Parenthetical vs. narrative citations in CiteDrive

We receive many questions about using CiteDrive to create citations in parentheticals and narratives. Since the app is a BibTeX-based online reference management tool that works with both LaTeX and Pandoc-based systems (such as R Markdown and Quarto) and synchronizes your bibliographies with Overleaf and RStudio, we show you different options depending on the system and package you use.

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Parenthetical and narrative citations - what’s the difference?

In a parenthetical citation, you include information about a source in parentheses at the end of a sentence or clause where you are using information from that source. This allows you to identify the source of information without interrupting the flow of your writing. For example:

According to a recent study (Smith, 2020), the average lifespan of a dog is 12 years.

Narrative citation, on the other hand, involves incorporating information about the source into the text of your writing. This typically includes the author’s name and the publication date. For example:

According to Smith (2020), the average lifespan of a dog is 12 years.

Both parenthetical and narrative citations are used to give credit to the source of information and to allow readers to locate the source if they want to learn more. Using a parenthetical or narrative citation will depend on your style guide and preference.

In LaTeX/Overleaf

When using LaTeX/Overleaf, it will depend if you use BibTeX or BibLaTeX. If you’re using BibTeX, then the natbib package will be of help, which includes several commands for customizing citations, such as \citet* for in-text citations and \citep* for citations without parentheses.

In BibLaTeX \parencite* is an already built-in option for appropriate customizations.

In Pandoc, Quarto, or R Markdown

It is straightforward with Pandoc; add your citation key without brackets, i.e., @citationkey if you use a narrative citation, and the in-text version with brackets, i.e., [@citationkey].