Three Common Ways to Cite your Sources

Ashley Yakish
Published on
February 23, 2022
Quick note: These are blog posts made by and for students.

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”.


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