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Referencing: In-Text Citation

What is In-Text Citation?

In-text citation is a part of Harvard Referencing. The Harvard referencing system is also known as the Name/Date method because it uses a name and a date of publication to link citations in the text to sources in a reference list or bibliography.

Every time you quote, paraphrase or otherwise use information from a source, you must include some acknowledgement of where that information came from. In academic writing we call this acknowledgement a citation. Citations act as sign-posts within your work, to make it clear to your readers that your claims are substantiated in other sources. 

Using In-Text Citations

A citation in your text should include the author’s family name (or name of organisation if there is no author), year and the page number(s) from which the quote, ideas or arguments are taken, in the following format:

(Author Family Name, Year, Page Numbers)

(Tsing, 2012, p.145)
(Mida, 2015, pp.37-38)
(London Fashion Week, 2018)

Page numbers are required for quotes or paraphrases from books, journals and other paginated works; they are not required for websites or works that would not be expected to provide page numbers. If you need to cite a book, journal or work that would usually be expected to include pagination but does not provide page numbers, use n.pag. to indicate that page numbers were absent:

(Jones, 2023, n.pag.)

Each citation requires a corresponding entry in your reference list / bibliography, at the end of your work. This is where you include the full reference details for each source you've used.

You should include a citation each time you quote from, paraphrase or summarise a work. Citations are also used when reporting data, statistics and other pieces of information you have got from other sources. Place the citation as close to where you refer to another person's work as possible - usually directly after the quotation or at the end of the sentence. 

You can also change the format of the citation to allow you to refer to the author of the work by name. At all times, it must be clear which work a quotation or idea came from.

Steele grasps this when she describes the 'unease one feels in the presence of mannequins' in a costume museum (2013, p.201).
According to Bell (2016, pp.18-19), wearing the right clothes is so important that even people not interested in their appearance will dress well enough to avoid social censure.
Both Adams (2002) and Goldman (2011) discuss the use of this element of the uncanny within their own artistic practices.

  • Citing material with more than one author

If there are two or three authors use all names in the citation: 
(Smith and Mockeridge, 1993, p.5)
If there are four or more authors use the first author’s Family Name followed by et al.: 
(Kotler, et al., 2002, p.49) 

  • Citing two or more works in the same parentheses

Where two or more sources are saying similar things and you wish you include them in the same citation, order them the same way they appear in the reference list (alphabetically by author surname), separated by a semi-colon.
Several studies (Harding, 2019; Som and Blanckaert, 2015; Zborowska, 2019) have shown that...

  • Citing an author who has published more than one piece of work in the same year

If the author has published more than one piece of work in the same year use lower case letters to distinguish the sources in both the citation and the reference list:
Barthes (1986a) argues … and his analysis of structuralism (Barthes, 1986b) suggest …

  • Ellipsis (omission of words)

This is the three dots which show that some text, (one or more words), have been omitted from the quote.
‘Relaxation … assists one to cope with the situation’ (Turner, 2000, p.17).
You can use this to shorten quotations, to emphasise the point that are most relevant to your argument. You should not use this to change the meaning of the quotation!

  • Square brackets (inclusion of words)

Square brackets tell the reader that the writer has inserted their own words into the quote. We typically use square brackets when we want to modify another person's words. Here, by using the square brackets, we make it clear that the modification has been made by us, not by the original writer. For example:

  • to add clarification: 'The witness said: "He [the policeman] hit me."'
  • to add information: 'The two teams in the finals of the first FIFA Football World Cup were both from South America [Uruguay and Argentina].'
  • to add missing words: 'It is [a] good question.'
  • to add editorial or authorial comment: 'They will not be present' [my emphasis].
  • The use of ibid.

The term ibid. can be used in referencing to avoid duplicating the same reference details in the body of your text. Its use is optional. The reference ‘ibid.’ is short for the Latin word ibidem – meaning ‘in the same place’ and refers to the source immediately given before. So if having given a quote by Rodenburg and then the following quote is also by Rodenburg, the second time you can put ibid. and the page number (if this is different), instead of restating the citation.
(Rodenburg, 2002, p.15) - and then in the following citation, (ibid. p.209).

Secondary Citation

While you are consulting an original work, you may come across a quote from or summary of another author’s work, which you would like to make reference to in your own document. This is called secondary referencing or secondary citation.

For example, whilst reading a book by Bassett (2016), you read about work that another researcher, named Brown, has done. You wish to cite Brown's research in your writing, but have not read it directly. To do this, give the citation as follows:

Research recently carried out by Brown (cited in Bassett, 2016, p.142) found that …
(Brown, 2008, cited in Bassett, 2016, p.142)

You would include Bassett in your reference list, but not Brown. The reference list at the end of your document should only contain works that you have directly read.

It is recommended that where possible, you read the original source for yourself rather than rely on someone else’s interpretation of a work.

Using Sources in Your Writing

Knowing how and when to integrate other people’s ideas and research throughout your work by quoting, paraphrasing and summarising is key part of referencing:

Direct quotations are a word for word inclusion of a quote in your piece of work. The source, author and page numbers must be included in the citation.

Sparke (2009, p.19) argues that ‘we are so surrounded by design that it feels as if life must have always been lived this way’.
Craft can be seen ‘as a conceptual limit active throughout modern artistic practice’ (Adamson, 2013, p.2).

Quoting should be done sparingly, and used when you need to appeal to the authority of the author, or the author’s particular use of words is interesting or important. Otherwise, you should try to paraphrase.

Paraphrasing involves restating someone else’s argument in your own words. The source, author and page numbers must be cited. 

Members of a given subculture distinguish themselves from mainstream society by adopting a distinctive individual identity (Muggleton, 2000, p.63).

You can paraphrase to simplify or clarify the source, or to emphasise certain aspects of what the author said. You should aim to paraphrase from sources more often than you quote from them.

‚ÄčSummarising is briefly covering the ideas/arguments of others in your own words. The source and author must be cited.

McQuiston (1997) decribes the way in which women and women’s movements have used graphic design as a tool for empowerment.

Summarise when you want to shorten or simplify the source material, or give an overview of the whole book, article, etc.

When you include direct quotations in your work, you need to take care to present these correctly:

  • Short Quotations
    Include quotations of less than one line in the main body of the text within single quotation marks.

    'In imitating gender, drag implicitly reveals the initiative structure of gender itself.' (Butler, 1990, p.74)

  • Longer quotations
    Quotations longer than one line should be indented at both left and right margins and should use single line spacing. Indenting distinguishes the quote from your text, so quotation marks are not required.

    Examining different methods of production, Sparke (2009, p.22) ascertains that:
Craft-making relies on the maker’s tacit knowledge and skill, based on repeated practice, and involves chance and an ability to improvise. Factory production eliminated these elements.


Use long quotations sparingly, as they may include more content than is needed to make or support a point. Edit these appropriately, using ellipsis / square brackets, if needed.