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GEN BUS 360: Workplace Writing and Communication (Spring 2022)

In-text Citations – Principles and Formatting

The Purpose of In-text Citation

In-text citations 


  • give credit to the original author/s; 
  • indicate where information from the source both begins and ends in your own sentences and paragraphs;
  • direct readers to the correct entry on the References page. In-text citations must match the References list and vice versa.


Attributive tags and in-text citations work together to help “sandwich” information and/or quotations from outside sources. All information between the attributive tag and the parenthetical citation, whether that information is expressed with one word or through multiple sentences, must come from the source indicated by the attributive tag and the parenthetical citation.


The Relationship between In-text Citations and References

In addition, the parenthetical citation must direct readers to the correct source listed on the References page. Therefore, the information that begins the parenthetical citation will match the information that begins the Reference citation, as in the following example:


According to the Harvard Business Review, failure to “research customer needs” prior to developing products is one of the most avoidable reasons that startup companies flop (Eisenmann, 2021, p. 81).



Eisenmann, T. (2021, May-June).  Why startups fail.  Harvard Business Review, 99(3), 76-85.


Note the way that the parenthetical citation leads directly to the Reference citation—both begin with the author’s last name, which will be easy to find in an alphabetized Reference list.

Content Credit

Content on this page was created by the Business Communication team at the Wisconsin School of Business.