If I'm using just one source and write 3 paragraphs using the one source, can I just cite the source at the end of the third paragraph? (MLA)
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yes u can
rather than just use a bibliography or works cited?
unless this is footnotes?
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I don't know about MLA. For APA it's on a per paragraph basis.
Yes, there'd be no way to tell across multiple paragraphs how far back the citation extended. I'll double-check my handbook and see whether there are any other relevant guidelines.
It might not even be the case that you'd cite at the end of the paragraph, you know. It all depends on what you're saying and how you're saying it. Is the text in these three paragraphs *pure* citation? Is there nothing of your own commentary or analysis in there? I assume you're familiar with the basics, but even if so sometimes a reminder of these can be helpful.
This page has some very basic info --
And this page addresses short and long quotations --
If you have direction quotations scattered throughout a paragraph, you may need to provide the citation info at each point. There can be a bit of an art to this. The end goal is to be both clean and precise. If the page numbers differ, for example, you wouldn't want one citation at the end of the entire paragraph, unless of course you could reasonably give a page range.
Check out also the answer to the second question at the top of the second page in this document --
To avoid repetition, you can introduce quotations in different ways. One possibility is to combine the name and several page numbers in a single parenthesis.
The author stated “no one is alarmed by this unusual issue” associated with the event. The results of investigation illustrate “a great deal of loss of lives” (Rowhani 17, 22).
Or you may include the name and page number in the first parenthesis and omit the name from the subsequent parentheses.
The author stated, “no one is alarmed by this unusual issue,” associated with this event (Rowhani 17). The results of investigation illustrate “great number of losses due to the spread of the disease” (22).
Or, if the author’s name appears in the narrative leading up to the quotation, include the page number only.
Ms. Rowhani argues that “no one is alarmed by this unusual issue associated with this event.” (17).
You can apply these principles to your situation, perhaps?
If you think you have a tricky case, you could always post those three paragraphs and we can take a look.