Rock Valley College

APA In-text Citations

Cite sources within an APA paper (6th and 7th editions) 

When using paraphrases and quotations in a paper, it is necessary to cite the source with an in-text citation. Correctly formatting in-text citations is important because they give credit to the source and help you avoid accidental plagiarism. In-text citations are brief (usually only the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number if given) since the full citation information is provided on a separate References page.

The following examples demonstrate how to format some of the most common types of in-text citations in APA format: 

Mention the author at the beginning of your sentence and cite the publication year in parentheses after name OR, when there is no mention of the author in your sentence, include author’s name, date, and page number at the end of the sentence in parentheses. 

  • Rogers (2019) argued that the state of the psychological community is undergoing an unprecedented change (p. 77). 
  • Studying psychology is essential because the human condition is uniquely understood through psychological methods (Smith, 2018, p. 89). 

Cite both author’s names. 

  • Robertson and Hudson (2020) asserted “humanity functions as a complex array of evolving motives” (p. 86). 
  • To further define the concept, the study notes that “humanity functions as a complex array of evolving motives” (Robertson and Hudson, 2020, p.86). 

Cite the first author’s last name and replace the other authors’ names with et al., which is Latin for “and others.” 

  • Franck et al. (2017) found “Current agricultural policies in the U.S. are contributing to the poor health of Americans” (p. 327). 
  • The authors claim that one cause of obesity in the United States is government-funded farm subsidies (Franck et al., 2017, p. 327). 

An indirect source is a source that is cited within another source. This situation often occurs when the author of the source you found quotes other people. Because the words belong to the person who said or wrote them, not the author of the text in which they appear, use "as cited in" to indicate the source you actually consulted. 

  • Ravitch noted that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well" (as cited in Weisman & Reynolds, 2016, p. 259). 

    In this example, Weisman and Reynolds are the authors of the article and these writers included a quotation from another person, Ravitch. The indirect source format allows you to give credit to both the speaker of the quotation and the writers of the source that included the quote. 

When a source has no known author, cite a shortened version of the source title in the in-text citation. Remember to italicize long works (websites, books, films) and put short works in quotation marks (songs, articles, poems). Include the publication year as well if available. If no year is given, write n.d. for “no date.”

  • We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change " ("Impact of Global Warming," n.d.). 

When a source has no page numbers listed, cite the section heading and paragraph number to provide a location for readers. 

  • A study by Marris (2019) found that electronic communication is down 20% in immediate families compared to last year (Electronic Trends section, para. 8). 

For an example of an APA style paper, visit the Writing Center’s Resource Library at: 

Download the APA In-text Citations Handout here!