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Assignment | Astronomy Research Paper (Moturu): Citations

Summer 2020 | PHYS 1403 & PHYS 1404 | Prof. Sarada Moturu

Megaphone iconRemember, your sources are there to back up your claims.
They don't make your claims for you.

For this assignment, you may choose to use MLA or APA formatting styles. (One or the other, not both, and not Chicago, either!) The style you follow determines how you set up your document, what your citations look like, and what the in-text citations look like. Don't mix-and-match!

In-Text vs Works Cited Citations

Every time you refer to information that is not your original conclusion and is not common knowledge, you must give credit to where that information comes from. You will typically note in parentheses the author's/authors' names and relevant page number. This allows you to give credit without wasting excessive page space or disrupting the flow of the paper.

The images below use MLA style, but APA functions the same way in this regard; it's just that APA in-text citations would also include a publication year.

Connecting the in-text citation with your works cited page: author's name in-text connects with the first author listed on the works cited

If an article doesn't have an author, your Works Cited citation will start with the article title, and your in-text citation will reflect that. It's all about making it easy for your reader to make a one-to-one connection by just skimming down the left edge of the Works Cited page.

Example of in-text vs Works Cited, when there's no author: the first few words of the article title form the connection instead of an author's name

Instead of Quoting...

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  PARAPHRASE. *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

Original Text from Source:

A much larger analogue of the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt is a cosmic junkyard, full of rubble thought to be left over from the formation of the solar system. But whereas the asteroid belt is made mostly of rock and metal, objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed largely of frozen water, ammonia and methane.

How should you add this information to your paper?

"A much larger analogue of the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt is a cosmic junkyard, full of rubble thought to be left over from the formation of the solar system. But whereas the asteroid belt is made mostly of rock and metal, objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed largely of frozen water, ammonia and methane" ("Two Years On").


The Break-down:

  • Too long of a quote for a 4-page paper
  • Doesn't use any original content to introduce the quote or finish up the thought

The Kuiper Belt consists of icy chunks of frozen water, ammonia, and methane believed to be "leftover from the formation of the solar system," much like the rocky field of the asteroid belt ("Two Years On").


The Break-down:

  • Only directly quotes what is needed
  • Original content introduces the quote

Though both the asteroid belt and Kuiper belt are believed to be remnants of the solar system's formation, the Kuiper belt consists mostly of ice rather than rock, including frozen methane and ammonia as well as water ("Two Years On").


The Break-down:

  • The source material is almost completely re-written
  • This would much more easily fit into the organization of my paper.

A bigger version of the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt is a cosmic junkyard, full of rubble believed to be left over from the formation of the solar system. But while the asteroid belt is made mostly of rock and metal, objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed largely of frozen water, ammonia and methane.


The Break-down:

  • No citation is given
  • Even if there were a citation, there are no quotation marks around the words repeated verbatim.
  • A few words have been swapped out for synonyms but this does not actually introduce originality.

Works Cited Citation:

“Two Years On, the Kuiper Belt is in sight.” The Economist, 16 Sept. 2017, www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2017/09/16/two-years-on-the-kuiper-belt-is-in-sight.

APA Resources

APA Online Guide

Additional help online: