What is an in-text citation?

In your writing, an in-text citation provides the reader with the link to the original author(s) of the information you are quoting or paraphrasing. You must provide consistent, accurate citations for everything that you quote or paraphrase.

For example:

A fable is a story of fiction that uses animal characters to express or teach a moral lesson (Reitz 2004, p.1).

What is a reference?

You must also provide an accurate list of references for everything you use to write your assignment. A reference provides the reader with all the information needed to accurately identify the original source of the authors you have quoted or paraphrased.

For example:

Reitz, J. M. (2004). ODLIS - Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. Retrieved from http://lu.com/odlis/odlis_f.cfm.

Why cite and reference?

  • It enables the reader to follow up on the original work if desired.
  • It is a courtesy to the original author to give them credit for their own ideas and work.
  • Opinions of experts can be used to validate a statement or argument.
  • It makes you look professional and authoritative i.e. you know what you're doing.

What needs to be cited?

All information that you did not know before you read it needs to be cited, including:

  • quotations (anything that is the exact words of another author)
  • summarised or paraphrased information (anything that you write into your own words but is not your own ideas)
  • definitions of terms.

Quoting and paraphrasing is discussed in more detail in 6.5 Plagiarism.

What does not need to be cited?

Facts and ideas that are considered common knowledge within a discipline do not need to be cited.

For example: In the discipline of physics Einstein's theory of relativity (E=mc2) is considered common knowledge and would not need to be cited.

More general examples include:

  • facts: e.g. Canberra is the capital of Australia
  • widely known ideas: e.g. Adam Smith is regarded as the father of economics
  • chemical symbols: e.g. Oxygen = O2
  • scientific names: e.g. Humans = Homo sapiens.

Strict formatting rules need to be followed to cite and reference correctly.