Thursday 23rd of March 2017

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In-Text Citations

As a basic principle in APA style, when making a reference to an existing work in the text, only the author(s)' names and year of publication are used, and these are placed in parentheses. All cited works must be listed in the "References" that come at the end of the text. 

Two contexts of in-text citation

Generally, in-text citation may be happen in two different contexts. In one context, the writer makes a statement and then cites work by others to support his/her statement. Citation in this context uses the last name of the author of the cited work and year of its publication in parentheses.


Parenting style has a strong effect on child aggressive behavior (Johnson, 2001).

In another context, the writer makes a statement by referring to particular author by mentioning his/her last name (or sometimes the full name) and paraphrases a certain point from that source. In this context, only the year of publication is put in parentheses, right after the name of the author.

Smith (1985) found that………………

Works by one author

Place the last name of the author and year of publication, separated by a comma, in parentheses.


From the theory of human rationality it was found that….  (Simon, 1945).

In a context where the author's name is referred to in a descriptive statement, only the year of publication appears in parentheses, right after the author's name.


Simon (1967) who proposed an explanation based on human rationality found that….

Works by multiple authors

Work by two authors: Cite both authors by last names every time the reference occurs in the text. If citation is put in a parenthesis, last names of the authors are joined by an ampersand (&, not "and"). However, if authors' names are mentioned in a descriptive statement outside parenthesis, use "and" instead of an ampersand (&).


This finding is confirmed by a previous study (Leiter & Maslach, 1998).

Leiter and Maslach (1998) demonstrated that…

Work by three to five authors: List all authors the first time you cite the source. If the same source is cited again the second and subsequent times, use only last name of the first author followed by "et al."


First citation:   Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler (1991) found that …

(Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993)

Second and subsequent citations:       Kahneman et al. (1991) found that …

(Kernis et al., 1993)

Note: When using et al. (Latin, meaning "and others"), et should not be followed by a period.

Work by six or more authors: Use only the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses for all citations.


Harris et al. (2001) argued...

(Harris et al., 2001)

Works with no author, no date

Work with no author: When the cited work has no author, use the first two or three words of the work's title as the author's name in your text citation, capitalizing the first letter of each word. Place the title in quotation marks if it refers to an article, a book chapter, or Web page. Italicize the title if it refers to a book, periodical, brochure, or report.


Amount of carbon dioxide has an important effect on climate change ("Climate and Weather," 1997).

Guide to Agricultural Meteorological Practices (1981) reported that…

When an 'Anonymous' is the author of a cited work, it should be listed as such followed by a comma and the date as in the case of known author.


(Anonymous, 2008)

Works with no date: when the cited work has no date of publication, use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").


Another study of students and research decisions discovered that students succeeded with tutoring (Aston, n.d.).

Works by Organization, Institution, etc.

The full names of organization/ institution/ government agency, or groups that serve as authors (corporate authors) are usually written out each time they appear in a text reference.


(National Institute of Mental Health, 2007)

If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include full name of the organization with the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited; in subsequent citations use only the abbreviation.


First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)

Second citation: (MADD, 2000)

Two or More Works in the Same Parenthesis

When citing two or more works in the same parenthesis, place them in order that they appear in the Reference list. Separate one reference from the other by a semicolon (;).


(Knodel, 2002; VanLandingham, 1983; Tsuya, Rindfuss, & Bumpass, 2005) 

Authors with the Same Last Name

To prevent confusion, use first initials with the authors' last names.


(H. Smith, 1973; P. Smith, 1980)

Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year

When citing two or more references by the same author in the same year, list last name of the author only in the first reference followed by a comma and year with lower-case letters "a". For the second and subsequence references, enter only the years with lower-case letters "b", "c", "d", etc. Each reference, however, must be separated by a semicolon (;).


Research by Berndt (1981a) illustrated that...

(Davis, 1983a; 1983b; 1983c)

Two or More Works by the Same Author, Different Years

Two or more works by (exactly) the same author(s) but with different years of publication are treated in the same way as in the case above. That is, every time the work is cited, last name of the author and year of publication must be used. In parenthesis, author's last name is listed only for the first reference, for the rest use only the year preceded by a semicolon.


Knodel (2001)….

In another research study the same author documented that … (Knodel, 2003)

(Hajnal, 1976; 1980; 1984)

Citing Indirect Sources

If using work which was cited in another source (indirect or secondary source), that (original) work must be cited along with the source where that citation appears. This is done by adding the word "cited in…" after the year of its publication. Page number (preceded by "p.") must also be provided in the indirect/secondary source to indicate where the citation is made. In parenthetical citation, set off the citation with a comma, followed by "cited in".


Johnson (1956, cited in Davis, 1976, p. 102) argued that...

(Johnson, 1956, citied in Davis, 1976, p. 102)

Citing specific Parts of a Source

When citing a specific part of a source, always include the page number where that part exists preceded by “p.”

(Stigter & Das, 1981, p. 96)

If page numbers are not given such as in some electronic sources, provide the paragraph number preceded by the abbreviation "para." if paragraphs are numbered. Otherwise, use the heading or section in the cited work.

(Mönnich & Spiering, 2008, para. 9)
According to Smith (1997, Mind over Matter section, para. 6).

Note: Never use the page numbers of Web pages you print out; different computers print Web pages with different pagination.


Short Quotations: When quoting directly from a work, it is important to include the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). The author’s last name and year of publication (in parenthesis) must be introduced before the quotation which is to be placed in quotation marks.

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199).

If the author is not introduced in a signal phrase, the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number may be placed in parenthesis after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Long Quotations: Quotations longer than 40 words should be placed in a free-standing block of lines without using quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin. If quotation involves more than one paragraph, indent the first line of subsequent paragraph(s) within the quotation 1/2 inch from the margin. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.
Jones's (1998) study found the following:

Many students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Summary or Paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference. APA guidelines encourage writers to also provide the page number in this case, although it is not required.

APA style is a difficult but important citation style for all social science academic writings (Podhisita, 2011, p. 5).

A Translation

When you use a translated work, always cite the original author, not the translator. Give years of publication of both the original and the translated version. For example, if the original work was published in 1920 and the translated version of it that you cite was published in 1993, provide both years in parenthesis.

Johnson (1920/1993)

Electronic Sources

Treat references from electronic sources, such as on-line journals or books, the same as other documents by using the author-date style. Also treat electronic sources with no author and date the same way as in the examples above.

Kenneth (2000) explained...
Risk of adolescent pregnancy is high….(“Adolescent Pregnancy”, 2003)
(Osmani, n.d.)
(“The Fall of Capitalism,” n.d.)


Download: icon Guidelines for Preparation of Manuscripts (445.16 kB)



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