I'm writing a short paper on macroeconomics; the professor gave us two tries, I submitted the first try, and now got my feedback.

The feedback is: "The first paragraph could also deserve a reference".

And these are the two paragraphs this refers to (note the reference [3] in the end):

 Both rational ignorance and expressive voting are more likely to occur when instrumental voting does not seem to bring any benefit to the citizen; i.e. an election where the candidates have similar prognoses should attract instrumental, rational voters, whereas a landslide election with an almost predictable outcome attracts less total voters, but more ignorant or expressive ones, because they feel that their vote will not have any instrumental, decisive value, hence can be used to express an opinion.        
 Assume a voter realizes that he will not tip the balance, and will not benefit from the enactment of the candidate's promises. He can also not be paid for his vote. But he is willing to vote, in order to express his support for democracy, or maybe his dissatisfaction by voting for protest party. If he enjoys the voting process itself, then he is not benefiting in an instrumental sense, but in an emotional one. If this joy exceeds the cost of voting, he is still rational in some broader sense. [3]

Note that the second paragraph, after the word "opinion", starts in the very next line, without any empty line or any additional distance in between.

The thing is, the reference at the end was intended to spread over both paragraphs, since they are both "covered" by this source; however I understand that this may not be obvious. But what shall I do? I cannot quote it, since it's not a quote; so shall I put the citation twice, one for each paragraph? Won't the same citation within 5 sentences seem unbeautiful, or is this a necessary evil?

  • A consideration: Does your department have a style sheet? Do they use MLA/APA or any other style guide? May 11, 2012 at 19:55
  • 1
    I once had a teacher tell me my paper should have been a third shorter and it needed twice as many footnotes. I'm still struggling to figure that one out. May 11, 2012 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


Yes, just repeat the citation. If you consider beauty aspects, you can also use ibid. for the second citation, but that's depending on your citation style (Vancouver or other stuff).


If your professor wants it, put it in, regardless of aesthetic considerations. If your professor wants to you type from the bottom up, in sparkling teal ink, in Comic Sans... that's how you format it.

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    Comic Sans? I draw the line at comic sans. I'd sooner express my thesis through interpretive dance than write my essay in comic sans. I'll do sparkly, I'll even do teal, but that is a deal breaker. I will not assault my aesthetic sensibilities like that for any professor. But on the citation thing I agree with you. Your professor's preferences and directions trump style and aesthetics, regardless.
    – Jed Oliver
    May 11, 2012 at 20:22
  • Okay, but technically he was not asking to repeat the citation, he just didn't see that the citation was supposed to go for both paragraphs, so I can decide how to make that visible. But yeah, if he had said it, it'd be clear.
    – Marie. P.
    May 11, 2012 at 21:51
  • @Marie.P. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here but wouldn't it be [3] after P1 and then [4] after P2? And in the Biblio/Works cited 3: would list the actual work and then just put Ibid. for 4:? (See John Smithers response) I'm a little rusty on my academic work but that sounds about right.
    – Jed Oliver
    May 11, 2012 at 22:36

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