Citing Quotes in a Paper

Referencing the source of information for research papers can be done in a variety of ways. When writing a paper, you include information from many sources. Quoting in papers helps the reader instantly identify where the information is from and how it fits into your thesis, topic and writing as a whole. Depending upon the format and style of the paper, writes cite sources with different methods. Keep in mind that any time you borrow ideas from another, you must cite the author and the source of your information. Documenting quotes in a paper is essential in avoiding plagiarism.

Research Paper Citations

Cite the source of your quote within the text of your paper. The American Psychological Association (APA) Style requires listing the author's name and the date the quote appeared in print. Use parentheses immediately following the quote, such as (Webster, 1979). MLA Works Cited, bibliographies, Chicago Style and AP Style have different methods of citing quotations. MLA and APA Style are most commonly used in research papers.

When using APA format citation there are a few things to remember. If you are quoting the same author a second time in succession, or if you mention his name in the paper, you may use the date only in parentheses, following the quote (1979). In addition, if you cite the same source multiple times, include the page number after the date: (1979, p. 34).

List the beginning of the title if the author of the quote is unknown. For instance, if you were quoting a study titled "The Birth of the Galaxy," you would put the appropriate text in quotation marks: ("The Birth", 1979.) You may also use the word "anonymous" in place of the author's name: (Anonymous, 1979).

Use footnotes throughout your text to cite quotes, paraphrases and summaries. Begin with the number "1" and place footnotes in chronological order for every subsequent quote. If you're using software designed to set footnotes apart, they may appear small and offset from the text. Otherwise, place them in parentheses, immediately following the quoted material: (1).

Substitute the abbreviation "ibid" for a numbered footnote if you are quoting the same source more than once in a row. "Ibid" is Latin for "the same place." For quotes appearing in succession, use a numbered footnote for the first (1) and use (ibid) for all that follow. However, if you cite a different source in-between, you must use a number again the next time you cite the former source.

Develop a complete bibliography that contains a reference list of every source you cited in your paper. Your bibliography appears at the end of your paper, and should list every source, in the same sequence you cited them in your paper. You may use italics for the titles of works in your bibliography. A typical bibliography entry might read: Barton Webster, "The Birth of a Galaxy," (New York Press, 1979).

Check out the features of your word-processing program. Many newer versions offer a footnote or endnote feature you can use to cite your sources as you write your text, and will provide you with a complete bibliography you can customize. Alternately, purchase an add-on program that does the same thing.


Try opening the "Insert" menu in Microsoft Word and then looking under "Reference" to find the "Footnote" option.


Check with your teacher. He may have a different style in mind for citing sources, especially if your paper is scientific or medical in nature.

Using someone else's work and not citing it is plagiarism, and is an infringement upon the intellectual copyright of the author.