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APA Citation & Formatting: APA In-Text Citations

Useful information to help you create a well-formatted document in APA 7th edition style

APA In-Text Citations

APA in-text citations follow the author-date system:

  • author's last name & date of publication appear in the body of the paper, and a full citation appears on the reference list at the end of a paper
  • each work that is cited in the body of the paper must have a corresponding reference entry
  • no work should appear in the reference list unless it has been cited within the body of the paper.
  • narrative in-text citations appear in the text of the paper, and parenthetical in-text citations are enclosed in parentheses
  • if a specific part of a source has been used, such as a page or page range, a paragraph or paragraph range, a table or figure, or a time stamp, that information should be included in a parenthetical citation

See APA Style: In-Text Citations for more detailed guidance.

Elements of APA In-Text Citations

APA uses the Author-Date Citation System. If available, you should include the author's last name, year, and location (usually page number) with every quote or paraphrase from an information source.

Author: use last names

  • For up to two authors’ names cite both names
    • For parenthetical citations (where names appear in parentheses after source information) separate names using &
    • For narrative citations (where names appear in the text of the document) separate names using and
  • for more than two authors use first author name & et al.
  • Don’t include suffixes like Jr., PhD, or RN after names
  • If no author name is given, use an abbreviated source title with year of publication
  • If you are citing social media, use the creator’s handle rather than their name

Date: use year of publication 

  • if no date is listed use n.d.

Location: part of the source where cited information is located

  • Normally this is a page number or page range
  • If no page number is listed use a paragraph number or heading, section or chapter heading, table or illustration number
  • For audiovisual recordings, use a time stamp

    More information about this: 
    APA Style: Citing Specific Parts of a Source

Types of APA In-Text Citations

Parenthetical Citations
  • Author's last name and date of publication appear in parentheses, separated by a comma
  • May appear within a sentence or at the end
Narrative Citations
  • Author's last name is included in the text, followed by year of publication in parentheses

More information about this
APA Style: Parenthetical Versus Narrative In-Text Citations

Pro Tip #1: Don't over-cite

>When paraphrasing a section of text in more than one sentence, cite the source in the first sentence and don't repeat the citation if the source and topic haven't changed.

>Use citations sparingly to illustrate a point or to support an argument you are making. If most of your paper consists of citations from outside sources include more of your own commentary and analysis.

More information about this
APA Style: Appropriate Level of Citation

Pro Tip #2: Citing secondary sources

A primary source reports original research.

It's is best to find the primary source and cite it directly when you can, rather than using secondary sources.
example: (Savalescu & Kahane, 2009)

A secondary source refers to research reported in another source.

If a primary source is not available, follow the guidelines for citing secondary sources.
example: (Savalescue & Kahane, 2009, as cited in Liao, 2019)

More information about this
APA Style: Secondary Sources

Examples of APA In-Text Citations

One author, paraphrase, parenthetical citation with page number
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows prospective parents who are carriers of genetic diseases to select an embryo free of genetic mutations before implanting it (Kitzman, 2020, p. 76).

Two authors, quotation, narrative citation with page number
Dondorp and de Wert (2019) explained that PGD spares prospective parents the decision of "whether or not to continue the pregnancy if the foetus is diagnosed with the condition that they are at risk of transmitting" (p. 295).

Two authors, paraphrase, parenthetical citation with page number
In other words, prospective parents are spared the difficult decision to abort the pregnancy if the embryo is diagnosed with the genetic disease they may be transmitting (Dondort & de Wert, 2019, p. 295).

Three or more authors, quotation, narrative citation with page number
Ravitsky et al. (2015) found that, "language, terminology, and metaphors play a role in framing public debate, policy, and research directions" (p. 57).

Author handle, paraphrase, parenthetical citation with time stamp
Scientists worry that germline changes may worsen current inequalities because of eugenics and the inevitable discrimination resulting from income disparity (Reactions, 2017, 2:40-2:52).
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