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Citation Resources: APA In-text Citations

Basics of In-text Citations

When quoting an entire source, only the author and year of publication are required. However, when using a direct quote from a source, the author, year and page number(s) are required for the citation. In both citations the author name may be included in the text or in the parenthetical reference. For sources such as websites and e-books that have no page numbers, use a paragraph number, part, or section. More information on citing sources without pagination is given on the APA Style web page.

  • When mentioning the author in the text of your sentence, provide the author's last name immediately followed by the year of the publication in parentheses. Example: Kessler (2019) found that...

  • When not mentioning the author in the text of your sentence, provide the author and the year at the end of the sentence in parentheses.  Example: Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course (Kessler, 2019).

  • When quoting or paraphrasing a specific detail, include the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Example: "...memory" (Kessler, 2019, p. 127)   or   Kessler(2019) states "...scientific proof" (pp. 129-130).

APA Publication Manual pp. 261-269, Section 8.10-8.22

In-Text Citations

Basic principles of citation are covered in Sections 8.10–8.36 of the APA Publication Manual, 7th Edition

Basic APA In-Text Citation Styles

APA Publication Manual, pp. 266, Table 8.1

Multiple Authors

Two Authors:

When a work has two authors, both names should be cited every time the reference occurs in the text.


Tyler and Simpson (2008) investigated...

(Tyler and Simpson, 2008)

Three or More Authors:

When you cite a work with three or more authors, include the name of only the first author plus 'et. al.'  


Woodbank et al. (2010) found...

(Woodbank et al., 2010)

APA Publication Manual pp. 266, Section 8.17

Multiple Works in a Single Parenthetical Reference

If you cite multiple works by different authors in one parenthetical reference, cite each work in parentheses as you normally would, place in alpahabetical order and use semicolons to separate the citations.

Example: Several studies (Miller, 2005; Shafranske & Mahoney, 2010)...

Two or more works by the same author should be arranged by year. Place citations with no date first. 

Example: Past research (Gogel, n.d., 1990, 2006)...

Works written by the same author(s) and published in the same year should include a suffix, a, b, c, etc., added after the year.

Example: Several studies (Derryberry & Reed, 2005a, 2005b; Rothbart et al, 2003a, 2003b)...

APA Publication Manual pp. 263-264, Section 8.12

Multiple Authors with the Same Last Name

When citing sources by different authors who have the same last name, include the author's first initials in all in-text citations. 

Example: Among studies we review M. A. Light (2008) and I. Light (2006).

APA Publication Manual p. 267, Section 8.20

Web Pages

For general mention of a website with no particular information or connection to a specific page from the website, a reference list entry or in-text citation is not needed. Provide the name of the website in the text with the URL in parentheses. 

Cite web pages in text as you would any other source, using the author and date if known. If the author is not known, use the title and the date as the in-text citation (for long titles just use the first few words). Your in-text citation should lead your reader to the corresponding entry in the reference list. For sources with no date use n.d. (for no date) in place of the year: (Hanson, n.d.). 


Web page with author:

Role-play can help children learn techniques for coping with bullying (Kraiser, 2011).

Web page with no author:

Voting rights were limited until the year 1927 ("Voting," 2017).

Web page with no date:

Establishing regular routines, such as exercise, can help survivors of disasters recover from trauma (American Psychological Association [APA], n.d.).

Parenthetical Documentation

When using parenthetical documentation for in-text citations, remember that sources cited in the text must point to specific sources on the References page.

Guidelines for In-Text Citations

  • Ensure that the spelling of author names and the publication dates in reference list entries match those in the corresponding in-text citations.
  • Cite only works that you have read and ideas that you have incorporated into your writing. The works you cite may provide key background information, support or dispute your thesis, or offer critical definitions and data.
  • Readers may find a long string of citations difficult to understand, especially if they are using assistive technology such as a screen reader; therefore, include only those citations needed to support your immediate point.
  • Cite primary sources when possible, and cite secondary sources sparingly.
    • Citing a source that you found in another source is known as using a secondary source.
    • When citing a secondary source, your in-text citation should include both authors: the author(s) of the original source and the author(s) of the secondary source. For example: (Habermehl, 1985, as cited in Kersten, 1987).
    • In your reference list you should provide the details of the secondary source (the source you read). In this example: the details of Kersten 1987.

  • Even when sources cannot be retrieved (e.g., because they are personal communications), still credit them in the text (however, avoid using online sources that are no longer recoverable).
  • Cite sources to document all facts and figures that you mention that are not common knowledge.
  • To cite a specific part of a source, provide an author–date citation for the work plus information about the specific part.

Twitter or Facebook Feed

When citing a Twitter or Facebook feed as a whole or to discuss it in general, you want to include the author or group name with n.d. for the date. A corresponding citation on the Reference list* will include a retrieval date as the contents of the pages can change over time.


Parenthetical citation: APA Style (n.d.)

Narrative citation: APA Style (n.d.)

When citing specific Twitter posts and Facebook updates, citations should be included on the References list*. Corresponding in-text citations should follow the (Author, Year) example. 

Example: President Obama announced the launch of the American Graduation Initiative (Obama, 2009a). He also stated that he was “humbled” to have received the Nobel Peace Prize (Obama, 2009b).

*See Reference Examples for how to cite a Twitter post or Facebook update.

APA Manual pp. 349-350, Section 10.15