Skip to main content

Nursing Library Guide: In-Text Citing

Guide to library resources for nursing students showing how to find information in books and journals, referencing and essay writing.

Citing in the body of your text

In-text citing is the means by which you acknowledge the words or ideas of another in your essay. In the body of your essay, you would record the author's surname and the date of the publication:

         You need to be ethical in dealing with patients (Kornblau, 2012).

This cite then links to your list of references at the end of your essay.


Only indicate the page number of your source if you make a direct quote. Direct quotes must be put in inverted commas, e.g.

      “The dominant philosophical approach in contemporary science is postpositivism” (Hinshaw, 1999, p. 5).


If the author's name is part of your sentence, do not repeat the name in your in-text citation, e.g.

         Benjamin and Curtis (2010) are of the opinion that ethics is a vital part of any curriculum.


When a source has three, four or five authors, include all the authors the first time the source is cited. When that source is cited again, the first author’s surname and “et al.” are used.

   (Picker, Griffiths, & Weaving, 2002)  - first time it is cited

   (Picker et al., 2002) – subsequent citations


When a source has six or more authors, the first author’s surname and “et al.” are used every time the source is cited (including the first time), e.g.

   (Burns et al., 2000).