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APA 7: In-Text Citations

Learn how to format your papers and cite sources in APA 7th edition.

Guidance from APA Style, Purdue OWL, & Excelsior OWL

In-text citation is covered in Chapter 8 of the APA Publication Manual

Basic In-Text Citation Guidelines

In-text citation refers to the brief citations included within the text of your paper. They point your reader to the full citation at the end of your paper.

Parenthetical vs. narrative in-text citation

In APA, the in-text citation is generally placed in parenthesis at the end of your sentence with the author's last name and year.

The page number is also required if you are directly quoting from a source.

  • Precede a single page number with p.
  • Precede a range of pages with pp.
  • If page numbers are unavailable, you will need to use the paragraph number preceded by para. or paras.  

The period goes after/outside the parenthesis.

  • (Alvarez, 2019, paras. 3-4).
  • (Davis, 2020, p. 52). 

You can also include the author's name in the text itself and simply place the year in parenthesis after the author's last name.

  • According to Davis (2020), "....." (pp. 52-53).

Direct Quotations

Page/paragraph numbers are required for direct quotations

Shorter than 40 Words
  • "This is a direct quote" (Last name, year, p. or para. #). 
    • "...." (Davis, 2020, p. 23). 
  • Davis (2020) explains "..." (p. 23).
Longer that 40 Words
  • Form quote into a block quotation.
  • Don't use quotation marks.
  • Period goes before the in-text citation.
Narrative Example

Flores et al. (2018) described how they addressed potential researcher bias when working with an intersectional community of transgender people of color:

Everyone on the research team belonged to a stigmatized group but also held privileged identities. Throughout the research process, we attended to the ways in which our privileged and oppressed identities may have influenced the research process, findings, and presentation of results. (p. 311)

Parenthetical Example

Researchers have studied how people talk to themselves:

Inner speech is a paradoxical phenomenon. It is an experience that is central to many people’s everyday lives, and yet it presents considerable challenges to any effort to study it scientifically. Nevertheless, a wide range of methodologies and approaches have combined to shed light on the subjective experience of inner speech and its cognitive and neural underpinnings. (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015, p. 957)

Number of Authors

Number of authors to include in in-text citations

2 Authors from Same Source

  • If referring to two authors of the same text, join the authors' last names with an ampersand. 
    • (Bullock & Merritt, 2020, para. 5).
3 Authors or More from the Same Source
  • If referring to three authors or more of the same text, list the first author's last name followed by et al. 
    • (Merritt et al., 2013, p. 32). 
Authors from More Than One Source
  • If referring to more than one source in the same citation, place the authors' last names in alphabetical order and separate the citations with a semicolon. 
    • (Garcia, 2020, pp. 18-20; Ryan, 2019, p. 302).
Group Author
  • Group name followed by the year.
    • (Merced College, 2021, paras. 4-5).
No Authors
  • If there is no author, use the the title of the work in place of the author's last name.
    •  (“Medical Science Today,” 2019).
  • If the title is long, it should be shortened for the in-text citation.
  • The main words of titles should be capitalized. 
  • If the title is italicized in the reference, then it should also be italicized within the in-text citation.
  • If the title is not italicized within the reference, use quotation marks around the title.