In-Text References

APA calls for the author-date style of referencing, which requires the author’s name and the publication date of the source from which your quote or paraphrase is taken to be included in the text of your paper, along with the page number for a direct quote.

The full reference information for sources should be included on a separate References page. The in-text references can be done in three ways:

Both the author’s name and the publication date can immediately follow the quotation or paraphrase, in parentheses (separate the name and date with a comma):

  • One researcher has found that dreams can affect sleeping patterns (Johnson, 1991).

The author’s name can be mentioned in the text and only the publication date (and page number, if needed) included in the parentheses:

  • Freud states that “a dream is the fulfillment of a wish” (1998, p. 100).

Both the date and the authors name can be included in the text, making a parenthetical reference unnecessary (include a page number in parenthesis for a direct quote):

  • In 2003, Jones stated that student involvement was rising.

In some cases, you will need to format the reference a little differently. Here are some of the most common cases:

Two authors with the same last name and same publication date. When you have two or more sources by authors with the same last name, include the first initial of the author in the in-text citation.

  • While some doctors support this theory (J. Johnson, 2001), others do not (M. Johnson, 2001).

Two authors. If your source has two authors, include the last name of each (joined by the symbol “&”) in each in-text reference.

  • Psychologists hold that no two children are alike (Gesell & Ilg, 1996).

Three to five authors. If your source has three to five authors, include the name of each (in a list with the final name preceded by “and”) in the first in-text reference. After that use only the name of the first author, followed by the abbreviation et al.

  • The study found that these theories were indeed correct (Johnson, James, and Peterson, 1993).

Six or more authors. If your source has six or more authors you only need to include name of the first author, followed by the abbreviation et al.

  • Some theories rely on outdated clinical studies (Johnson et al., 1998).

No author (common with online sources). If you cannot find an author for the source, use the title in place of the author’s name.

  • Random testing for use of steroids by athletes is facing strong opposition by owners of several of these teams (“Steroids”, 2000 ).

No date. If there is not date for the source, use the abbreviation n.d. in its place. (If there is also no author, use the title as above and the abbreviation n.d.).

  • One study of students discovered that students succeeded with tutoring (Johnson, n.d.).

Personal communications, emails, and broad ideas from works that you only refer to but do no paraphrase or quote from do NOT need to be included on the reference page, only cited in the text.

Note: An author can be a person or the name of an institution or corporation working collectively to author the piece.

Punctuating In-text References

  • Any punctuation in your sentence must be placed outside of a direct quotation (after the quotation marks).
  • Any punctuation directly following a direct quotation (like a comma or a semi-colon) must be placed after the parenthetical reference.
  • If the parenthetical citation is at the end of a sentence, it must come before the period (or question/exclamation mark).
  • If a paraphrase or direct quotation in a sentence is followed by addition text (your own words), the parenthetical reference must directly follow the paraphrase or quote. (This avoids confusion about which words are from the source and which are your own.)
  • If you omit or add words to a direct quotation, indicate the omission by placing brackets around an ellipses in place of the omitted words ( [ . . .]), and indicate an addition by placing brackets around the added words ( add words [like this]).

Formatting Quotes

  • Place a direct quotation of forty words or less in double quotation marks within your text and follow it with a parenthetical reference that includes the specific page number in the source.
  • Place a direct quotation longer than forty words in free-standing block format without quotation marks (continue double-spacing). Indent each line five spaces and place the parenthetical reference at the end of the block quote, after the final punctuation mark. Do not to indent the following line of text unless you are starting a new paragraph.
  • When you quote something quoted in your source, set off the indirect quotation in single quotation marks within the larger direct quotation from your source.