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Health Sciences Undergraduate Library Guide

In-text citations

In-text citation is the means by which you acknowledge the words or ideas of another in your essay.  In-text citations provide brief information about the source to enable readers to find complete information about the source in the alphabetical list of references that appears at the end of the document. In the body of your essay, you would record the author's surname and the date of the publication. Each work cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and everything in your reference list must be something you have referred to in text.

There are two basic ways to cite someone's work in text:

  • Narrative citations - the authors are part of the sentence - you are referring to them by name.

For example: Dutton (2020) noted that relaxation training can assist in the lengthening of contractile tissue.

  • Parenthetical citations - the authors are not mentioned in the sentence, just the content of their work. Place the citation at the end of the sentence or clause where you have used their information. The author's names are placed in the brackets (parentheses) with the rest of the citation details.

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


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

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


When citing a source with one or two authors, include all the authors names everytime the reference occurs.

For example (Standring & Harding, 2008)


When a source has three or more authors cite the first author followed by the term et al. (Latin for ‘and others’) from the first citation.

For example (Alexander et al., 2018)


If you are citing different works by the same author, list them in date order

Single author/s:    (Leininger, 2006, 2018).


If you need to cite two or more references, with different authors, in an in-text citation, order the citations alphabetically as they would appear in your reference list and separate the citations with semicolons

Different authors:    (Chin & Kramer, 2019; Meleis, 2007)