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Ready, Set, Cite (APA, 7th)

Become an expert using the 7th edition of the APA manual

In-Text Citations

APA In-text citations

Basic Principles of In-Text Citations: (Chapter 8)


APA Style uses the author–date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation directs your reader to a full reference list entry. The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. This method enables your reader to locate the corresponding entry in the alphabetical reference list at the end of your paper.

Each work you cite must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) except with the exceptions noted in section 8.4 of the APA style manual and on the Reference List page earlier.


Citing References In Text

What Do You Cite Within Your Text: (See APA Section 8.2)

Cite all outside sources whose ideas, theories, or research support the ideas, claims, and concepts in your research paper.

Specifically, you cite sources whenever you:

  • Directly quote the words of other
  • Paraphrase or summarize the ideas of others 
  • Refer to data or data sets
  • Reprint or adapt a table or figure, including images from the internet that are free or licensed in the Creative Commons
  • Reprint a long text passage or commercially copyrighted test item

Exceptions: (See APA section 8.4)

Some materials are cited only in the text and are NOT included in the reference list. These are:

  • Personal Communications (8.9)
  • General mentions of whole websites or periodicals (8.22) and common software and apps (10.10)
  • The source of an epigraph (8.35)
  • Quotations from your research participants (8.36)
  • References included in a statistical meta-analysis, which are marked with an asterisk in the reference list, may be cited in the text (or not) at the author’s discretion. (9.52)

In-Text Citations Format

Parenthetical and Narrative Citations: (See APA Section 8.11)

In APA style you use the author-date citation system for citing references within your paper. You incorporate these references using either a parenthetical or a narrative style.

Parenthetical Citations

  • In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date appear in parentheses, separated by a comma. (Jones, 2018)
  • A parenthetical citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.
  • When the parenthetical citation is at the end of the sentence, put the period or other end punctuation after the closing parenthesis.
  • If there is no author, use the first few words of the reference list entry, usually the "Title" of the source: ("Autism," 2008) See APA 8.14
  • When quoting, always provide the author, year, and specific page citation or paragraph number for nonpaginated materials in the text (Santa Barbara, 2010, p. 243). See APA 8.13
  • For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation: Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty, 2012).

Narrative Citations 

In narrative citations, the author name or title of your source appears within your text and the publication date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name. 

  • Santa Barbara (2010) noted a decline in the approval of disciplinary spanking of 26 percentage points from 1968 to 1994.

In-Text Citation Checklist

In-Text Citations for Specific Source Types

The APA Style website provides more explanation and examples of specific types of sources you may use in your paper:


Quotations from Research Participants

Personal Communications

Secondary Sources 

Classroom or Intranet Sources