Citing and Quoting


Citing the works that one is borrowing ideas from for a paper is critical. Not doing so is considered plagiarism. In-text citations are a crucial element in writing a paper. In-text citations have very definite formats.

Examples of parenthetical citations in Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) formats are:

  • One author, no direct quotation:
    • MLA: (Olson)
    • APA: (Olson, 2010)
  • One author, direct quotation:
    • MLA: (Olson 10)
    • APA: (Olson, 2010, p. 10)
  • Two authors:
    • MLA: (Olson and Johnson 14)
    • APA: (Olson & Johnson, 2010, p.14)

Note: Check the MLA or APA style guides for citations with three or more authors.

An example of a citation for paraphrased material in APA format is:

In a study of instructional coaches, schools in Wyoming were given grants to hire instructional coaches to provide professional development, to assist in aligning instruction with curriculum standards and assessments, and to work one-on-one with teachers to improve teaching practices (Stock & Duncan, 2010).

In APA format, an ampersand is used when the author's names appear inside the parentheses. When the author's names are in the text, for example: Stock and Duncan (2010)…., the word and is used.

An example of a direct quotation citation in APA format is:

Bass predicted that the future would hold an "inability for individuals to tolerate a complete lack of stimulation in the environment around them" (Bass, 2002, p. 376).


Above is an example of incorporating a short direct quote into a sentence. This kind of quote makes for good writing because it shows that the author understands the material. If the writer does not want to include the entire sentence or paragraph in the quote, he or she must use an ellipsis (…) to take the place of the omitted material. For longer quotes, begin with a new line and indent the entire quote. In APA format, this called a block quote and is 40 or more words in length:

According to Calvano (2011):

The behavior approach centers on how the leader acts, whereas the "Great Man" theory is focused on the personal traits of the leader. With strong leadership behavior skills, a leader in today's global economy can lead an organization by being an impressive, solid visionary who enables followers to become leaders in their own right through encouragement and collaboration. (p. 4)


With the exception of the block quote, the closing quotation mark is placed before the parenthetical citation, and the period is placed after it.

Example: "Two people went to the grave site to place flowers at the headstone" (Calvano, 2012, p.16).

Question marks and exclamation points must be placed inside the quotation marks.

Example: "Did two people go to the grave to place flowers at the headstone?" (Calvano, 2012, p.16).

Use single quotation marks for a quote inside a quote.

Example: "According to Corcoron (2002), the ‘proper channels' were followed" (p.13). 
In the original quote, the words proper channels were in quotes.

For the details of each format (MLA, APA), study the respective style guides. This information is also available online. Be sure to look for reputable sources. Periodically, new and improved guides are published, so the writer should search for the latest material.