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Citing References in Text

When to cite: Citing is a must-have for most academic papers, and knowing when to cite is crucial. Not citing or citing too little may result in suspicions about plagiarism. Over-citing may be helpful at first, but may become cumbersome and may obscure the flow of the piece.  The APA Publication Manual, 6th Edition says the following about citations:

  Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work. They may provide key background information, support…or offer critical definitions and data…In addition to crediting the ideas of others that you used to build your thesis, provide documentation for all facts and figures that are not common knowledge (American Psychological Association [APA], 2010,  p.169).

Note: The lists and examples below come from APA Publications Manual: 6th Edition.  For a more comprehensive list on citations and grammar, please refer to the manual or make an appointment with the WRMC for a coaching session.

Citing References in Text

Authors In-Text Citation Example
1 Author: (last name, date) (Walker, 2007)
2 Authors: (last name & last name, date) (Walker & Allen, 2004)
3-5 Authors: (last name, last name, last name, last name, last name, date) (Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo, 1999)
3-5 Authors SECOND time they are mentioned: (Last name et. al., date) (Bradley, et al., 1999)
6 or more authors: (last name, et. al., date) (Wasserstein et al., 2005)
Organization: (Organization name [Abbreviation], date) (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2003)
Organization SECOND time they are mentioned: (Organization’s Abbreviations, date) (NIMH, 2003)
Direct Quotations (Author, Date, Page number) Csikai, 2006, p. 112)

Citing Yourself

VIU’s Code of Academic Excellence requires that students approach their writing as an original piece of academic thought.  This means that students are expected to write original content, even if they have written about the same topic in the past.  Students are not permitted to reuse part or all of previously submitted work for a course.  Even though it might be your original work (for a previous assignment), students are required to report on the fact that certain ideas have already been explored in previous work by citing their previous work.  When an assignment warrants the use of previous material that has already been submitted, students must cite themselves as the primary author for any previously submitted content.

Please note that the use of previously submitted content (whether cited or not) should be used sparingly.  Students should not rely too heavily on previously submitted content in their academic career as this shows evidence of not expanding upon previous material.  Remember that the use of sources is intended to be in support of your own ideas.  Therefore, the use of previously submitted material with a citation should be used to further an argument (not rehash an old one).

Citing Your Previous Work

When students need to cite previously submitted work in a new assignment or term paper, they should do so by citing themselves as the primary author.  To use a direct quote, provide the quotation and the citation as you would for any other source.  However, note that your work has not yet been published, which will be noted in the reference list.

The in text citation would look like the following:

  Martin (2022) suggested that the future of education systems lies upon their ability to adapt to the needs of the new tech-savvy learners that are now entering the school systems.

The reference list would look like the following:

Martin, K.J. (2022).  The future of things to come in education.  Unpublished manuscript, Virginia International University.