Skip to main content

APA @ Sullivan University: In-Text Citations

A guide to the use of the American Psychological Association Manual of Style at Sullivan University.

General Guidelines

If you borrow information (even if you change the wording), you have to document it. Any specific information that you use (other than common knowledge), 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.   

NOTE: See pages 174-183 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for detailed information on in-text citations.

  • 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.
  • APA uses an author-date method of citation.

Here is what must be included in an in-text citation to avoid plagiarism issues.

  • The author(s)' last name:
    • If an author is unknown, use the title of the book or the article. If it is a long title, just use the first two or three words of the title.
      • Capitalize the first letter of each word.
      • Italicize the title of a book, report, or brochure (pamphlet).
      • Place the "title" in quotation marks if the source is an article, chapter of a book, or a web page. 
    • If the article, book, etc., was written by a group, government agency, or corporate entity, use the name of the group or corporation as the author.
      • NOTE: If there is a well-known abbreviation for a group, include the abbreviation after full name of the group the first time an in-text citation is used. With any further in-text citations citing the group, only use the abbreviation.

  • The year of publication:
    • If no date is found, use n.d. (for "no date").

  • The page number (for quotations):
    • The page number must always be used for any direct quotations in your paper.
    • If a page number cannot be found for an online/electronic source (or a print source), use the paragraph number, for example (para. 2). The paragraph number is found by counting the paragraphs, starting at the first paragraph in the source.
    • The page number is not required for paraphrases or summaries (see page 171 in the APA manual for more information. APA 6 indicates that the page number is "encouraged" for paraphrases and summaries but is not an absolute requirement)

There are some special circumstances in the use of an in-text citation. These special circumstances include indirect citations, 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). For example, 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. (See page 178, Section 6.17 in the APA Manual for more information.)

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 Smith article (the secondary source).

Inderect citation with the author and source highlighted

Citing Personal Communications (see page 179, Section 6.20 in the APA Manual for more information)

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:

Parenthetical:

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 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. (See page 178, Section 6.18 in the APA Manual for more information)

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.

Loading ...

The Two Formats of In-Text Citations

Parenthetical

This format consists of a set of parentheses around the in-text citation. The in-text citation includes: the author(s)' last name(s), a comma, a publication date, and the page number (the page number is required for quotes; optional for paraphrases or summaries).

Here is an example (the highlighted area is the parenthetical in-text citation):

Author(s) known example: "Very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports”(Caplan, 2005, p. 593). 

Signal Phrase

This format consists of a phrase that alerts the reader that a paraphrase or a quote is about to follow. The in-text citation includes: the author(s)' last name(s), a comma, a publication date, and the page number (the page number is required for quotes; optional for paraphrases).

Here is an example (the highlighted areas are the components of a signal phrase):

Author(s) known example: According to Caplan (2005), "very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports" (p. 593).  

Examples

This format consists of a set of parentheses around the in-text citation. The citation includes: the author(s)' last name(s), a comma, a publication date, and the page number (required for quotations; not a requirement for paraphrasing or summarizing).

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:

“Very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports” (Caplan, 2005, p. 593). 

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 many instances, "mules can be stubborn" (Five Acres, 1976, p. 56).

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

The current generation of students "enjoy the freedom of mobile phones" ("Go Wireless," 2011, 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:

In many states, the number of animals in "the wild is decreasing exponentially to the increase of people in a particular environment" (Animals in Nature Assocation, 2008, 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 a requirement with a paraphrased sentence). 

Daily exercise can have positive benefits to the heart (American Heart Association [AHA], 2007). 

The web page author is unknown. There is not a publication date or a page number available. A quote is being used from the web page:

(NOTE: If the author of a web page is unknown, use the first one or two words of the title, placed in quotation marks. If the publication date is unknown, use n.d. If a page number is not available, use the paragraph number. The paragraph number on a web page is found by counting the number of paragraphs, starting at the first paragraph). 

"Decreasing the use of mono-saturated fats in a diet will decrease health risks in many people" ("Cooking Healthy," n.d., para. 5).

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 (2005), "very few people have 20/20 vision. Being able to see well is crucial to success in some sports" (p. 593).

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 (1976), 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 (2008), 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 (AHA, 2007), daily exercise can have positive benefits to the heart . 

The web page author is unknown. There is not a publication date or a page number available. A quote is being used from the web page:

(If the author of a web page is unknown, use the first one or two words of the title, placed in quotation marks. If the publication date is unknown, use n.d. If a page number is not available, use the paragraph number. The paragraph number on a web page is found by counting the number of paragraphs, starting at the first paragraph). 

According to "Cooking Healthy" (n.d.), "decreasing the use of mono-saturated fats in a diet will decrease health risks in many people" (para. 5).

Loading ...

A Chart Listing Basic In-Text Citation Styles (adapted from a chart that can be found on page 177 in the Publication Manual of the APA)

NOTE: The examples in the list would be double-spaced in a paper. 

Signal Phrase Format

Parenthetical Format

 

First citation in your paper

Additional citations from the same source in your paper

First citation in your paper

Additional citations from the same source in your paper

One work by an author (using a quote)

Johnson (2007) stated “many accidents happen during the holiday season” (p. 203).

Johnson (2007) has discovered that “accidents are usually caused when a person is unaware of his/her surroundings” (p. 234).

(Johnson, 2007, p. 203).

(Johnson, 2007, p. 234).

One work by two authors (using a quote)

Johnson and Smith (2007) reported that “traffic has increased tenfold in the last five years throughout the United States (p. 67).

According to Johnson and Smith (2007), “stop signs should be used judiciously for traffic control” (p. 100). 

(Johnson & Smith, 2007, p. 67).

(Johnson & Smith, 2007, p. 100).

One work by three authors (date unknown; both citations are paraphrases so the page number is not required)

Lopez, Smith, and Jones (n.d.) found that many children do not have the opportunity to attend preschool.

According to Lopez et al. (n.d.), children who attended preschool have an advantage over children who do not attend preschool. 

(Lopez, Smith, & Jones, n.d.).

(Lopez et al., n.d.).

One work by four authors (using a quote)

 

According to Abell, Brooks, Cave, and Doe (2003), “college students do not get enough sleep” (p. 45). 

 

 

Abell et al. (2003) stated that “too much is expected of today’s youth" (p. 100). 

 

(Abell, Brooks, Cave, & Doe, 2003, p. 45).

(Abell et al., 2003, p. 100).

One work by five authors (using a quote)

A survey by Jones, Smith, Wilson, Casey, and Young (2010) has found that teenagers “average 20 hours of television viewing per week” (p. 2).

According to Jones et al. (2010), television “is a factor in the current lack of exercise by adolescents” (p. 13).

(Jones, Smith, Wilson, Casey, & Young, 2010, p. 2).

(Jones et al., 2010, p. 13).

One work by six or more authors (the first citation is a paraphrase that does not use a page number, the second citation is a quote)

Martin et al. (2005) has found a direct correlation between pet owners and decreased stress.

According to Martin et al. (2005), pet owners are more likely to “contribute to charities featuring animals” (p. 90).

(Martin et al., 2005).

(Martin et al., 2005, p. 90).

Group or Organization (the organization is also known by an abbreviation) as the author) (the first citation is a quote; the second citation is a paraphrase that does not use a page number)

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, 2003), “space exploration provides knowledge essential to the future of Earth” (p. 3).

NASA (2003) has reported a decrease in cloud cover over the Earth.

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], 2003, p. 3).

(NASA, 2003).

Group or Organization (no abbreviation) as the author (using a quote)

The University of Westland (2004) reported that “electronic sources have replaced print publications at a rate of 10 to 1 over a 5 year period” (p. 34).

According to the University of Westland (2004), “electronic sources are growing much more rapidly than printed resources” (p. 44).

(University of  Westland, 2004, p. 34).

(University of Westland, 2004, p. 44).

Article with one author but no page numbers (using a quote)

Bryant (2003) has found “no correlation in the comparison of the health benefits of butter versus margarine” (para. 2).

According to Bryant (2003), there was a “large correlation in the use of butter among and various economic groups” (para. 7).

(Bryant, 2003, para. 2).

(Bryant, 2003, para. 7).