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Sociology: Citation

Welcome to Sociology subject guide


When To Cite

A citation is a reference to the source of information used in your research. Any time you directly quote, paraphrase or summarize the essential elements of someone else's idea in your work, an in-text citation should follow. An in-text citation is a brief notation within the text of your paper or presentation which refers the reader to a fuller notation, or end-of-paper citation, that provides all necessary details about that source of information.

Direct quotations should be surrounded by quotations marks and are generally used when the idea you want to capture is best expressed by the source. 

Paraphrasing and summarizing involve rewording an essential idea from someone else's work, usually to either condense the point or to make it better fit your writing style.

You do not have to cite your own ideas, unless they have been published. And you do not have to cite common knowledge, or information that most people in your audience would know without having to look it up.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations alert the reader to an idea from an outside source.Parenthetical Notes

In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations usually appear as parenthetical notes (sometimes called parenthetical documentation). They are called parenthetical notes because brief information about the source, usually the author's name, year of publication, and page number, is enclosed in parentheses as follows:
MLA style: (Smith 263)

APA style: (Smith, 2013, p. 263)
Parenthetical notes are inserted into the text of the paper at the end of a sentence or paragraph:>

Example of a parenthetical in-text citation.

In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations are associated with end-of-paper citations that provide full details about an information source.

Note: Different source types and situations require different information within the parentheses. Refer to a style guide for the style you are using for details.

Note Numbers

In Chicago and CSE styles, in-text citations usually appear as superscript numerals, or note numbers, as follows:

These note numbers are associated with full citations that can appear as footnotes (bottom of page), endnotes (end of chapter or paper), or lists of cited references at the end of the paper.


Example of a footnote. After the paraphrased or quoted text, there is a superscript numeral to identify the citation. At the end of the page, all the citations for that page are listed.


Example of an endnote. A numeral to identify the citation is placed in superscript at the end of the quoted or paraphrased material. At the end of the document, the citations are listed in the order that they appeared in the document.

End-of-Paper Citations

End-of-paper citations, as well as footnotes and endnotes, include full details about a source of information. Citations contain different pieces of identifying information about your source depending on what type of source it is. In academic research, your sources will most commonly be articles from scholarly journals, and the citation for an article typically includes: 

  • author(s)
  • article title
  • publication information (journal title, date, volume, issue, pages, etc.)
  • and, for online sources:
    • DOI (digital object identifier).
    • URL of the information source itself
    • URL of the journal that published the article

There are many other types of sources you might use, including books, book chapters, films, song lyrics, musical scores, interviews, e-mails, blog entries, art works, lectures, websites and more. To determine which details are required for a citation for a particular source type, find that source type within the style guide for the citation style you are using.

At the end of your research paper, full citations should be listed in order according to the citation style you are using:

  • In MLA style, this list is called a Works Cited page.  
  • In APA style, it is called a References page.
  • In CSE style, it is called a Cited References page.
  • And, in Chicago style, there may be both a Notes page and a Bibliography page. 

Information from:

  1. Using someone else’s ideas in your writing(s) without giving credit to the original creator of the ideas is plagiarism.  Whether you meant to do it or not, does not justified your action(s).
  2. Always take careful notes and make it clear when you are taking information from another source
  3. If you paraphrase, cite the source in parenthesis.
  4. In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations usually appear in parenthesis.  

Do you think plagiarism is a problem that is talked about in academia.  Check out these real world examples of celebrities being accused of plagiarizing.

Plagiarism at Lincoln University

According to the LU Catalog:

"Plagiarism is the use of reference sources without providing correct acknowledgements. When you use ideas or words created by another person and do not give proper credit, you are claiming the words or ideas are your own. In essence, you are stealing from the original writer." In essence, "You Quote It, You Note It."

Plagiarism may take many forms:

  • cheating,
  • copying information directly without providing quotation marks,
  • failing to cite sources, or
  • citing sources incorrectly.

It does not matter whether you intended to plagiarize or whether the plagiarism occurred unintentionally, there are consequences to the offense. Ignorance of the rules of correct citation is not an acceptable excuse.

Below are the consequences for plagiarizing:

  • Your might fail the assignment
  • Fail the course
  • A letter sent to your academic file
  • If more than one offense, the offender is sent to academic judicial review board.
  • Offender may face expulsion

Lincoln University Copy Right Law

Policy for Lincoln University faculty members regarding the use of coursepacks, anthologies, or classroom handouts.

Multimedia, Fair Use and Copyrights – ATS

Academic Technology Support (ATS) provides links to resources on copyright and fair use in the classroom.

undefined U.S. Copy Right Office

Copy Rights and Fair Use

Stanford University Libraries
Copyright Fair Use: Common Scenarios

California State University Long Beach

Copy Right and Intellectual Property

Penn State University College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
Dutton Institute

Copy Right and Legal Media at Penn State

Penn State University

Copy Right Crash Course

University of Texas Libraries

Copyright Resources

Copyright Clearance Center