What is ‘in text citation’ and why it’s important in academic writing?


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What is ‘in text citation’ and why it’s important in academic writing?

While doing academic writing, you have to go through a bunch of study material in order to back up your essay or arguments. This way, you’re proving that you’ve conducted thorough research in order to reach your conclusions. An in-text citation proves that you’re backing up your thoughts or ideas using evidence.

The key to excellent academic writing is that one which must also excel at conducting research and paying due credit to the original source. The References or the Bibliography section at the end of your essay denotes every in-text citation that you’ve made use of.

For instance, you believe global warming is happening because humans are contributing to various kinds of pollution, which is ultimately leading to the depletion of the ozone layer. Now, in order to prove your stance, you can add in-text citations of yearly pollution figures as well as research papers by authors who have conducted the same study and have denounced the same as you.

Adding references lets you prove that you’re not just making things up out of thin air. Instead, you’ve actually paid attention to the assignment at hand and searched the Internet comprehensively to find the relevant content.

The point of using in-text citation is that you’re endorsing your piece of work through someone else’s existing work because it is somehow related to what you’re writing about. You don’t even need the entire sentence; a phrase should also be sufficient.



How To Use An In-Text Citation Like a Pro

As explained previously, in-text citations allow you to make bold claims but with enough supportive evidence for things to weigh in, which leaves room for plenty of food for thought. In turn, you can elaborate your ideas further without having to grasp straws.

If you’re writing an essay, we’d recommend you to look up research papers or any type of reference material. You might have to go through multiple web pages until you find the relevant source. It’d be better if you’d give priority to the citations that belong to papers that are published most recently because they’d have a higher probability of being relevant and also provide you with more ideas to theorize.

To add citations, you can’t just simply copy and paste the link where you found the paper or article. Each citation must follow a certain format. The format usually varies depending upon the source. Whether it is a published paper, an article on a website, or even a line from a book, each type of source has a distinct way of being cited.

Now, you may wonder why copying and pasting the link isn’t good enough, given the fact that it is far too easy and also less time consuming. You may be right. However, an issue might arise if the link you’ve attached breaks down due to a technical issue and is not accessible. Your supervisor or teacher will not be sitting all day, refreshing the link and waiting for it to reload. That’s simply absurd, which is why citations are used.

So, each citation may consist of who, what, where and when, which is basically the author name(s), the paper title, the journal or website where it was published or posted, and the year of publication


Importance of In-Text Citations

Using in-text citations can never go wrong unless you’ve used absolutely random citations, which would not be of any help at all. The correct in-text citations will lead you to gain more marks as your teacher would understand that you’ve actually studied for the coursework that you were assigned. Not only that, it solidifies the credibility of your paper or assignment.

You can include facts and figures, graphs or even previously used diagrams in research papers as source material. You can even quote an author word-to-word but as long as you add an in-text citation for it, your work will not be plagiarized as you’re crediting the actual author in the references towards the end of your assignment or paper.

Other than that, many teachers often judge the authenticity of your paper by the number of references or in-text citations you’ve mentioned. That doesn’t mean every phrase or sentence in your write-up must be loaded with citations. Because firstly, you might not succeed in finding that much relevant content. But if you do, you might get plagiarized or it might not leave a good impression on your teacher. After all, too much of anything is good for nothing.

Furthermore, if your research paper gets published, you’d be lending a helping hand to other students to make use of your findings and they’d eventually cite your paper in their write-ups, who’d no doubt be grateful to you. So basically, it all comes a full circle.


How to Find Aid for Citations

As we mentioned previously, a citation consists of multiple parts and after learning about the types of referencing styles there are, you might sweat buckets. Because the format seems tricky to be learnt at first and you might easily mix them up. However, you may take help from a citation website or let an essay writing service rescue you by paying them to do the job for you.

In fact, there are multiple tools available on the Internet that can make adding citations a piece of cake for you. One such tool example is that of EndNote X9. It allows you to create a library, download research papers and add the said research papers into your library with a single click. You’ll have to enable the extension of Endnote X9 to work on your Microsoft Word. From there, it’s just a click and add, and you’ll be done in no time.

If you don’t add in-text citations, your teacher might give your arguments a remark such as ‘citation needed’ to make sure that what you’ve written is not something you just made up as you went.


Types of Commonly Used Citation Styles

In case you were at a loss when your teacher assigned you to use a certain citation style for her assignment, you have nothing to worry about. Allow us to give you a brief introduction to each style. Most of the styles are named after the organizations they were founded by. The citation styles are:

  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • Chicago or Turabian style
  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)



This type of citation style is used mostly in psychological and scientific-educational based academic writing. Developed in 1929, it was used to provide assistance at the time to various psychiatrists and business managers to highlight the references being presented at any conference. Nowadays, its seventh edition has been revised to be used to cite references for scholarly articles of research papers for a better understanding of students and readers everywhere.

APA style is considered to be a bias-free language as it is required to be written as free of judgment and facts-only information. This allows the reader to decide for themselves what their take is. APA style focuses on indentation, fonts, font size, margins, etc. If you go to www.apastyle.apa.org, it gives you a detailed account of how to use the APA format to the dot.

APA style can nearly cover any type of resource. People belonging to the business, economics, nursing and linguistic studies also use it.


How to Add an In-Text Citation Using APA

If you’d like to add a research paper in APA format, take a note of this:

In-text citation:

(Author surname(s), year of publication) à (White et.al, 2000)


Yoshida, N., Springel, V., White, S., & Tormen, G. (2000). Weakly Self-interacting Dark Matter and the Structure of Dark Halos. The Astrophysical Journal, 544(2), L87-L90. doi: 10.1086/317306



Used by humanitarian, academic writers, i.e. for subjects like English, literature, foreign language, communications and religious studies. Currently, the eighth edition of MLA released by the association is being used. MLA style is so popular that it’s being used around the world for citing all types of sources.

MLA follows the most common guideline because of which structuring a research paper using it can be fairly easy. www.style.mla.org is the place you should go to if you’d like to get a better understanding of how to use MLA format. The website also features various research papers written in MLA for you to study from, including a bunch of teaching material as well.


How to Add an In-Text Citation Using MLA

If you’d like to add a research paper in MLA format, follow this:

In-text citation:

(Author surname(s) page number) à (Hurt 127)


Hurt, R. Douglas. American Agriculture: A Brief History. Iowa State UP, 1994


Chicago or Turabian Style

The Chicago or Turabian style of referencing was founded by an American educator Kate Larimore Turabian for the University of Chicago. It consists of two different formats. The Chicago format focuses on student research papers, whereas the Turabian style is directed towards all sorts of publications. They are both used for subjects like business, history, and fine arts.


How to Add an In-Text Citation Using Chicago or Turabian Style:

If you’d like to add an in-text citation in Chicago or Turabian format, have a look at this:

In-text citation and reference:

The in-text citation involves superscribing the reference number against the quote from a paper and add the bibliography at the end of the page in footnotes.

Universal, eternal, and . . . immutable qualities of all of humanity”;4


  1. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1990), 12.



Issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, this is a format used in citing sources for publications of engineering, computer science and information science. Much like Chicago/Turabian style, IEEE also follows the numeric referencing style. Apart from that, IEEE is quite distinguishable from other referencing styles because of its uniqueness. The entire paper is written into two columns.


How to Add an In-Text Citation Using IEEE Style:

If you’d like to add an in-text citation in IEEE format, take notes of the following.

In-text citation and reference:

The in-text citation involves a citation number being written next to the reference within square brackets and add the bibliography at the end of the document under References.

In Figure 4, for example, we see port activity displayed from data produced at the Lincoln Labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a particular subnet over a 10-hour period [10]


[10]      J. Haines et al., 1999 DARPA Intrusion Detection Evaluation: Design and Procedures, Lincoln Lab tech. Report 1062, Massachusetts Inst. Technology, 2001


Difference Between APA and Harvard Reference

The sixth edition of APA referencing is considered a Harvard style of referencing. Hence, both the styles are quite similar because of which they’re both used in academic writing. But Harvard is primarily focused on scientific, academic writing. Based on using an author-date format, the difference being that of parenthesis, which is absent in Harvard referencing.

Furthermore, in Harvard, instead of writing ampersand to credit more than one author, the word ‘and’ is used. See the following example to distinguish APA and Harvard:



“Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.”



Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E., 2017. Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.”

If you can’t bother learning the Harvard format, you can always look up a Harvard reference generator to make your life easier. All in all, the 21st-century learning referencing format is so ancient.

You can simply search for an ‘in text citation online’ and the top search result is likely to be www.citethisforme.com and jackpot! Adding an in text citation is a vital part of your assignment, so don’t just disregard it carelessly. In the end, we hope we were able to teach you something that you can use later on in life successfully.




    […] with their eyes closed. They don’t need to do any revisions before appearing for their exams in text citation. On the other hand, there are students who find their hands sweaty one day before their exam. They […]

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