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APA in-text citations

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In-text citations are a brief version of citations that are used to provide information about the sources being referred to by the author. They are used in the text to indicate to the reader that complete information of the citations referred to is available in the reference list, which will enable the reader to locate or access the sources being cited. To provide in-text citations, you must have the following two important elements:

Name of the author or organization

Publication year

Types of in-text citations

APA citation follows the author–date system. Two types of in-text citations are used in APA style. However, it is not necessary to follow the same type of citation throughout the paper. You must choose the appropriate type depending upon how you construct your sentence. There are two types of in-text citations:

Narrative citations

Parenthetical citations

Narrative citation

This type of citation is used when the name of the author or the organization and the year of publication are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. See the below examples:

With the author

Sivasankar (2007) argues that education for women is important to develop a nation.

Organization functioning as the author

IPIECA (2007) released the oil and natural gas industry guidelines.

Notice that only the publication year is enclosed in parenthesis for narrative citations.

Parenthetical citation

Parenthetical citations are used when both the name of the author or the organization and the year of publication appear inside parenthesis. In parenthetical citations, a comma separates the author from the publication year.

With the author

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (Sivasankar, 2007).

Organization functioning as the author

It was concluded to release the oil and natural gas industry guidelines (IPIECA, 2007).

If you want to add any additional information in a parenthetical citation, provide the information after the year with a comma as a separator. Phrases or words such as “for more information, see,” “see,” and “e.g.,” can also be used in parenthetical citations. These are illustrated in the below examples:

With author

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (Sivasankar, 2007, p. 7).

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (see Sivasankar, 2007, p. 7).

However, when a citation appears along with some text in parenthesis, use a semicolon as a separator.

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (e.g., the significance of Indian women; Sivasankar, 2007, p. 7).

Examples of in-text citations:

One author

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year)

Examples:

Narrative: Hannula (2006)

Parenthetical: (Hannula, 2006)

Two authors

The surnames of the first author and the second author are separated by “and” in narrative citations. However, use an ampersand symbol in parenthetical citations.

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname1 and Author Surname2 (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname1 & Author Surname2, Publication Year)

Examples:

Narrative: Kleanthous and Williams (2013)

Parenthetical: (Kleanthous & Williams, 2013)

Three or more authors

If the number of authors is three or more, use the first author’s surname followed by “et al.” in both narrative and parenthetical citations.

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname1 et al. (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname et al., Publication Year)

Examples:

Narrative: Towers et al. (2018)

Parenthetical: (Towers et al., 2018)

Group author

If the reference has a group author, use it in place of the author’s name. The group author can be abbreviated. Note that there is a difference in using the abbreviation between a narrative and a parenthetical citation.

If the first occurrence appears in a narrative citation, include the abbreviation along with the year in parenthesis. If the first occurrence appears in a parenthetical citation, you need to include the abbreviation inside square brackets, as the citation is already inside parenthesis.

Templates:

Narrative: Group author (Abbreviation, Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Group author [Abbreviation], Publication Year)

Examples:

Narrative: American Psychological Association (APA, 2008)

Parenthetical: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2018)

No author/Anonymous author

If a reference does not have an author, add the title of the work in in-text citations in place of the author’s name. In general, citations for no author reference appear parenthetical. You need to write the title according to how it is listed in the reference list entry. If the title in the reference list entry is italicized, you need to italicize the title in the in-text citation too. If formatting is not used in the list, use double quotes around the title and capitalize significant words.

Template:

Parenthetical: (“Title of the Work,” Publication Year)

Example:

Parenthetical: (“The Surrogate Mother,” 2018)

If the author of a work is openly mentioned as “Anonymous,” use “Anonymous” as the author.

Example:

Parenthetical: (Anonymous, 2004)

Other citations

Multiple citations in one sentence

If multiple in-text citations appear together, arrange them in alphabetical order in parenthetical citations. Use semicolons to separate citations.

(Anand, 2017; Burner & Amit, 2012; Pitchard, 2004)

If multiple references by the same author group are cited, arrange them chronologically with a comma separator. Note that the chronological citation for the same author group takes the order mentioned in the below example, i.e., n.d., 2006, in press. Here, “n.d.” stands for “no date.”

(Albert, 2012, 2014a, 2014b; Ben & Bell, 2012, in press; Pitchard, n.d., 2004)

Note that the alphabetical arrangement of in-text citations should not be done in narrative citations.

Same surname, same publication year, different initials

If two or more entries in the reference list have the same surname and publication year, but different initials, add initials to the in-text citations to distinguish each author. This will help the reader locate the correct source of the citation. A few examples for your understanding are given below. The letters “F” and “M’ denote the authors’ initials.

Templates:

Narrative: F. Author Surname (Publication Year)

Narrative: M. Author Surname (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (F. Author Surname, Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (M. Author Surname, Publication Year)

Examples:

Narrative: T. Lange (2016)

Narrative: K. Lange (2016)

Parenthetical: (T. Lange, 2016)

Parenthetical: (K. Lange, 2016)

Same surname, same initials, same publication year

If two or more entries in the reference list have the same surname and initials and same publication year, add a lowercase letter after the year to distinguish the citations. This will help the reader locate the correct source of a citation. A few examples for your understanding are given below.

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year followed by a suffix)

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year followed by a different suffix)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year followed by a suffix)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year followed by a different suffix)

Examples:

Narrative: Sullivan (2014a)

Narrative: Sullivan (2014b)

Parenthetical: (Sullivan, 2014a)

Parenthetical: (Sullivan, 2014b)

Translated work

Translated titles contain two publication years (original work publication year and the translated work publication year). Include both years in in-text citations with the original work’s publication year first and the translated work’s publication year next. Separate them with a slash.

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year of the original work/Publication Year of the translated work)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year of the original work/Publication Year of the translated work)

Examples:

Narrative: Herman (1997/2007)

Parenthetical: (Herman, 1997/2007)

Personal communication

Works such as personal interviews, emails, chats, text messages, and conversations on the telephone do not have any source. Such works are cited under personal communication. As the information cannot be retrieved, there will not be a citation for such references in the reference list. When citing personal communication, use initials as well. Try to give the exact date when citing personal communication.

Templates:

Narrative: Communicator’s name (personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Parenthetical: (Communicator’s name, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Examples:

Narrative: K. Sethusankar (personal communication, December 2, 1996)

Parenthetical: (K. Sethusankar, personal communication, December 2, 1996)


For additional information on APA format, select from one of the source types below. For help creating APA citations, check out the BibMe APA citation generator.

Source Types:

APA Format:

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