- Successfully identify the components of APA in-text citations
APA citations follow specific conventions that distinguish them from other styles. In most cases, APA citations in your text will follow the guidelines illustrated below. If you have questions or need further instruction, visit the APA Style Guide, the Excelsior Online Writing Lab, the Purdue Online Writing Lab, or the APA Guide from Santa Fe College.
This video will show you what in-text citations should look like and explain why you must use them.
When listing the source of information you are using in your paper, list the last name of the author (without their initials), followed by a comma, and then the year of publication. When referring to the author(s) directly in the text (also called a narrative citation), then list only the year (and page number, if needed for a direct quote). For example:
- One scholar argued that it is impossible to measure social class (Calvert, 1982).
- Calvert (1982) argued that it is impossible to measure social class.
Authors should be presented in the order that they appear in the published article. If they are cited within closed brackets, use the ampersand (&) between them. If they are not enclosed in brackets, then use the spelled out “and.” For example:
- A well-known study argued that social class is rapidly becoming obsolete (Calvert & Liu, 1987).
- Calvert and Liu (1987) argued that social class is rapidly becoming obsolete.
Three or More Authors
Starting with the first author mentioned in the text, the correct format is (Author et al., year). This includes even the first citation. All authors, up to 20, should be listed in the corresponding reference.
- Calvert et al. (1987) argued that the concept of social class is rapidly becoming obsolete.
- The concept of social class is rapidly becoming obsolete (Calvert et al., 1987).
For group authors with abbreviations, use the full name and the abbreviation in the first citation. Then, use only the abbreviation in subsequent citations.
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2019), women between the ages of 40 and 59 have the highest rates of depression in the United States.
- Women between the ages of 40 and 50 have the highest rates of depression in the United States (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2019).
For group authors without abbreviations, simply list the group author with the usual citation format.
- According to Stanford University (2018), first-generation college students face many obstacles as they work to complete their degrees.
- First-generation college students face many obstacles as they work to complete their degrees (Stanford University, 2018).
Multiple Publications, Same Author
If an author has multiple publications you need to cite, use a comma to separate the years of publication in chronological order (oldest to most recent). If the publications occur in the same year, the American Psychological Association Publication Manual recommends using suffixes a, b, c, etc. NOTE: The corresponding letters should be used in the reference list, and these references should be ordered alphabetically by title.
- A recent study argued for the abolition of social class (Calvert, 2004, 2005a, 2005b).
Multiple Publications, Different Authors
When citing multiple authors for the same information, use semicolons to separate the different citations. The authors should be cited in alphabetical order, and, if there is a need to cite more than one source by the same author within a citation for multiple publications, place the years of publication in chronological order (oldest to most recent).
- A recent study argued for the abolition of social class (Calvert, 1987; Liu, 2004, 2005; Smith, 2003).
When citing a direct quotation, follow the corresponding rules for the in-text citation type and add a page number to the end of the citation.
When using the author or authors’ names within the text (also called a narrative citation), the year citation comes after the author’s name, and the page number citation should be placed after the direct quotation. Be sure to put quoted material inside quotation marks. Place the period after the citation for all quotes shorter than 40 words.
- According to Smith (2018), “the number of birds in North America has declined by 2.9 billion since 1970” (p. 31).
- “The number of birds in North America has declined by 2.9 billion since 1970” (Smith, 2018. p. 31).
No Page Numbers
To cite quotations of material without page numbers, the American Psychological Publication Manual recommends providing section names, heading names, or paragraph numbers—essentially providing readers with the necessary information to locate the quotation.
- According to Williams (2019), “gravity is actually the bending of space” (para. 5).