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Citing Sources: APA In-Text Citations

Guides for citing sources in MLA and APA format

General Tips

APA in-text citations consist of the author's name (if available) and year of publication. (See examples.)

Each in-text citation must correspond to a citation from your References list.

For direct quotes, include page number(s). If page # is not available, use section titles or paragraph #s.

When paraphrasing, you are "encouraged" to include a page number or a paragraph number of an unpaginated source of long sources.

If the work has no author, cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year.

If the author's name appears within a sentence, then just cite the year in parentheses.

For page numbers, use p. for a single page, and pp. for multiple pages. Use para. for paragraph numbers.

How to cite a source in the body of your paper

One Work by One Author

Kessler (2003) found that among epidemiological samples...

Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course (Kessler, 2003).

Two Sources by Same Author

(Hill, Cats, 2014)

(Hill, Felines, 2015)

More Than One Author

The first time you mention a source with multiple authors, write all of them out. After that, you can use the "et al." construction:

First mention:

          Kisangau, Lyaruu, Hosea, and Joseph (2007) found that...

          .....studies of its times (Kisangau, Lyaruu, Hosea & Joseph, 2007, p. 45). 

After that:

          Kisangau, et al. (2007) found that...

Work with more than 7 authors/editors

   (Trigo, J. M., et al., 2018, p. 34)

Work with Editor

If a book has an editor and no author, it is treated just like an author in the parenthetical citation. 

     (Larsen, 2014, p. 145).

Work with no author

The in-text reference should refer to the citation as it appears in your reference list. Use the first few words of the entry.

          Bacillus Thuringiensis is used in corn, potatoes, and cotton. ("New child
          vaccine," 2001).

This refers to a reference that looks like this:

          New child vaccine gets funding boost. (2001). Retrieved March 21, 2001


Direct Quotations, print sources

Anything quoted word for word from a source should be in quotes. Include the page number or paragraph number in the citation.

          Confusing the issue is the overlapping nature of roles in palliative care,
          whereby "medical needs are met by those in the medical disciplines;
          nonmedical needs may be addressed by anyone on the team." (Csikai &
          Chaitin, 2006, p. 112).

          Interpreting these results, Robbins et al. (2003) suggested that the
          "therapists in dropout cases may have inadvertently validated parental
          negativity about the adolescent without adequately responding to the
          adolescent's needs or concerns." (p. 541), contributing to an overall
          climate of negativity.

If the quote is more than 40 words, put it into a "block quote" without quotation marks.

          Others have contradicted this view:

                    In these instances, participants are able to see the visible
                    manifestation of the group, the physical gathering, yet their ability to
                    make direct, intimate connections with those around them is limited
                    by the sheer magnitude of the assembly. (Purcell, 1997, pp.

Direct Quotations-- online sources with no page numbers

If no page numbers are listed, use section headings and paragraph numbers.

          In their study, Verbunt, Pernot, and Smeets (2008) found that "the level of
          perceived disability in patients with fibromyalgia seemed best explained by
          their mental health condition and less by their physical condition"
          (Discussion section, para. 1).


If the section heading has a long title, just use the first few words of it:

          "Empirical studies have found mixed results of the efficacy of labels in
          educating consumers and changing consumption behavior" (Gloat, Kuchler,
          & Krissof, 2007, "Mandatory Labeling Has Targeted," para. 4).

          (The full section title was, "Mandatory Labeling Has Targeted Information
          Gaps and Social Objectives.")

APA Publication Manual

APA Manual Front Cover


This page is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. (2009).

Block Quotes

If you use a quote of more than 40 words, that's a block quote. Be careful using them--teachers know that students use them to meet page requirements. If you decide to use one in your paper, use a colon to introduce the quote, indent the block quote one tab, don't use quote marks, and document the source after the period of the last sentence. 


...railroad accidents have persisted, even since the Rail Safety Improvement Act that demanded that railroads install a safety device to stop trains immediately after an operator error:

While railroads have invested billions of dollars in an as-yet unproven technology, a string of accidents—in Spuyten Duyvil, New York, in 2013; at North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2015; and at Hoboken, New Jersey, in 2016 have all led to widespread criticism and calls for faster progress. (Churella, 2018)


Secondary Sources

Try to use the original research when available. If you don't read the original resource, you may quote the source you accessed in-text to let readers know. 

In-Text Citation

(Author Surname, Year qtd. as cited in Author Surname [of the source you read], Year, page number)


Frank's 1999 study (as cited in Brown, 2013, p. 245) found that.....