In-Text Citation


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In-Text Citation in CSE Style

In-text citation has two components:

  • A signal phrase that lets the reader know the source of the information.  Often, the signal phrase is an excellent way of making a transition from one part of your writing to the next.  It is a phrase of the general form "<author> wrote..."  It is also a good idea to describe the author's credentials in the signal phrase.  
  • Parenthetical citation that directs the reader to the exact entry of the reference list from which your information was obtained. 

Every time you "borrow" information in your writing, you need to use some sort of in-text citation.  Usually, that will consist of both a signal phrase and parenthetical citation, but, depending on the amount of information presented in each, one or the other many not be necessary.  The parenthetical citations that work with specific signal phrase patterns are presented in the table below.  

Please note that in-text citations give credit to more than just quotes.  If you refer to any information that is not your own personal knowledge or thought, you should cite it.  On a similar note, when you include a quote in writing, give a good transition from the text before it to keep your essay flowing well. 

Parenthetical Citation Structure

The parenthetical citation has two parts, an author and a date.  Formatting details are given below.  If the author's name is given in the signal phrase preceding the citation, it may be omitted.  


Formatting Details and Usage

    Preceding Punctuation
  • Give the author's last name.

  • If there are two authors, separate their names by "and."

  • If there are three authors, give the first author's last name, followed by "et. al."

    • If the first author's name is shared, give as many author names as are necessary to identify the source in the reference list.  Follow each name with a comma and a space.  

  • If work is anonymous, write "Anonymous" in place of the author's name.

  • If the author is corporate or institutional,  use the abbreviation you gave in brackets in the reference.  

  Opening parenthesis 
  • Give the four digit year of publication.
  • If you are citing more than one reference by the same author, give all the years, separating them by commas. 
  • If there is more than work by the same author in the reference list, attach "a," "b," etc. to the end of the year both in the reference list and the citation.
  • If there are authors with identical surnames, give their initials here.  (The names will be formatted as they are in the reference list.)
  None (a single space)
Cited in
  • If the work was cited in a secondary source, give the parenthetical citation for the original author, then write "cited in" followed by the parenthetical citation of the secondary source. 
  Comma (,)
Page Number
  • If you are citing a specific page, Write "p" followed by the page number(s) being cited, using digits.
  • If you are citing information from more than one page, separate consecutive page numbers with a hyphen.  Do not precede or follow the hyphen with any spaces.  
  • If you are citing the entire source, omit the page number(s).
  • If you are citing a web source that does not have fixed page numbers, do not include a page number.  (Do not include a page number based on a printout, because pagination could vary for different printouts.)  
  Comma (,)

If you wish to include multiple different citations within one set of parentheses, separate them with a semicolon (;).  


. . . Smith's . . . (1958, 1963a, 1963b, 1967)
(Smith 1979, 1980, 1982)
(Dawson 1986a, 1986b)
(Dawson GL 1986; Dawson WM 1986)
(Smith TL and Smith UV 1990)
(Smith and others 1986)
(Smith, Jones, and others 1990)
(Smith, Jones, and others 1990; Dawson 1986a, 1986b)
(Powell 1858, cited in Forbes 1972)
(Smith 1982, p 73)
(Anonymous 1999)
(CBE 1994)

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Created: 06/27/2000
Last Modified: 09/25/2002