A citation is a note that tells your reader you used a source to write your sentence. Citations provide just enough information to lead your reader to the reference entry for that source.
Citations include 2-3 pieces of information:
Note: The examples below use red font to emphasis each part of a citation as they are discussed. Do not use red font in your own citations.
Part 1: Author
Authorship may be assigned to a group, or to one or more individuals. When authorship is assigned to individuals, only the last name of the author(s) is included in a citation.
|Number of authors||Example|
|1 author||...with unanticipated consequences (Ewing, 2018). OR As Ewing (2018) mentions...|
|2 authors||...heal the sick (Martin & Talukdar, 2016). OR Research by Martin and Talukdar (2016) demonstrates that...|
|3 or more authors||...in this process (Yates et al., 2019). OR Yates et al. (2019) suggests that...|
|Group author||...background checks (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2019).|
Note: For sources with 3 or more individual authors, write the first author's last name and the phrase " et al." This phrase stands in for the other authors.
Part 2: Year of Publication
The source's year of publication follows after the author. Do not list the month or day in your citation, even if it is provided. If no date is provided, write "n.d.", which means "no date".
|Date listed on source||Example|
|Date listed on source||...no matter the cost (Ratushniak, 2014).|
|No date listed on source||...fiscal responsbility (Carteri, n.d.).|
Note: If a webpage provides multiple dates, use the 'last updated' date. Do not use the 'last reviewed date' or the copyright (C) year listed at the bottom of a webpage.
Part 3: Location of information in the source
Include location information only when you use the exact words from a source (i.e., directly quote) in your writing. Location information may be a page number, paragraph number, or section heading.
|Type of source||Location information||Example|
|Book, journal article, report, etc.||Page number: (p. #)||...no matter the cost" (Singh, 2014, p. 10).|
|Short webpages||Paragraph number: (para. #)||...fiscal responsibility" (Reynaud, 2015, para. 5).|
|Long webpages||Section heading: ("...")||...is correct" (Parkland Institute, 2013, "Research Focus").|
Note: If the webpage you are using is very long, use a section heading to help your reader locate the words you used.
You can incorporate information from a source into your writing in two ways: paraphrasing and directly quoting.
|Original source||The emergence of social media platforms has created amazing possibilities for Indigenous peoples to combat centuries-old stereotypes and misconceptions.|
|Paraphrase||Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter offer new venues for Indigenous resistance to deeply-rooted myths and stereotypes (Vowel, 2016).|
|Direct quote||Social media sites have "created amazing possibilities for Indigenous peoples to combat centuries-old stereotypes and misconceptions" (Vowel, 2016, p. 88).|
You can include citation information in your writing in two ways: parenthetical citations and narrative citations.
|Parenthetical citation||Many first-year students initially experience stress and homesickness because college is their first experience living away from home (Adams, 2017).|
|Narrative citation||Research by Adams (2017) suggests that many first-year students initially experience stress and homesickness because college is their first time living away from home.|