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Senior Honors Research Paper Assignment: Parenthetical Citations

Check for understanding

I have included parenthetical citations for:

__ all paraphrases.

__ all direct quotations.

__ all summaries.

My parenthetical citations:

__ relate to sources in my Works Cited or Reference page.

__ are put at the end of the sentence.

__ All the facts and information that come before the citation are from that source.

What are Parenthetical Citations?

  • They refer to the source where you found the information.  Everything that comes before the parenthetical citation is assumed to have come from that source.
  • They match the sources at the end of your paper in the Works Cited (MLA).
  • They go after direct quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.
  • They always go at the end of the sentence and the period comes after them.
  • These are also called "in-text" citations.
  • With a direct quotation, the parenthetical citation goes after the end quote and before the period.

Examples in MLA Style:

Original Text: "While the record indicates the date of Shakespeare's baptism, the actual date of his birth is unknown, although it is traditionally celebrated on April 23rd. Our knowledge of the custom of baptising children soon after birth makes April 23rd a likely date; however, it is also the day on which Shakespeare died in 1616, giving a pleasing, though possibly artificial, symmetry to his life."

Paraphrase: Because children were usually baptised shortly after birth, we celebrate Shakepeare's birthday as April 23, 1564.  He also died on the same day in 1616 (Best).

Quotation: April 23rd is the date we recognize as Shakespeare's birthday.  It is also the date of his death which provides a "pleasing, though possibly artificial, symmetry to his life" (Best).

The parenthetical citations above relate to this website citation from the Works Cited:

Best, Michael. Internet Shakespeare Editions. N.p., 2 Apr. 2012. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.

Signal Phrases

A "signal phrase" is used to introduce a quotation or paraphrased information.  

Example with quotation:  According to Michael Best, celebrating Shakespeare's birthday as the same date as his death provides a "pleasing, though possibly artificial, symmetry to his life" (Best).

When Do I Use Parenthetical Citations?

You use them after every quotation, paraphrase, or summary.  All the facts and information before the parenthetical citation must have come from the same source.  The only time you do not use one is for your thoughts and opinions, and anything considered "common knowledge."  An example of common knowledge is "George Washington was the first President of the United States."  

Use this rule of thumb.  If you didn't know it before you read it, it is probably not common knowledge.

MLA Common Forms of Parenthetical Citation

Websites - use author: (Best).
Websites with no author - use article title in quotes: ("Shakespeare's Childhood").
Database articles - use author: (Morris).
Database articles with no author - use article title in quotes: ("Shakespeare's Childhood").