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APA Style Guide: About In-text Citations

American Psychological Association rules for formatting papers, in-text citations, and end references. Examples based on the sixth edition of the Publication Manual from the APA. By Alexis Carlson

Types of In-Text Citations

In-text (parenthetical citations) using the name-year system usually contain the author's last name and publication year of the reference.

If authorship is uncertain, use the first word or first few words of the title and the year (p. 176). Titles of an article, chapter, or web page should be given in double quotation marks. Titles of a periodical, book, brochure, or report should be italicized.

Each in-text citation should correspond to a citation in the list of references at the end of the paper.

How to Cite References in Your Text

In the name-year system, in-text references contain the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication of the document. Enclose the name and year in parenthesis. Leave a space between name and year. Place a comma after the author's name.

Example:

The most recent report on the use of experiments shows a correlation between results and participants (Brown, 2006).

OR

Brown's (2006) recent report on the use of experiments shows a correlation between results and participants.

Exceptions to this rule occur when no definitive author or publication date is present. This often occurs when citing websites. When no date is available use the abbreviation n.d. for no date. When no author is available you will use a corporation name, an editor, or a title of the webpage/website/chapter/encyclopedia entry. See in-text examples for a full explanation.

Page number(s) can be included to be more precise in you citations. When using a direct quote page numbers are necessary.

Example:

Ness, George, Turner, & Bolgatz (2010) describe social justice "as the process of confronting and dismantling oppressive structures and systems, the process of addressing inequalities of all kinds, and the process of developing recognition of and respect for the values and identities of all cultural groups" (pp. 89-90).

OR

The authors describe social justice "as the process of confronting and dismantling oppressive structures and systems, the process of addressing inequalities of all kinds, and the process of developing recognition of and respect for the values and identities of all cultural groups" (Ness, George, Turner, & Bolgatz, 2010, pp. 89-90).

Exceptions to this rule occur when no definitive author, publication date, or page numbers are present. This often occurs when citing websites. When no date is available use the abbreviation n.d. for no date. When no author is available you will use a corporation name, an editor, or a title of the webpage/website/chapter/encyclopedia entry. When no page numbers are available use a paragraph number abbreviated para. only if the paragraphs are numbered for you. If there is a clear section title you may use this as well. See in-text examples for a full explanation.

Do I Have to Cite EVERYTHING?

In this Guide

In-Text Examples