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reference notes: in-text (author-date)

Also known as the author-date system, in-text notes are found in running text or at the end of a block quotation. This brief form of citation is meant to identify the work being cited, while full bibliographic information is reserved for the list of works cited.


In-text notes consist of the author’s last name (where that is the name under which the work has been listed) and the date of publication of the work, with the entire note enclosed in parentheses:

  • (Fleming and Levie 1993)
  • (Joyce, Showers and Rolheiser-Bennett 1987)

Note that there is no punctuation separating the two elements of the note, unless there is a reference to a specific page, volume or other division of the work.

Page reference

If you are giving a page reference, put a comma and a space between the date and the page number.

  • (Wiebe 1993, 27)

Volume and page reference

If you are giving both volume and page references, start with the volume number, and insert a colon, but no space, between the volume number and the page number. Unless there is a risk of confusion, omit the abbreviations p., pp. and vol.:

  • (Suzuki 1990, 3:45)


Where you place the in-text note depends on what format you have used for the quotation.

Run-in quotation

When a run-in quotation is used and the in-text note appears at the end of the quotation, place the note after the closing quotation marks, but before the period.

Thus, in the example below, the period that would otherwise be placed before the closing quotation marks is placed instead after the note.

  • “No official definition of the term First Nation(s) exists” (Fee and McAlpine 2007).

Block quotation

When the in-text note appears at the end of a block quotation, place the note after the end punctuation.

Thus, in the example below, the note comes after the period. (Note that there are no quotation marks around a block quotation.)

  • No official definition of the term First Nation(s) exists. It can refer broadly to all Status and Non-Status Indians but often has a more limited reference, as it does in the name of the Assembly of First Nations, a national organization that represents the more than 600 bands of Status Indians recognized by the federal government. Many of these bands now call themselves First Nations. (Fee and McAlpine 2007)