|| When citing information found in an
encyclopedia (or other reference work), first you need to determine if the
encyclopedia article has an individual author. If it does, you'll be creating
a citation for a "signed" encyclopedia article. If there isn't an author
listed, your citation will be for an "unsigned" article.
Signed ArticlesCitations for signed encyclopedia articles begin with the author's name. The citation also includes the encyclopedia title and publication information. Since you likely didn't read the entire encyclopedia, your citation will need to include information on the part that you did use.
For my example, I looked up "Performance Poetry" in an African American Literature encyclopedia . Since that is the only part of the encyclopedia that I am using in my research, that is what I need to cite. I'll put the name of the encyclopedia article in quotation marks and then italicize the title of the entire encyclopedia.
On first glance, this citation looks a lot like a citation for a book! Make sure you do include information on the section of the encyclopedia you used and include the name of that section in quotes! With an encyclopedia, you also include the editor of the encyclopedia and which volume you are using. If the encyclopedia has been published in different editions, include the edition information following the editor's name(s).
Unsigned ArticlesMany encyclopedia articles won't list a specific author. If you can't find an author, start your citation with the name of the encyclopedia article you used. Make sure you put the article title in quotation marks.