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APA Style Guide: In-text Examples

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

Content Note

One author

Two authors

Three-five authors

Six or more authors

Multiple works by the same author

Authors with same surname

Organizations as authors

Works without authors

Works with anonymous listed as author

Works without dates

Works without pagination

Personal communications

Secondary sources

Direct quotations

Multiple citations by the same author in one paragraph

In-Text Examples

One author 

Give the author's name and the year of publication. If the author's name is stated in the sentence, always place the year in parentheses immediately after the name.

(Clark, 1998).

Clark's (1998) study shows that . . .

 

Two authors 

Give both names separated by the word and when including the names in the text of a sentence. For citations in parentheses use an ampersand (&).

Flannigan and McBride (2001) state the results...

(Flannigan & McBride, 2001).

 

Three-five authors 

Give all the authors names for the first in-text citation, then use et al. for subsequent citations.

(FIRST citation) Sawyer, Jimmerson, Bradley, Connors, and Ramirez (2010)...

Sawyer et al. (2010)...

OR 

(FIRST citation) (Sawyer, Jimmerson, Bradley, Connors, & Ramirez, 2010).

(Sawyer et al., 2010).

 

Six or more authors 

Give only the first author's name followed by et al. (not in italics) and the year for all in-text citations.

Martinez et al. (1990) describe...

(Martinez et al., 1990)

If the first author's name and the years of publications are the same for several references, include enough additional co-author names to eliminate ambiguity. Include a comma after the last name.

(Martinez, Fuentes, et al., 1990).

(Martinez, Aguilar, et al., 1990).

 

Multiple works by the same author 

For works published in the same year by the same author, add alphabetic designators to the year in both the in-text reference and reference list.

(Anderson, 1997a, 1997b).

For works published in different years by the same author, place years in chronological sequence separated by commas.

       (McBride, 2003, 2007).

 

Authors with the same surname 

When authors of 2 works published in the same year have the same surname, include the initials of the author in the in-text citation and separate the names by a semicolon and space. When using initials in the text of a sentence do not invert the first name.

J. Dawson (1986) and T. Dawson (1986) accept the...

(Dawson, J., 1986; Dawson, T., 1986)

 

Organizations as authors 

If an organizational author is referenced only once or twice in a document, the full organizational name is acceptable. A shortened form can be used in the in-text reference if the organization has a familiar abbreviation. If using an abbreviated name for an organization, spell out the full name the first time referenced and give the abbreviation.

FIRST citation National Library of Medicine (NLM, 2005)...

NLM (2005) started...

OR 

FIRST citation (National Library of Medicine [NLM], 2005).

(NLM, 2005).

 

Works without authors 

Begin the in-text reference with the first word or first few words of the title, followed by a comma (a lengthy title may be shortened). Titles of an article, chapter or web page should be placed in double quotation marks. Titles of a periodical, book, report, or brochure should be italicized.

ARTICLE title ("A New Deal," 2003).

BOOK title (The Open Box, 1823).

LONG book title (Handbook of Geriatric, 2000).

Reference: Handbook of geriatric drug therapy. (2000). Springhouse, PA: Springhouse.

 

Works with Anonymous listed as author 

When a title lists the author of a work as Anonymous give the word Anonymous as the author's name in-text and in the reference list. Do not use the term Anonymous for works without authors listed.

Anonymous (1983) said...

(Anonymous, 1983). 

 

Works without dates 

Place the abbreviation n.d. (for no date) in place of the year for in-text citations and the reference list.

Brigmeyer (n.d.) associates...

(Brigmeyer, n.d.).

 

Works without Pagination (when using a direct quote)

Use the abbreviation para. to indicate a numbered paragraph rather than a page number.

Horowitz (2011) says, "those who..." (para. 3).

He says, "those who..." (Horowitz, 2011, para. 3).

OR

When no page numbers or paragraph numbers are present, use a heading title and the number of the paragraph after the heading. Click here to see the sample reference below.

Kona (2010) says of George Carlin's humor that, "comedy is a disguise for unmasking other faces" ("The Carlinesque in George Carlin," para 2).

The author likens George Carlin's humor to "a disguise for unmasking other faces" (Kona, 2010, "The Carlinesque of George Carlin," para. 2).

 

Personal communications 

Personal communications (interviews, e-mail correspondence, lectures, etc.) should be used sparingly. When citing personal communications only cite this material in text, do not include personal communication citations in the reference list. They are excluded from the reference list because this is unrecoverable data. Give the name of the speaker and the exact date.

A. M. Raulson (personal communication, January 28, 2007) says...

(T. J. Mavin, personal communication, April 15, 2009). 

 

Secondary Sources

Sometimes you need to reference an idea using secondhand knowledge. This should be done rarely, it is always better to read the original work to get the most objective meaning. You ALWAYS cite the material you have in front of you, never use another author's references to cite material you have not accessed. When a work is out of print or hard to find, you may wish to use that author's idea in your paper. You need to give credit to the original author/thinker, but you cite the material you found it in, this way the reader can find the material as well. If you reference an out of print/hard to find item, your reader will not be able to find the same material.

Rawlings said (as cited in Belleville, 2006, p. 8), "We need above all...a certain remoteness from urban confusion."

In the reference list cite the work YOU read:

Belleville, B. (2006). Losing it all to sprawl: How progress ate my cracker landscape. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

 


Direct Quotations


Direct quotes should be used sparingly in any research paper. Use direct quotes to emphasize a particularly original turn of phrase or when technical lingo does not allow for proper rephrasing. When directly quoting, enclose the entire quote in quotation marks, copy the original wording exactly, and provide a page/line/paragraph number (when available).

Moffett (2010) goes into great detail about the predatory and army-like nature of a colony of ants ensnaring its meal, "the more the worm or grasshopper struggles, the more the masses converge on it...all the little ant jaws hold their prey taut" (p.39).

Block quotations are direct quotations that contain 40 words or more. When quoting more than 40 words, do not use quotation marks; instead, set off the direct quote starting it on a new line and indenting a half inch from the margin.

The authors categorize chronic neck pain,

when symptoms are present for 3 or more months, with either recurrent (multiple episodes separated by
periods of recovery) or persistent (no periods of recovery) pain. Strong evidence suggests that biomechanical factors,
including repetitive movements, prolonged computer use, and poor workstation design, are associated with
the development of neck pain. (Bruflat, Balter, McGuire, Fethk, & Maluf, 2012, p. 1349)

 

Multiple Citations by the Same Author in One Paragraph

Sometimes you might use the same soure of information for an entire paragraph. In this case, you do not need to reference the author and year at the end of each sentence. You would want to provide the full in-text citation at the beginning and the end of the paragraph, but the sentences in between can reference just the author or organization. If you place the author's name in parentheses, then provide the year too.

According to Spitzer's (2010) study the effects of radiation on humans presents...Spitzer's study developed the guidelines needed to test...The most important find in Spitzer's study was that....Spitzer concluded the benefit of radiation...The evidence that proves these guidelines work...(Spitzer, 2010).

Chart of In-Text Examples

Type of Citation

First Citation in Text

Subsequent Citations in Text

Parenthetical Format, First Citation in Text

Parenthetical Format, Subsequent Citations in Text

1 work by 1 author

Harris (2003)

Harris (2003)

(Harris, 2003)

(Harris, 2003)

1 work by 2 authors

Harris and Ramirez (2011)

Harris and Ramirez (2011)

(Harris & Ramirez, 2011)

(Harris & Ramirez, 2011)

1 work by 3 authors

Peet, Young, and Collins (1988)

Peet et al. (1988)

(Peet, Young, & Collins, 1988)

(Peet et al., 1988)

1 work by 4 authors

Peet, Young, Collins, and Darcy (2008)

Peet et al. (2008)

(Peet, Collins, Young, & Darcy, 2008)

(Peet et al., 2008)

1 work by 5 authors

Peet, Collins, Young, Darcy, and McHugh (2002)

Peet et al. (2002)

(Peet, Collins, Young, Darcy, & McHugh 2002)

(Peet et al., 2002)

1 work by 6 or more authors

Hughes et al. (2009)

Hughes et al. (2009)

(Hughes et al., 2009)

(Hughes et al., 2009)

Groups (readily identified through abbreviations) as authors

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, 1997)

NOAA (1997)

(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], 1997)

(NOAA, 1997)

Groups (no abbreviation) as authors

Stanford University (2010)

Stanford University (2010)

(Stanford University, 2010)

(Stanford University, 2010)

American Psychological Association. (2009). Crediting sources: Citing references in text. Publication manual of the American psychological association (6th ed., p. 177) Washington, D.C.: Author.