Three Common Ways to Cite your Sources

Ashley Yakish
Published on
May 18, 2021

1) APA

(referring to APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7) published in Oct. 2019)

Where it's usually used: Social Sciences; Business; Nursing

In text citation: Author's last name + the year of publication (for direct citation also include the page number after the year)

  • 2 authors: Name 1 & Name 2, year (names in the order they appear)
  • 3+ authors: Name 1 et al., year
  • If you are citing multiple sources with similar names, list out the names instead of using “et al.” to avoid ambiguity
  • Organization: List the full name the first time but you may include a bracket of abbreviation which you can use from the second one
  • Ex: First citation: (Simple Studies [SS], 2020)

Second citation: (SS, 2020)

  • 2+ publications in one parenthesis: connect the two using semicolon, alphabetically
  • Authors with same last names: use first initial followed by last names
  • No date: “n.d.” in place of dates

Reference section: Must be in alphabetical order for the last names of the authors; hanging indents (0.5 in)

2) MLA

(referring to 8th edition of the MLA manual)

Where it's usually used: Language arts, cultural studies, and other humanities disciplines

In text citation: (author page#)

  • If the author’s name is clear in the sentence, you only need the page# in parenthesis
  • No known author: title in quotation marks and page# if available
  • For longer title, italicize it
  • Authors with same last names: include initials of each author to avoid ambiguity
  • 2 authors: (Name 1 and name 2 page#)
  • 3+ authors: (name 1 et al. page#)

Work cited section: Hanging indents (0.5 in), don't include titles (Dr., Sir, etc.) or degrees (PhD, MA, etc.)

3) AMA

Where it's used: Medical research

In text citation: Use superscript Arabic numerals to cite material, like this: 1,2,3,4,5…

  • Place the number right after the fact

Reference list: full citation after each number (in order they appear)

  • 2+ author: Name 1 and Name 2
  • 3+ author: Name 1 et al.

*Make sure to check with your instructor for more direction. Different instructors have different requirements, especially the AMA since it is not specific on formats to use.

Tip: Use websites that generate citations (both in text and for sources) to make this process easier. There are many chrome extensions such as “MyBib: Free Citation Generator”.

Find more free resources here!


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