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Exploring Academic Writing: Can I Use Citations In Thesis Statement?

Writing a thesis statement might feel like a tough job. It’s a super important sentence right in your paper’s heart. It indicates to your readers what your article is about. Getting this sentence just right can take some practice, but that’s okay!

A common question that arises during this process is whether to use citations in thesis statement or not. This blog will explore the use of citations in thesis sentences and provide advice on how to write thesis statement using different citation styles.

What’s a Citation?

Imagine you’re telling a story to your friend about something funny that another friend said. You wouldn’t claim that funny joke as your own, right? You’d give credit to your friend.

The same rule applies when writing papers. When you use someone else’s idea or work, you cite the source to give them credit. It’s like saying, “Hey, this idea is theirs, not mine!”

What’s a Thesis Statement?

Now, onto the next big thing: thesis statements. Think of your thesis statement as a compact capsule. It holds the main essence of your entire work and offers a condensed summary of your central idea.

But here’s the million-dollar question: Can you mix citations and thesis statements? Can you use someone else’s work in your summary or thesis sentences? That’s what we’re going to explore. So, buckle up, and let’s get started!

Can You Use Citations in a Thesis Statement?

The short answer is: It depends. Using citations in thesis statement is not a common practice. Since this principle statement requires originality, concision, and proper structure to display your claim. However, you can come across specific circumstances that can benefit from citation within the statement. These can entail;

  • When you directly refer to an overarching idea or argument from a specific source. This can involve you critiquing, refuting, or building upon that claim throughout your paper.
  • When the credibility and authority of your argument rest heavily on a particular source, which you want to emphasize from the outset.

In such cases, using a citation concisely and unobtrusively could strengthen your thesis sentence. However, handling the source carefully is essential. Make sure your thesis statement remains easy to understand while not compromising its persuasive power.

How to Write Thesis Statement Using Different Citations?

If you’ve decided that using a citation in your thesis statement is valuable for your paper, remember to stick to the following guidelines. These instructions encompass the three most common citation styles—APA, MLA, and Chicago.

APA (American Psychological Association)

Suppose you’re trying to build an argument in favor of keeping pets. And you’ve just finished a book, upon which you can base your claims. Let’s assume the book was written by some self-help couch named Smith and punished in 2020. This is what your thesis statement might look like:

“Cats will always cater to their human’s well-being, that’s what Smith wrote in 2020.”

MLA (Modern Language Association)

Say you’re reading a classic and you stumbled upon the most quotable lines, what will you do? You will opt for MLA style citation. In this method we add information, the name of the author and the page number for that piece of information/ quote.

For example:

“Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ shows that chasing after crazy amounts of knowledge can land you in hot water! Shelley wrote, ‘Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example’ on page 74.”

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Chicago Style is a touch different – it doesn’t like to have the citation in the statement itself but in a note at the bottom or the end of the page. If you’re an avid book reader you might have seen this style of referencing quite often. It’s like a secret note left by a detective at a crime scene:

“Our research will explain why fast fashion is hurting our Earth and needs to be changed.”

Now, we hope you have found how to write thesis statement using different citation in this section. In all cases, make sure your source is concise and does not impede the flow of the thesis writing sentence. Maintain the style and format consistency throughout the rest of your paper.

Potential Drawbacks of Using Citations in Thesis Statement

When you learn using sources in your summary sentences you should keep an eye on certain potential drawbacks. They should not be ignored.

Lack of Originality

Using citations in thesis sentence might make your central argument seem less original or reliant on the cited source.


Too many or overly complex citations could make your thesis statement longer and harder to understand.

Diluting Your Argument

The citation could overshadow the central idea or argument in your thesis sentence, making your paper’s focus unclear.

It’s crucial to weigh these potential drawbacks against the benefits of using a citation in your thesis statement. You might find that a brief and unobtrusive quotation would neither dilute your argument nor unnecessarily complicate your message.

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Concluding Thoughts

So, we’ve learned that a citation is a simple tip of the hat to the people whose ideas we borrow. And a thesis statement? That’s our big idea we want everyone to understand. We only mix the two if we absolutely need to. Keep this in mind, and you’ll do just fine whether it’s how to write thesis statement using different citations or methods of citations in the thesis statement.

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