Integrating Citations

Created by Shannon Roux

Looking to vary the ways in which you cite your sources? Here are several ideas for integrating citations with sophistication and efficiency!

Animation of multiple documents being integrated into a text as citations
Now that you've done your research, it's time to cite your sources. We sampled several academic papers to show you a variety of ways you can integrate your sources into your own writing. In these examples, we followed the APA style guidelines. Use these strategies to diversify your writing and show your readers how your sources contributed to your work!

Citation Structures:

  • Make a claim without a quote

    Claim (Citation).


    Some view cities as the storehouse of culture and creativity, and propose that urbanization is a consequence of the attractiveness of these social benefits (Mumford, 1961).

    Oftentimes you do not need to directly quote a source to convey its conclusions or arguments – and some disciplines discourage quoting directly! Rather you can paraphrase the main point of a paper in your own words and provide an in-text citation. A benefit of using this strategy is that you can offer support for a claim without using a whole paragraph to introduce and frame a quote. You should make sure that you fully understand the paper's argument and that you are following university citation guidelines before attempting to paraphrase something from a paper. For aditional resources on paraphrasing click here.

  • Make a claim that is supported by two or more sources

    Claim (Citation 1; Citation 2).


    Reviews of this literature concede difficulty in making direct comparisons of emission levels across different sets of analysis (Bader and Bleischwitz, 2009; Kennedy et al., 2009; Ramaswami et al., 2012).

    Sometimes there’s not just one source that perfectly supports your claim, or there are two major publications that deserve credit for providing evidence on a topic. This is a perfect time to use multiple citations. You can cite two, three, or more sources, but remember to cite only the publications that are most prominent so as not to clutter up your paper.

  • Make a claim that has been supported in multiple contexts

    Context 1 (Citation), Context 2 (Citation), Context 3 (Citation).


    These results are supported by more recent research on transportation energy consumption (Liddle, 2014), electricity consumption in buildings (Lariviere and Lafrance, 1999), and overall urban GHG emissions (Marcotullio et al., 2013b).

    Use this citation strategy when you want to show that a body of research has found support for some claim across several different contexts. This can show the robustness of an effect or phenomenon and can give your claim some added validity.

  • Quote important or unique terms

    Claim "Term"(Citation).


    The spatial implications of this thinking are manifest in the "concentric ring model" of urban expansion and its variants (Harris and Ullman, 1945).

    While block or even whole-sentence citations are rare in most research papers in the science and social science disciplines, there is often a need to quote specific terms or phrases that were first coined by a certain source or that were well-explained in a specific paper.

  • Use a direct quotation

    Introduce quote, "Quotation." (Citation).


    China’s "radicalurbanization has underpinned the country’s economic growth and has been key to the nation’s economic growth strategy (McGranahan et al., 2014).

    The appropriateness of quoting directly from a text varies widely across fields and document types. However, if it makes sense for your field and your purpose, a direct quotation can bring attention to specific language in your source.

Specific Citation Strategies:

Now that you know some different citation structures, let's look at a few citation strategies! Cited evidence can serve a wide range of purposes in academic papers. These examples will give you an idea of the different ways that you can use citations in your paper.

  • Summarize your source

    The studies of Newman and Kenworthy (1989, 1999) demonstrate a negative relationship between population density and transportation fuel use.

    You will help your reader understand your points better if you summarize the key points of a study. Describe the strengths or weaknesses a specific source that has been pivotal in your field. Describe the source's specific methodology, theory, or approach. Be sure to still include a citation. If you mention the name of the author in your text, you still need to provide the date of the study in a parenthetical citation.

  • Cite a method

    Despite the popularity of the WUP indicators, they have been routinely criticized because the methodology relies on local- and country-specific definitions of bounding urban areas, resulting in of ten incomparable and widely divergent definitions of the population, density thresholds, or administrative/political units designated (Sat-terthwaite, 2007).

    This is an easy way to give credit to a source that has provided some evidence for the vailidity of a method or questionaire. Readers can reference your citation if they are interested in knowing more about the method and its standing in the current literature.

  • Compare sources

    Some evidence for this scalling relationship suggests that urban areas with larger population sizes have proportionally smaller energy infrastructures than smaller cities (Bettencourt et al., 2007; Fragkias et al., 2013). Other evidence suggests that GHG emissions may increase more than proportionally to population size, such that larger cities exhibit proportionally higher energy demand as they grow than do smaller cities (Marcotullio et al., 2013).

    This is one of the most important techniques for creating an effective literature review. This allows you and your readers to consider controversies and discrepancies among the current literature, revealing gaps in the literature or points of contension for further study.

These are only a few of the ways you can use souces to provide support for your argument. To explore other papers in your field and get even more ideas on how to effectively integrate sources into your writing, try out our Reading for Writing activity!

Heads Up:

How authors integrate sources into their writing varies from field to field. Make sure that you understand which citation style is most commonly used in your discipline! Are you writing for Geology or Microbiology, Musicology or History? Find a representative paper in your field and take a look at how the authors use and integrate citations, or try our Reading for Writing activity. For example, Humanities articles tend to use direct quotations to integrate their sources, whereas science-based academic papers do not.

Marcotullio, P. J., Hughes, S., Sarzynski, A., Pincetl, S., Sanchez Peña, L., Romero-Lankao, P., Runfola, D. and Seto, K. C. (2014), Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Contributions from social science. Earth's Future, 2: 496–514. doi:10.1002/2014EF000257

About this tutorial


Shannon Roux


Whitney Arnold, Taylor Harper, Leigh Harris, Simon Lee, Marisa Méndez-Brady, Caitlin Meyer, Renee Romero, Doug Worsham

Learning Outcomes

  • Summarize citation structures for sources in research
  • Recognize the purpose of each listed citation strategy
  • Locate appropriate spaces for citation structures and strategies in research

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