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APA Style: In-Text Citations

Ground Rules

When you provide a reference within the text of a research paper, you must also provide a corresponding citation on your "References" page. For example, in the illustration below of a hypothetical research paper, the highlighted sentence includes an in-text citation, and the Reference page contains a corresponding entry. For quotations, see the tab titled Quotations.

Exception:  Personal communications (e-mails, instant messages, or personal interviews) should not be included on the "References" page in APA style.

 APA quotation

SPECIAL NOTE: The in-text citation for an electronic source may not include page numbers. In such a case, you should provide the section heading, if any, and the paragraph number (yes, you must count them). Example: ("LCCC Police Academy," 2010, Physical Standards section, para. 1).

Examples

When you are referencing the AUTHOR(s) by name in your text, include author name(s) depending on number as listed below, with the date in parentheses after the name(s): 

  • Single Author:  Brainard (2003) argues this point.
  • Two Authors:  Jones and Smith (2005) provide details on this...
  • 3-5 Authors, on first mention in the text:  Brown, Schultz, and Van Pelt (2009) are emphatic about...
    On subsequent mentions:  Brown et al. (2009) disagree with...
  • More than 6 Authors: Martin et al. (1999) insist that this phenomenon...

When you are not naming the AUTHOR in your text:

  • Single Author:  Others argue a different point of view (Brainard, 2003).
  • Two Authors:  The information from some researchers is more detailed (Jones & Smith, 2005).
  • 3-5 Authors, on first mention in the text:  Some researchers stand firm on this point (Brown, Schultz, & Van Pelt, 2009).
    On subsequent mentions:  Additional research is recommended by many (Brown et al., 2009).
  • More than 6 Authors:  The same result is achieved by many (Martin et al., 1999).

For additional help with in-text citations, refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Chapter 6, "Crediting Sources."