APA 6 Style: In-Text Citations
Notice: This guide provides information about APA 6th edition (2010) requirements for in-text citations. For information on in-text citation requirements for APA 7th edition (2020), please see our updated APA 7 guide.
In-text citations are brief. They include the author's last name, year of publication, and, for quotations only, page numbers. This is enough information for readers to find the source in the references list. Note that punctuation marks (periods, commas, semi-colons) follow the parentheses for in-text citations.
Identify the kind of source you have and apply the APA guidelines. A few examples are covered below.
- Source with one author
- Source with two authors
- Source with three, four, or five authors
- Source with six or more authors
- Agency author
- Source with no author
- Two or more sources from the same author in the same year
- Two or more sources in one parenthetical citation
- Citing a source you found in another source
Insert the surname of the author and the year of publication for a paraphrase and the surname of the author, the year of publication and page number for a quotation.
A paraphrase re-states someone else's ideas in your words. Always indicate whose idea you are taking. To avoid plagiarism, do not simply re-word something. Put the original source aside and write your version of it. Paraphrases do not need quotation marks. They only require the author’s last name and year of publication, which are separated by a comma. A page number is not required.
Bourgois (1995) concludes that submission to corporate culture threatens street culture’s norms of masculinity.
Different cultures’ definitions of dignity can be in contradiction (Bourgois, 1995).
A quotation (an exact word-for-word repetition of written or spoken language) needs quotation marks around it. Keep them brief and use them sparingly. Quotations must always include the author's last name, year of publication and page number.
Bourgois (1995) observes how "[o]bedience to the norms of high-rise, office-corridor culture is in direct contradiction to street culture's definition of personal dignity" (p. 115).
"Obedience to the norms of high-rise, office-corridor culture is in direct contradiction to street culture's definition of personal dignity" (Bourgois, 1995, p. 115).
Citing the Same Source within the Same Paragraph
When you refer to an author in your sentence, use the author's surname and date for the first citation. In the same paragraph, you do not need to include the date in subsequent reference to the same source if it is written in a sentence. All parenthetical citations must include the author's surname and the year of publication.
Bourgois (1995) concludes that submission to corporate culture threatens street culture's norms of masculinity. Bourgois explains that different cultures' definitions of dignity can be in contradiction.
Cite both names for each reference. When referring to the authors in your sentence use the word "and" but in a parenthetical citation use an ampersand "&".
This was written a century and a half ago: "All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they ossify" (Marx & Engels, 1848, p. 38).
Marx and Engels (1848) invoke an economic and social upheaval that is familiar to contemporary readers.
Cite all authors the first time the reference occurs. In subsequent citations, write only the first author's surname followed by et al. and the year.
Aubrey, Peters, and Smith (2004) explore the relationship between different stages of sleep and memory re-processing.
There is a relationship between the different stages of sleep and memory re-processing (Aubrey, Peters, & Smith, 2004).
Aubrey et al. (2004) observed participants in different stages of sleep.
The researchers observed participants in different stages of sleep (Aubrey et al., 2004).
Cite only the first author's surname and follow this by et al. and the year for the first and subsequent citations.
It was noted that this influence extends to even those outside of the community (Adams et al., 1994).
It may appear that a source does not have an author if no individual is listed; however, agencies can also be authors of a source and they should be identified as the author. If the agency is best known as an acronym, you must first record the full name of the agency and indicate the acronym in parentheses; all subsequent references may use the acronym in this case.
The American Psychological Association (APA, 2010) recommends . . .
Parenthetical citations are required (American Psychological Association [APA], 2010)
APA (2010) recommends . . .
Running heads are required (APA, 2010).
Cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. If the author is identified as Anonymous, your in-text citation and reference entry should list the author as Anonymous.
("Diet for Stress Management", 2012)
To differentiate between two sources published in the same year by the same author(s), add a suffix to the date. Include these suffixes in your reference list for easy cross referencing.
In two studies by Lee (2008a; 2008b), anti-depressants were found . . .
Sometimes you need to cite more than one source for an idea you present in your work. List sources alphabetically by first author's surname and separate them with a semi-colon.
Several empirical studies demonstrate the importance of limiting screen time for children under the age of 24 months (Childs, Tsang, & Springer, 2015; Green et al., 2014; Singh, 2017).
When you are unable to access an original source, you can cite its findings or argument as they are presented in a different source. Identify the original source in the sentence, followed by a parenthetical citation of the secondary source. The secondary source, not the original source, will be listed in the references list.
Khan theorized that . . . (as cited in Cohen, 2011).
In this example, the writer wishes to explain the theory raised by Khan, which they read in Cohen's (2011) work. They did not read Khan's publication, so they cannot cite in in their paper. Cohen's work will be included in the References list.