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APA Referencing Style: In-Text Citation

APA Referencing Style

This guide provides some examples on how to document sources in APA citation style. It is based on the 6th edition of the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and also other references as listed under Acknowledgement.

To view how sources are cited in APA style, you may click on the tabs to know more.

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  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  2. American Psychological Association. (2014). APA style blog [Blog]. Retrieved from
  3. Perrin, R. (2012). Pocket guide to APA style (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

In-text Citations: When to Reference?

Include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Place direct quotations longer than 40 words in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented half inch from the left margin. Type the entire quotation on the new margin. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Jones's (1998) study found the following:

Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)

According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.


APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Example of In-text Citation

Use author’s surname and publication year.

This theory was first propounded in the United States (David, 2007).


David (2007) was the first to propound the theory.

Use ampersand “&” to join names; or if the reference is part of sentence, use “and”.

This case was shown in sustainable operations (Pfister & Tierney, 2009).


Pfister and Tierney (2009) showed that…

List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source. In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses.

This theory was later proven (Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993).


Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, and Harlow (1993) proved..

Subsequent Citations

(Kernis et al., 1993)


Kernis et al. (1993) has shown ……

Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses.

Harris et al. (2001) argued...


(Harris et al., 2001)

(Add a, b, c … with the order of the listing based on the letter-by-letter alphabetical order of the title)

(Porter, 2001a)

(Porter, 2001b)


Porter (2001a) states…..

According to Porter (2001b)

Mention the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source.

If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.

According to the American Psychological Association (2000), …


First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)

Second citation: (MADD, 2000)

Cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title of an article, a chapter, or a web page and italicize the title of a periodical, a book, a brochure, or a report :

on free care ("Study Finds," 2007)


the book College Bound Seniors (2008)

When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list, separated by a semi-colon.

(Berndt, 2002; Harlow, 1983)

If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.

Johnson argued that … (as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).

For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).


A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2002).

  Document No. WL/026 

Issue 4 

  14 November 2019