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AMA @ Sullivan University: In-Text Citations

The SUCOP guide to AMA citation style

General Guidelines

If you borrow information (even if you change the wording), you MUST document it. Any specific information that you use (other than common knowledge items), must be documented BOTH in the paper (an in-text citation) and on the reference page. 

Please remember, all sources cited in-text (with a few exceptions) must be fully cited on the reference page. Go to the REFERENCE LIST section of this guide for detailed information on how to create a reference entry.   

  • Always carefully document your sources. Failure to do so will result in plagiarism. Follow the documentation rule -- "when in doubt, cite." It is better to be safe than sorry.

  • Avoid too many quotes, paraphrases, and/or summaries in your paper. Remember that you should use research to help support your ideas. Do not let the research control the paper. Too much outside research will cause your reader to think that you do not know your own subject, and thus weaken your work.

  • Use commas to separate multiple citation numbers in text.  Superscript numbers are placed OUTSIDE periods and commas, and INSIDE colons and semicolons.  

There are some special circumstances in the use of an in-text citation. These special circumstances include indirect citations, unpublished works, personal communications, and classical works.


Special Circumstances

Indirect Citations

An indirect citation uses information from a source that is cited in-text in another source (the secondary source). This is not standard in AMA style, and should be avoided unless the original source is not available.


Consider an article that you are reading contains a cited quote from another article. You want to use the quote in your paper but cannot find the original article.

The use of an indirect citation is not encouraged, but is sometimes necessary when the original article or book cannot be located.

  • To create an indirect citation, use the author(s) of the original source, followed by "as cited in" and the in-text citation of the secondary source (the source that the original source is cited in).

The secondary source is listed on the references page of your paper.

Here is an example of an in-text citation of an original source (Britton) that is cited in the secondary article.

"The words we use simply appear, as Britton says, "at the point of utterance."²

Here, Britton is the original author, and the citation refers to the source in which the orginal work is cited. 

Citing personal communications:

Personal communications include: emails, private letters, interviews, memos, and telephone conversations.

Personal communications are not listed on the Reference Page, but are included as an in-text citation.

An in-text citation of a personal communication includes: the first and middle initials as well as the last name of the person cited along with the date of contact.

Here are some examples:


The year 1987 was “a cold year for the Mississippi Valley” (B. W. Jones, personal communication, April 20, 2011).

Signal Phrase:

According to B. W. Jones (personal communication, April 20, 2011), the year 1997 was “a cold year for the Mississippi Valley.”

Classical and religious works:

Classical works include the Bible, the Quran, and very ancient literature (such as Greek or Roman works). An entry on the reference list is usually not required.  

An in-text citation of a classical work includes: the author (or the first few words of the title, if the author is unknown) and then either: the word trans. (if translated), then the year of the translation, or the word version (if the work has different versions), followed by the year. If the original date of publication of the classical work is known, this year should be used. 

For more information and specific examples from the APA Style Blog on how to cite the Bible and other classical works

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This format consists of a superscript number as in-text citation. Citations should be numbered in the order they appear in your paper.  Please remember, all sources cited in-text must be fully cited on the reference page.  

Citing a quotation:

“Very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports.” ²

Citing a concept, when you've paraphrased:

Daily exercise can have positive benefits to the heart.³

Citing more than one source in a sentence:

Recent studies indicate there is a direct correlation between the number of french fries consumed daily and an individual's serum cholesterol levels.² ¯ ³

This format consists of a phrase that alerts the reader that a paraphrase of a quote is about to follow. The citation includes: the author(s)'s last name(s), the year in parentheses, and the page number (if a quote). The page number is not required for paraphrases or summaries.

Please remember, all sources cited in-text must be fully cited on the reference page. Go to the REFERENCE LIST section of this guide for detailed information on how to create a reference entry.   

Author(s) known citing a quotation:

According to Caplan,²  "very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports."

The author(s) is unknown:

Use the title of the book, article, pamphlet, etc. Use just the first one or two words of the title. The titles of longer works such as books, journals, brochures (pamphlets), reports, and films are italicized. the titles of shorter works such as essays, articles, songs, and chapters are placed within quotation marks.

Example of a book without an author citing a quote:

In Five Acres and Independence,³ it was discovered that, in many instances, "mules can be stubborn" (p. 56).

Example of a journal article without an author citing a quote:

According to the article "Go Wireless" (2011), the current generation of students "enjoy the freedom of mobile phones" (p. 376).

The author is a group or corporate entity:

Example of a corporate entity that does not use a well-known name abbreviation citing a quote:

Research by the Animals in Nature Association,² has shown that, in many states, the number of animals in "the wild is decreasing exponentially to the increase in the human population" (p. 78). 

Example of a corporate entity that has a well-known name abbreviation (citing a paraphrased sentence):

The following example is the first in-text citation for this source. If you are citing this source in other parts of your paper, do not use the full name of the corporation, use the abbreviated name: for example (AHA, 2008). Also, the page number is not required with a paraphrased sentence. 

According to the American Heart Assocation,² daily exercise can have positive benefits to the heart .

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