Lansing Community College Library

Basic Format (Author-Date Style)

In addition to having a references list at the end of your paper, you must give credit to sources that you use within your paper. Usually the author's last name and publication date are enough for the reader to identify the complete reference in the references list. Examples below show variations of this rule.

Author's Name in Text

If you cite the author's name in your paper, include the publication year in parentheses after the author's name. Include the page number(s) if referring to a certain part of the work:

In Interpretation of Dreams, Freud (2010) found “…the creation of a dream after the event, is nothing other than a form of censoring” (p. 619).


Freud, S. (2010). The interpretation of dreams: The complete and definitive text. Basic Books.

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Author's Name in Reference

If you do not cite the author’s name in your paper, include both the author’s last name and the publication year in parentheses at the end of the sentence separated by a comma:

The Interpretation of Dreams is considered a landmark work in the field (Freud, 2010).


Freud, S. (2010).The interpretation of dreams: The complete and definitive text. Basic Books.

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No Author (Cite by Title)

When there is no author listed for a work, include the first few words of the title followed by the publication year in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Capitalize all major words in the shortened title. Use quotation marks around titles of articles, chapters, and web pages. Use italics for titles of books and reports:

Mrs. King was key in establishing the King federal holiday (“MLK Scholar,” 2020).


MLK scholar: Coretta Scott King's sacrifice aided MLK's success. (2020, February 14). Wyoming Tribune – Eagle.

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Citing Two Authors

Authors' name in text

Use the word "and" between the authors' names. Cite both authors' last names and the publication date every time you refer to the work in your paper.

Grace and VanHeuvelen (2019) conclude that we must evaluate changes (p. 207).

Authors' name in reference

In parentheses, use an ampersand (&) to separate the authors’ names.

The authors conclude that we must evaluate changes (Grace & VanHeuvelen, 2019, p. 207).


Grace, M. K., & VanHeuvelen, J. S. (2019). Occupational variation in burnout among medical staff: Evidence for the stress of higher status. Social Science & Medicine, 232, 199-208.

Citing Three or More Authors

Cite the name of the first author and add et al. every time you refer to the work in your paper.

Sperry et al. (2019) found that the verbal environments of children from impoverished backgrounds have been widely misunderstood.


Sperry, D. E., Sperry, L. L., & Miller, P. J. (2019). Reexamining the verbal environments of children from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Child Development, 90(4), 1303-1306.

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Citing Part of a Work (Quoting and Paraphrasing)


When you quote a specific part of a source, always include page or paragraph numbers or section names:

”Sleep has always been a mysterious and sometimes elusive part of life” (Wise, 2018, p. 192).


When you paraphrase a specific part of a source, include page numbers if the source is long or complex and it will help the reader find it:

Wise (2018) believes that university libraries should provide sleeping spaces for students (p. 205).


Wise, M. J. (2018). Naps and sleep deprivation: Why academic libraries should consider adding nap stations to their services for students. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 24(2), 192–210.

No page numbers

If an online source does not provide page numbers, direct readers to the specific part of the source in another way such as paragraph numbers or heading/section names.

Cultural competence is a part of health literacy (Brach et al., 2019, para. 3).
Language barriers can lead to the inability to treat patents properly, because a medical history is hard to obtain. (Brach et al., 2019, Language Assistance section).


Brach, C., Hall, K.K., & Fitall, E. (2019, December 27). Cultural competence and patient safety. Patient Safety Network.

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Personal Communications (Interview, Letter, Email)

Personal communications are communications that cannot be accessed by the reader, such as emails, text messages, online chats or direct messages, telephone conversations, live speeches, unrecorded classroom lectures, memos, letters, messages from non-archived discussion groups or online bulletin boards. If a communication can be accessed by the reader, do not treat it as a personal communication. Instead, use the format for the type of source where the communication can be found.

References to personal communications do not appear in the Reference list, but refer to them in the paper. In-text citations should provide the initials and last name of the person and the exact date of the communication.


Davis thought he saw great improvement in learning outcomes (M. Davis, personal communication, July 28, 2020).

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Classroom Resources

If the reader can access the source online, cite it in your References and in the text as you would any other source.

If the reader does not have access to the source, cite it as a personal communication and only note it in your paper. (see example above)

If the reader can access the source on an internal school site, cite it in your References and in the text.


Professor Jones notes that cultural care is one of the most evolving fields in medicine (Jones, 2020).


Jones, T. (2020, July 28). Defining cultural service in nursing care [Lecture notes]. D2L@LCC.

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Secondary Sources

Whenever possible, use original source material, not secondary. If you must use an indirect source, include the primary source in the paper and the secondary source in the reference list. Create a reference for the source you actually read in your reference list.

In the text, refer to both the source you read and the source it mentions; for example, you read an article by Chen & Chen that mentions an article by Hurtado et al.


This was an important study (Hurtado et al., 2012, as cited in Chen & Chen, 2019).


Chen, W., & Chen, J. (2019). Sleep deprivation and the development of leadership and need for cognition during the college years. Journal of Adolescence, 73, 95-99.

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Citing ChatGPT

Rather than treating ChatGPT as an author itself, the American Psychological Association (APA) recommends citing the creator of the algorithm - in this case OpenAI - as the author. Since the results of an individual "chat" are not available online, you may quote the chat in the body of your paper, or put the full text of the chat in an appendix. For more information on the example below, see the APA Style Blog on How to Cite ChatGPT.


When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023).


OpenAI. (2023).ChatGPT(Mar 14 version) [Large language model].

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