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APA Citation Guide (7th Edition): In-Text Citation

Note: This guide reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7).

In-Text Citation

What Is In-Text Citation?

In APA, in-text citations are inserted in the text of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the Reference list.

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. In the author-date method, the writer includes the author and date within the body of the paper and includes a corresponding reference in the Reference list. This method allows the reader to identify sources used in the paper by reviewing the author and date within the text of the paper, and then easily locate the corresponding reference in the alphabetical Reference list.

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

In-text Citations Have Two Formats

  1. Parenthetical - the author name and publication date (or equivalent information) appear in parentheses. For example: Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public's perception of expert consensus on an issue (Burnside, 2016).
  2. Narrative - the author name appears in running text and the date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name. For example: Burnside (2016) noted the dangers of falsely balanced news coverage.

If you are referring to an idea from another work (paraphrasing or summarizing) but NOT directly quoting the material, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference.

If you are directly quoting or borrowing from another work, you should include the page number at the end of the parenthetical citation. For example, (Burnside, 2016, p. 199).

In-Text Citation Styles

The table below shows several examples of parenthetical and narrative citations.

Author Type Parenthetical Citation Narrative Citation
One Author (Case, 2011) Case (2011)
Two Authors (Case & Daristotle, 2011) Case and Daristotle (2011)
Three or More Authors (Case et al., 2011) Case et al. (2011)

Group Author with Abbreviation

First Citation

Subsequent Citations


(World Health Organization [WHO], 2020)

(WHO, 2020)


World Health Organization (WHO, 2020)

WHO (2020)

Group Author Without Abbreviation (Yale University, 2020) Yale University (2020)

Paraphrasing and Quoting: What Is the Difference?

There are two ways to integrate sources into your assignment:

  1. Paraphrasing is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must reword the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words, and not just change a few words here and there. Make sure to also include an in-text citation.
  2. Quoting is copying a selection from someone else's work, phrasing it exactly as it was originally written. When quoting, place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation.

Signal Phrases

If you refer to the author's name in a sentence, you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation; instead, include the date after the name and the page number (if there is one) at the end of the quotation or the paraphrased section. For example:

Hunt (2011) explains that mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (p. 358).

Short Quotations

If a quotation consists of fewer than 40 words, treat it as a short quotation:

  • Incorporate the quote into the text and enclose it within double quotation marks.
  • Include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference.
  • If the author and date are introduced in the sentence as a narrative citation, then add the page number in parentheses at the end of the quote.
    • For example, Smith (2019) demonstrated how to "..." (p. 112).
  • If the author and date are not introduced as part of the text (parenthetical citation), then include the author and date with the page number. The period should come after the parentheses.
    • For example, "..." (Smith, 2019, p. 112).

Long (Block) Quotations

If a quotation contains 40 words or more, treat it as a long (block) quotation:

  • Do not use quotation marks to enclose a block quotation.
  • Start a block quotation on a new line and indent the whole block 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, indent the first line of each subsequent paragraph an additional 0.5 inches.
  • Double-space the entire block quotation; do not add extra space before or after it.
  • Either (1) cite the source in parentheses after the quotation's final punctuation, or (2) cite the author and year in the narrative before the quotation and place only the page number in parentheses after the quotation's final punctuation. Do NOT add a period after the closing parenthesis in either case.
  • See section 8.27 in the Publication Manual for examples of the block quotation.

Direct Quotation Without Page Numbers

When you quote from electronic sources that do not provide page numbers (e.g., webpages, websites, some e-books), provide readers with another way of locating the quoted passage. Use any of the following approaches that will best help readers find the quotation:

  • Provide a heading or a section name.
  • Provide a paragraph number (count the paragraphs manually if they are not numbered).
  • Provide a heading or section name in combination with a paragraph number.

In-Text Citation for More than One Source

If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon. List the sources alphabetically by author's last name or first word used from the title if no author is given, in the same order they would appear in the Reference list. For example:

(Jones, 2015; Smith, 2014). 

(Beckworth, 2016; "Nursing,"  2015).