Do I Cite in-text References in a Grant Proposal?

Depending on how they are written, formatted, and presented, grant proposals can provide you or your organization with the funding necessary to accomplish your goals. A proposal's appearance is perhaps as important as its content, however, if a reviewer struggles to read your proposal then they will likely not give it the attention it deserves. A clear appearance comes from including in-text citations in your proposal (to point a reviewer to the appropriate reference) and doing so in the proper manner. This article demonstrates how to write in-text citations in the MLA style.

Step 1

At the end of a sentence in which you refer to one of your sources, type one open parenthesis.

Step 2

Type the name(s) of the author(s)/editor(s) of the source that you cited, and the number of the page on which this information was found. The name and the page number must be separated by one space. If you have in-text citations that refer to more than one of the same author's works, you must also include the source's name in your citation (after the author's name type a comma, a space, and then the source's name).

Step 3

Type a single close parenthesis to complete your in-text citation. Type a period immediately after your closed parenthesis to complete your sentence.


The appearance of your proposal is important, but it might also be important that your proposal follows the citation guidelines of a specific style guide (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.). If possible consult with the organization to which you will be sending your proposal to find out which style guide they prefer.


If you are sending your grant proposal to a specific university or college department then your citations will likely need to follow the style guide that this department prefers. Be sure to confirm which style guide to use with that department, if possible.


If you aren't able to confirm which style guide is used by the organization or department to which you are sending your proposal, then review the different in-text citation styles of the different style guides and use the one that looks best to you.


Avoid citations that are so long they take up most of (or all of) a line of text. Citations of such length are distracting to a reader. If you must cite a source that has multiple authors consider using an abbreviation such as "et al," and if you are following a specific style guide then confirm that this style guide supports such abbreviations.


If you mention the author's name in the sentence for which you are writing a citation, then you can just write the page number on which the information that you have cited is found. If you are dealing with a source by the same author of another source that you have cited and the source's title is included in the sentence, then you can leave it out of your citation.

Whichever style guide you choose to follow for the in-text citations in your grant proposal, make sure that they follow that style as closely as possible. If your citations are at all inaccurate a reviewer may reject your proposal because of the potential of plagiarism that incorrect citations imply.

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