In-Text Citations in APA Style

APA is used by disciplines that value knowing who generated information and when it was developed (i.e. how recent or out of date). Also known as the author-date method, these in-text citations incorporate author, year, and page number to identify sources. The following guidelines for documenting sources in text come from Chapter 6 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Where applicable, the manual sections are included in brackets.

Basic (Short) Quotation

Include the source's author (last name only), publication year, and page number (if applicable) in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the sentence-ending punctuation. In the parentheses, put commas between author and year, year and page number. [6.11]

Arts studied in Japan "are not intended to utilitarian purposes only or for purely aesthetic enjoyments, but are meant to train the mind" (Suzuki, 1989, p. vii).

If the author's name is used in the sentence, include the year in parentheses immediately after the author's name with the page number at the end of the sentence. [6.11]

According to Suzuki (1989), arts studied in Japan "are not intended to utilitarian purposes only or for purely aesthetic enjoyments, but are meant to train the mind" (p. vii).

Block (Long) Quotation

If a quotation includes 40 words or more, indent it 0.5 inches on a new line without quotation marks around it. Double space the quotation, and insert closing punctuation before the parenthetical citation at the end. [6.03]

If the source is mentioned in the text preceding the quotation, only include the page number in the parenthetical after the quotation.

In their study on the effect of Bcl-2 family proteins on autophagy and apoptosis, Levine, Sinha, and Kroemer(2008) conclude that:

Overexpression of Bcl-2/Bcl-XL (or loss of BH3-only proteins) may not only participate in oncogenesis by inhibiting apoptosis, which results in improved survival of tumor cells in adverse conditions of endogenous (metabolic) or exogenous (chemotherapy-associated) stress. Bcl-2/Bcl-XL overexpression may also participate in oncogenesis by inhibiting autophagy, which results in genomic instability and tumor progression. (p. 605)

Paraphrase or Summary

Unlike a direct quotation, a summary or paraphrase still relays ideas from a source but in your own words to make it fit better with your document. A paraphrase is a specific idea from a source that needs a citation with author, year, and page number. [6.04]

According to Suzuki (1989), academics in Japan consider art studies as a form of mental exercise (p. vii).

A summary offers a concise overview of the source material and requires a citation with author and year. No page number is needed because the idea should be broader than a single page of the original source.

Herrigel (1989) uses his years as an archery student in Japan to create a narrative description of Zen Buddhism.

Rule to Remember

When mentioning multiple authors in text, write out the word and (i.e. According to Smith and Weston). In a parenthetical citation, use an ampersand (&) instead.

One or Multiple Authors

Sources in the hard and social sciences often have multiple authors, and the citation rules vary based on how many authors a source has and if a source is being referenced for the first or subsequent times in a document. Consult the following table for how to handle these different situations. [6.12]

Type of Citation First In-Text Citation Subsequent In-Text Citations Parenthetical Format (1st Citation In Text) Parenthetical Format (Subsequent In-Text Citations)
Work by 1 author Johnson (2018) Johnson (2018) (Johnson, 2018) (Johnson, 2018)
Work by 2 authors Smith and Johnson (2018) Smith and Johnson (2018) (Smith & Johnson, 2018) (Smith & Johnson, 2018)
Work by 3 - 5 authors King, Johnson, Doe, and Smith (2018) King et al. (2006) (King, Johnson, Doe, & Smith, 2018) (King et al., 2018)
Work by 6 + authors Doe et al. (2018) Doe et al. (2018) (Doe et al., 2018) (Doe et al., 2018)
Group authors (with common abbreviations) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, 2018) FBI (2018) (Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], 2018 (FBI, 2018)
Groups authors (with uncommon/no abbreviations Duke University (2018) Duke University (2018) (Duke University, 2018) (Duke University, 2018)

Indirect (Secondary) Sources

When citing a quotation from a source, include the quotation's original author and year in text and insert a parenthetical citation that begins with the words "as cited in" to indicate the source from which the quotation came. [6.17]

According to Allegro (1965), in archeology "almost every season brings fresh discoveries that demand a reassessment of outmoded theories and presumptions" (as cited in James & Thorpe, 2007, p. 527).

Multiple Sources in the Same Parentheses

Alphabetize multiple sources in the same parentheses, using semicolons to separate each source. [6.16]

Although early research considered autophagy and apoptosis separately (de Duve et al., 1955; Pfeifer & Strauss, 1981), current scholars often examine the correlation between them (Gordy & He, 2012; Gump & Thorburn, 2011; Mariño, Niso-Santano, Baehrecke, & Kroemer, 2014).

Rule to Remember

Any source cited in text must be included in the References list, and sources given in the References list must be cited in text.

Authors with the Same Surname

When two sources have primary authors (i.e. the first author listed for a source) with the same last name, include each primary author's initials. [6.14]

While I. Robinson (1971) offers an inductive analysis of Chaucer's metrics, F. C. Robinson, Hotchkiss, and Brown (1986) use a deductive approach that considers the entire span of Old and Middle English literature.

Anonymous Author

When a source's author is unknown, cite the first few words of the source's reference list entry, usually the title with appropriate formatting if an article (quotation marks) or book (italicized). [6.15]

The imagery evokes fire's punitive force, stressing the way the forsaken lover "twist[s] in the blaze" ("Karma's Inferno," 2017).

O: A Presidential Novel (2011) offers a dubious look into President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.

If a source has an anonymous author, treat the word "Anonymous" like an author's last name.

(Anonymous, 2000)

Personal Communication

Personal communications (e-mail, memos, letters, etc.) are not included in the reference list, but they should be cited in the text. Identify the author, exact date of the communication, and the phrase "personal communication." [6.20]

A. P. Jones (personal communication, August 12, 2017)

(A. P. Jones, personal communication, August 12, 2017)