Integrate your sources

When incorporating information into your writing through paraphrasing, summarising or quoting, it’s essential to acknowledge your sources by means of correct in-text citations.

Keep in mind that there are a variety of citing and referencing styles. When unsure about what style to use, refer to your assessment instructions. The examples below use the APA 7th style.

No matter what referencing style you use, there are two broad types of citation: information-prominent and author-prominent.

Information-prominent citation is used when what (i.e. the information) you want to convey is more important to your purpose than telling the reader who (i.e. the author) wrote that information. In this case the citation follows the content. For example:

By focusing on the observable manifestations of mental processes, natural science is at risk of being defined too narrowly as the "science of meter reading", thereby diminishing the importance of the underlying cognitive processes that behaviour is based on (Chomsky, 2006, p. 57). Setting challenging but realistic goals is necessary for increasing employee motivation: "goal specificity, goal difficulty and goal commitment each serves to enhance task performance" (Steers, 2004, p. 382).

Author-prominent citation is used when the primary importance is given to who (i.e. the author) has written the information, findings or opinion you are presenting in your writing rather than what is presented. In this case the author is usually mentioned in the subject of the sentence. Instances when author-prominent citation are useful include:

  • when the author is a noted authority on the topic
  • when tracing the historical or chronological development of new thinking or discoveries
  • when comparing differing expert opinions.

For example:

The eminent linguist, Noam Chomsky has warned that a narrow definition of the natural sciences as the "science of meter reading", fails to acknowledge the complex cognitive processes that observable behaviour is based on (2006, p. 57).

This view is widely shared, as Friedman stated: "Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation" (1974, p.93).