Skip to Main Content

COM 181

Basics of Oral Citation

The rules for oral citations aren't as rigid as the ones you need to follow in written works, but citations are still necessary to avoid plagiarism!  Use these general guidelines to help you with oral citations, but also be sure to check with your instructor, as some disciplines and professors have specific requirements.

When do you provide a citation?

  • You must cite words or ideas that come from another person or you will be plagiarizing their work!
  • When you are providing information that is not commonly known, such as statistics, expert opinions, or study results.
  • Whenever you use a direct quotation. 
  • If you are unsure if a citation is required, be safe and cite the source.

What are the elements of an oral citation?

  • Source or Publication (required)
    • If the source might not be recognized by your listeners, add a comment to help establish its credibility. 
    • Include enough detail to help your listener locate the work later.
  • Date (suggested)

    • Do give the full date in citations that refer to newspaper or magazine articles.
    • Particularly important if there are statistics or data that change over time.
    • Mention the publication year for books and journals.
    • If there is no date, as with some websites, state the date that you accessed the material.
  • Author (suggested)
    • Also indicate the Author's credentials (why they are an authority on the subject).
    • If there are two authors, use both names in your citation.
    • If there are more than two authors, name the first author and use "and associates" or "and colleagues".
  • Title (if author has multiple works in the cited source) 
    • If the full title is long, use a shortened version that makes sense and still communicates enough information for your listener to locate the work.

How do I incorporate the oral citation into my speech?

  • Oral citations will always be in a narrative style; you mention citation details about the work as part of your presentation.
  • Place the citation during or after the cited material, or say it before to give weight and authority to what you're about to say.
  • The first mention of a work should include all citation elements; subsequent mentions of that work only require the author as long as source attribution remains clear (i.e. you have not used a different source in intervening narrative).

How do I orally cite a quotation?

  • You should make in clear that you are directly quoting another person rather than paraphrasing or summarizing their work. You can use a signal phrase like "... and I quote" or "As Jonas said..." to introduce the cited material.


Oral Citation Video