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APA Citation Style Guide: In-text Citations

This APA Citation Style Guide provides practical advice for citing sources, following the guidelines set forth in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition).

How to Use This Guide

Citations are a two part system: in-text citations connected to reference list citations.

This guide will help you create in-text citations that correlate with the corresponding Reference list citations. Please see the References guide for more details on the Reference list.

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Basics

Handling In-text Citations:

  • When mentioning the author in the text of your sentence, provide the author's last name, immediately followed by the date in parentheses. Example: Johnson (2008) argues that...
  • When not mentioning the author in the text of your sentence, provide the author and date at the end of the sentence in parentheses.  Example: ... hypothetical results (Johnson, 2008).
  • When quoting or paraphrasing a specific detail, include the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Example: "... forgetfulness" (p. 678). Alternative example: "... forgetfulness (Johnson, 2008, p. 678).   

When writing your paper, you have two basic choices to make when presenting a source to the reader.   You can choose to refer to a work in general or you can specifically quote or paraphrase the words and content of that source.  You can also choose to mention the author in the text of your sentences or you can choose to leave his or her name out. 

Examples*:

This chart breaks down the four main in-text citation variations listed above. 

  Entire work referred to.    Specific statement referred to.
Author in Text Gackenbach (2009) found a connection between video game play and lucid dreaming.  Gackenbach (2009) argues that "daytime exposure to virtual reality through electronic media is associated with important dream structure variables, lucidity, and control" (p. 5).
Author not Mentioned in Text Studies show there is a potential connection between video game play and lucid dreaming (Gackenbach, 2009).    "[D]aytime exposure to virtual reality through electronic media is associated with important dream structure variables, lucidity, and control" (Gackenbach, 2009, p. 5).

 

* Source: Gackenbach, J. (2009). Electronic media and lucid-control dreams: Morning after reports. Dreaming 19(1), 1-6. doi: 10.1037/a0013781

APA Manual pp. 174-179, Sections 6.11-6.21