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APA Style Guide

Citing sources in the body of your paper

Reference as you write


It is most helpful to know how your references will be formatted in your References list before including the in text citation in your final paper. If there is no author, use the title as entered in the References list.

Personal communications (e.g., email, conversation, interviews) that are not archived and cannot be retrieved by a reader are noted in-text but are not included in the References list. In text, give the initials and last name as well as a date of the communication.

For References that should be archived in journals, books or on the internet, in the body of your paper briefly note the author and date of research that you mention. Enough information is needed to identify the correct source in the References list at the end of your paper.

You can include the author and date in the sentence or in parentheses within the sentence.

For more information and examples, see Table 6.1 on page 177 in the 6th ed. Publication Manual.

In Text Examples

For each of the following examples, the correct APA style format in your list of "References" would be:

 Gould, S. J. (1989). The wheel of fortune and the wedge of progress. Natural History,  98(3), 14-21.

Author and date cited in text (no citation necessary):
In a 1989 article, Gould explores some of Darwin's most effective metaphors.

Author and date not cited in text:
As metaphors for the workings of nature, Darwin used the tangled bank, the tree of life, and the face of nature (Gould, 1989).

Author cited in text:
Gould (1989) attributes Darwin's success to his gift for making the appropriate metaphor.

Direct quotation with name of author:
Gould (1989) explains that Darwin used the metaphor of the tree of life "to express the other form of interconnectedness–genealogical rather than ecological–and to illustrate both success and failure in the history of life" (p. 14).

Direct quotation without name of author:
Darwin used the metaphor of the tree of life "to express the other form of interconnectedness–genealogical rather than ecological" (Gould, 1989, p. 14).

For works with multiple authors:

Up to five authors, include all author's last names.

For works with six or more authors, use the first author's name followed by 'et al.'

Quoting references that cite other works [6.17]

To cite secondary sources, refer to both sources in the text, but include only the source that you actually used in the References list.

For example, suppose you read in Feist (1998) and would like to paraphrase the following sentence within that book:

Bandura (1989) defined self-efficacy as "people's beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives" (p. 1175).

Your in text citation would be: (Bandura, 1989, as cited in Feist, 1998). Feist (1998) would be fully referenced within the list of References. Bandura (1989) would not be listed.

Identify works by the same author(s) with the same publication date by the suffixes (a, b, c, etc.) after the year. The suffixes are assigned in the references list by author(s) with the titles arranged alphabetically.

(Dobbs, 2006a, 2006b)

Basic Citation Styles [Table 6.1, p. 177]

Basic Citation Styles for in text citations.

Type of citation

First citation in text

Subsequent citations in text

Parenthetical format, first citation in text

Parenthetical format, subsequent citations in text

One work by 1 author

Walker (2007)

Walker (2007)

(Walker, 2007)

(Walker, 2007)

One work by 2 authors

Walker and Allen (2004)

Walker and Allen (2004)

(Walker & Allen, 2004)

(Walker & Allen, 2004)

One work by 3 authors

Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo (1999)

Bradley et al. (1999)

(Bradley, Ramirez, & Soo, 1999)

(Bradley et al., 1999)

One work by 4 authors

Bradley, Ramirez, Soo, and Walsh (2006)

Bradley et al. (2006)

(Bradley, Ramirez, Soo, & Walsh, 2006)

(Bradley et al., 2006)

One work by 5 authors

Walker, Allen, Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo (2008)

Walker et al. (2008)

(Walker, Allen, Bradley, Ramirez, & Soo 2008)

(Walker et al., 2008)

One work by 6 or more authors

Wasserstein et al. (2005)

Wasserstein et al. (2005)

(Wasserstein et al., 2005)

(Wasserstein et al., 2005)

Groups( readily identified through abbreviation) as authors

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2003)

NIMH (2003)

(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2003)

(NIMH, 2003)

Groups (no abbreviation) as authors

University of Pittsburgh (2005)

University of Pittsburgh (2005)

(University of Pittsburgh, 2005)

University of Pittsburgh, 2005)

Basic Citation Styles (Table 6.1) from American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (p. 177). Washington, D.C.: Author.