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APA Citation Style : In-text citation

APA Citation Format (Commonly used for psychology and other social science papers)

Basic Rules for In-text Citation

  • APA in-text documentation: How to Cite a Work within the Text of Your Paper (Parenthetical Citations)
  • All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the Reference List at the end of the paper.
  • Use author-date format; for example: Smith (2000), and a complete citation should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper. For more information please refer to p. 169-179 of the Publication Manual.
  • Use past tense or present perfect tense when using signal phrases to describe earlier research. For example Smith (2000) stated or Smith (2000) has stated....
  • When citing an idea NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. 
  • For quotations, include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference. 
  • Title case capitalization:
    • Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading;
    • Capitalize all “major” words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns) in the title/heading, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report); and
    • Capitalize all words of four letters or more.
  • For more information please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (REF/BF76.7.P83 at Ready Reference shelf.)

In-text Citation for a work with an author or authors

1. Citing a work by one author

a. Format for citing author's name within the text: 
Author's last name (publication year) .....(page number).
Smith (2000) found the following in his study..... (p. 88).

b. Format for citing author's name in the parentheses (at the end of the citation):
(Author's last name, publication year, page number)
The conclusion of the study showed that ........(Smith, 2000, p.88)

2. Citing a work by two authors: list both authors and use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text, but use the ampersand (&) in the parentheses each time you cite the work.

a. Example for citing two authors within the text:
Smith and Brown (2010) noted.........(p. 102).

b. Example for citing two authors in the parentheses:
(Smith & Brown, 2010, p. 102).

3. Citing a work by three to five authors:
The first time you cite the work, list all the authors and use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text, but use the ampersand (&) in the parentheses each time you cite the work.

a.  Example for citing three to five authors the first time within the text:
 Park, Donne, Jacobson, and Cole (2013) concluded ....

b.  Example for citing three to five authors the first time in the parentheses:
(Park, Donne, Jacobson, & Cole, 2013)

In subsequent citations for the same work, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the text as well as in parentheses. 

a. Example for citing three to five authors the second and more times within the text:
Park et al. (2013) argued that...

b. Example for citing three to five authors the second and more times in the parentheses 
  (Park et al., 2013)

4. Citing a work by six or more authors: use the first author's name followed by et al. in the text or in parentheses.

5. Citing a work by unknown author

a. Cite the title within the text

b. Use the first word or two in the parentheses

c. When the author's name is Anonymous, cite it as the author's name and do the same in the Reference List.

Note: Please refer to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab for more information.

In-text citation examples for Personal Communications that are not recoverable or archived


First initial. Second initial. Last name (personal communication, date)


J. A. Smith (personal communication, May 29, 2015)

(B. S. Brown, personal communication, February 8, 2016)

Recoverable or archived personal communications should be referenced as archival materials (see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association -- 7.10)

Paraphrasing and Quoting