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Nursing: Source Categories & Styles

In-Text Citations

Within the text of a publication, individual references are presented in an abbreviated format that refers back to the list. These abbreviated references within the text are called in-text references.

General guidelines for in-text citations:

  • References should be numbered consecutively with superscript Arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text.
  • If a reference is used multiple times in one document, use the same number throughout the document.
  • Reference numbers appear outside periods and commas and inside colons and semi-colons. 
  • If appropriate, you may use the author name(s) within the citing paragraph.

Example (sentence with multiple citations):

Chocolate has many potential health benefits such as improved blood flow,1 mood,2 and brain function.3 

Example (sentence citing two sources together):

Two studies3,4 have shown that chocolate can lead to improved brain function.

When citing 2 references at a given place in the manuscript, use a comma without a space to cite both references.

Example (sentence citing three sources together):

Multiple studies5-7 have shown that chocolate can lead to optimism.

When citing >3 references at a given place in the manuscript, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series.

Example (sentence that cites a reference with one author):

According to Brennan,1 chocolate significantly improves blood flow.

When citing a reference that only has one author, then list one author's name.

Example (sentence that cites a reference with two authors):

According to Barbato and Guisto,2 chocolate significantly improves mood.

When citing a reference that has two authors, then list both authors' names.

Example (sentence that cites a reference with three or more authors):

According to Dupra et al,3 chocolate significantly improves brain function.

When citing a reference that has three or more authors, then list the first author’s surname and et al.