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APA (7th ed.), Citation Style: Citing In Text

In-Text Citation Basics

Author/Date Citation Method

APA publications use the author/date in text citation system to briefly identify sources to readers. Most in-text citations referenced in the body of work must appear in the reference list, with a few exceptions. Personal interviews, emails, text messages, online chats or direct messages, telephone conversations, live speeches, unrecorded classroom lectures, memos,etc. are all examples of items that need to be classified as personal communications in the text of the paper.

The author-date method includes the author's surname and the the publication year.  Do not include suffixes such as Jr., Esq., etc.


(Jones, 2009)

The author/date method is also used with direct quotes.  Another component is added in this format:

(Jones, 2009, p.19)

When multiple pages are referenced, use pp.

(Jones, 2009, pp.19-21)


Variations of author/date formats

There are two main variations of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative. The examples are completely fictional.
 (see Ch.8, p. 162).

Parenthetical: Both the author and the date, separated by a comma, appear in the parentheses for a parenthetical citation. If the citation is at the end of the sentence, put the period or other end punctuation after the closing parenthesis.

There was a study completed on the effects of dark chocolate on heart disease (Jones, 2009).

End of a sentence:

The study revealed that participants who ate dark chocolate bars every day did not develop heart disease (Jones, 2009).

         Narrative: The author appears in the running text and the date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name for a narrative citation.

Jones (2019) showed that those who ate dark chocolate every day had a reduced risk of heart disease.



Citing a specific part of source (chapter, tables, figures, or equations)

When citing a particular part of a source, it is important to indicate the page, chapter, figure, table, or equation.  Remember to always give page numbers for direct quotations (see APA, section 8.13). 

Correct abbreviations continue to be used (see APA, sections 6.24- 6.31).

(National Chocolate Lovers Association, 2007, p.17)

(Jones, 2009, Chapter 8)





Paraphrasing is great because it allows you to use your own words and your own voice.  It demonstrates that you truly understand what the author is saying. Word of caution: Avoid changing the author's meaning and/or plagiarizing the author.  Looking up certain words within the thesaurus is not paraphrasing.  It is also important to cite the author while paraphrasing.

Here is an example of paraphrasing:

Original citation:

"With rates of childhood obesity climbing over the last decade, some parents and policy-makers have thought to consider whether the availability of endless soda and junk food in school vending machines might be contributing to the problem—and if banning those foods in schools might help solve it" (Price, 2012).


Price discusses the possibility that the availability of unhealthy, sugary snacks and drinks in school vending machines has contributed to the rising epidemic of obesity in children.  In an effort to eliminate the source of the problem, some of have proposed implementing a ban (2012).

Direct Quotes: the Short and Long

Direct quotations are sometimes necessary to truly convey the author's meaning to the reader.  When directly quoting an author(s),  (a) the quote must be relevant to your argument, (b) it needs to smoothly transition between what comes first and move to what comes later, (c), it must fit logically and make grammatical sense, and (d) it should be no longer than absolutely necessary.

When reproducing an author's word directly, it is extremely important to quote and cite.  Direct quotations with citation prevents plagiarism and gives the author credit for his/her work. The parenthetical cite should always contain the author's surname, the publication year of the work, and the page citation or paragraph number (for nonpaginated material).

Direct quotations can vary in length.  Quotes fewer than 40 words should be incorporated into the text of the paragraph.  Quotes comprised of 40 or more words, need to be formatted in block quotes.  (see APA, section 8.27, pp.272-273)

Short, direct quotes (less than 40 words): Incorporate it into the text and enclose it within double quotation marks.

Author and quote separated

Bell and Shank (2007) identify that "[a]t least one survey identified library instruction as the type of collaboration mentioned most frequently by librarians" (p.67).

Article retrieved online (see APA, section 8.28, pp. 273-274)

Price (2012) notes "[t]he results aren't huge, but apparently these laws have a real—and positive—effect on students' health" (para.4).

Author and quote together

"Design is designed in many ways.  By one definition it is the conscious examination of objects and processes to determine how they can be made better" (Bell & Shank, 2007, p. 23).

Article retrieved online (see APA, section 8.28, pp. 273-274)

"The books, sold in the United States, share a piece of a foreign culture, while profits are put back into the country the story came from" (Anthony, 2012, para. 2).


Long, block quotes (40 words or more):

Formatting rules:

• Indent the block quote 0.5 inches from the left margin
• Do not use quotation marks.
• Double space the quote unless your school has a rule about single spacing block quotes.
• Do not include any additional lines or spaces before or after the block quote.
• Notice that in block quotes, the period goes before the parentheses, not after.


Michelli (2007) uses the coffee chain, Starbucks, as example on how to become extraordinary.  He discusses in detail various principles he discovered during his research on the renowned company.  One of the principles focuses on "making it your own."  He writes,

Like most companies, Starbucks has wrestled with ways to invite its partners to fully engage their passions and talents everyday in every interaction at work.  Simultaneously, the leadership has to ensure that individual partners' differences are blending into a generally uniform experience for customers.  Finding a balance between these two important, yet sometimes divergent, leadership responsibilities can be awkward.  Yet through its principle of Make It Your Own, Starbucks has succeeded in creating a unique model that encourages partners at all levels to pour their creative energy and dedication into everything they do. (p. 20)

This principle does not only apply to businesses; it can be part of anyone's personal beliefs.