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Citation Help: In-text Citation

APA In-Text Citations: General Guidelines & Examples

In APA style, use the author-date format to cite in text.  Everything used and cited in the text must have a corresponding entry on the reference list.  The in-text citation allows for the more informative entry on the alphabetical reference list to be found quickly and easily.  Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source.  Citations can be either parenthetical or narrative.

Parenthetical Citation:

The author and date are placed in parentheses within or at the end of a sentence.  The period always goes outside the closing parenthesis.

Example: Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public's perception of expert consensus on an issue (Koehler, 2016).

Narrative Citation:

The author is included in the narrative text, followed immediately by a parenthesis containing the date.

 Example: Koehler (2016) noted the dangers of falsely balanced news coverage.

APA In-Text citations: Author Variation

Works by Multiple Authors

APA style has specific rules for citing works by multiple authors. Use the following guidelines to determine how to correctly cite works by different authors in text.

Note: When using multiple authors' names as part of your narrative, rather than in parentheses, always spell out the word and. For multiple authors' names within a parenthetic citation, use &.

One author 

Author Type Parenthetical Citation Narrative Citation
One author (Luna, 2020) Luna (2020)
Two authors (Salas & D'Agostino, 2020) Salas and D'Agostino (2020)
Three or more authors (Martin et al., 2020) Martin et al. (2020)

Group author with abbreviation, 1st time

2nd time

(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020)

(NIMH, 2020)

National Institute of Mental Health (2020)

NIMH (2020)

Group author without abbreviation

(Stanford University, 2020)

Stanford University (2020)
Unknown Author (Title, 2020) Title (2020)


APA In-Text Citations: Paraphrasing and Direct Quotations

Most citations will either be a paraphrase or a direct quote.  These both have different rules for how they are cited.


Paraphrasing involves restating the ideas in your own words.  It is often preferred, as it allows for you to synthesize ideas. Quotation marks aren't needed, but narrative or parenthetical in-text citations are still required.  With long paraphrases that go on for multiple sentence, the work should be cited on first mention. The citation doesn't have to be repeated as long as it is clear it is still the same work.  If it goes into a new paragraph, though, a new in-text citation is needed.


Avid readers of science fiction and fantasy books are more likely than readers of other genres to believe in futuristic scenarios-- for example, that it will someday be possible to travel to other galaxies or power a car on solar energy (Black et al., 2018).

Direct Quotations:

A direct quote copies word for word from a source.  While paraphrasing is preferred, direct quotes are useful when the wording itself matters, like in definitions.  Page numbers should be included in the citation following the date (using p. # for page and pp. #-# for a page span).  For quotes that exceed 40 words, format it as a block quotation with no quotation marks.  Start a new line and indent 0.5 inches.


In 2018, Soto argued that "more similar stimuli, such as those coming from the same modality, produce more configural processing" (p. 598).

Researchers have studied how people talk to themselves:

Inner speech is a paradoxical phenomenon. It is an experience that is central to many people's everyday lives, and yet it presents considerable challenges to any effort to study it scientifically.  Nevertheless, a wide range of methodologies and approaches have combined to shed light on the subjective experience of inner speech and its cognitive and neural underpinnings. (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015, p. 95)

For more guidance, look at APA's Guide or OWL's Guide on in-text citations.

Some examples courtesy of APA Publication Manual

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