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APA 7th ed. Style Guide: Citing Sources in Text


The table below provides examples of how to cite your sources in text, whether you use the author's name as part of the narrative or you include the citation information in parentheses (called a parenthetical citation). For more information, refer to sections 8.17-21 of the APA Style Manual, 7th edition.  

Author Type Parenthetical Citation Narrative Citation
One author (Hasan, 2017) Hasan (2017)
Two authors (Gilaie-Dotan & Doron, 2017) Gilaie-Dotan and Doron (2017)
Three or more authors (Christo et al., 2013) Christo et al. (2013) 

Group author with abbreviation**

first citation:
(World Health Organization [WHO], 2020)

subsequent citations:
(WHO, 2020)

first reference:
World Health Organization (WHO, 2020)

subsequent references:
WHO (2020)

** Define the abbreviation for a group author only once in the text, choosing either the parenthetical or the narrative format. Thereafter, use the abbreviation for all mentions of the group in the text (see Section 8.21 of APA Style Manual, 7th edition)

Frequently Asked Questions about In-Text Citation: 

When paraphrasing, how often should I cite a source? Do I need to include a parenthetical citation at the end of each sentence? (8.1)

"Avoid both undercitation and overcitation. Undercitation can lead to plagiarism (see Section 8.2) and/or self plagiarism (see Section 8.3). Even when sources cannot be retrieved (e.g. because they are personal communications; see Section 8.9), you still need to credit them in the text. Overcitation can be distracting and is unnecessary. For example, it is considered overcitation to repeat the same citation in every sentence when the source and topic have not changed. Instead, when paraphrasing a key point in more than one sentence within a paragraph, cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the sources remains clear and unchanged (see Section 8.24)."

How do I cite a direct quote? (8.25)

"A direct quotation reproduces words verbatim from another work of from your own previously published work. It is best ot paraphrase sources (see Sections 8.23-8.24) rather than directly quoting them because paraphrasing allows you to fit material to the context of your paper and writing style. Use direct quotations rather than paraphrasing when reproducing an exact definition (see example in Section 6.22), when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or when you want to respond to exact wording (e.g., something someone said)."

"When quoting directly, always provide the author, year, and page number of the quotation in the in-text citation in either parenthetical or narrative format (see Section 8.11). To indicate a single page, use the abbreviation "p.p" (e.g., p. 25, p.S41, p. e221); for multiple pages, use the abbreviation "pp." and separate the page range with an en dash (e.g., pp. 34-36). If pages are discontinuous, use a comma between the page numbers (e.g., pp. 67, 72). If the work does not have page numbers, provide another way for the reader to locate the quotation (see Section 8.28). 

For help citing block quotations (40 words or more), see section 8.27 of the APA Manual.

What if the work doesn't have an author? (8.14)

"When the author of a work is not named, the author may be unknown (i.e., no author is listed on the work, as with a religious work) or identified specifically as "Anonymous". For works with an unknown author (see Section 9.12), include the title and year of publication in the in-text citation (note that the title moves to the author position in the reference list entry as well). If the title of the work is italicized in the reference, also italicize the title in the in-text citation. If the title of the work is not italicized in the reference, use double quotation marks around the title in the in-text citation. Capitalize these titles in the text using title case (see Section 6.17), even though sentence case is used in the reference list entry. If the title is long, shorten it for the in-text citation."

  • Book with no author: (Interpersonal Skills, 2019)
  • Magazine article with no author: ("Understanding Sensory Memory", 2018)

See Section 9.49 for how to order works with no authors in the reference list. 

How do I cite more than one source in the same parentheses? (8.12)

"When citing multiple works parenthetically, place the citations in alphabetical order, separating them with semicolons. Listing both parenthetical in-text citations and reference list entries in alphabetical order helps readers locate and retrieve works because they are listed in the same order in both places."

(Fischer et al., 2011; Hasan, 2017; Polman et al., 2008)

"Arrange two or more works by the same authors by year of publication. Place citations with no date first, followed by works with dates in chronological order; in-press citations appear last. Give the authors' surnames once; for each subsequent work, give only the date."

(Drapalski, n.d., 2016, 2018)

How do I cite an indirect (secondary) source? (8.6)

An indirect or secondary source is one that is cited in another person's work. Whenever possible, find and cite the original work. In some cases, however, the original work may be unavailable, and so you must rely on the secondary citation. However, use this type of source sparingly! Consult a librarian for help finding the original source if needed. Provide the secondary source in the reference list, NOT the original source; in text, name the original work and give the citation for the secondary source (listed in your reference list): 

Gunderson's research (as cited in Kuthrapali, 2017) 

If the year of the primary source is unknown, omit it from the in-text citation.

Allport's diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003)

How do I cite a personal communication? (8.9)

Use personal communication citations only when a recoverable source is not available. Cite personal communications such as emails, letters, telephone conversations, personal interviews, etc. in the text only. Since you can't provide retrieval information for these sources, they are not included in the reference list. Give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible for when the communication occurred: 

N.D. Tyson (personal communication, June 10, 2017)

(M. Gillespie, personal communication, May 15, 2018)

How do I cite a lecture or presentation? (8.9)

"If you learned about a topic via a classroom lecture, it would be preferable to cite the research on which the instructor based the lecture. However, if the lecture contained original content not published elsewhere, cite the lecture as a personal communication