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How to Add Citations in an Essay


At the end of an academic essay, you should include a page of references to show where you found the factual information you included in the paper. The in-text citation style you use depends on the style of referencing you use (MLA, APA or Chicago).

MLA Style

Open your essay in a word processing program and find the places in the document where you used information from outside sources. These are the places where citations are required.

Identify the author name for each source you used as a reference and the page number(s) where you found the information you used in your essay.

Before the period at the end of the sentence where a reference is required, type the author's last name and page number in parenthesis, without any commas, "p." or "pp." If you name the author within your text, simply include the page number sans name as your citation.

APA Style

Open your essay in a word processing program and find the places in the document where you used information from outside sources. These are the places where citations are required.

Identify the author's name and publication year for each reference you used to write your essay.

Find the places in the essay where you named the author(s) from your reference material. Add the publication year of the reference in parenthesis immediately following the name(s) in your essay.

Find the places in the essay where you need citations, but did not name the author of the source you used. At the end of the sentence, before the final period, include the author name and publication year of your source, separated by a comma. If you use a direct quote, you must also include a comma after the publication year and "p. 5," where the number five is replaced with the page number of the quote in your source material.

Chicago Style

Open your essay in a word processing program and find the places in the document where you used information from outside sources. These are the places where citations are required.

Starting at the beginning of the paper, number each point a citation is needed with a superscript number smaller than your essay's text size. If you cannot use a superscript function, include a number at the end of the citation point within parenthesis instead.

Number the references at the end of your paper to match with the citation points within your paper.

About the Author

Allison Boyer has been a content marketing consultant since 2005, and currently runs the food blog The PinterTestKitchen. She was previously the Content Director for New Media Expo, where she helped bloggers and businesses learn about new media. Boyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Elizabethtown College.

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