How To Use Parenthetical Citations

From scholarly writers and researchers to university and graduate students, every academic writer needs to understand how to use parenthetical citations correctly. Citations are commonly introduced in this format when quoting directly or paraphrasing another author’s ideas or statements in your academic paper or college essay.

In this article, we explain how to correctly cite your sources using parenthetical citations in your research article, dissertation, or college essay. Specifically, you will learn crucial information about how to use parenthetical citations using MLA, APA, and Vancouver style works cited and reference formats, along with best practices for in-text citation.

What are Parenthetical Citations?

Citing original sources within parentheses in your text is known as in-text parenthetical citation. The reader can immediately see where your information comes from, which will save you the effort of producing footnotes or endnotes in your document.

Importance of Parenthetical Citations

Parenthetical citations are important because they give credit to the original author or speaker’s message or research within the text. This allows the reader to understand the cited author’s voice, the date of publication, and the source of the information. 

With the reference placed directly in-text, the reader does not have to check footnotes at the bottom of each page nor the citation list at the end of the paper. This helps the reader stay focused while providing the necessary sources.

When to Include Parenthetical Citations

Citing your sources assures that you are not plagiarizing other writers’ work. Therefore, you include a parenthetical citation when you:

  • Reference another author’s work
  • Include a quotation from a cited source
  • Summarize or paraphrase someone’s work

Benefits of Using Parenthetical Citations

Parenthetical citations are often used in formal research papers and manuscripts to show where information was found. Proper citations can hugely impact the credibility of a paper.

The following are some benefits of using parenthetical citations:

1) Parenthetical or in-text citations show that you gave credit to those who deserve it by acknowledging their work in your own research. 

2) They provide readers with more detailed information about how you discovered certain content or information, which may be helpful for future research.  

3) It shows a level of professionalism that is essential for academic papers since it shows that the author is deliberate, credible, and familiar with relevant research.

Two Different Types of In-text Citations

When using in-text citations in any style format, there are two methods: parenthetical and narrative.

In parenthetical format, citations include all relevant information (author’s last name, publication year, page number) within the in-text citation, which is located at the end of the sentence.

The Korean War technically ended in an armistice, not a treaty (Kim, 2019) or (Kim, 2019, p. 12).

In narrative citation format, the author of the cited work is referenced as part of the written sentence itself. Write the first or lead author’s name along with “et al.”, followed by the year in parentheses. This is especially useful when you want to append your own commentary or criticism.

According to Kim et al. (2019), the Korean diaspora can be broken down into several economic and cultural factors.

Read More: A Researcher’s Guide to Citations: listing authors and using et al.

How to Use Parenthetical Citations in APA Format

A parenthetical citation in APA format consists of the following parts:

  • Author’s name
  • Year of publication
  • Page number

Parenthetical Format:

Modern economics in South Korea has grown as a discipline since 1960 (Kim, 2019).

Narrative format:

Kim et al. (2019) recently found in a survey of East Asian economists that modern economics in South Korea has grown as a discipline since 1960.

Notes to consider for APA in-text parenthetical citations

When using parenthetical citations, there are a few situations to be aware of, such as if there is no author name provided.

When no author can be found, the title of the work and year of publication need to be included following the format shown above. If the title within the quotation marks is exceptionally long, it can be shortened in the in-text citation.

APA Style Resources

 

 

How to Use Parenthetical Citations in MLA Format

Parenthetical citations in MLA format closely resemble those in APA format. However, there are two main differences between MLA and APA formats: 

  1. Cite the page number rather than the date of publication.
  2. There is no comma separating the page number from the author’s last name.

Include the first few words in the title of the work or website if there is no author. Do not use “p.” or “pp.” to denote pages, and do not apply commas, even if there are multiple authors:

The tourism industry is one of the main components of Korea’s GDP (Kim 15)…(Kim and Lee 15)…(Kim et al. 15)

MLA Style Resources

 

How to Use Parenthetical Citations in Vancouver Format

Parenthetical citations in Vancouver style should have numbering (either superscript or in brackets) on either side of the name of an author or study. A unique number should be assigned to each citation, which is then listed at the end of the manuscript in the bibliography. If you cite a source multiple times, use the same citation number from the first work in subsequent parenthetical citations.

Park et al. (4) reported that over 90% of all Korean citizens own a smartphone (p. 552)

Vancouver Style Resources