coffeCiting References in the Body (Intro and Discussion) of the Paper

 Throughout the body of your paper (primarily the Intro and Discussion), whenever you refer to outside sources of information, you must cite the sources from which you drew information. The simplest way to do this is to parenthetically give the author’s last name and the year of publication, e.g., (Clarke 2001). When citing information from another’s publication, be sure to report the relevant aspects of the work clearly and succinctly, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Provide a reference to the work as soon as possible after giving the information.

Standard Text Citation Formats

There are exceptions among the various journals, but generally, in biological journals, the most frequent types of citations are shown in the following examples (in red):

“It has been found that male mice react to estrogen treatment by a reduction in phase three of courtship behavior (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970). Click and Clack (1974) demonstrated that mice treated with synthetic estrogen analogs react similarly. The reduction in phase three courtship behavior may also be linked to nutritional status (Anon. 1996; Bruhahauser et al 1973).”

Note the following:

  • Typically, only the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication are given,e.g., Bugjuice 1970. Your Literature Cited section will contain the complete reference, and the reader can look it up there.
  • Notice that the reference to the book has a page number (Gumwad 1952:209). This is to facilitate a reader’s finding the reference in a long publication such as a book (not done for journal articles). The paper by Bugjuice (1970) is short, and if readers want to find the referenced information, they would not have as much trouble.
  • For two author papers, give both authors’ last names (e.g., Click and Clack 1974). Articles with more than two authors are cited by the first authors last name followed “and others” or “et al.”, and then the year.
  • When a book, paper, or article has no identifiable author, cite it as Anon. Year, e.g., (Anon. 1996)(Anon. is the abbreviation for anonymous). See Full Citation.
  • If you want reference a paper found in another article, do so as follows: (Driblick 1923, in Oobleck 1978).
  • A string of citations should be separated by semicolons, e.g., (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970; Bruhahauser et al 1973).
  • Finally, you should note the placement of the period AFTER the parenthetical citation – the citation, too, is part of a sentence,e.g., “…courtship behavior (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970).”

Thesis: Theses and dissertatons should be cited as follows:

Mortimer, R. 1975. A study of hormonal regulation of body temperature and consequences for reproductive success in the common house mouse (Mus musculus) in Nome, Alaska. Masters Thesis, University of Alaska, Anchorage. 83 p.

World Wide Web/Internet source citations: WWW citation should be done with caution since so much is posted without peer review. When necessary, report the complete URL in the text including the site author’s name:

Ohio State University Library has a good webpage for citing web sources:

Internet sources should be included in your Literature Cited section.

For information on evaluating internet sources, look at:

For unusual reference citations such a government documents, technical reports, etc, refer to Huth et al (1994) for a complete listing of citation formats. A copy of this reference should be available in the Ladd Library and a copy is available in the Biology Department.

Personal Communications:

Suppose some of the information cited above was not gained from the Gumwad and Bugjuice publications, but rather in a personal conversation with or letter from an expert on the subject, Dr. Cynthia Mousse. When you have talked with, or written to someone, and gained some information or data that are not published, you should give credit to that person in the following way:

“It has been found that male mice …. phase three of courtship behavior (C. Mousse, pers. comm.).”

  • No date is entered for a personal communication, nor will it be entered in your Literature Cited section. However, the source is usually thanked in your Acknowledgments for their contribution.


  • DO NOT USE FOOTNOTES: Footnoting, although commonly done in books and other literary writing, is only rarely done in journal style papers. Cite references in the flow of the text as shown above.
  • DO NOT USE DIRECT QUOTES From Published Material: In 99.99% of the cases, the information you want from a research article is an objective result or interpretation. How the author stated this information, i.e., their prose, is of little importance compared to the results or interpretations themselves. Take the information and put it into your own words; avoid paraphrasing since this can potentially lead to plagiarism.

Formats for Complete Citations used in the Literature Cited

In the Literature Cited you must provide complete citations for each of the published sources cited in your paper. The format for entries in the Literature Cited section differs for books and for journal papers because different kinds of information must be provided. The formats provided here are typical, but may vary in different publications depending on their particular needs and practices.

Some basic rules applicable to all formats indexed by author name(s):

  • All citation entries are listed in alphabetical order based the first author’s last name;
  • If the same author(s) are cited for more than one paper having the same order of authors’ names, the papers should be listed in chronological sequence by year of publication.
  • Authors’ names MUST be listed in the citation in the same order as in the article.

Bugjuice, B., Timm, T. and R. Cratchet. 1990. The role of estrogen in mouse
xxxxcourtship behavior changes as mice age. J Physiol 62(6):1130-1142.

Cratchet, R., Bugjuice, B.and T. Timm. 1994. Estrogen, schmestrogen!: Mouse
xxxx(Mus musculus) as a dietary alternative for humans. J Nutrition 33(6):113 -114.

  • If the same author(s) are cited for two or more papers published within the same year, place a small case letter after the year to denote the sequence in which you referred to them. For example:

Bugjuice, B. 1970a. Physiological effects of estrogen on mouse courtship behavior.
….x.J Physiol 40(2):140-145.

Bugjuice, B. 1970b. Physiological effects of estrogen analogs: Insincere courtship
xxxxbehavior in female mice. J Physiol 40(8):1240-1247.

  • If no author is listed, use the word Anonymous in place of the author name(s).

Anonymous. 1992. …..give rest of citation using appropriate format.

Journal Article: Single author

Bugjuice, B. 1970. Physiological effects of estrogen on mouse courtship……..behavior. J Physiol 40(2):140-145.  Bugjuice (1970) OR
(Bugjuice 1970)

In the citation of Bugjuice’s paper, note the following:

  • abbreviation of her first name; no comma (if full name is given, then use a comma); if multiple authors, use commas between;
  • capitalization of the words in the title is just as though it were a sentence;
  • abbreviation of the journal name; usually the header on the article will list the appropriate abbreviation for the journal; no periods in abbreviated form of journal name;
  • “40” is the volume number “(2)” is the number of the issue; if no issue is given, the colon follows the volume number;
  • “140-145” is the inclusive page numbers of the article;
  • placement of periods is standard;
  • indentation of the second line (and all subsequent lines) in the citation. This applies to all citations.

Journal: Two authors

Timm, T. and B. Bugjuice. 1989. The role of whisker length in mouse……..nose-twitch courtship behavior. J Physiol 61(3):113-118.  Timm and Bugjuice (1989) OR
(Timm and Bugjuice 1989)

Journal: Multiple authors

Bugjuice, B., Timm, T. and R. Cratchet. 1990. The role of estrogen in…….mouse courtship behavior changes as mice age. J Physiol 2(6):…….1130-1142.  Bugjuice et al. (1990) OR
Bugjuice and others (1990) OR
(Bugjuice and others 1990)

Author(s) Unknown or Not Named

If the authorship of a paper or other document is not provided, cite the author using the word “Anonymous” in the place of the authors name(s).

Anonymous. 1979. STD’s and You: A Survival Guide for College Students…….in the 20th Century. Publ.#12-1979, Waazah County Health…….Department, Popville, Maine. 6 p.  Anonymous (1979) OR
(Anonymous 1979)

Book: single author

Gumwad, G. 1952. Behavior patterns of mice. 2nd ed. New York: Harper……..& Row. 347 p. Gumwad (1952:224) OR (Gumwad 1952:224)

Book: multiple authors

Huth, J., Brogan, M., Dancik, B., Kommedahl, T., Nadziejka, D.,……..Robinson, P., and W. Swanson.1994. Scientific format and style:……..The CBE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. 6th ed.……..Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 825 p.  Huth et al. (1994:625) OR
Huth and others (1994:625) OR (Huth and others 1994:625)

Book: authors contributing a specific chapter

Kuret, J. and F. Murad. 1990. Adenohypophyseal hormones and related……..substances. In: Gilman A, Rall T, Nies A, Taylor P, editors. The……..pharmacological basis of therapeutics. 8th ed. New York: Pergamon.……..p. 1334-60.  Kuret and Murad (1990:1334-60) OR
(Kuret and Murad 1990:1334-60)

In the books citation, note the following:

  • abbreviation of authors first name (one or both initials ok);
  • capitalize title as if it was a sentence; the title is not underlined (contrary to literary format)
  • “2nd ed.” means second edition; if the book is a first edition; no entry is made, here, but if 2nd, 3rd, etc., then the notation is made;
  • give city of publication, and the name of the publisher;
  • year of publication follows authors’ names;
  • placement of periods is standard;
  • indentation of all lines after the first.



  1. image 1: (No Date) Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
  2. How to write guide: How to cite other papers in your paper (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 11 November 2016).