Political Science/JSIS/LSJ Writing Center

Quick Guide to Citing Print/Electronic Sources

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When writing political science papers, it is necessary to cite the sources that you used to construct and defend your argument. The most common way to do this is to use in-text citations, or parenthetical references. We recommend using in-text citations unless your instructor indicates otherwise.

  • Note that any phrases/sentences taken directly from a work must be clearly signaled with quotation marks and followed by a citation.
  • If you make a reference that doesn't require a direct quote (i.e.: In the eyes of Bill Gates, the present time is prosperous for the entire software industry.), just make a parenthetical reference to the work the idea comes from. Going along with the previous example, the citation might be: (Gates 1999).

  • Here is an example of an in-text citation:
    "The color blue is unique in that it stimulates the central nervous system" (Thomson 1998, 175).


    According to Mark Thomson, "The color blue is unique in that it stimulates the central nervous system" (1998, 175).

  • Note that only the author's last name is used, followed by a space, the year the cited work was published in, a comma, and the page the quote appears on.
  • Also note that in the second example above, the author's name was not included in the parenthetical citation because it was mentioned in the sentence that includes the quote.
  • To cite web sites, list the Author's last name (if given) and a section/page marker (if included, which they usually are not). If no author is named, use the document title or a shortened version of it. Put in quotes or italics, as appropriate. For multiple works by the same author, include the author's last name and a shortened version of the title of the work.For example: While 20 percent of females are happy with their hair, a whopping 40 percent say they've dyed it at least once (Jenkins, "Women and Self-Image").
  • If you cite works by one author that were published in the same year, differentiate between them by listing the year as "1998a" and "1998b," etc. Be consistent with this distinction in your Reference List. For example: The situation in Dane's house was not unique; in fact, many of his neighbors complained of hearing similar noises (Nance 1998a, 221). And later.. The events that occurred in the small Chicago suburb were indicators of a larger social problem (Nance 1998b, 59).
  • At the end of your paper, you will compile full references onto a "Reference List" page. This list contains complete references of works cited in your paper.

  • The Reference List page
    This page lists only those publications cited in your paper.
  • The entire Works Cited page should be single-spaced. If one entry takes up more than one line on the page, indent each line after the first.
  • All references should be listed alphabetically by the authors' last names.
  • When there are several works by the same author, place them in chronological order with the earliest publication first. Give the name in the first entry only, and for subsequent entries, type three hyphens, add a period, and skip a space (---.). Then give the title. For example:
  • (1) Author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.
    (2) ---. Title of Second Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.
  • If no author's name is given, begin with the title of the article/book/piece.

  • Examples of Works Cited list entries:

  • Books with one author: Author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

  • Books with multiple authors: Jones, Jenny, Montel Williams and Oprah Winfrey. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

  • List the authors' names in the order they appear on the title page of the book.
  • Only the first author's name is reversed (last name, first name).
  • If the persons named on the title page are editors, add a comma after the final name, then the abbreviation "eds" and a period. For example: Krutch, Gene and Hunter French, eds. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.
  • If there are more than three authors, name only the first and add "et al." or give all the names.

  • Chapter in a Multi-author Collection: Tinn, Betty G. 1984. "The Cultural Consequences of Television." In The Effects of Technology on Society, ed. Hank Yancy. Seattle: Needle Printing Press.

  • Periodicals (Magazines): Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: Page(s) of article.
  • Months are abbreviated to three letters (except May, June and July).
  • Dates for magazines issued weekly or bi-weekly should be written as: Day Month Year (i.e. 21 January 2000).

  • Journal Articles: Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal. volume number (Year): Page(s) of article.

  • Newspaper Articles: Author. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper. Date, edition: Page(s) of article.

  • If the city of publication is not part of the newspaper's name, it should be added in square brackets. For example: Daily News [Portland, Oregon].
  • Specify the edition of the newspaper, if it is mentioned on the masthead.

  • World Wide Web sites: Author's name (if given). "Title of Page." (if given) Name of Database or Project. Date of posting or update. Name of organization. Date of access <>Electronic address or URL>.

  • Congressional Reports and Documents
  • Bills: U.S. Congress. House. 1985. Food Security Act of 1985. 99th Cong., 1st sess., H.R. 2100. Congressional Record. 131, no. 132, daily ed. (8 October 1985): H8353-8486.

  • Hearings: U.S. Congress. Senate. Commitee on Foreign Relations. 1985. Famine in Africa: Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations. 99th Cong., 1st sess., 17 January 1985.

  • The reference begins with "U.S. Congress," followed by any commitee, year, title, Congress, sessions, and report or document number of committee number. Include bills, resolutions and publications by commissions in this category.

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