Skip to Main Content

UOW Harvard

In text citations

Every sentence in which you use evidence, information or an example from another source requires an in-text reference (both academic and non-academic sources require a reference, as do both paraphrases and “direct quotes”). Your citation should be for the article/book that you are actually reading (not for the sources quoted in your supporting text).

As well as giving appropriate acknowledgement to original sources, in-text citations work to differentiate between your supporting evidence (which will include an in-text reference) and your own critical thoughts, ideas and engagement with both the evidence and the topic.

In many subjects paraphrasing is the preferred method of using someone else’s work or ideas. This is because clearly explaining an idea in your own words, demonstrates that you understand the original source. Paraphrasing is not simply changing the order of words or using a thesaurus, as this does not demonstrate understanding. Think about what the original passage is saying and how you might explain this to someone in your own words.

A direct quote is where you use the exact words from another person’s work and cite it. Direct quotes are used when the wording of the original is important for the point that you are making. This may be preferred in subjects where exact wording and form is important, such as in literary studies, law or in other areas of study that involve close textural analysis.

For expectations regarding the use of direct quotes, check with your tutor or subject co-ordinator.


An in-text citation for a paraphrase will require the author and the date. Generally, when paraphrasing you do not need to include page numbers in an in-text citation unless you have been asked to do so. However, including page numbers can help the reader to find the information more easily in a longer text, such as a thesis.


An in-text citation for a direct quote will require the author and the date and page number(s).

Shorter direct quotes must be enclosed in double quotation marks with the in-text citation within the sentence itself. For example:

"This procedure is fuelled by the radical but simple idea that two people standing side by side, looking at identical objects, see different things” (Harper 2002, p. 22).

Quotes of 30 words or longer should be in the form of a block quote, without quotation marks, with a 1 cm indent from the left margin. For example:

the photographs become something like a Rorschach ink blot in which people of different cultures spin their respective worlds of meaning. This procedure is fuelled by the radical but simple idea that two people standing side by side, looking at identical objects, see different things. (Harper 2002, p. 22)

When listing a range of page numbers, you should list the first page number and the last page number separated by an en-dash/rule (approx. the length of two hyphens). For example: “pp. 76–93”.