Parenthetical Documentation Example Essay

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MLA Parenthetical Documentation

In MLA style, in-text citations, called parenthetical citations, are used to document any external sources used within a document (unless the material cited is considered general knowledge). The parenthetical citations direct readers to the full bibliographic citations listed in the Works Cited, located at the end of the document. In most cases, the parenthetical citations include the author's last name and the specific page number for the information cited. Here are general guidelines for in-text citations, including use of authors' names, placement of citations, and treatment of electronic sources.


Use of Authors' Names


Always mention the author's name—either in the text itself or in the parenthetical citation—unless no author is provided.

If the author's name is mentioned in the text

If the author's name is used in the text introducing the source material, then cite the page number(s) in parentheses:

Branscomb argues that "it's a good idea to lurk (i.e., read all the messages without contributing anything) for a few weeks, to ensure that you don't break any of the rules of netiquette" (7) when joining a listserv.


If the author's name is not mentioned in the text

If the author's name is not used in the sentence introducing the source material, then include the author's last name in the parenthetical citation before the page number(s). Note that no comma appears between the author's name and the page number(s).

The modern world requires both the ability to concentrate on one thing and the ability to attend to more than one thing at a time: "Ideally, each individual would cultivate a repertoire of styles of attention, appropriate to different situations, and would learn how to embed activities and types of attention one within another" (Bateson 97).


If there is more than one work by the same author

If a document uses more than one work by an individual author, include an abbreviated form of the title of the work in addition to the author's name and relevant page number(s). Separate the author's name and the title with a comma:

Hypertextuality makes text borderless as it "redefines not only beginning and endings of the text but also its borders—its sides, as it were" (Landow, Hypertext 2.0 79).


If two authors have the same last name

If the document uses two sources by authors with the same last name, include the author's first name in the text or the parenthetical citation:

Tom Peters talks about a company that facilitates employees' renewal by shutting down its factory for several hours per week while teams work through readings on current business topics (57).


If there are two or three authors

If a source has two or three authors, place all of the authors' last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation:

A team can be defined as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Katzenbach and Smith 45).


If there are four or more authors

If a source has four or more authors, include the first author's last name followed by et al. (Latin for and others), either in the text or in the parenthetical citation. You can also name all of the authors:

Cogdill et al. argue that "making backchannel overtly available for study would require making its presence and content visible and its content persist, affecting the nature of the backchannel and raising social and ethical issues" (109).


If the source has a corporate author

If a source has a corporate author, include the author's name and the page(s). If the corporate author's name is long, it should be included in the text rather than the parentheses:

According to the Centre for Development and Population Activities, interest in gender roles and responsibilities over the past decade has been "driven by the realization that women often do not benefit from development activities and in some cases become even poorer and more marginalized" (3).


If no author is identified

If a source does not include an author's name, substitute for the author's name the title or an abbreviated title in the text or parenthetical citation. Underline the title if the source is a book; if the source is an article, use quotation marks:

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems has grown substantially over the past five years as companies attempt to adapt to customer needs and to improve their profitability ("Making CRM Work").

 

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Placement of Citations

  • Place a citation as close to the quoted or paraphrased material as possible without disrupting the sentence.
  • When material from one source and the same page numbers is used throughout a paragraph, use one citation at the end of the paragraph rather than a citation at the end of each sentence.
  • Parenthetical citations usually appear after the final quotation mark and before the period. An exception occurs, however, in quotes of four or more lines since these quotes are presented as block quotes: that is, they are indented and use no quotation marks. In such cases, the parenthetical citation goes after the period, as the following example shows:


    Bolles argues that the most effective job hunting method is what he calls

    the creative job hunting approach:

    figuring out your best skills, and favorite knowledges, and then

    researching any employer that interests you, before approaching

    that organization and arranging, through your contacts, to see the

    person there who has the power to hire you for the position you

    are interested in. This method, faithfully followed, leads to a job for

    86 out of every 100 job-hunters who try it. (57)

     

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Treatment of Electronic Sources

In-text citations for electronic sources are treated in most respects as print texts are. The only real difference occurs because electronic texts do not have page numbers (unless the source is in PDF format or otherwise mimics a print version of the source). Sometimes, numbered paragraphs appear on an electronic source. In such cases, use paragraph numbers instead of page numbers. The paragraph number should appear in your citation following the abbreviation par. If an electronic source includes section numbers or screen numbers, use those numbers after the word section or screen. Most often, however, the source will have no paragraph, section, or screen numbers. In such instances, include no number in the parentheses, as shown below:

The Collaborative Virtual Workspace (CVW) prototype is being used by

the Defense Department for crisis management (Davidson and Deus).

 

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These guidelines are taken from two books by Joseph Gibaldi: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Sixth Edition, New York: Modern Language Association, 2003) and the MLA Style Guide to Scholarly Publishing (Second Edition, New York: Modern Language Association, 1998).

 

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© 2004 The Write Place

This page was written by Judith Kilborn for The Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy the document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/mlaparen.html

Updated: 16 March 2004


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APA In-Text (Parenthetical) Documentation


In APA style, source material is cited using a system that emphasizes the author and date of publication in its in-text citations. These in-text citations—used when source material is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized—point to full bibliographic citations located in the reference page at the end of the document. Here are general guidelines for in-text citations that cover the use of authors' names, placement of in-text citations, and treatment of nonrecoverable and electronic sources.



Use of Authors' Names


In APA style, only the author's last name is used in the document as a whole and within in-text citations in particular.


If the author's name is mentioned in the text

Most often, an author's last name appears in the text with the date of publication immediately following in parentheses:

Bolles (2000) provides a practical, detailed approach to job hunting.


If the author's name is not mentioned in the text

When the author's name does not appear in the text itself, it appears in the parenthetical citation followed by a comma and the date of publication:

Interactive fiction permits readers to move freely through a text and to participate in its authorship (Bolter, 2001).

Note: If you cite the same source a second time within a paragraph, the year of publication may be omitted.


If there are two authors

When a work has two authors, always cite both names every time the source is cited in the text:

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) define a team as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (p. 45).

If the authors' names appear in the text itself, connect the names with the word and; however, if the authors' names appear parenthetically, connect the names with an ampersand (&):

A team is defined as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993, p. 45).


If there are three, four, or five authors

When you cite for the first time a work with three, four, or five authors, cite all authors:

Cogdill, Fanderclai, Kilborn, and Williams (2001) argue that "making backchannel overtly available for study would require making its presence and content visible and its content persist, affecting the nature of the backchannel and raising social and ethical issues" (p. 109).

(Again, if the authors' names appear parenthetically rather than in the text itself, connect the final two names with a comma and an ampersand). In all subsequent citations, include only the name of the first author followed by et al. (the abbreviation for the Latin phrase meaning "and others"):

Cogdill et al. (2001) assert that "backchannel is multithreaded, substantial, and governed by many social conventions" (p. 109).

Again, if the authors' names appear parenthetically rather than in the text itself, connect the final two names with a comma and an ampersand.


If there are six or more authors

If a work has six or more authors, cite the last name of the first author followed by et al. in all citations:

Adkins et al. (2001) studied the use of collaborative technology during a multinational, civil-military exercise.


If two authors have the same last name

If a document includes sources by two authors with the same last name, include the first and middle initial of each author in all text citations:

R. P. Allen (1994) and D. N. Allen (1998) have both studied the effects of email monitoring in the workplace.


If two or more sources are cited

When citing two or more sources by different authors within the same citation, place the authors' names in parentheses in alphabetical order, followed by the year of publication and separated by a semicolon:

Hypertext significantly changes the process of information retrieval (Bolter 2001; Bush, 1945; Landow 1997).


If no author is identified

If no author is identified, use an abbreviated title instead, followed by the date. Use quotation marks around article or chapter titles, and underline book, periodical, brochure, and report titles:

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems has grown substantially over the past five years as companies attempt to adapt to customer needs and to improve their profitability ("Making CRM Work").



Placement of Citations for Quoted Material


Specific page numbers for paraphrased or quoted material appear within the parenthetical citation following the abbreviation for page (p.). The location of the parenthetical citation for a quote depends upon the placement of quoted material within the sentence:

  • If the quotation appears in midsentence, insert the final quotation mark, followed by the parenthetical citation; then complete the sentence.

    Branscomb (1998) argues that "it's a good idea to lurk (i.e., read all the messages without contributing anything) for a few weeks, to ensure that you don't break any of the rules of netiquette" (p. 7) when you join a listserv.

  • If the quotation appears at the end of the sentence, insert the final quotation mark, followed by the parenthetical citation and the end punctuation:

    Branscomb (1998) argues that when you join a listserv, "it's a good idea to lurk (i.e., read all the messages without contributing anything) for a few weeks, to ensure that you don't break any of the rules of netiquette" (p. 7).

  • If the quotation is long (40 words or more), it should be formatted as a block quotation, and the parentheses should appear after the final punctuation mark:

    Bolles (2000) argues that the most effective job hunting method is what he calls the creative job hunting approach: figuring out your best skills, and favorite knowledges, and then researching any employer that interests you, before approaching that organization and arranging, through your contacts, to see the person there who has the power to hire you for the position you are interested in. This method, faithfully followed, leads to a job for 86 out of every 100 job-hunters who try it. (57)



Treatment of Nonrecoverable Sources and Recoverable Electronic Sources

Nonrecoverable sources

Personal communications (letters, interviews, email, and other nonrecoverable sources) are cited in the text of the paper rather than in the reference list at the end. Provide the initials and the last name of the author.When citing an email or letter, provide the date the communication was sent. When citing an interview, provide the date the interview occurred:

R. N. Valesquez (letter to author, November 17, 2000) noted misapplication as the source of poor product results.

B. O'Connor (personal interview, March 3, 2001) indicated that an environmental task force is being established to evaluate the most pressing problems and strategies for addressing them.


Recoverable electronic sources

When citing recoverable electronic sources in text (that is, those sources that have an Internet address), use the author-date method described above. Also, when quoting or paraphrasing source material from an Internet source, include either the paragraph number or "n.p." (for no page) directly following the quote or paraphrase:

Wigand and Benjamin (1995) predict "an evolution from manufacturer-controlled value chains to electronic markets" (n.p.).


 

© 2004 The Write Place

This handout was written by Judith for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN, using the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association; it may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/apaintext.html

Updated: 6 March 2004


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