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How to Cite in an Outline


Outlines are handy tools for writers. They help to organize thoughts and ideas before composing a paper or delivering a presentation. Perfecting the outline can foster a more successful final product. Sometimes outlines are required to present citations for the sources they feature. You shouldn't perceive this as a burden necessarily as you can save time in finding citation information later by gathering it correctly for your outline. Outline citation needs vary depending on how they'll be presented.

Mention the title and author of a book, magazine article, or website in your outline. Also provide the name and publisher of the magazine, or the Web page from which you gathered your information.

If this outline is being used for a speech, refrain from mentioning the web address suffix, such as ".com" or ".edu," when speaking.

Preface your oral delivery of a citation with the phrase "according to..." This will alert your listeners that you are highlighting important citation information.

Provide more formal citation information for an outline that will be printed or examined.

Employ this format when citing a book in a printed outline: Author's last name, first name's initial, title of book, publication date, page number. To cite page 53 from "A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, published in 2011, use this example: Egan, J. A Visit From the Goon Squad. 2011. p.53

For magazine articles, include the article title, journal, and volume number, if retrievable, before the publication date.

Outline citations for websites should reference article title and website title before the publication date. The date of publication should be followed by the document's URL.

Ask your instructor for specific requirements necessary for this particular outline. The directions provided here are suitable to meet the obligations of the Modern Language Association format. Inquire if other formatting is needed for your outline before using it in a speech or handing it in for approval.

Tip
  • Offer citations any time you mention a statistic, quotation, or copied or paraphrased information.
About the Author

Jeffrey Norman has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has been published in such journals as the "Leland Quarterly" and on the blog, An Apple A Day. Norman earned a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from Stanford University.

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