you learn how to integrate the research of others into your own thinking. Proper citations show that you have learned one important part of that process."
    (Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, 3rd ed. The University of Chicago Press, 2008)


Pronunciation: si-TAY-shun