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APA Style Guide - 7th Edition: In-Text Citations

In-Text Citation Basics

An in-text or parenthetical citation must be used any time you:

  • Directly quote from another source
  • Paraphrase from another source
  • Use an idea, theory, or research from another source

In-text citations should appear immediately following what was taken from that source.


  • All references cited in-text should appear on your reference page AND
  • All items on your reference page should be cited in the text

Two exceptions to this rule (only cited within the text):

  • Classical works (such as the Bible or Qur'an that have sections standardized)
  • Personal communication

The in-text citation should include:

  • Author's last name
  • Year of publication
  • Page number or paragraph number

When citing broad ideas from a work, you do not need to include a specific page or paragraph number.


When to Cite Sources

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Examples of In-Text Citations


In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date appear in parentheses. A parenthetical citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.

Example of Paraphrased/Summarized Quotation Cited in the Text

Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public’s perception of expert consensus on an issue (Koehler, 2016).

Example of Direct Quotation Cited in the Text

Effective teams can be difficult to describe because “high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another” (Ervin et al., 2018, p. 470).


In narrative citations, the author name is incorporated into the text as part of the sentence and the year follows in parentheses. The author’s surname appears in running text, and the date appears in parentheses immediately after the author’s name for a narrative citation. The author’s name can be included in the sentence in any place it makes sense.

Example of Paraphrased/Summarized Quotation Cited in the Text

Koehler (2016) noted the dangers of falsely balanced news coverage.

Example of Direct Quotation Cited in the Text

Ervin et al. (2018) noted effective teams can be difficult to describe because “high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another” (p. 470).

In-Text Citations - APA Style

APA Style provides guidelines to help writers determine the appropriate level of citation and how to avoid plagiarism and self-plagiarism.

In-Text Citation examples from APA Style

Authors in In-Text Citations

The format of the author element of the in-text citation changes depending on the number of authors and is abbreviated in some cases. 

More than One Author

When there are two authors of a work, both authors should be listed in all references.


Why In-Text Citations?

Information that you quote word-for-word, paraphrase, or summarize must be cited in your text and the source must be included on your references page.

In-text citations allow your readers to identify what pieces of information came from which source listed on your reference page. This is helpful if your reader is interested in further researching a point you made or learning more about your topic.

If you have questions on whether something should be cited or not, please ask your instructor.