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Michigan State University

ISB 204 (Bierema): Applications of Biomedical Sciences: Writing/Citation Info

Course Project Literature Citations

Literature Citation Requirements

To start, let us consider how literature is used and presented in a paper. The background information that a paper or infographic will generally use is found in two places in that paper:

  • In the body of the assignment itself where information from previous studies are summarized and used, and
  • In the References or Literature Cited list. Either of these terms may be used and they are both correct. This section lists each of the articles, websites, etc. cited in the body of the paper or infographic. Keep in mind that scientists, and you too, may read many papers, but not end up citing them in the body of your paper. These additional papers are not listed in the references.

In-text Citations
There are two main ways that in-text citations can be included: one way is to include author last names and year of publication and the other way is to use footnotes.

Below are examples of using author last name(s) and year. Include the citation before the period of the associated sentence. If there are three or more authors, then just list the first author followed by “et al.”

  • One author: (Bierema, 2018)
  • Two authors: (Bierema & Schwartz, 2018)
  • Three or more authors: (Bierema et al., 2018)

Common variations of in-text citations is including or not including the comma before the data and using “&” or “and” between authors. If using a direct quote, then include page or paragraph number.

The other way is to use footnotes. These are superscript numbers at the end of the associated sentences. For the infographic and other visually-based assignments, footnotes may be the preferred way as they use less room than writing out the citation information. To use them, end the sentence with a superscript number, starting with “1” and then add the same superscript number to the beginning of the associated reference in the reference list.

For instance:

This is an example of a footnote.1

Then in the reference list:
1Bierema, A. M.-K., Schwartz, R. R. (2018). Writing footnotes. …

Reference List
The Reference list in a research paper or infographic is simply a listing in alphabetical order of all the websites, articles, book chapters, or books that have been referred to (or cited) in the paper or infographic. A typical References section will provide the citation of the sources discussed in the paper.

There are many ways to format a citation and these vary among various disciplines and journals. In this course, we will use the philosophy of “your paper your way.” What this means is that any format can be used, but it is important that the citation format remains consistent and that all citation information is present.

A few of the more common reference formats are described on the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) website, including APA, MLA, Chicago, and AMA. Once on the website, click on the desired format. For APA and MLA, then click on “Formatting and Style Guide” and use information for “in-text citations” and “reference list” or “works cited page.” Note that the website also provides information on formatting papers according to these formats; we will only be concerned with in-text citation and reference/works cited format. MSU’s Library citation guides offer brief videos on these common citation formats.

Citations will contain the following information, when present:

  • Author(s), if people are not listed, then organizations may be authors
  • Year of publication or most recent copyright date of a website
  • Title of article or website
  • If using a book chapter, then both the chapter name and book title
  • If using an edited book, then the editor names in addition to author names
  •  If using a journal article, then journal title, volume number, and page numbers
  • DOI (digital object identifier), which is typically just provided on journal articles
  • Website URL, if not a journal article


Annotated Bibliographies

Citation Resources

MSU Writing Center

The Writing Center at Michigan State University provides one-on-one and group writing consultations, various writing-specific workshops, as well as writing groups for graduate students and faculty. The Writing Center has locations across campus. In the Main Library, it is located on the Second Floor West.

Click here to schedule a free one-on-one writing consultation.

Citation Management Tools

MSU libraries offer citation management tools training. Please visit our libguides to learn more information.

Endnote & Endnote Web



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