APA Format: In-Text Citation

This information is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, 2010.


Writers incorporate researched information into papers in three ways: paraphrase, summary, and quotation. All three uses require citation to do the following:

  • Identify the sources used in the paper
  • Direct the reader to the alphabetical list of References
  • Clearly distinguish the writer’s own ideas from information taken from sources.

For Paraphrases and Summaries,cite references in text with (author, year). The page or paragraph is optional, but can be helpful. 


One or two authors:

Give the last name(s) and date in the citation. If the citation is in parentheses, use the ampersand (&) rather than the word and.


Some studies (Svartvik & Leech, 2006) have suggested that…

Svartvik and Leech (2006) have suggested that…


Three, four, or five authors:

Give all names and the date for the first citation. Use the Latin abbreviation et al. when the references are cited subsequent times. For all citations with six or more authors, cite only the first author’s surname followed by et al. and the date.


The data of Stuart et al. (2005) support the argument that…

Data from the most recent research study (Stuart et al., 2004) indicate…


Work without an author:

Cite the first few words of the title and the year. Use quotation marks around the title of an article or chapter; italicize the title of a book, brochure, or report.


…free medical care (“Study Finds,” 2004).

The book Breaking Through: College Reading (1999) advises…


Multiple citations:

Place in parentheses alphabetically, separated by a semi-colon and a space.


Several studies (Davidson, 2002; Gardiner, 1998; Matthews, 2006) indicate…


Work discussed within another author’s work:

You must distinguish between the two.


Current research by Smith (as cited in Jones, 1999) demonstrates…

Note:  Only the Jones reference would be included on the References list.


Corporation, organization, group, government agency, or association:

Treat the organization as the author. When citing a well known organization, abbreviations may be used after the first citation.


According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data (2008), . . .  

These findings show corporate profits increasing (Bureau of Economic Analysis [BEA], 2008).

Note:  For each subsequent citation, use the abbreviation: (BEA, 2008).


For Quotations, cite references in text with (author(s), year, page):    

Bellingham, Cohen, Jones, and Spaniol (2008) define spiritual health as “the ability to live in the wholeness of life” (p. 18).


Spiritual health is defined as “the ability to live in the wholeness of life” (Bellingham, Cohen, Jones, & Spaniol, 2008, p. 18).


For a quotation of more than 40 words:

a) Type as a free-standing block of text, indented ½ inch from the left margin (double-spaced as usual).

b) Do not use quotation marks.

c) Note that for a block quote, the period comes after the quotation, followed by the page number in parentheses.

d) For a quotation of more than one paragraph, indent the first line of all paragraphs after the first paragraph. 


Hawking and Mlodinow (2005) describe the information that a star’s luminosity can provide:

   But the apparent brightness of a star depends not only on its distance, but also on how

   much light it radiates (its luminosity). A dim star, if near enough, will outshine the brightest

   star in any distant galaxy. So in order to use apparent brightness as a measure of its

   distance, we must know a star’s luminosity.

           The luminosity of nearby stars can be calculated from their apparent brightness

   because their parallax enables us to know their distance. Hubble noted that these nearby

   stars could be classified into certain types by the kind of light they give off. (pp. 51-52)


Note: If you summarize, paraphrase or quote personal or email communication, give the initials as well as the surname of the source, and provide as exact a date as possible. Do not include it in the References.


      …according to D. C. Boehm (personal communication, July 22, 2009).