In-text citations are brief. They include the author's last name, year of publication, and, for quotations only, page numbers or location references. 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.
- Direct Quotation from source with page numbers
- Direct quotation from source with no page numbers
- Source with one author
- Source with two authors
- Source with three 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
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.
In-text citations for paraphrases should include the author’s last name and year of publication, which are separated by a comma. A page number is not required. Note that information about the author can be integrated into your sentence or placed in parentheses.
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.
When using a direct quotation from a source with no page numbers, you still need to indicate the specific location of the quotation within the original source. Be as accurate and specific as possible.
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).
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.
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.
When you are unable to access an original source, you can cite its findings or argument as they are presented in a different source. APA considers the original source to be a “primary source,” and the source that you read about it in the “secondary source.” Identify the original (primary) source, including the original author(s) and publication date (if known), in the sentence, followed by a parenthetical citation starting with the words “as cited in” to the secondary source. The secondary source, not the original source, will be listed in the references list.
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.