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Citation Help for APA, 7th Edition: In-text Citations

Help with common issues and questions with APA 7th edition

In-text Citation Introduction

What is an in-text citation?

In APA Style, an in-text citation tells the reader where you got any and all information that did not come from inside your own head.  This is more obvious when you are directly quoting from a source, but it is also needed when you have summarized or paraphrased from a source and even if you got an idea from somewhere else. In order to avoid plagiarism, it is extremely important that you cite all the words and ideas that you got from somewhere else. To learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it, see Ethically Use Sources and Plagiarism guidance from APA.

When citing sources in an APA Style paper, APA uses the author-date citation system. In this system, the writer includes the author and date within the body of the paper and includes a corresponding reference in the reference list. This citation system allows the reader to identify sources used in the paper by reviewing the author and date within the text of the paper, and then easily locate the corresponding reference in the alphabetical reference list. 

 There are two types of in-text citations that are used within the body of an APA paper to help the reader locate the corresponding reference in the reference list. The two types of in-text citations are parenthetical citations and narrative citations. A narrative citation is a type of citation where the author's name is used within the text of the sentence; whereas, a parenthetical citation is a type of citation where the author and date are in parentheses at the end of the sentence.  

How do I create narrative or parenthetical citations?

In APA Style, cite your sources by putting the information about the source in parentheses at the end of a sentence or in the text of your paper as opposed to a footnote where the source information is at the bottom of the page or an endnote where it goes at the end of your paper.  There are slight differences depending on which style you are using.

  • Give the author’s last name and the publication year.

  • Only use page numbers or paragraph numbers for a direct quote.

  • Make sure the source information in parentheses matches with your reference in the reference list. 

  • The punctuation for the sentence goes AFTER the parentheses.

  • For a quote less than forty words put quotation marks around the quoted words. For sources with designated page numbers - if the author and date are introduced in the sentence as a narrative citation, then add the page number in parentheses at the end of the quote. If the source does not have designated page numbers, then add the paragraph number, heading, or a combination of both the heading and paragraph number. If the author and date are not introduced as part of the text, then include the author and date with the page or paragraph number. The period should come after the parentheses.

  • If your quote is more than forty words, set it off in a block text by beginning the block quote on a new line, indent 0.5 inches (one-half), and do not add quotation marks around the block quote.  At the end of the quote put the period after the last word of the sentence followed by the parentheses. For more information, see Block Quote.

 

Additional Resources

More Information

For more information about parenthetical and narrative citations, see pages 253-278 of the APA Manual 7th edition for further explanation and examples.

Basic In-Text Citation Styles

The basic in-text citation style for adding sources to the body of an APA style paper is to add the author and the date. There are a number of ways that can be done to aid in the readability and flow of the paper. However, the basic style for different authors types are listed in the table below. 

Printable version of the basic in-text citation styles are available here:

Basic In-Text Citations Styles
Author Type Parenthetical Citation Example Narrative Citation Example
One Author

First citation

(Johnson, 2020) Johnson (2020)

Subsequent citations

(Johnson, 2020) Johnson (2020)
Two Authors

First citation

(Smith & Jones, 2019) Smith and Jones (2019)

Subsequent citations

(Smith & Jones, 2019) Smith and Jones (2019)
Three or more Authors

First citation

(Carlson et al., 2018) Carlson et al. (2018)

Subsequent citations

(Carlson et al., 2018) Carlson et al. (2018)
Group Author with Abbreviation

First citation*

(The College of St. Scholastica [CSS], 2019) The College of St. Scholastica (CSS, 2019)

Subsequent citations

(CSS, 2019) CSS (2019)
Group Author without Abbreviation

First citation

(University of Wisconsin, 2018) University of Wisconsin (2019)

Subsequent citations

(University of Wisconsin, 2018) University of Wisconsin (2019)

 Note. Adapted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, by the American Psychological Association, 2020, Table 8.1, p. 266 (https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000). Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association. 
*
Define the abbreviation for a group author only once in the text, choosing either the parenthetical or narrative citation. Once introduced, use only the abbreviation for all mentions of the group author in the text of your paper.

In-text Citation Examples

There are a number of ways that parenthetical and narrative citations can be added to the body of an APA style paper. Using variety helps with the readability and flow of the paper. The following table provides a few examples of common ways parenthetical and narrative citations are used for quotes and paraphrases.

For additional examples, see the following printable handouts:

 

 

In-Text Citation Examples for a Paper Written in APA Style.
Description of Citation Type of Citation Explanation Example

Quote with author's name in text with designated page numbers.

Narrative Citation

Author's name is in text with the date immediately after the author's last name in parentheses. At the end of the sentence, add the page number is in parentheses. Use the abbreviation "p." for 1 page.

Smith (2019) demonstrated how to ".." (p. 112).

Paraphrasing with the author's name in text. Narrative Citation

Author's name is in text with date in parentheses after the author's last
name.

Smith (2019) shared these facts, too.

Paraphrasing with author's name in parentheses. Parenthetical Citation Add the author and date in parentheses. This fact was also shared in other sources (Smith, 2019).
Source with 2 authors in text. Narrative Citation List both authors in text. Separate the authors with the word "and". Add the date in parentheses immediately after the last name of the second author. Smith and Lee (2019) located ....
Source with 2 authors in parentheses Parenthetical Citation List both authors and date in parentheses. Separate the authors with an ampersand (&). The authors proved the facts were true (Smith & Lee, 2019).
Source with no author in parentheses. Parenthetical Citation Give the title of the work in place of the author. Abbreviate to a few words if the title is long and complicated. Italicize a book title, and use quotation marks around the title of the source is an article.

This book is true (Effective Management, 2019).

 

This article is true ("Effective Management," 2019).

Quote from website or electronic source with no page numbers with author's name in parentheses. Parenthetical Citation Include the author's name, the date, and the paragraph number, heading or section, or both in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

Furthermore, the research "..." (Smith, 2019, para. 4).

 

Furthermore, the research "..." (Smith, 2019, Emergencies section).

 

Furthermore, the research "..." (Smith, 2019, Emergencies section, para. 4).

 

Variations in APA References

Variation - Multiple Sources in Same Citation?

Citing multiple works in the same citation?

Example

Several studies report ... (D'Esposito & Gardner, 1999; Griffiths & Brophy, 2005; Kim & Sin, 2007).
 

Explanation

Multiple sources within the same parenthetical citation should be listed alphabetically by author. Separate each citation with a semicolon.
 

More Information

For more information about citing multiple words in the same citation, see Section 8.12 on pages 263-264 fo the APA Manual, 7th edition.