APA In-Text Citations

APA Overview APA In-Text Citations APA Quoting and Paraphrasing APA End Citation Models
The purpose of in-text citations is to provide your audience with a clear and accurate indication of which ideas come from other sources, so that they can distinguish between your ideas and those you are sharing from research. This not only demonstrates integrity and respect for the ideas and work of others, it also demonstrates the way your ideas fit into a larger conversation on the topic you are discussing.
It is important to remember that your in-text citations work like a “road map” to your end citations (References). In other words, the information (author names, titles of works) you provide your reader with your in-text citations should match exactly with the full citations in your References list. All sources that appear in the body of your essay or presentation should be listed in your end citation list, and vice versa.
Source titles and author names mentioned in your writing should also be formatted according to APA guidelines to help your audience identify the source type. In APA, including the year of publication is also expected. See the APA Overview page for more info on basic document format guidelines.
Finally, keep in mind that one of the main ways novice writers commit plagiarism in their work is by not citing (or incorrectly/incompletely citing) their sources. For this reason, it is always better to use the rule of thumb, “when in doubt, cite.”
For more information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, see the Academic Integrity page.
Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (APA 7), which released in October 2019.
For the drop-down menus below, click on the plus (+) sign to open the example; click on the arrow to obtain a link for each specific item that you can copy or email to yourself.

General Guidelines

There are two ways to cite material in the body of your writing:

1. Include the author(s) name in a signal phrase, followed by the year of publication in parentheses. At the end of the cited material, include the page number (if available) in parentheses:

Sexton (2005) argued that all magicians are keenly alive to the effects of mise-en-scène as spectacle during a necromantic exhibition (p. 24).

2. At the end of the cited material, include the author(s) name, year of publication and page number in parentheses:

It has been argued that all magicians are keenly alive to the effects of mise-en-scène as spectacle during a necromantic exhibition (Sexton, 2005, p. 24).

Further note on including the year: Within a paragraph, when the name of the author(s) appears multiple times in signal phrases, do not include the year in subsequent references to the author:

When discussing the quality of contemporary magic, Sexton (2005) argued that all magicians are keenly alive to the effects of mise-en-scène as spectacle during a necromantic exhibition (p. 24). Sexton also noted that the elements of the mise-en-scène, the sets and the costumes, are foregrounded and the narrative largely acts as a pretext for introducing marvellous effects, distinct from live performances.

In certain instances, you do not need to cite information. This is called the “common knowledge rule.” If a fact is widely and generally known (e.g., the sun rises in the east and sets in the west), you do not need to cite. Similarly, familiar sayings or oft-repeated quotations (e.g., “a penny saved is a penny earned”) do not need citations.
Common knowledge can in some cases be audience-specific; research scientists writing to their peers can assume a different level of common knowledge on their subject than when writing to a younger, less educated audience, for example. If you are ever in doubt as to whether you should cite a piece of information, ask your professor or a Writing Center consultant.

Common Variations on In-Text Citations:

If you are directly quoting an author, the in-text citation should include the last name of the author and the year of the source’s publication immediately following the name. The page number in parentheses should directly follow the end quotation mark (See “Work without page numbers” below for an exception to this rule):

Based on the findings, Sommerfeldt (2011) argued that “the normative role of public relations in democracy is best perceived as creating the social capital that facilitates access to spheres of public discussion” (p. 664).

  • If a work has two authors, cite each author’s name every time you reference the source.
  • If a work has three or more authors, cite the first author followed by “et al.” the first time you reference the source and every time thereafter.
Note: “et al.” should not be in quotation marks in the citation, and “al” should be followed by a period.
The in-text citation should include the first few words of the full title. If the work is an individual article, chapter, or web page, place the title of the work it in quotation marks. If the work is an entire magazine, newspaper, book, brochure, or report, italicize the title of the work.
If a work is by an author identified as Anonymous, the in-text citation should include the word, “Anonymous,” followed by a comma, the year, and the page number if available:

(“Top 5,” 2016)

(“Apple Movies,” 2016)

(Anonymous, 2012)

If one author has written multiple works that support the same point you are making, cite the author followed by each year of publication in chronological order:

Multimodal composition is a semiotic approach to communicating (Kress, 2001, 2006, 2009).

If two works have the same author and same publication year, indicate this by placing the suffixes a, b, c and so forth directly after the year:

In 2014, Nora Roberts’ romance novels were a robust representation of these authors’ prolific nature (Roberts, 2014a, 2014b, 2014c).

If there is no pagination on an online source and paragraph numbers are present for the reader, use them in place of page numbers using the abbreviation “para.”:

Saadia (2016) asserted that the original series of Star Trek was “at its best when its cast engaged in good, old-fashioned time travel” (para. 3).

If the source includes headings and paragraphs but page numbers are not visible, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph. Abbreviate the heading if it is too long:

Attrill and Jalil (2009) found that “whether self-disclosure online follows such a progression through categorical self-memories is, however, difficult to assess given the limited research carried out thus far on self-disclosure online” (Theoretical Considerations section, para 3).

If the material you are quoting contains citations, keep these citations embedded within the original source you are quoting:

Belief in total control of one’s actions is sometimes false; “[p]eople can feel control without having it, such as when subtle situational factors heavily influence decisions (Olson, Amlani, Raz, & Rensink, 2015; Thaler & Sunstein, 2008)” (Olsen et al., 1995, p. 11).

In the above example, the citations inside the quotation marks are from the original source; the citations outside the end quotation mark are the new citation in the author’s essay. Your reference list does not need to include the source(s) in the embedded quotation. If the source you are quoting is important to your research, you are encouraged to find and read the source in full.
If the author of the source you are using cites another person, and you want to quote that other person, attribute the quotation to the original author and use “as cited in original author’s last name, year, page number” in the parenthetical at the end of the quotation:

According to Benjamin Weiss, a book dealer and art collector was “obliged to take refuge in Holland on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes” (as cited in Jay, 2016, p. 108). 

If the source you are quoting is important to your research, you are encouraged to find and read the source in full.
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