If you've started thinking about dissertation formatting and compiling your dissertation bibliography, you've probably encountered mentions of several different types of citations. In academic writing, you'll commonly encounter citations in parenthetical (or in-text) form, or as footnotes or endnotes. But what are the differences between these kinds of citation formats? How and when should you use them? This post provides basic information on using parenthetical citations.

Parenthetical or In-Text Citations

Parenthetical citations are references that enclosed within parentheses that appear directly in the body of the text that you are writing. They may appear at the end of a sentence, or mid-sentence.

Author-Date Parenthetical Citations

The APA Publication Manual recommends the use of parenthetical citations that follow the Author-Date format. This means that the information included within the parentheses will consist of the last name of the author who wrote the work that you are citing, followed by the page number. For instance, if I were to quote from page 73 of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, published in 1999, the basic Author-Date parenthetical citation would look like this, and would appear in the text after the quotation or reference:

(Rowling, 1999, pg. 73)

If you mention the name of the author in the text, you do not need to repeat the author's name in the citation. In that case, the citation might be integrated into the text like this:

Rowling (1999) describes the continuing adventures of young wizard Harry Potter. In his second year at Hogwarts Academy, he meets a ghost named Moaning Myrtle (73).

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab offers further guidance on how to use APA-style Author-Date citations in your dissertation.

Author-Title Parenthetical Citations

MLA Style uses Author-Title parenthetical citations. In this format, the parentheses include the author's last name followed by the page number, with no comma separating them. If you are citing multiple works by the same author, you also include an abbreviated version of the title of each work that you are citing. The citation appears following the quotation or reference in question. If I were to quote from page 73 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the basic citation would look like this: (Rowling 73). If my dissertation quoted from an additional book by J.K. Rowling, my parenthetical citation would also need to include an abbreviated title. The resulting citation would look like this: (Rowling, Chamber of Secrets 73). Again, if mention the author's name in your text, you do not need to include their name in your citation. You would just include the page number, like this: (73). See here for more on MLA Author-Title parenthetical citations.

Parenthetical Citations and the Reference List or Works Cited Page

If you are using parenthetical citations in your dissertation, you will also need to include a reference list or works cited page. All parenthetical citations in your dissertation must refer to an entry on a reference list or works cited page. Be sure to consult your style guide for instructions on how to format entries on this list. Or leave the formatting to one of our dissertation formatting experts!

Whether you're using parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes, dissertation formatting is a huge hassle. Why not leave the hassle to us? Our APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Bluebook experts guarantee high-quality results. Our dissertation editors can work with you to make sure that your dissertation follows all of the correct formatting rules, and is well-written, to boot.
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