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APA Style Guide: APA In-text/Parenthetical Citations

APA Citation and Formatting Style

General Notes about APA In-Text Citations

  • While page numbers are not required for paraphrases, the APA manual recommends the use of page numbers for summaries or when the page number is needed to locate the information in a longer work. Check with your instructor about their expectations for the use of page numbers for paraphrases.
  • When including an in‐text citation, always place the period after the parentheses, i.e. The cat jumped over the mouse (O’Hara, 2020, p. 1).
  • In each citation list the authors’ names in the order they appear, not in alphabetical order.

Examples: Different Numbers of Authors

Single author

  • (Echterling, 2017, p. 5)

Two authors

  • (Wood & Palmer, 2018, p. 2)

Three or more authors:

List only the first author’s name followed by et al., which is Latin for ‘and others’

  • (Richardson et al., 2019, p. 3)

Examples: Missing or Conflicting Information

Nearly identical authors

If you cite multiple sources with nearly identical author names, you will need to add additional author names to avoid confusion:

  • (O’Hara, Zacarola, Hanlon, et al., 2020, p. 3)
  • (O’Hara, Zacarola, West, et al., 2020, p. 1)

Source with no author

If there is no author provided, list the first two words in the source’s title in quotation marks:

  • (“Brain development,” 2017, para. 2)

Source with no author and no date

If there is no date provided in the source, use the abbreviation n.d. (short for ‘no date’)

  • (“Tummy time,” n.d., para. 3).

Two or more sources with the same author and year

Add lower-case letters (a, b, c) next to the years in your reference list entries and use the same letters in your corresponding in-text citations.

Research by McCoy (2020a) demonstrated a correlation between social support and wellness. Additional research showed education was also a significant protective factor (McCoy, 2020b).

Organization/Agency/Corporate author with a recognizable name abbreviation

First time you cite the source, provide the organization’s name followed by brackets containing the organization’s abbreviation:

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020, para. 3)

Subsequent times you cite the source, use the abbreviation you listed in your first in‐text citation

  • (CDC, 2020, para. 3)

Corporate/organization author without a recognizable abbreviation

Provide the full name of the organization in all in‐text citations:

  • (Clinton County Department of Social Services, 2019, para. 2)

Indirect Sources and Multiple Sources

Indirect sources

If you want to cite a source mentioned in another source, this is called citing an indirect source. The APA manual suggests using indirect sources only when you cannot locate the original source. However, if you cite an indirect source, you must provide both the original source (the source that first contained the idea) and the secondary source (the source in which you actually read the information). To do this, start your sentence with a signal phrase that notes the original source’s author & year and then end your sentence with an in‐text citation for the secondary source.

Rutter, Kim‐Cohen, and Maughan (2006) reported that untreated adolescent mental health problems tend to persist into adulthood (as cited in Hunt & Eisenberg, 2010, p. 5).

Citing multiple sources in the same parentheses

Separate the works with a semi-colon within the parentheses.

  • (Lang, n.d., para. 3; O’Hara, 2020, p. 1).

APA In-text/Parenthetical Citation Guides