APA Citation Resources

APA In-Text Citation Guide

Citing sources briefly in the body of your work enables readers to locate the full citation in your reference list.

  • Citing References In a Text

    Citing References in Text

    Each time you quote a source directly, paraphrase an idea, or refer to something that another person said or wrote, identify the original source by inserting the author’s last name and the date within the text of your paper.

    • These arguments against standardized education (Duckworth, 1986) explore science as a process of discovery.

    Each source you cite must also appear in the reference list at the end of your paper.

  • One Author

    One Author

    If the author’s name is used in the text as part of your narrative, only the date needs to be inside parentheses. When both the author and the date are used in the citation, separate them with a comma.

    • Duckworth (1986) discussed this.
    • In 1986, Duckworth argued…

    If the author’s last name and the date both happen to appear in the text, there is no need to give further reference.

    Second Mention

    If you write the author’s name as part of your narrative, include the year only once when referring to a particular study within a paragraph. Make sure the study will not be confused with other studies.

    • In her study of how individuals learn about density, Duckworth (1986) makes a critical case… Duckworth also found…
  • Two Authors

    Two Authors

    When a work has two authors, cite both names every time the reference occurs in text. When citing two authors in the text, join their names by the word “and.” In parenthetical material, in tables, and in the reference list, join the names by an ampersand (&):

    • As Keisel and Drapewski (1990) demonstrated…
    • As has been shown (Keisel & Drapewski, 1990)…
  • Three or More Authors

    Three or More Authors

    If there are three or more authors, cite only the first author and replace the rest with the abbreviation “et al.” for first and subsequent citations. For example, Kosslyn, Koenig, Barrett, Cave, Tang, and Gabrielli (1996) would always be cited as:

    • Kosslyn et al. (1996) found that…
    •  … a number of studies were positive (Kosslyn et al., 1996)
  • Reference to Particular Parts of a Source

    Page Numbers, Chapters, Figures, and Numbers

    When referring to a particular part of a source, give the page number, chapter, figure, or table at the appropriate place in the text. Abbreviate page but not chapter.

    • (Meyers & Jackson, 1991, p.78)
    • (Johnson, 1990, Chapter 5)

    If you are directly quoting an author you must include a location in the text, i.e., a page number.

  • Direct Quotations (under 40 words)

    Direct Quotations

    Give page numbers for direct quotations.

    • As Dewey (1938) noted, the educational continuum was united by this “connectedness in growth” (p. 75).

    Note that any sentence punctuation comes after the closing parenthesis.

  • Direct Quotations (40 or more words)

    Quotations of 40 or More Words

    1. Display quotation in a free standing block of text.
    2. Omit quotation marks.
    3. Start on a new line.
    4. Indent whole block half an inch from the left margin.
    5. If there is another paragraph, indent the first line a half inch.
    6. Double space the entire quotation.
    7. After the final punctuation mark of the quoted source, add the citation in parentheses.

    See APA Style: Quotations (scroll to the bottom of the page) for examples of how block quotes of 40 or more words might look.

  • Secondary Sources

    When to Use “as cited in”

    If you read a work by Kagan (1984) in which Ainsworth (1982) was cited, and you were unable to to read Ainsworth’s work yourself, cite  Ainsworth’s work as the original source followed by Kagan’s work as the secondary source. Only Kagan’s work appears in the reference list (not Ainsworth’s) since you found the information in Kagan. Use the following form:

    • (Ainsworth, 1982, as cited in Kagan, 1984) demonstrated…

    If the year of the primary source is unknown, omit it from the in-text citation.

    • Allport’s diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003)
  • Personal Communications: Emails & Interviews

    Personal Communication

    Data that is not recoverable is called “personal communication” and can include the following:

    1. Private letters
    2. Memos
    3. Some electronic communications, e.g., email
    4. Personal interviews
    5. Telephone conversations
    6. Something heard in a lecture

    Cite personal communications in the text only. They are never included in a reference list. Give the initials of the communicator and an exact date as possible.

    • T. K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001)
    • (V.-G. Nguyen, personal communication, September 28, 1998)

    Classroom or Intranet Resources

    For works available only to a small group, e.g., items found on CANVAS see APA Style’s Classroom or Intranet Resources webpage.