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Citing Sources: Oral Citations

How to Prepare an Oral Citation

As a rule of thumb, these are the three basic elements, but this will vary with the type of source:

  • WHO: Identify the element of the source (author or title) which provides the greatest authority and/or secondary credibility. Does the author have credentials?
  • WHAT: What type of publication is it—newspaper, government report, magazine, journal? (In other words, would everybody know that the Kansas City Star is a newspaper? If not, tell them!)
  • WHEN: When was the book, magazine, newspaper or journal published (date)? When was the person interviewed? When was the website last updated and/or when did you access the website?

More Specifically---


If you are quoting from a magazine, newspaper or journal article, give a quick statement of the author (if relevant) as well as the (full) date and title of the source. This applies to both print sources and those found in the Library Databases.


  • “According to Len Zehm, a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, in an article from May 31, 2006…”
  • “Newsweek magazine of December 4, 2005 lists bankruptcy as the…”
  • “In the latest Gallup Poll, cited in last week’s issue of Time magazine…”

You do not need to give the title of the article, although you may if it helps in any way. For example, if you are quoting one or more articles from the same newspaper, this would help differentiate the sources.
You do not need to give the page number nor the name of electronic database that cataloged the periodical/publication.


If you are citing information from a book, provide the title of the book, year of publication and a brief mention of the author's credentials. You don’t have to mention the page, publisher or city of publication:


  • "In his 2005 book, Eating to Be Smart, Charles Larson, a registered dietitian, notes that consuming yogurt…”


If you are citing a website you need to establish the credibility, currency and objectivity (fact vs. opinion) of the site.

  • the title of the website
  • the “author”/organization/sponsor that supports the site
  • the site’s “credentials” You can confirm a site’s “credentials” by looking for links as: “About us” or “Our Mission” or “Who we are”
  • the last date it was updated, if known
  • the date you accessed the site.

Tip: If you cannot find this information on a web site, you may want to consider finding a different source.

  • “One of the most active developers of neurotechnology,, claims on their website, last updated on March 24, 2006, that…”
  • “From the website maintained by the Wisconsin Council of Dairy Farmers entitled “Dairy Products and Your Diet”, as of January 10, 2007, yogurt…” (or “of an unknown date which I accessed on September 18th of this year”), yogurt proves to be…”


In an oral citation of a website, you do not need to give the URL.

Caution: If a website quotes a book, magazine or newspaper, remember that your source is the website, not the book/magazine/newspaper from which the quote originates.
  • “From a website supported by, a commercial website promoting the religion of Islam, the book Principles of Oceanography is quoted as stating that…”


If you are quoting the source of an interview, give the person's name and statement of their credentials, date of interview, as well as the fact that the information was obtained from a personal interview:


  • “In a personal interview on January 15 that I conducted with Nancy Manes, head of cardiac care at Central DuPage Hospital, the most important…”

Caution: Interviews are not the same as conversations or undocumented recollections of class lectures; interview sources must be credentialed “experts” in their fields.

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  • Last Updated: Jan 4, 2024 2:27 PM
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