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Creating Essay Citations

More Tips on How to Create Essay Citations 

Essay citations are ways to credit external references used to reinforce the statements of an essay. Because we have many writing formats, i.e.; MLA, APA, Harvard, etc., the manner of presenting citations may vary from one to the next. The discussion below covers the methods used in the MLA format.

There are two kinds of citations:

  1. brief in-text citations – These credits are inserted at the appropriate place within the body of the essay text to indicate that a quotation or a paraphrase is taken from the indicated source.
  2. complete essay citations – Credits of this type are grouped in their separate section at the end of the essay. They contain the author’s full name, the full title of the book or magazine resource, the name of the publisher or the website from which the work was taken, the date of publication or the date the article or book was accessed on the internet.


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In-text citations are references to items included in the main citations section of the research paper. There are two ways to include them as shown in these examples:

  1. “Henry James novel provides an insight into the character of Daisy Miller as a woman with firm purpose inside and studied charm outside (5).” – This style includes only the page number since the author’s name is already included in the text.
  2. “In the short story the heroine is portrayed as a woman with firm purpose inside and studied charm outside (James 5).” – This method includes both author’s name and page number in the citation.

Other variations on this essay citations format will be to place a period after the author’s name and page).

The main listing of works referenced is in the “Works Cited” section and the format of including the facts about the publication is as follows:

  1. author name(s)
  2. book title
  3. (magazines and anthologies) magazine or anthology name
  4. publisher and place of publication
  5. publication date
  6. medium of publication
  7. (web sources) the date of retrieval
  8. (web sources) the url of the webpage

(as illustrated here)

“James, Henry. Daisy Miller. Associated Publishers: Chicago, 2001. Print.”

“James, Henry. Daisy Miller. Early American Literature. Univesity Archives, 2001. Web. 12 August, 2004. http://www.unarchive.edu/daisy.html

Note that the items are followed by periods. The author’s last name is given first. The lines following the first line of the item are indented 4 spaces. The example if for a single-author book. The medium of publication is also required. There are as many variations of the samples above as there are types of publications. Translators’ names should also be included for translations.

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