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Citations: Citing Yourself


Walden university's policy on reusing work, how to cite yourself, citing yourself video, related resources, knowledge check: citing yourself.

As strange as it may seem, you are committing self-plagiarism if you reuse your work from previous classes or degrees without appropriate citation. If you have made a point or conducted research in one paper that you would like to build on in a later paper, you must cite yourself, just as you would cite the work of others.

See below for Walden's policy on this issue and some examples of how to cite accurately. For another perspective on self-citation, see Matt's blog post, " The Northwest Passage, or Why You Should Cite Yourself Only Sparingly ."

For guidance on when citing yourself might be appropriate, consult your instructor and the policy below from the Walden University Student Handbook 's "Code of Conduct" (Walden University, 2020):

During their studies at Walden, students may write on the same topic for a second, third, or fourth time; regardless, their writing is expected to reflect new approaches and insights into that topic to demonstrate intellectual growth. Walden recognizes that there may be some overlap between the requirements, assignments, and inquiry for different courses and KAM demonstrations. In general, students may use only small portions of documents as background or foundational material for additional development in a subsequent assignment or non-capstone research project. Students may not merely copy and paste substantial sections from one paper or KAM to another. Any use of prior work is at the discretion of the current instructor, and students must receive prior approval from their current instructor, who may request a copy of the previous work. Fair use laws must be respected for published documents. When using their scholarly work in subsequent published research, students should cite themselves as a primary author and their previous coursework or KAM demonstrations as unpublished papers as shown in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. An exception to this requirement is when students use prior work from courses or KAMS in their doctoral capstone projects (i.e., doctoral studies, projects, or dissertations). In this situation, students may use work developed initially in courses or KAMs specifically to build toward the final capstone project; however, students and committees need to make sure the most current literature and evolution of ideas are reflected in the final capstone product.

In other words, reuse previous work sparingly, use it only with good reason and your instructor's permission, and cite it using APA format. See below for help with the latter.

If you cite or quote your previous work, treat yourself as the author and your own previous course work as an unpublished paper, as shown in the APA publication manual. For example, if Marie Briggs wanted to cite a paper she wrote at Walden in 2012, her citation might look like this:

Briggs (2012) asserted that previous literature on the psychology of tightrope walkers was faulty in that it "presumed that risk-taking behaviors align neatly with certain personality traits or disorders" (p. 4).

And in the reference list:

Briggs, M. (2012). An analysis of personality theory [Unpublished manuscript]. Walden University.

If your original work contained citations from other sources, you will need to include those same citations in the new work as well, per APA. If Marie Briggs's earlier paper had cited Presley and Johnson, for example, it would look like this:

According to Briggs (2012), recent psychologists such as "Presley and Johnson (2009) too quickly attributed risk-taking to genetic factors, ignoring the social family issues that often influence the decision to explore pursuits such as tightrope walking" (p. 5).

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FAQ: How should I cite my own work?

Answered By: Jennifer Harris Last Updated: Aug 19, 2022     Views: 154218

If you want to re-use portions of a paper you wrote for a previous assignment or course, you need to take care to avoid self-plagiarism. The APA Manual (7th edition, p. 21) defines self-plagiarism as “the act of presenting one's own previously published work as original." This includes entire papers, and also slightly altered work. Self-plagiarism is a violation of SNHU’s Academic Honesty Policy ( Online Student Academic Integrity Policy This link opens in a new window ,  Campus Student Academic Integrity Policy This link opens in a new window ). To avoid self-plagiarism, you should request approval from your instructor to use portions of your prior work, and you also need to provide a proper citation within your paper.

If you are citing your own writing from a paper submitted for a previous course, then you would generally cite it as an unpublished manuscript. Here are specific examples of how it works in the three major citation styles:

Please check with your instructor to verify if you can use a previous work as it may violate academic integrity, honor codes, etc. If you are permitted to quote or paraphrase from earlier work, students should cite the work, following the unpublished work template (Section 10.8, p. 336). You can change “Unpublished manuscript” to “Unpublished paper” or another phrase.

Reference Page General Format

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of the work [Unpublished paper]. Department Name, University Name.

Reference Page Example

Fisher, J. D. (2021). This is the title of my paper [Unpublished paper]. English Department, Southern New Hampshire University.

In-Text Example

(Fisher, 2021)

According to the MLA Style site, authors should cite their work the same way they would cite any other source (book, article, etc.). In the text you can refer to yourself (e.g. "In my work...").

Works Cited General Format

Author Last name, Author First Name. "Title of Your Paper: Subtitle of Your Paper." Date. Name of the Course, Institution, Type of Work.

Works Cited Example

Lee, Cody. "My Student Paper: Why I Like This Subject a Lot." 9 Sept. 2021. New Media: Writing and Publishing, Southern New Hampshire University, student paper.

In-Text Citation Example

See the MLA Style pages Citing Your Own Work This link opens in a new window and How do I cite an unpublished student paper? This link opens in a new window for more information.

Chicago Style

Per the Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition), unpublished works such as theses and dissertations are cited like books, with the exception that titles of unpublished works appear in quotations, not italics. Also, the type of paper, the academic institution, and the date follow the title.

For published works, please consult the Chicago Style Table of Contents This link opens in a new window for the type of source and follow the formatting guidelines associated.

Bibliography General Format

Author Last Name, Author First Name. "Title of Paper." Essay, Southern New Hampshire University, Year.

Bibliography Example

Wendell, Richard. "This Is the Title of My Paper." Essay, Southern New Hampshire University, 2021.

Note Example

2. Richard Wendell, "This Is the Title of My Paper" (essay, Southern New Hampshire University, 2021), 4.

More Information

Further Help

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite sources in your class assignments and projects.

Campus Students

To access Academic Support, visit your Brightspace course and select “Tutoring and Mentoring” from the Academic Support pulldown menu.

Online Students

To access help with citations and more, visit the Academic Support via modules in Brightspace:

Content authored by: GS

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APA (7th Edition) Referencing Guide

How do I cite my own work?

How you cite your own work depends on what it is, and whether or not it has been published.

Published work

If you are citing a published work, you cite it as per normal for the work (e.g., photograph, book chapter, etc). For the citation (both in-text and in the reference list) you refer to yourself by name just as you would any other author. When discussing your work in-text, the general convention is to talk about yourself in the third person, but make it clear that it is your own work you are discussion:

Previous research undertaken by this author has shown... (Bloggs, 2018).

But it may be appropriate to refer to yourself using first person pronouns, particularly if you are writing a reflective piece, so check with your lecturer.

In my previous research I found... (Bloggs, 2018)

Unpublished work

If the work can be found or sourced online by the public, it is informally published and should be treated as a web page. If it cannot be found by the public and can only be accessed by people who have been given access to the private link or sent a copy in person, then it is an unpublished work.

Photographs, illustrations, art

Unpublished photographs and works of art created for the assignment (or appearing only in the assignment/paper and no where else) are not cited. Treat it as a figure, and add any necessary details in the Note section under the image.

Add "Own work" to the image if you feel it needs to be made clear that this is an image you created yourself.

Hong Kong before 2019/2020

quote yourself in an essay

Note . Photograph of Hong Kong taken in early 2000s. Own work.

If you are using your own image for an illustration in a PowerPoint presentation, you don't have to cite it, but you can put "Own work" on or under the image somewhere unobtrusive if you wish to avoid confusion.

When referring to your own artistic work in text, you need to make it clear that you are talking about your own work, but you do not cite it.

Previous assignments

Assignments submitted for other subjects are regarded as unpublished manuscripts, and are cited as such.

Reference list:

Bloggs, J. (2020). Lancelot does not deserve your love: Critiquing the "heroes" of Arthurian legends [Unpublished assignment submitted for EL1006]. James Cook University.

(Bloggs, 2020).

However, your past assignments are not usually considered to be a scholarly source, and most lectures do not want you to cite your previous assessment . You should only refer to past assignment work if you have been explicitly asked to do so (e.g. for a reflective assignment).

It would be much better to update your research and conclusions from the past assignment (and use new words to express your thoughts) than to refer to it or cite it.

Acknowledgement of Country

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Citing Your Own Work

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Have you ever been given an assignment and thought, “I’ve written a paper like this before…”? If yes, then you might’ve considered re-using content from that previous paper for your new one. If it’s still relevant and the result of your own work, so why not?

Doing so, however, should be treated with extreme caution, and if done incorrectly can lead to something called “self-plagiarism.” Let’s review how you can self-plagiarism when using work you’ve written before for a new assignment.

What is self plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is defined as incorrectly citing (or not citing) a piece of your own work in another work you are writing.

There are a few different types of self-plagiarism:

The most common type of self-plagiarism occurs is when you copy word-for-word a paper you have already written and insert it into a new assignment. If you take any direct material from an old paper of yours, you must create a citation for the older paper. This applies even when your assignments are for different instructors or courses.

Another type of self-plagiarism is known as, “salami-slicing,” happens when the author of a study separates aspects of the study and publishes it in more than one publication, depending on what the goal of each published article is. Salami-slicing is considered unethical since it doesn’t present a whole, complete presentation of a research study. Segmenting the data into many “slices” could lead to misinterpretations.

Perhaps the most well-known outcome of self-plagiarism is “copyright infringement.” This is when an author publishes work that is copyrighted, only for that writer to take that copyrighted material and publish it elsewhere without citing the original work. Even if the writer was the original author of the copyrighted material, proper referencing to the original is still needed.

How to avoid self-plagiarism

There are a few simple steps a writer can take to avoid committing self-plagiarism:

If a new paper assignment you’ve been given is similar to one you have already written, consider conducting further research on the topic. Doing this may open up new concepts and avenues of writing that you had not considered before.

Instead of copying directly from your old paper, check any old notes or outlines that you created for that class and try to come up with unique ideas to write about, or perhaps a slightly different angle than the one you previously chose.

If you wish to use an older paper you have written on a topic as a source for a new paper, you can cite yourself, just as you would cite any other source you use in your research. Here is how you would do this in some of the most popular citation formats:

Harvard referencing style:

Your Last Name, First Initial. (Year) ‘Title of your paper’. School Name. Unpublished essay.

Harvard example:

Lu, P. (2017) ‘George Washington in early American paintings’. Southern New Hampshire University. Unpublished essay.

APA citation format :

Your Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title of paper. Unpublished manuscript, University Name.

APA example:

Lu, P. (2017). George Washington in early American paintings. Unpublished manuscript, Southern New Hampshire University.

MLA citation format:

Your Last Name, Your First Name. “Title of Your Paper .”  Year written. Your School’s Name, unpublished paper.

MLA example:

Lu, Patricia. “George Washington in Early American Paintings .” 2017. Southern New Hampshire U, unpublished paper.

Looking for more styles or citing guides? Visit Cite This For Me to access a Chicago citation generator , a guide on how to do an in-text citation , an example of an annotated bibliography , and more!

quote yourself in an essay

APA Citation: A Citation & My Own Work

Citing a Citation

Let's say there are results of an original study by Denton et al. that you want to cite, but you read about these study results in a book by Beaujot & Kerr. Ideally, you should try to find the original study by Denton et al. and quote or paraphrase from it directly. However, if it is not possible to find or to read Denton et al.'s, you need to do the following: 

In the reference list , provide the citation of the source YOU are using, i.e. the book by Beaujot & Kerr::

Beaujot, R., & Kerr, D. (Eds.). (2007). The changing face of Canada: Essential readings in population. Canadian Scholars’ Press.

In text citation: name the original source and provide a citation for the source YOU use, for example: 

According to Denton et al., ....... ( as cited in Beaujot & Kerr, 2007). 

One study found .... (Denton et al., as cited in Beaujot & Kerr, 2007).

Denton et al. ( as cited in Beaujot & Kerr, 2007) found that .... 

A Citation within a Quote

When you are quoting something and the quote contains a citation within the quote, you can just cite as usual. The reason is that it would not really be possible to use the "cited in" structure. Here is an example:

Actors "are encouraged to become immersed in a character's life (Stanislavski, 1950), an activity that calls for absorption" (Panero et al., 2016, p. 234).

In the above example you are quoting the entire portion that is in red, which consists of:

You are taking this quote from your source, which is Panero et al.

However, if you were to only use the first part, i.e. "are encouraged to become immersed in a character's life", then you would use the cited in structure as you would only be citing what Stanislavski said:

According to Stanislavski, actors "are encouraged to become immersed in a character's life" (as cited in Panero et al., 2016, p. 234).

Actors are "encouraged to become immersed in a character's life" (Stanislavski; as cited in Panero et al. 2016, p. 234).

In your reference list, you would again put your source, i.e. Panero et al.

Citing Your Own Previous Work

It is very important that you  ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR IF YOU ARE ALLOWED TO USE PRIOR COURSE WORK , no matter for which course you did the work previously, or if you took the course at another institution.

Whenever you refer to your own previous work in your new paper, you will need to provide an in-text citation. You must also provide   a reference list entry for your prior work, just like you would for any other source you are using.

For example, let's say your name is Mary Smith, and you wrote an essay for your English 1100 class in 2016 with the title "The effect of texting on literary skills". A year later, you want to write an essay for your Sociology class about "Texting and its impact on interpersonal communication". You want to refer to some of your thoughts and conclusions you wrote about in your English 1100 essay, and you also want to reuse an interview you conducted for and cited in your previous work. You talked to your Sociology instructor and have received permission to do so.

In the r eference list , you will need to put your previous English 1100 paper as a source, and it would look like this:

Smith, M. (2016). The effect of texting on literary skills  [ Unpublished paper] . Department of English, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

In text citations   are structured depending on whether they refer to your own previous thoughts or to a citation to another source. Here are some suggested ways of citing these: 


Citing your own previous thoughts:  

Smith (2016) concluded that... 

In a 2016 paper Smith discussed...

In a previous paper I concluded that ... (Smith, 2016), but this view does not hold true in the present context.

Citing data/an interview from your prior work (note that although you conducted the interview yourself for your English essay, you are now  reading about it,  and thus you are citing a secondary source):

In an interview, Brown said that he was surprised to hear ... ( as cited in Smith, 2016) .....

When interviewed, Brown revealed he was "stunned that..." ( as cited in Smith, 2016, p. 5)

quote yourself in an essay


sea waving with splashing water

Self-Citation Podcast

Self-citation transcript.

Greetings everyone. This is Kurtis Clements with another effective writing podcast. In this episode, I am going to shed some light on self-citation—that is, instances when one would want to cite him or herself in academic work in an effort to avoid plagiarism.

What’s this you ask? Students sometimes want to know if they can cite themselves in a paper or assignment they are working on—that is, they want to know if they can use content they’ve written for one class in another—and while this is a relatively uncommon practice—students aren’t, after all, experts in the fields in which they write papers—protocol exists.

Let’s say that you are working on a paper about cogs and wheels, a subject that you have written about in a couple of prior classes. In fact, you’ve discovered some terrific content about cogs and wheels and have even written several particularly strong paragraphs in a previous paper that you think will fit into your current assignment. You decide to copy and paste two full paragraphs from a previous paper into your new paper. Have you just committed plagiarism?

The answer: yes and no.

What? How can this be? Simply put, the topic of self-citation and plagiarism can be confusing, so let’s break it down. You plagiarize yourself when you reuse work that you have used elsewhere without making anyone aware of this reuse of old content. When you turn in a paper for a class, the expectation is that this work is original and created specifically for a given assignment. If it is not original, it is unethical, and in cases of copyright issues (that is, you are reusing old content not for a class but for publication), it’s illegal. You must not mislead your reader, editor, or professor.

Generally, you can use small portions of your previous work if you cite it properly. This is called self-citation. The citation is required because it must be clear that this work or writing exists somewhere else and that the words or ideas are not original to the current paper or production. If you quote or paraphrase your ideas from a previous paper, in APA, you would cite yourself as the primary author and the work as an unpublished paper. For this self-citation, you must include both an in-text and reference citation like you would for any other source in your paper.

Please take special note of what I said above: It’s ok to use small portions of your previous work. In most cases of university academic writing, “small portions” means a sentence or two. What?!

That’s right: If you do cite yourself—that is, if you use content that you wrote for a previous paper—do so rarely and reuse content sparingly. Why? You ask. Think of it this way: If you are choosing to cite your previous work, it should be because you want to build on an idea you came up with in a previous paper. You should not cite previous work in order to only write a new paper faster.

However, with that said, the real question to think about is should you be using your previous work to begin with? To quote yourself does not lend credibility to your paper unless you are a known and published scholar in the field about which you are writing. Most students don’t fall into this category. Therefore, it is better for the validity of the paper and for student learning to avoid citing yourself unless you truly have an important idea of yours to build upon from a previous paper. Make sense? I am not saying don’t use your own content from a previous paper, but I am saying do so purposefully.

In order to cite yourself, if you decide it is appropriate for your paper, you can either refer to yourself in the third person, Clements (2013) stated, for example, or, if the assignment allows for a more casual personal reference, you could write, “As I discussed in a previous paper. . .” Again, you would include both an in-text and reference citation like you would for any other source in your paper.

One word of caution: You do not want to cite yourself citing someone else. If you want to reuse a quotation or a source from a previous paper, you need to cite that original source again. For example, let’s say you found a scholarly, peer-reviewed resource from an expert in the field, a Dr. Pickle, and you quoted Dr. Pickle in a paper. If you want to reuse that quote, don’t cite yourself, cite Dr. Pickle, who is the expert. This might mean that you have to go find that article again, but it is a best practice to cite—as best as one can—only original sources.

One final reminder: Keep in mind that if you choose self-citation, you should do so to build upon your ideas from a previous paper, not simply reuse the same content in another context. Got it? Good. Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t also say that when citing yourself, it is wise to consult the course syllabus and/or your professor beforehand just to make sure citing yourself will be ok.

In closing, I want to give special thanks to Melody Pickle, yes the Dr. Pickle from the example; she is real and an expert and her help on this script has been significant.

Happy writing, everyone!

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Frequently asked questions

When do i need to cite myself.

If you are reusing content or data you used in a previous assignment, make sure to cite yourself. You can cite yourself just as you would cite any other source: simply follow the directions for that source type in the citation style you are using.

Keep in mind that reusing your previous work can be considered self-plagiarism , so make sure you ask your professor or consult your university’s handbook before doing so.

Frequently asked questions: Citing sources

A scientific citation style is a system of source citation that is used in scientific disciplines. Some commonly used scientific citation styles are:

There are many different citation styles used across different academic disciplines, but they fall into three basic approaches to citation:

A source annotation in an annotated bibliography fulfills a similar purpose to an abstract : they’re both intended to summarize the approach and key points of a source.

However, an annotation may also evaluate the source , discussing the validity and effectiveness of its arguments. Even if your annotation is purely descriptive , you may have a different perspective on the source from the author and highlight different key points.

You should never just copy text from the abstract for your annotation, as doing so constitutes plagiarism .

Most academics agree that you shouldn’t cite Wikipedia as a source in your academic writing , and universities often have rules against doing so.

This is partly because of concerns about its reliability, and partly because it’s a tertiary source. Tertiary sources are things like encyclopedias and databases that collect information from other sources rather than presenting their own evidence or analysis. Usually, only primary and secondary sources are cited in academic papers.

A Wikipedia citation usually includes the title of the article, “Wikipedia” and/or “Wikimedia Foundation,” the date the article was last updated, and the URL.

In APA Style , you’ll give the URL of the current revision of the article so that you’re sure the reader accesses the same version as you.

There’s some disagreement about whether Wikipedia can be considered a reliable source . Because it can be edited by anyone, many people argue that it’s easy for misleading information to be added to an article without the reader knowing.

Others argue that because Wikipedia articles cite their sources , and because they are worked on by so many editors, misinformation is generally removed quickly.

However, most universities state that you shouldn’t cite Wikipedia in your writing.

Hanging indents are used in reference lists in various citation styles to allow the reader to easily distinguish between entries.

You should apply a hanging indent to your reference entries in APA , MLA , and Chicago style.

A hanging indent is used to indent all lines of a paragraph except the first.

When you create a hanging indent, the first line of the paragraph starts at the border. Each subsequent line is indented 0.5 inches (1.27 cm).

APA and MLA style both use parenthetical in-text citations to cite sources and include a full list of references at the end, but they differ in other ways:

A parenthetical citation in Chicago author-date style includes the author’s last name, the publication date, and, if applicable, the relevant page number or page range in parentheses . Include a comma after the year, but not after the author’s name.

For example: (Swan 2003, 6)

To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .

APA Style distinguishes between parenthetical and narrative citations.

In parenthetical citations , you include all relevant source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence or clause: “Parts of the human body reflect the principles of tensegrity (Levin, 2002).”

In narrative citations , you include the author’s name in the text itself, followed by the publication date in parentheses: “Levin (2002) argues that parts of the human body reflect the principles of tensegrity.”

In a parenthetical citation in MLA style , include the author’s last name and the relevant page number or range in parentheses .

For example: (Eliot 21)

A parenthetical citation gives credit in parentheses to a source that you’re quoting or paraphrasing . It provides relevant information such as the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number(s) cited.

How you use parenthetical citations will depend on your chosen citation style . It will also depend on the type of source you are citing and the number of authors.

APA does not permit the use of ibid. This is because APA in-text citations are parenthetical and there’s no need to shorten them further.

Ibid. may be used in Chicago footnotes or endnotes .

Write “Ibid.” alone when you are citing the same page number and source as the previous citation.

When you are citing the same source, but a different page number, use ibid. followed by a comma and the relevant page number(s). For example:

Only use ibid . if you are directing the reader to a previous full citation of a source .

Ibid. only refers to the previous citation. Therefore, you should only use ibid. directly after a citation that you want to repeat.

Ibid. is an abbreviation of the Latin “ibidem,” meaning “in the same place.” Ibid. is used in citations to direct the reader to the previous source.

Signal phrases can be used in various ways and can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.

To use signal phrases effectively, include:

Different citation styles require you to use specific verb tenses when using signal phrases.

Signal phrases allow you to give credit for an idea or quote to its author or originator. This helps you to:

A signal phrase is a group of words that ascribes a quote or idea to an outside source.

Signal phrases distinguish the cited idea or argument from your own writing and introduce important information including the source of the material that you are quoting , paraphrasing , or summarizing . For example:

“ Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker (1994) insists that humans possess an innate faculty for comprehending grammar.”

If you’re quoting from a text that paraphrases or summarizes other sources and cites them in parentheses , APA and Chicago both recommend retaining the citations as part of the quote. However, MLA recommends omitting citations within a quote:

Footnote or endnote numbers that appear within quoted text should be omitted in all styles.

If you want to cite an indirect source (one you’ve only seen quoted in another source), either locate the original source or use the phrase “as cited in” in your citation.

In scientific subjects, the information itself is more important than how it was expressed, so quoting should generally be kept to a minimum. In the arts and humanities, however, well-chosen quotes are often essential to a good paper.

In social sciences, it varies. If your research is mainly quantitative , you won’t include many quotes, but if it’s more qualitative , you may need to quote from the data you collected .

As a general guideline, quotes should take up no more than 5–10% of your paper. If in doubt, check with your instructor or supervisor how much quoting is appropriate in your field.

To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.

It’s appropriate to quote when:

To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:

The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.

“ Et al. ” is an abbreviation of the Latin term “et alia,” which means “and others.” It’s used in source citations to save space when there are too many authors to name them all.

Guidelines for using “et al.” differ depending on the citation style you’re following:

To insert endnotes in Microsoft Word, follow the steps below:

If you need to change the type of notes used in a Word document from footnotes to endnotes , or the other way around, follow these steps:

To insert a footnote automatically in a Word document:

Footnotes are notes indicated in your text with numbers and placed at the bottom of the page. They’re used to provide:

Be sparing in your use of footnotes (other than citation footnotes), and consider whether the information you’re adding is relevant for the reader.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page they refer to. This is convenient for the reader but may cause your text to look cluttered if there are a lot of footnotes.

Endnotes appear all together at the end of the whole text. This may be less convenient for the reader but reduces clutter.

Both footnotes and endnotes are used in the same way: to cite sources or add extra information. You should usually choose one or the other to use in your text, not both.

An in-text citation is an acknowledgement you include in your text whenever you quote or paraphrase a source. It usually gives the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number of the relevant text. In-text citations allow the reader to look up the full source information in your reference list and see your sources for themselves.

A credible source should pass the CRAAP test  and follow these guidelines:

Peer review is a process of evaluating submissions to an academic journal. Utilizing rigorous criteria, a panel of reviewers in the same subject area decide whether to accept each submission for publication. For this reason, academic journals are often considered among the most credible sources you can use in a research project– provided that the journal itself is trustworthy and well-regarded.

Academic dishonesty can be intentional or unintentional, ranging from something as simple as claiming to have read something you didn’t to copying your neighbor’s answers on an exam.

You can commit academic dishonesty with the best of intentions, such as helping a friend cheat on a paper. Severe academic dishonesty can include buying a pre-written essay or the answers to a multiple-choice test, or falsifying a medical emergency to avoid taking a final exam.

Academic dishonesty refers to deceitful or misleading behavior in an academic setting. Academic dishonesty can occur intentionally or unintentionally, and varies in severity.

It can encompass paying for a pre-written essay, cheating on an exam, or committing plagiarism . It can also include helping others cheat, copying a friend’s homework answers, or even pretending to be sick to miss an exam.

Academic dishonesty doesn’t just occur in a classroom setting, but also in research and other academic-adjacent fields.

To apply a hanging indent to your reference list or Works Cited list in Word or Google Docs, follow the steps below.

Microsoft Word:

Google Docs:

When the hanging indent is applied, for each reference, every line except the first is indented. This helps the reader see where one entry ends and the next begins.

For a published interview (whether in video , audio, or print form ), you should always include a citation , just as you would for any other source.

For an interview you conducted yourself , formally or informally, you often don’t need a citation and can just refer to it in the text or in a footnote , since the reader won’t be able to look them up anyway. MLA , however, still recommends including citations for your own interviews.

The main elements included in a newspaper interview citation across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the names of the interviewer and interviewee, the interview title, the publication date, the name of the newspaper, and a URL (for online sources).

The information is presented differently in different citation styles. One key difference is that APA advises listing the interviewer in the author position, while MLA and Chicago advise listing the interviewee first.

The elements included in a newspaper article citation across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the author name, the article title, the publication date, the newspaper name, and the URL if the article was accessed online .

In APA and MLA, the page numbers of the article appear in place of the URL if the article was accessed in print. No page numbers are used in Chicago newspaper citations.

Untitled sources (e.g. some images ) are usually cited using a short descriptive text in place of the title. In APA Style , this description appears in brackets: [Chair of stained oak]. In MLA and Chicago styles, no brackets are used: Chair of stained oak.

For social media posts, which are usually untitled, quote the initial words of the post in place of the title: the first 160 characters in Chicago , or the first 20 words in APA . E.g. Biden, J. [@JoeBiden]. “The American Rescue Plan means a $7,000 check for a single mom of four. It means more support to safely.”

MLA recommends quoting the full post for something short like a tweet, and just describing the post if it’s longer.

The main elements included in image citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the name of the image’s creator, the image title, the year (or more precise date) of publication, and details of the container in which the image was found (e.g. a museum, book , website ).

In APA and Chicago style, it’s standard to also include a description of the image’s format (e.g. “Photograph” or “Oil on canvas”). This sort of information may be included in MLA too, but is not mandatory.

The main elements included in a lecture citation across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the name of the speaker, the lecture title, the date it took place, the course or event it was part of, and the institution it took place at.

For transcripts or recordings of lectures/speeches, other details like the URL, the name of the book or website , and the length of the recording may be included instead of information about the event and institution.

The main elements included in a YouTube video citation across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the name of the author/uploader, the title of the video, the publication date, and the URL.

The format in which this information appears is different for each style.

All styles also recommend using timestamps as a locator in the in-text citation or Chicago footnote .

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

The elements included in journal article citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the name(s) of the author(s), the title of the article, the year of publication, the name of the journal, the volume and issue numbers, the page range of the article, and, when accessed online, the DOI or URL.

In MLA and Chicago style, you also include the specific month or season of publication alongside the year, when this information is available.

In APA , MLA , and Chicago style citations for sources that don’t list a specific author (e.g. many websites ), you can usually list the organization responsible for the source as the author.

If the organization is the same as the website or publisher, you shouldn’t repeat it twice in your reference:

If there’s no appropriate organization to list as author, you will usually have to begin the citation and reference entry with the title of the source instead.

The main elements included in website citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the author, the date of publication, the page title, the website name, and the URL. The information is presented differently in each style.

When you want to cite a specific passage in a source without page numbers (e.g. an e-book or website ), all the main citation styles recommend using an alternate locator in your in-text citation . You might use a heading or chapter number, e.g. (Smith, 2016, ch. 1)

In APA Style , you can count the paragraph numbers in a text to identify a location by paragraph number. MLA and Chicago recommend that you only use paragraph numbers if they’re explicitly marked in the text.

For audiovisual sources (e.g. videos ), all styles recommend using a timestamp to show a specific point in the video when relevant.

The abbreviation “ et al. ” (Latin for “and others”) is used to shorten citations of sources with multiple authors.

“Et al.” is used in APA in-text citations of sources with 3+ authors, e.g. (Smith et al., 2019). It is not used in APA reference entries .

Use “et al.” for 3+ authors in MLA in-text citations and Works Cited entries.

Use “et al.” for 4+ authors in a Chicago in-text citation , and for 10+ authors in a Chicago bibliography entry.

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

The main elements included in all book citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the author, the title, the year of publication, and the name of the publisher. A page number is also included in in-text citations to highlight the specific passage cited.

In Chicago style and in the 6th edition of APA Style , the location of the publisher is also included, e.g. London: Penguin.

A block quote is a long quote formatted as a separate “block” of text. Instead of using quotation marks , you place the quote on a new line, and indent the entire quote to mark it apart from your own words.

The rules for when to apply block quote formatting depend on the citation style:

In academic writing , there are three main situations where quoting is the best choice:

Don’t overuse quotes; your own voice should be dominant. If you just want to provide information from a source, it’s usually better to paraphrase or summarize .

Every time you quote a source , you must include a correctly formatted in-text citation . This looks slightly different depending on the citation style .

For example, a direct quote in APA is cited like this: “This is a quote” (Streefkerk, 2020, p. 5).

Every in-text citation should also correspond to a full reference at the end of your paper.

A quote is an exact copy of someone else’s words, usually enclosed in quotation marks and credited to the original author or speaker.

The DOI is usually clearly visible when you open a journal article on an academic database. It is often listed near the publication date, and includes “doi.org” or “DOI:”. If the database has a “cite this article” button, this should also produce a citation with the DOI included.

If you can’t find the DOI, you can search on Crossref using information like the author, the article title, and the journal name.

A DOI is a unique identifier for a digital document. DOIs are important in academic citation because they are more permanent than URLs, ensuring that your reader can reliably locate the source.

Journal articles and ebooks can often be found on multiple different websites and databases. The URL of the page where an article is hosted can be changed or removed over time, but a DOI is linked to the specific document and never changes.

When a book’s chapters are written by different authors, you should cite the specific chapter you are referring to.

When all the chapters are written by the same author (or group of authors), you should usually cite the entire book, but some styles include exceptions to this.

Articles in newspapers and magazines can be primary or secondary depending on the focus of your research.

In historical studies, old articles are used as primary sources that give direct evidence about the time period. In social and communication studies, articles are used as primary sources to analyze language and social relations (for example, by conducting content analysis or discourse analysis ).

If you are not analyzing the article itself, but only using it for background information or facts about your topic, then the article is a secondary source.

A fictional movie is usually a primary source. A documentary can be either primary or secondary depending on the context.

If you are directly analyzing some aspect of the movie itself – for example, the cinematography, narrative techniques, or social context – the movie is a primary source.

If you use the movie for background information or analysis about your topic – for example, to learn about a historical event or a scientific discovery – the movie is a secondary source.

Whether it’s primary or secondary, always properly cite the movie in the citation style you are using. Learn how to create an MLA movie citation or an APA movie citation .

To determine if a source is primary or secondary, ask yourself:

Some types of source are nearly always primary: works of art and literature, raw statistical data, official documents and records, and personal communications (e.g. letters, interviews ). If you use one of these in your research, it is probably a primary source.

Primary sources are often considered the most credible in terms of providing evidence for your argument, as they give you direct evidence of what you are researching. However, it’s up to you to ensure the information they provide is reliable and accurate.

Always make sure to properly cite your sources to avoid plagiarism .

Common examples of secondary sources include academic books, journal articles , reviews, essays , and textbooks.

Anything that summarizes, evaluates or interprets primary sources can be a secondary source. If a source gives you an overview of background information or presents another researcher’s ideas on your topic, it is probably a secondary source.

Common examples of primary sources include interview transcripts , photographs, novels, paintings, films, historical documents, and official statistics.

Anything you directly analyze or use as first-hand evidence can be a primary source, including qualitative or quantitative data that you collected yourself.

The Scribbr Citation Generator is developed using the open-source Citation Style Language (CSL) project and Frank Bennett’s citeproc-js . It’s the same technology used by dozens of other popular citation tools, including Mendeley and Zotero.

You can find all the citation styles and locales used in the Scribbr Citation Generator in our publicly accessible repository on Github .

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How Do I Cite Previous Work Written by Myself & Reference It In APA Form?

Jon zamboni.

Build on your previous research by citing your own work.

Citations provide your reader with the ability to track down the sources used in your research, even if that source is previous research done by you. Representing work that you have previously done as new work is self-plagiarism. Work you have had published as a book or article is cited using standard APA format for those types of sources. When citing your previous writing that has not been formally published, include it in your reference list as an unpublished manuscript.

Explore this article

1 Citing Yourself as a Published Author

If you reference published work you've done in the past, include that book on your reference list. This reference will include your name, the publication year, book title, and publisher information, as follows: Author Lastname, First Initial(s). (Year). Title of book: Subtitles if included . Publisher Location: Publisher.

For example: Smith, S. (2005). The fourth wave: Introductions to the new . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

2 Manuscript Citations on Your Reference List

If you are citing your work that has not been formally published on your reference list, replace the information for the publisher with a note stating that your writing is unpublished: Your Lastname, Your First Initial(s). (Year). Title of work: Subtitle if applicable . Unpublished manuscript.

For example: Smith, S. (2007). Theories of a Person . Unpublished manuscript.

3 In-Text Citations

If you paraphrase or directly quote your previous work in the body of a paper, include an in-text citation noting where the information comes from. This is a parenthetical including your last name, the year of writing, and the page number, if applicable.

Example: The person is not merely a person, but a "collection of ideas and beliefs within a social system" (Smith, 2007, p. 8).

About the Author

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

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quote yourself in an essay

citing yourself  – in the text

Writing about your own work is sometimes tricky. There are ‘secretarial’ text issues involved in using your own work.


I’ll talk here about how you refer to yourself and the work, and the vexed question of self-plagiarism.

The advice on self citation often suggests that you refer to yourself by your surname. So in my case I’d be writing along and then say Thomson (date) showed that …. According to Thomson (date)….  Previous work on this topic includes x (date), y (date) and Thomson (date) …. This move separates yourself and pervious work out from what you are currently writing.

This is not wrong. it is often done. But if, like me, you find this way of talking about yourself a bit odd, then there are two other options. The first is to use ‘I’. In previous work I have… My earlier study on… This study builds on my project on… Now there’s nothing wrong with this and I’d certainly rather write and read this than a lot of the author’s surname in the text. A personal preference.

The second option is to move the citation to the brackets and forget writing about the author in the main body of the text. So … Previous work on x (Thomson date) suggests that… This study takes as its starting point the following… blah blah blah (Thomson, date). This text actually focuses the discussion on the substantive point, rather than on who wrote it. I have just read an entire book where the author refers to their own substantive work like this. And it worked just fine for me, as a reader.

But it may be that some combination of I and brackets works best for whatever you are writing. It’s up to you to think about what you like to read and your disciplinary conventions, as much as your writing fancies.

The most unnatural way IMHO to write about yourself in the text is as a third person – the researcher’s previous work on this, as the researcher has argued in an earlier paper… This is a highly-stylised version what someone thinks is proper in academic writing. It’s as well to consider who else talks about themselves in the third person and where – the answer is hardly anyone, anywhere, anytime. If you want to write in ways that a reader will find ‘natural’ and not overly distancing and overly formal, then you might might to exorcise this kind of researcher self in your text.

And of course, as noted last week, too much author surname and personal pronoun ‘I’ can read as if it’s all about you, only you, and not about the general body of work in the field. And Im afraid that putting yourself, and only you and no one else, in the brackets reads like this too.

I’ve written about this before and every time a handful or people write crossly to me saying that this is a ridiculous notion. That may be true but it is now actually part of copyright law in many countries. So like it or not, we are generally stuck with a ruling that says we have to treat our own material in the same way as everyone else’s and quote ourselves.

The shift to rules around self-plagiarism does stop people reusing large slabs of text, unchanged, from one paper to the next. Each paper is a new contribution, not a cut and paste.

But yes, there are some cases when we do want to use exactly the same words from one text to another– describing the methods used in a large research project from which several papers have been drawn is one, as are details of location in an ethnographic study. Most of us don’t worry about the self plagiarise rule in these circumstances.

Sometimes people don’t bother with this rule. I’ve recently read a book where a very famous scholar used a definitional statement – extensively quoted by other people –  which originally appeared in one of his refereed journal articles. It was such a well-known sentence that it leapt off the page at me. However, the writer didn’t self-cite.  And I don’t blame him for this minor technical infringement. I can imagine him thinking that the wording was actually hard to better so why try to do so…

But technically… In general, we do legally now need to ‘quote’ our own writing. This almost inevitably places us in the situation of having to explain why we are quoting ourselves – so back to number one above.

And if you know the rules about self plagiarism you can then make your own decision about whether to follow them religiously. Just be aware the journals are increasingly using plagiarism software… and these algorithms will pick up self-cite as well as any other form of duplication.

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About pat thomson

9 responses to citing yourself  – in the text.

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Thanks Pat, this is a timely piece. At my institution (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia) all researchers have just been given accounts with “iThenticate” anti-plagiarism software – and we’re expected to use it to check our own work before we submit for publication. I’ve not tried it yet; just wondering whether any other readers have any experience with it.

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Very interesting. I’ve not heard of that before.

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Dear Karen (and others), At my former institution they too granted access to iThenticate and expected staff to check their papers (and if not, someone was going to check it for them). My current institution has iThenticate for checking theses and HDR candidates’ work (as opposed to Turnitin for coursework students). There has been no expectation of staff checking papers though (not yet).

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I sometimes get asked to anonymise papers for peer review and the authorial “I” or “we” always gets replaced for review so I would take into account that journal articles need to be double-blind reviewed too.

The researcher (lol) is not sure about other disciplines but in mine, for papers from a PhD, it is perfectly fine to footnote a section title and note that it was lifted from a thesis and adjusted. Not sure how anonymisation would work with that though.

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Do you know what the legal reasoning is for making this a matter of copyright law? Seems strange to me as well. I don’t see the benefit of making people “reinvent” their work in new words, over and over again. If I still like my words from my first work, why shouldn’t I be free to use them — whole blocks of them, or even all of them — in their entirety again? So can you shed any light on this?

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Thanks Pat for sharing your ideas on self-citation. As usual, interesting and useful. I was wondering how this may be applicable to other publication situations. For example, I’ve seen edited volumes or monographs including formerly published articles by the author with indeed a footnote that this chapter was previously published as a journal article in blah blah … The other situation (I came across yesterday), was an edited volume by the same editors but published by two different publishers. The second (more recent copy) includes exactly the same chapters published just 2-3 years ago in another volume by another publisher and indeed with some new chapters added. I’v always thought that once a piece of research or writing gets published whether as a journal article or a book chapter, it’s senseless and perhaps inappropriate to “duplicate” them in another outlet. What do you think here? Thanks, Mehdi

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This is an issue of copyright. If the copyright holder for the original article allows you to republish it in another place, then go ahead. But a lot of large journal published are not very keen on this idea

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Sometimes I’m inclined to argue with my former self: ‘As Matarasso (1998) so naively argued…’

Like Liked by 1 person

' src=

Thank you so much. I have just joined this blog. I had to read what has been written before. I have enjoyed all. Thank you so much Pat. As for citing oneself, I have found myself doing so particularly if I liked the piece. At the university where I lecture, I have covered self-plagiarism and indeed it is very important to acknowledge your previous write-ups.

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quote yourself in an essay


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Concordia University, St. Paul

APA 7th Edition Guide

How to Cite Yourself

When citing a paper that you wrote for a previous class, consider yourself as the author and your previous course work as an unpublished paper. Include [Unpublished manuscript] in brackets after the title.

Reference Page Format:

Author, (year written). Title [Unpublished manuscript]. Institution.

Reference Page Example:

O’Toole, T. (2019).  An analysis of pre-WWII leaders  [Unpublished manuscript]. Concordia University, St. Paul.  

In-text Citation Examples:

According to O’Toole (2019)... ...(O’Toole, 2019). ...(O’Toole, 2019, p. 4).

Blackboard Lectures and PowerPoints

Sources on Blackboard, such as recorded lectures and PowerPoints, are not available to people outside of your institution. If the audience of your paper is your professor and/or classmates who have access to the content, use the following examples.

If your audience is not enrolled in your course or part of your institution and therefore does not have access to the content, cite the content as a Personal Communication .

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title [Format]. [email protected]  https://csp.blackboard.com/
Neilson, J. (2022, September 1).  What the library can do for you  [PowerPoint Slides]. [email protected]  https://csp.blackboard.com/
According to Neilson (2022)... ...(Neilson, 2022).

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Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Printable Guide to Citing Your Previous Work in APA Format

How to cite previous work, citation format.

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Search the CORE library using the field below.

Full-Text (online) Yes    No

Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Yes    No

To cite previous work, such as an essay you wrote for a different class:

Cite yourself like you would any other source, except include the information "Unpublished manuscript"

An in-text citation for your previouly-written work would be formatted as follows:

Use your last name and the date you wrote your paper as an in-text citation.

If you referred to the work of others in your previous essay and mention that work in your new piece of writing, do not cite yourself for that source.  Instead, include in-text citations and listings in your bibliography for the original source.

To cite a discussion post:

Cite your own discussion post as an online forum comment, complete with URL where it can be found.

Note:  the format of the citation would be the same if you were citing someone else's discussion post as well.

In-text citations where you paraphrase your own post would be formatted as follows:

Use your last name and the date as an in-text citation if you paraphrase a discussion post.

If you directly quote your own words from a discussion post, you should give your reader a more information in the in-text citation.  Include the paragraph number, if possible.  (Yes, that does mean counting your paragraphs -- which could be considered a great reason for paraphrasing instead!)

Include the paragraph number if you directly quote your own discussion post.

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