Here you can find out how to cite, when to cite, and what cites should look like.

If you are comfortable (which means you can do it correctly) with a
citation and referencing style, you do not have to read this.

Definition: Cites, or citations, are the parenthetical notations in your papers that allow readers to make the connection between the information you have used (quoted or paraphrased) and its original source. Cites connect the information in your paper to the original source — or the 'reference' — which will be on the list including all sources you have used.

In-Text Parenthetical Notations (Cites): The 'Cite' is part of the sentence so cites belong inside whatever punctuation ends the sentence; cites are not, however, part of the original source, so — if you are quoting — end the quote, then place the cite, then end the sentence (with a period or other punctuation). Also, because cites are part of the sentence, they refer only to information that is in that sentence (not to information in previous sentences) and only to information that immediately precedes them in the sentence — so place your cites directly after the information that came from another source, which may not be at the end of your sentence.

What a Cite Contains: In sociology, cites include three pieces of information:

  • the author's last name (or names, if multiple authors)

  • the year the source was published

  • the page number(s) the information was printed on in the source

In other styles it is often only two pieces of information — the author's last name and the page number. I will accept either but you must be consistent. 

It is NEVER appropriate to use the full name of the author(s) OR the title of your source, article or book, in your text; the PURPOSE of cites is to allow argument development uncluttered by constant use of identifying information of sources. 

Also, limit the use of author's names in your sentences; this is your writing, and your argument -- don't detract from the import of your claims by giving GREATER credence to your source than to your own argument.

WHEN TO CITE: Any time the information you are putting including in your writing is specific and detailed and can be traced to a single or multiple sources, you need to cite it.  "Common knowledge" is only such if essentially everybody knows it (in which case, why repeat it?).

Basically, any details or information that specifies any of the who, what, where, or when described in 'On Social Facts' -- or a 'why' for which one of your sources is responsible, must be cited. 

For example, the claim that 'some people tip their hats when they greet women' should be cited or rephrased; how many is 'some'? and how do you know? are the questions that sociologists must answer when making statements such as this.  Social context of the information is equally important so,  where (the U.S.?, or on New York city streets?), when (the 1800s?, or today?) must be included.  Supplying this level of detail also insures that you are dealing with social facts. 

Examples Of Cites:

If author's name is in your sentence, follow it with year in parentheses and then the page number after the information

      Duncan (1959) . . . (p 10).

If author's name is not in your sentence, enclose the last name and year in parentheses with the page number

      (Gouldner 1963, p 63).

Pagination follows year of publication after a comma

      (Kuhn 1970, p. 71).

For institutional authorship, supply minimum identification from the beginning of the complete citation

      (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1963, p. 117)

Separate a series of citations that refer to the same information with semicolon

      (Burgess 1968, p. 231; Marwell et al. 1971, p. 105).

CITING MULTIPLE-AUTHORED SOURCES: Accurate attribution of source material (citing) means that all authors' names must be included in the cite; for two authors, that means both authors' last names must be included in every cite of their material (in the order in which they were listed for the original source -- the order of their names in your reference). In cites of sources with more than two authors, all authors' last names must be listed in the first cite. The first author's last name and then 'et al.' should be used in all subsequent cites.

Examples Of Cites:

ALWAYS give both last names for dual-authored sources

      (Martin and Bailey 1988, p 54).

Give all last names on the first citation in your writing for more than two authors; thereafter use "et al." after the first author's last name to indicate 'and others' in the citation

      (Carr, Smith, and Jones 1962, p 105). And later . . . (Carr  et al. 1962, p 67).


•   all direct quotes must have page numbers in the cite — (NO PAGE NUMBER = PLAGIARISM)

•   all specific information requires page numbers in the cite

•   page numbers in cites are the specific pages the information is found on, NOT THE PAGE NUMBERS THE ARTICLE IS PRINTED ON

•   cites refer only to the sentence they are part of; all cites (with one exception noted below) go before the period that closes the sentence BUT AFTER QUOTATION MARKS THAT CLOSE THE QUOTE

•   in your paper, you may not paraphrase material from a source, spread it over 2 or more sentences (or an entire paragraph) and use only one cite. Each bit of specific information deserves its own cite. Be careful about this.

•    you may start a sentence with a phrase like "According to . . ." using the authors' names and then use a full cite at the end of a second sentence to indicate that the information in both sentences came from that source.

•    if you use quotation marks that means you are directly quoting the material; in other words you are copying it VERBATIM. Make sure you do; misspellings, bad grammar, etc. inside quotes UNLESS IT IS IN THE ORIGINAL also constitute plagiarism.

•    By the same token, you cannot take a quote (or a paraphrase, for that matter) out of context. It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you understand the author's words by using the quote or paraphrased information in an appropriate context with additional explanation if necessary.

•    LONG QUOTES  For direct quotes that are longer than 4 lines of text, take off the quotation marks, single space and double indent (indent from both margins) the entire quote. THIS IS THE ONLY TIME YOUR CITE WOULD BE AFTER THE PERIOD.

•   One difference between sociology and MLA styles is that in sociology, unless the author's name has been used in the sentence, every cite must include the author's name; in MLA, you are allowed to use just a page number after the first cite in a series of cites from the same source. 

THE EXCEPTION TO THE PAGE NUMBER IN EVERY CITE RULE: The only time a cite in one of your papers would not include a page number is if the entire source (the whole article, book, etc.) supports the point you are making AND ONLY THAT POINT. It is extremely unlikely that you would be making so general a claim so, you should have page numbers in every cite.