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APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations

Video Resources

Video Resources

Watch this video series from York University for helpful tips about citation:

Video one: What is Citation? 

Video two: Decoding Citation Style

Video three: Purposes of Citation

Video four: Integral Citation

Video five: Advanced Strategies to Citation

Video six: Advanced Strategies to Citation 2

Video seven: Working With Multiple Sources

The following videos offer different in-text citation techniques in APA 7th edition:

Video eight: APA in Minutes - In-text Citations

Video nine: APA 7 - In-text Citations

Video 10: APA 7 - In-text Citations (2+ Authors)

Video 11: APA 7 - In-text Citations, Starting With Content or Author


American Psychological Association. (2019). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association.

APA Style Blog.

Batista, F. C. A. (2020). Can sociodramatic play enhance second language development? TESL Ontario Contact Magazine, 46(1), 44-51.

Ontario Tech University Library. APA Citation Style Guide.

Purdue OWL. APA Sample Paper.

APA 7th Edition: In-Text Citations

All APA-style papers include in-text citations as well as a reference list at the end of the paper with entries that correspond to the in-text citations. Information regarding in-text citations can be found in the APA Publication Manual in section 8.

In academic writing, whenever you are presenting an idea that belongs to someone else, you need to insert an in-text citation to acknowledge the author of the idea as well as the year in which the idea was made public. The only exception is when you discuss common knowledge.  An example of common knowledge is that Friday comes before Saturday or that Confederation in Canada occurred in 1867. However, if you are unsure if something is common knowledge or not, it is better to provide a citation to avoid the possibility of plagiarism.

Tip: This page provides an overview of APA style. For most first or second year assignments, this is all you will need. For upper year and graduate level work, use more detailed information,such as the complete APA style guide, available in the Ontario Tech University Library. You may also use the APA 7th Edition Quick Reference.

How do I place citations in my essay or report?

In APA style, in-text citations can appear in one of two ways: (a) in a signal sentence or narrative citation, or (b) in parentheses or a parenthetical citation.

Narrative In-Text Citations (section 8.11)

You can use narrative citations, in which the author, followed by the date, is part of your sentence structure. Here are two examples of narrative citation:

  • From their results, Biederman, Mick, and Faraone (1998) found that ADHD remission is not significantly linked to the remission in their comorbid major depression.
  • In 1988, Holden-Lund aimed to assess how Relaxation with Guided Imagery (RGI) would impact a patient’s stress response and physical healing.

Parenthetical In-Text Citations (section 8.11)

You can also use parenthetical citations, in which the author only appears in parentheses together with the date right after the idea presented. Here is an example of a parenthetical citation:

  • Cybercrime has become increasingly evolved through the use of advanced techniques that require specialized solutions, and they have been explored in various articles to analyze the behavioural patterns behind these crimes (Gritzalis & Tejay, 2020).

In-Text Citations for Direct Quotes (section 8.25 to 2.36)

Sometimes you may feel it is important to quote an author because the words they have used to present their ideas are very important to convey the information. In this case, you are unable to say their ideas any other way. It is important to use quotes sparingly because your text should be original, that is, it is written in your own words as much as possible.

When you use quotations, you should include the author’s name, the date of the publication, and the page number where the idea was originally written. When there are no page numbers, for example, in a passage extracted from a website, you should insert the paragraph number (para. #). Other ways to directly cite a quote would be by referencing the section heading or name. For more examples, see the APA Publication Manual at section 2.28.

Quotes that have up to 39 words are considered short and should be written within quotation marks and inside your sentence/paragraph structure.

Here is an example of a short quote:

  • Batista (2020) claims that “role-play, being one particular type of play, can work as a facilitator to second language acquisition by providing opportunity for significant language use and allowing for flow” (p. 46).

On the other hand, quotes that are 40 words or more are considered long and are called block quotations, coming in a new line, indented. No quotation marks are used, and the whole citation (if parenthetical) or the publication date should come at the end, after the final punctuation mark.

Here is an example of a block quotation with a narrative citationThe importance of sociodramatic play in second language development has been highlighted by Batista (2020): The importance of sociodramatic play is not limited to the development of the child. In second language teaching and learning, this type of play is also relevant regardless of the student’s age because it is an opportunity to promote interactive and cooperative learning as well as the understanding of norms of other cultures, provide practice for real-life experiences, and encourage the participation of shy learners in class, boosting their self-esteem and improving their communicative competence. (p. 49)

Here is an example of a block quotation with parenthetical citation:

The importance of sociodramatic play in second language development has been highlighted in research: The importance of sociodramatic play is not limited to the development of the child. In second language teaching and learning, this type of play is also relevant regardless of the student’s age because it is an opportunity to promote interactive and cooperative learning as well as the understanding of norms of other cultures, provide practice for real-life experiences, and encourage the participation of shy learners in class, boosting their self-esteem and improving their communicative competence. (Batista, 2020, p. 49)

How to Format In-Text Citations

One author (Table 8.1)

The surname of the author always precedes the date of publication.

  1. Loverock (2009) addressed ...
  2. The study addressed ... (Loverock, 2009).

Multiple authors (Table 8.1)

For two authors, give the surname of each author in the order in which it appears in the publication. In a narrative citation, separate the authors’ names using the word “and”; in parenthetical citations, separate the authors’ names using the ampersand (&).

  1. Arrigo and Griffin (2004) suggested that . . .
  2. The research presented suggested that . . . (Arrigo & Griffin, 2004).

For three or more authors, give the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”.

  1. Martin and colleagues (2020) found that . . .
  2. The study resulted in . . .  (Martin et al., 2020).

Groups/Organizations as authors (Table 8.1)

Groups or organizations such as corporations, associations and government agencies, can also author a work. The names of such groups or organization are usually spelled out in the first citation; in subsequent references, the abbreviated form of the name is used. If the group is not very well known or the abbreviated name could be easily confused, spell out the name each time you use it.

Tip: In the list of references, the names are always spelled out.

Other than deciding whether to write the name out at all times or not, there are not any differences between formatting the citation for a work with one author or multiple authors. The organization/group is the author, so the name of the group occupies the authors’ position.

  1. In the report, Perspectives on Canadian Drug Policy, the John Howard Society of Canada (2003) suggested that . . .
  2. The research suggested . . . (The John Howard Society of Canada, 2003)

When using the abbreviated name of the group, ensure that you define the abbreviation only once in the text either within the text or a parenthetical citation. Once you have given the abbreviation for the group, you can abbreviate all uses of the group’s name when provided in the text.

  1. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2020) found that . . .
  2. Research has shown that . . . (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020).

Subsequent citations will use either NIMH in either narrative or parenthetical citations.

No author or anonymous author (section 8.14)

When there is no author, the title of the article or book replaces the author’s name, and the date comes after the title. Follow the guidelines for titles.

  1.  . . . (Seeing Sheep Sleep, 2009.)
  2. In Seeing Sheep Sleep (2009) . . .

When the author is stated as anonymous, “Anonymous” is placed in of the author’s name.

  1. The article by Anonymous (2021) states . . .
  2. It was found . . . (Anonymous, 2021).

Different authors with the same name (section 8.20)

If you are using two sources that have different authors with the same last name, use the initials of the first and middle (if applicable) names to differentiate between the authors, regardless of whether the sources have different publication years.

  1. J. A. Smith (2000) and S. D. Smith (2001) have both argued that ....
  2. Writing at different times and in different places, some scientists have come up with similar theories (J. A. Smith, 2000; S. D. Smith, 2001).

Citing two or more sources at the same time (section 8.12)

If you want to cite more than one source at one time, follow these guidelines:

  1. List the sources alphabetically by author’s last name.
  2. Separate each reference with a semi-colon
    1. (Adams, 2000; Smith 2001; Tent 2004).
    2. (Smith & Jones, 2002; Smith & Reading, 2004).

Multiple sources with the same author

If you are referencing more than one work written by the same author or authors with the same name, do not repeat their names; differentiate using the date.

  1. (Smith, 2000, 2001).

Multiple sources with the same author and same date (section 8.19)

If the author has more work from the same year, differentiate by placing the lowercase letters a, b, c, etc. after the year of publication.

  1. (Smith, 1999a, 1999b, 2000, 2001a, 2001b).

If you are citing multiple sources with the same author and no date, indicate using a dash before the lowercase letter.

  1. (Smith, n.d.-a, n.d.-b).

Citing specific parts of sources (section 8.13)

If you want to cite a specific part of a source, there are numerous ways of doing it. For example, you can cite pages, paragraphs, sections, charts, tables, or figures of a piece of work. You can also reference chapters, forwards, or sections of books specifically.

Depending on what specific part of a source you want to cite, you can source it directly. See some examples below for reference:

  1. (Robert Pool, 1997, p. 9)
  2. (Scott, 2021, Chapter 4)
  3. (Baglay, 2022, Slide 14)
  4. (Thompson, 2019, Figure 2)

Note: This information is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2020. It is your responsibility to check with your professor regarding exact expectations for citations and referencing. Some professors may prefer other editions of the APA style guide.

Check out the APA Style Blog for additional guidance when completing in-text citations: