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Research Tutorial

In Text Citations

What and how information gets included in the in-text citation and the reference list citation will depend on the citation style you are using and the type of source you are citing.

For example, take a look at an in-text citation to the same source in APA and MLA style:

APA: (Smith, 1998, p. 639)

MLA: (Smith 639)

APA encourages you to include the author's name, the year of publication, and the page number. Use the page number if you are directly quoting a source. Even if you are not quoting directly but are paraphrasing an idea from a specific page in the source, APA encourages you to include the page number.

In MLA, you would just include the author’s name and the page number, with no comma.

In Chicago style, you would use a superscript number in your sentence and a footnote to cite your sources. A footnote for the same source referred to above would look like this:

1. John Maynard Smith, "The Origin of Altruism," Nature 393 (1998): 639-40.

Reference Citations

Reference list citations for APA, MLA, and Chicago include much of the same information, the author, the date of publication, the title of a work, etc., but the information is presented in slightly different ways. Here is an article cited in each style:


Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski, E., & Tamim, R. M. (2014). Detecting bias in meta-analyses of distance education research: Big pictures we can rely on. Distance Education, 35(3), 271-293.


Bernard, Robert M., et al. "Detecting Bias in Meta-Analyses of Distance Education Research: Big Pictures We Can Rely On." Distance Education, vol. 35, no. 3, 2014, pp. 271-93. Education Research Complete,


Bernard, Robert M., Eugene Borokhovski, and Rana M. Tamim. "Detecting Bias In Meta-Analyses Of Distance Education Research: Big Pictures We Can Rely On," Distance Education 35, no. 3 (2014): 271-293, accessed April 8, 2015,

Be certain to check which style you should be using!