APA In-Text Citations: A Quick Guide for Research Writing

When writing a convention paper, literature review, journal article, or any academic document, authors need to include in-text citations when they refer to, quote, paraphrase, or summarize content from another source.

APA (American Psychological Association) is the formatting style most commonly used for citing sources. Other common citation styles include Chicago and MLA.

Why Do We Need In-Text Citations?

APA in-text citation gives the readers tidbits of information to understand where a fact came from—just enough to glance at it and keep on reading. To get complete information about the source, the in-text citation is linked to a corresponding full reference at the end of the page.

In this blog post, we’ll follow guidelines based on the 6th edition of the APA manual, which highlights applications and rules of APA style—including in-text citations, references, and endnotes/footnotes. You can visit the APA Style Manual website for more information.

APA Citation Basics

APA Style citations consist of two main parts:

  • The in-text citation: Mention the source in parentheses, citing the author’s last name along with the year of publication. For example: (Brooke, 2010).

For every citation, a corresponding entry should be included in your reference list.

  • Reference list entry: Complete details of the publication are listed on a reference page which appears at the end of the paper.

When To Include Page Numbers

For citations that directly quote the source, you need to include the page number. For example: (Brooke, 2010, p. 1).

Use abbreviation ‘p.’ for one page and ‘pp.’ for multiple pages. The page numbers can be excluded when you’re referring to an idea and not directly quoting the material.

Here are some other ways you can introduce the quotation and author’s name in the sentence:

  1. According to Brooke (2010), “students often struggle when using the APA style for the first time” (p. 120)
  2. Brooke (2010) found “students often struggle when using the APA style for the first time” (p. 120); how does this affect the teachers?

 

In-Text Citations For Multiple Authors

For sources with two authors, separate their surnames with the word “and” or ampersand (&). For example: (Thomas and Fields, 2014)

For sources with three or more authors, separate all their last names with a comma, and the name of the last author is preceded by both a comma and an ampersand.
For example: (Parker, Thomas, & Johnson, 2008)

For more than 6 authors for the first in-text citation and more than 3 authors in subsequent in-text citations, include only the first author’s name and follow it with “et al.” which means “and others.”

For example: Participants made use of … (Taylor et al., 2009).

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