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Citation Resources: APA 7th Ed: In-Text Citations

A guide to bibliographic citation formats and citation management tools.

In-Text Citations

What is In-Text Citation?

In APA style, you will use in-text citations to refer readers to a reference list.

When you are writing a paper in APA style, you cite other works (articles, books, etc.) using the author-date citation method. By naming the author and the date of the work you are citing in your in-text citation, you're helping the reader find the work in your reference list at the end of your paper.

In-Text Citation Prevents Plagiarism

As emerging scholars, researchers, and creators, students cite their sources to show they've researched their topics by reading what other experts have said on their topic. In-text citations prevent plagiarism, which is when an individual presents another person's ideas as their own.

About Creating In-Text Citations

Create an in-text citation whenever you quote another work, or whenever you paraphrase another work in your own words.

Make sure to include citation information either in the narrative of your paper, or as a parenthetical citation. See the examples in the boxes on this page for examples.

Parenthetical vs. Narrative Citation

In-text citations, including both narrative and parenthetical citations, are crucial to establishing the sources of the ideas you present in your writing.

There are two main ways to cite a source as you write: narrative and parenthetical.

Narrative Citation

Narrative citation is when you write out the author's name as you write their quote, or paraphrase their work:

Example

Instead, Grady et al. (2019) suggest that "when children are read storybooks that represent characters from ethnic or racial groups other than their own, [they] may receive a wider array of emotion learning opportunities than when they are read storybooks with characters that represent only their own race or ethnicity" (p. 215).

Parenthetical Citation

Parenthetical citation is how you use the author-date citation system. Use this type of citation when it is not easy to use narrative citation, and identify authors' names in-text. Include names, dates, and pages in parentheses.

Example

One study found that ethnicities of protagonists in children's fiction correlated with differences in types of emotions displayed by those characters (Grady et al., 2019).

Direct Quotations and Paraphrasing

Parenthetical Citations

APA 7 Style uses the author-date citation method with parentheses. After a quote, add parentheses containing the author's name, the year of publication, and the page number(s) the quote appears.

For quotations that are on one page, type "p." before the page number. For quotations that start on one page and end on another page, use "pp." instead.

Quote, one page: "Sometimes I feel quite CERTAIN there's a JERTAIN in the CURTAIN" (Seuss, 1974, p. 4).

Quote, two pages:  "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss, 2007, pp. 7-8).

If you use more than one work by the same author, use the letters a, b, etc., after the year.

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss, 2007a, pp. 7-8).

If more than one author has the same last name, add their first initial.

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (D. Seuss, 2007, pp. 7-8).

For works with two or more authors see the chart below under Authors: In-Text Citations.

Narrative Citations

When you use the author's last name in the narrative of your paper, leave their name out of the parentheses.

In his scholarly study, Dr. Seuss observed that "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (2007, pp. 7-8).

In 2007, Dr. Seuss suggested that "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (pp. 7-8).

Citations with Missing Elements

When no author name is available, use the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title). Use quotation marks around titles of articles or web pages, and italicize titles of books, journals, etc.

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Fox in Socks, 2007).

When no page numbers are available, use paragraph numbers or other subsection identifiers instead.

One paragraph: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss, 2007, para. 5).

More than one paragraph: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss, 2007, paras. 5-6).

Presentation slide: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (Seuss, 2007, Slide 7).

Paraphrased Citations

Paraphrasing restates one or more person's ideas in your own words, allowing you to summarize and synthesize information effectively (p. 269). You can use both narrative or parenthetical citations when paraphrasing ideas.

Stories can be used to teach social skills through already existing classroom literature instruction, emphasizing lessons that help students interpret events and empathize with characters (Wolf & Baker, 2012).

Wolf and Baker (2012) offer a case study example from one classroom teacher who used Dr. Seuss' books teach social skills to their students (p. 174).

Note: When paraphrasing or mentioning a source, still provide page numbers if the source text is long or difficult, or if it would help the reader find the text being paraphrased.

Authors: In-Text Citations

Authors' Names

Type of Citation Narrative Format Parenthetical Format
One work by one author Walker (2007) (Walker, 2007)
One work by two authors Walker and Allen (2004) (Walker & Allen, 2004)
One work by three or more authors Bradley et al. (1999) (Bradley et al., 1999)
One work by six or more authors Wasserstein et al. (2005) (Wasserstein et al., 2005)

Organizations or Groups as Authors

Type of Citation Narrative Format, First Citation in Text Narrative Format, Subsequent Citations in Text Parenthetical Format, First Citation in Text Parenthetical Format, Subsequent Citations in Text
Groups as authors (readily identified through abbreviation) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2003) NIMH (2003) (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2003) (NIMH, 2003)
Groups as authors (no abbreviation) University of Pittsburgh (2005) University of Pittsburgh (2005) (University of Pittsburgh, 2005) (University of Pittsburgh, 2005)