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22.4 Formatting In-Text References

When you use others’ ideas, you have a variety of options for integrating these sources into your text. The main requirement is that you make it clear within your in-text reference that the information is not yours and that you clearly indicate where you got the idea. The following box shows some alternate phrases for signaling that the ideas you are using belong to another writer. Using a variety of wording makes writing more interesting. Note: Past tense is used in these examples. You may elect to use present tense (“writes”) or past perfect tense (“has written”), but keep your tense use consistent.

Phrases That Signal an Idea Belongs to Another Writer (Shown in APA style)

  • According to Starr (2010)…
  • Acknowledging that…
  • Starr (2010) stated…
  • As Starr (2010) noted…
  • In 2010, Starr reported…
  • In the words of Starr (2010)…
  • It is obvious, according to Starr (2010), that…
  • Starr (2010) argued that…
  • Starr (2010) disagreed when she said…
  • Starr (2010) emphasized the importance of…
  • Starr (2010) suggested…
  • Starr observed in 2010 that…
  • Technology specialist, Linda Starr, claimed that…(2010).
  • …indicated Starr (2010).
  • …wrote Starr (2010)

Table 22.3 "Integrating Sources (Summarized or Paraphrased Ideas)" shows some actual examples of integrating sources within the guidelines of the three most common documentation formats. You should weave the cited details in with your ideas.

Table 22.3 Integrating Sources (Summarized or Paraphrased Ideas)

APA MLA CMS
Explanation Author’s name: Either within a signal phrase or in parentheses before the period at the end of the sentence. Author’s name: Either within a signal phrase or in parentheses before the period at the end of the sentence. Author’s name: Either within a signal phrase or in parentheses at the end of the sentence.
Year: Either within parentheses after the name that is used in a signal phrase or after the name and a comma within the parentheses before the period at the end of the sentence (name, year). Page number: Either alone before the period at the end of the sentence or after the name within the parentheses before the period at the end of the sentence (name #). Year: Either within parentheses after the name that is used in a signal phrase or at the end of the sentence (name year, #).
Page number: Either alone within parentheses before the period at the end of the sentence or after the name and year and a comma within parentheses at the end of the sentence (name year, #).
Example #1 Many school staffs discuss integrating technology without making significant progress in that direction. Starr (2010) indicated that teachers’ lack of personal understanding of technology could cause roadblocks to integrating technology into classrooms. Many school staffs discuss integrating technology without making significant progress in that direction. Starr indicated that teachers’ lack of personal understanding of technology can cause road blocks to integrating technology into classrooms (1). Many school staffs discuss integrating technology without making significant progress in that direction. Starr (2010) indicated that teachers’ lack of personal understanding of technology could cause roadblocks to integrating technology into classrooms (1).
Example #2 Many school staffs discuss integrating technology without making significant progress in that direction. Teachers’ lack of personal understanding of technology can cause roadblocks to integrating technology into classrooms (Starr, 2010). Many school staffs discuss integrating technology without making significant progress in that direction. Teachers’ lack of personal understanding of technology can cause roadblocks to integrating technology into classrooms (Starr 1). Many school staffs discuss integrating technology without making significant progress in that direction. Teachers’ lack of personal understanding of technology can cause roadblocks to integrating technology into classrooms (Starr 2010, 1).

Table 22.4 Two Authors

APA MLA CMS
Example #1 Merriman and Nicoletti (2008) suggest that US K–12 education must take on a structure that is globally acceptable. Merriman and Nicoletti suggest that US K–12 education must take on a structure that is globally acceptable (9). Merriman and Nicoletti (2008) suggest that US K–12 education must take on a structure that is globally acceptable (9).
Example #2 US K–12 education must take on a structure that is globally acceptable (Merriman & Nicoletti, 2008). US K–12 education must take on a structure that is globally acceptable (Merriman and Nicoletti 9). US K–12 education must take on a structure that is globally acceptable (Merriman & Nicoletti 2008, 9).

Table 22.5 Multiple Authors

APA MLA CMS
Explanation Three to five Authors: List all three authors at first reference (name, name, and name) and the first name plus “et al.” for subsequent references (name et al.). Three authors: Treat in same manner as two authors: (name, name, and name). Three authors: Treat in same manner as two authors: (name, name, and name).
Six or more authors: For all references, list the first name plus “et al.” (name et al.). Four or more authors: You can choose to list all authors or to use the first author name plus “et al.” (name et al.). Four or more authors: You can choose to list all authors or to use the first author name plus “et al.” (name et al.).
Example #1 Borsheim, Merritt, and Reed (2008) suggest that teachers do not have to give up traditional curricula in order to integrate technology. Borsheim, Merritt, and Reed (2008) suggest that teachers do not have to give up traditional curricula in order to integrate technology (87). Borsheim, Merritt, and Reed (2008) suggest that teachers do not have to give up traditional curricula in order to integrate technology (87).
Example #2 In fact, it has been argued that technology has become part of education without a great deal of effort from teachers (Borsheim et al., 2008). Some have argued that technology has become part of education without a great deal of effort from teachers (Borsheim et al. 87). In fact, some have argued that technology has been incorporated into education without a great deal of effort from teachers (Borsheim et al. 2008, 87).

Table 22.6 Personal Communication

APA MLA CMS
Example #1 Stanforth (personal communication, July 17, 2010) indicated she had been using a computer board in her classroom for three years and could not imagine giving it up. Stanforth indicated she had been using a computer board in her classroom for three years and could not imagine giving it up. Sue Stanforth (telephone interview by the author, July 17, 2010) indicated she had been using a computer board in her classroom for three years and could not imagine giving it up.
Example #2 Many teachers are angry that they are being pushed to include technology because they like the way their classrooms work without it (Kennedy, personal e-mail, June 25, 2009). Many teachers are angry that they are being pushed to include technology because they like the way their classrooms work without it (Kennedy). Many teachers are angry that they are being pushed to include technology because they like the way their classrooms work without it (Greg Kennedy, e-mail to author, June 25, 2009).