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How to Cite a Book in Research

There are various ways in which you can do the citation of books in research it depends on your university and academic area that what citation style you can and you should use. Harvard, APA, Chicago style are some of the well known citation style that are long been in use and are acceptable in different fields of research. Books require citation of various elements and some of these elements are used in other sources as well. Books require citing author and title and most of the other sources require citation of author and title as well, books require citation of publication and journals and magazines also requires citation of the publication. It also requires citation of page number and you have to cite page number in  journals and newspapers as well.

Citation of books in research

The following are the main elements of a book citation in a research paper or theses:

Authors name

The authors name is the first element of a books citation write down full author or authors names. In different style of citation there are slight differences in the way you have to cite author’s name. In the Harvard style of citation you have to cite the authors last name with in the text citation and in the end you have to cite the authors full name in the following order: If there is one author of a book  then we have to cite the author’s last name and then first name or initial, in case there are more then one author then you have to cite author’s last name and then the first name or initial and write the second author’s last name and then the first initial.

In APA style of citation in-text citation is also called as parenthetical citation and you have to cite the author’s last name as well as the year of publication in parenthesis within the text. You also need to cite the page number in case you are using a direct quote from a book or journal. The end references include author’s last name followed by the initials of the first and the middle name. In case there are more than one author or authors all the authors names should be cited and the last author’s name should be separated by ampersand instead of “and”.

In MLA style of citation cite author’s last name followed by comma and then the rest of the name as it appeared on the book or the journal or any other source that you are using, for example, “Rowling, J. K. ” In MLA style of citation you have to cite one or two authors with their full names in the references but if there are more than two authors then write “et al” after the name of the first author.


The title is a vital element of the citation of a book, the title just like the author name will help the readers find out the source from where you have got the information.

In Harvard style of referencing you have to cite the full title of the book including the subtitles. You have to italicize the title to make it more visible and you have to capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title as well as the first letter of the subtitle.

In the APA style of citation the title should be cited italicized and only the first letter of the first word in the title should be capitalized.

In the MLA style of citation the book title can be written in italics or with quotation marks. The first letter of each word in the title and subtitle should be capitalized.


When citing a book the the name of the publication company along with the date of publication and the place of publication should be provided. In the Harvard style of citation you can cite the publication of the book in the following order: after citing author’s name the year of publication should be cited in parentheses, cite title and edition of the book and then you have to cite the place of publication followed by a colon and then the publisher name and that will be followed by a comma. Regardless of what citation style you are following the three main components of the publication will remain same only their order can be different.


The edition of the book can be there if there are more then one edition and sometimes there is only one book published so there will not be any edition mentioned. In case the edition is mentioned on the book you should cite it in the references because new editions of the same book might have differences from the older versions.


There might also be volumes of the book that you are citing so if there are more then one volume available then cite the volume number as well. Volume number is not always there only lengthy works have several volumes otherwise most books have editions but no volumes.

Page number

The page number is also a vital element of the citation of a book as books will always have page numbers. Check the page number or page numbers that you have used as a source and mention all the page number/s that you have referenced. In case more then one page has been used in your research at one place then you can separate each page number by a comma or if the page numbers are in a series then write the first page number a hyphen and then the last page number that you have used in your research.




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