Tips for Oral Citations




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Tips for Oral Citations
We generally expect presentations to include oral citations of sources. This expectation is reflected in the “material” trait in the rubric. (If you require a written outline, citations should be included in the outline. Also consider requiring a list of references.) Oral citations demonstrate the presenter has conducted research. It also allows the audience to evaluate the credibility and timeliness of the information; since the rest of your student’s audience will not have the outline/bibliography, it is especially important for them to hear the citations orally.
Just like you want to let your students know if you prefer APA or MLA style, you also want to communicate your preferences for oral citation of sources. Often we prefer a full oral citation that would include the author(s) (assuming that is available), the publication, the specific publication date and year, and any other pertinent information. (For example, if the student cites information obtained from a televised interview, he or she would include the television program, the network, and the date on which the interview aired.) Some instructors are satisfied with a less complete citation (e.g., maybe just the author and the date). And, you might teach students that how they cite their information should highlight the most important aspects of that citation (e.g., we may not know who “Dr. Smith” is, but if Dr. Smith is identified as a lead researcher of race relations at New York University, the citation will take on more credibility).
Some examples of complete and abbreviated oral citations:
For a magazine article


  • “According to an article by Ben Elgin in the February 20th, 2006 issue of Business Week, we can expect Google and Yahoo’s supremacy as the search engine giants to be challenged by new U.S. startups. Elgin reports that …”




  • “As reported in the February 20th, 2006 issue of Business Week, many new companies are getting into the search engine business. This article explains that …”




  • “A February 20th, 2006 Business Week article reported that Google and Yahoo will face stiff competition in the search engine business …”




  • “A 2006 Business Week article reported that Google and Yahoo …”



For a newspaper article


  • “On February 22nd, 2006, USA Today reported that …”




  • “An article about the effects of global warming appeared in the February 22nd edition of USA Today. Todd Smith’s report focused on the alarming rate of …”




  • “An article on global warming that appeared in the February 22nd issue of USA Today sounded the alarm …”



For a website
Beware Unless you indicate otherwise, students are likely to rely solely on web-based information for their presentations! Although we’ve been told that this generation of students is computer-savvy, easily googled = credible to many of them. You probably will need to mention how to evaluate the information they discover on the web and establish any ground rules for unacceptable sources (e.g., Wikipedia)

You will probably want students to supply the specific URL in the list of references. However, it is very cumbersome to recite a long URL in a presentation. It is likely more relevant to audiences for speakers to report the sponsor/author of the site and the title of the web page (or section of the web site) where they obtained their information. You may also want them to report when the site was last updated.




  • “According to information I found at www.ready.gov, the website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. businesses and citizens …”




  • “According to information posted on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website, …”




  • “Helpful information about business continuity planning can be found on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website, located at www.ready.gov …”




  • “I consulted the website maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to learn more about what businesses should do to plan for an emergency. In the section entitled ‘Plan to stay in business,’ several recommendations for maintaining continuity of business operations were offered. These suggestions included …”


For a journal article


  • “A 2004 study published in Journal of Applied Social Psychology reported that incidents of workplace aggression have increased …”




  • “Research conducted by Dr. Bailey and Dr. Cross at Stanford University found that incidents of workplace aggression have increased over the past five years. Their 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology reported that …”







  • “A 2004 study by Bailey and Cross in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, …”




  • “In a 2004 study published in Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Bailey and Cross reported that …”




  • “A 2004 study by Stanford University researchers found that incidents of workplace aggression …”




  • “Bailey and Cross, experts in workplace aggression, authored a 2004 study that shows that incidents of aggression in the workplace are increasing. Their Journal of Applied Social Psychology article reports that …”



For a book


  • “In her 2005 book, Good Health at Any Age, Dr. Gabriella Campos describes how we can maintain our health through healthy eating. She recommends …”




  • Gabriella Campos, an expert in nutrition, describes what is needed to maintain a healthy diet in her 2005 book Good Health at Any Age. She contends that …”




  • “In her recent book, Good Health at Any Age, Dr. Gabriella Campos recommends …”




  • “In Good Health at Any Age, Dr. Gabriella Campos, an expert in nutrition, offers suggestions for …”



For a television program


  • “On February 21st our local PBS station aired a program called “The Insurgency.” In this program …”




  • “According to “The Insurgency,” a Frontline program aired by PBS on February 21st, ….”




  • “Frontline, a PBS program, focused on the Iraq War in the television program entitled “The Insurgency.” This show aired on February 21st and focused on the problems confronting …”



For a personal interview


  • “On February 20th I conducted a personal interview with Dr. Desiree Ortez, a psychology professor here at Eastern, to learn more about student responses to peer pressure. Dr. Ortez told me that …”




  • “I conducted an interview with Dr. Desiree Ortez, a psychology professor at Eastern Illinois University, and learned that peer pressure is a big problem for university students.”




  • “In an interview I conducted with Dr. Desiree Ortez, a psychology professor, I learned that …”




  • “I met with Dr. Desiree Ortez, a psychology professor here at Eastern, to learn more about … She told me that peer pressure is a major factor contributing to academic failure in college.”




  • “In a telephone interview I conducted with Dr. Forest Wiley, a gerontology professor at University of Illinois, I learned that the elderly are likely to feel ...”




  • “I e-mailed Dr. Forest Wiley, a gerontology professor at the University of Illinois, to get additional information on his research on the aging’s use of the Internet. He told me …”


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