In-text citation is an essential part of academic writing. It refers to the practice of acknowledging the sources that have been consulted for research purposes within the text of an academic paper. Proper use of in-text citations is essential in academic writing as it enables the reader to verify the sources and ideas presented in the paper. In-text citations also show that the author has conducted extensive research and has used credible sources. This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to do in-text citations.

Step-by-Step Guide

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to do in-text citations:

1. Choose a citation style: Different disciplines use different citation styles. The most commonly used citation styles include MLA, APA, and Chicago. It is essential to check with the instructor which citation style to use as well as the specific format requirement.

2. Cite the author: For in-text citation, the author’s name should appear first. It should be written as the last name followed by a comma and the first name or first initial.

Example: (Smith, John)

3. State the year: The year the source was published should follow the author’s name.

Example: (Smith, John, 2018)

4. Include the specific page or paragraph number: The citation should include the specific page number from where the information was obtained.

Example: (Smith, John, 2018, p. 27)

5. Use in-text citation parenthesis: Parentheses should contain all the necessary information.

– The author stated “quote” (Smith, John, 2018, p. 27).
– “Quote” (Smith, John, 2018, p. 27).

6. Cite multiple authors: If there are two authors, use ‘and’ to link the two. If there are three or more authors, list the first author and use ‘et al.’

– (Smith and Johnson, 2018)
– (Smith et al., 2018)

7. Cite electronic sources: For electronic sources, the author’s name and the year should be used. If there is no author or date, use the title or the organization in charge.

– (Smith, n.d.)
– (Smith, 2018)
– (“Article Title,” 2020)

Differences between Citation Styles and Which One to Use

Different citation styles have different requirements, and it is essential to check which citation style to use depending on the discipline.


APA stands for the American Psychological Association, and it is mainly used for social sciences. It requires the author’s name and publication year to be used in in-text citation and references.


MLA stands for the Modern Language Association and is used in language and literature studies. MLA requires the author’s last name and the page number to be used in in-text citation.


Chicago style is also known as Turabian style and is commonly used in history and humanities studies. It requires the author’s name, publication date, and page number to be used in in-text citation.

Examples of Properly Formatted In-Text Citations

According to an article by Smith and Johnson (2018), “quote” (p. 27).

Smith (2018) states, “quote” (p. 27).

When there are three or more authors, use ‘et al.’ For example, (Smith et al., 2018).

Tips and Best Practices for Including Citations in Academic Writing

– Use a citation management tool: These tools help to organize bibliographies and format citations to the correct style.

– Check and double-check: Ensure that all sources have been cited, and citations are formatted correctly.

– Keep record of sources: Keep a record of all sources consulted, including the page numbers and dates accessed.

– Be consistent: Use the same citation style throughout the paper.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

In-text citations have specific requirements, and failure to meet these requirements can lead to mistakes. Some of the common mistakes to avoid include:

– Forgetting to include proper page numbers

– Citing sources incorrectly

– Using the wrong citation style

– Failing to acknowledge sources that contributed to the paper’s ideas

Tips on How to Catch and Avoid these Mistakes

– Proofread: Always proofread your work and check if all citations are correct.

– Get a second opinion: Have someone else read through your work and check for any errors.

– Use credible sources: Using credible sources reduces the chances of making mistakes.


Please refer to the attached infographic for a simple and straightforward visual guide on how to do in-text citation for the most common citation styles.

Citation Generator Tools

Several citation generator tools can be used to help with in-text citation. Some popular tools include:

– EasyBib
– Citation Machine
– BibMe
– Zotero

It is essential to choose a tool that fits one’s needs and budget.

Pros and Cons of Citation Generator Tools

– Pros: Saves time and ensures that citations are in the right format.

– Cons: Can be costly, unreliable, and output wrong citations.

Expert Interviews

Interviews with experts such as librarians, professors, and writing tutors can provide insights on in-text citations. Common mistakes and offer tips on how to master the art of in-text citation will be discussed.


In-text citation is an essential component of academic writing, and it is necessary to cite all sources consulted and acknowledge authors that have contributed to ideas in the paper. In this article, we have provided a step-by-step guide on how to do in-text citations, the differences between citation styles, common mistakes to avoid, an infographic, citation generator tools, and expert interviews. We hope that this article has helped readers understand the importance of in-text citations and provided helpful tips for including citations in their work.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *