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Citing research

When writing a scientific report or essay you will often need to refer to the information, evidence or research of other writers. Citations indicate where you have used such sources of information and must be used carefully if you want to avoid being suspected of plagiarism.

Citations can be of two basic types:

  • information-prominent
  • author-prominent.

Information-prominent citations

A research fact or information is the subject of the sentence. The author's name and date of publication are placed in brackets at the end of the sentence. Information-prominent citations are often used in the introduction to a new topic or section.


The mouse was selected for the experiment as it has been shown to provide the most appropriate model of the basic mechanisms of nuclear transfer (Wakayama and Yanagimachi, 1999).

Author-prominent citation

The author name or names form the subject of the sentence. The date only is put in brackets after the author's name. This type of citation is used when focussing on the research or viewpoint of the other writer. These citations usually appear after information-prominent ones.


Bache et al (1972) conducted an observational study to establish the concentration of PCB residues in Cayuga Lake.

For details about citing and referencing check the Monash Library Citing and Referencing tutorial Opens in a new window.

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