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In-Text Citations

Author-Date System [APA 8.10]

In-text citations in APA follow the Author-Date system, therefore the minimum information required for the in-text citations is the last name of the author followed by the publication year. Even if the reference includes month and year, the in-text citation only requires the year.

This method of citation briefly identifies each source and enables the readers to easily locate it among the entries that are organized in alphabetical order in the reference list.

APA examples

The date in the in-text citation should always match the date in the reference list entry. 

For works with no date, use n.d. in the in-text citaton.

(Brown, n.d.)

Parenthetical and Narrative Citations [APA 8.11]

In-text citations have two formats: parenthetical and narrative.

A parenthetical citation appears at the end ot the sentence that requires the citation. Both the author and the date, separated by a comma appear in parenthesis in this type of citation.

...nuclear proliferation must be taken into account (Daley, 2010).


If the name of the author appears as part of the narrative, incorporated into the text as part of the sentence, you only need to cite the publication year in parenthesis immediately after the name of the author:

Daley (2010) explores the possibility that a government might use nuclear weapons...

Citing Specific Parts of a Source [APA 8.13]

To cite a specific part of a work, include the page number in the parenthetical reference.

Direct quotations always require reference to the exact page number in which the quotation appears, unless the source does not have page numbers (i.e. web documents).


Daley (2010) explores the possibility that a government might justify the of use of nuclear weapons as "a rational policy option" (p. 97).

"The grand bargain of the treaty was that the many nuclear have-nots agreed to forego nuclear weapons, while the few nuclear haves agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons" (Daley, 2010, p. 112).

For religious and classical works with canonically numbered parts common across editions, cite the part and not the page number.

(King James Bible, 1769/2017, 1 Cor. 13:1)

(Aristotle, ca. 350 B.C.E./1994, Part IV)

(Shakespeare, 1623/1995, 1.3.36-37)

Long Quotes [APA 8.27]

If a quotation contains 40 words or more, you will not incorporate into the text enclosed in quotation marks. Long quotes, also known as block quotations, do not require quotation marks.

You will start a block quotation on a new line and indent the whole block 0.5 inches from the left margin. The entire block quotation will be double spaced and you will not add extra space before or after it.

Block quotation with narrative citation

Cite the author and the year as part of the narrative that precedes the block quotation and place only the page number in parenthesis after the final punctuation of the quotation.

Flores et al. (2018) described how they addressed potential researcher bias when working with an intersectional community of transgender people of color:

Everyone on the research team belonged to a stigmatized group but also held privileged identities. Throughout the research process, we attended to the ways in which our privileged and oppressed identities may have influenced the research process, findings, and presentation of results. (p. 311)


Block quotation with parenthetical citation

Cite the author, the year, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation’s final punctuation 

Researchers have studied how people talk to themselves:

Inner speech is a paradoxical phenomenon. It is an experience that is central to many people’s everyday lives, and yet it presents considerable challenges to any effort to study it scientifically. Nevertheless, a wide range of methodologies and approaches have combined to shed light on the subjective experience of inner speech and its cognitive and neural underpinnings. (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015, p. 957) 

Citing Multiple Works [APA 8.12]

If you need to include multiple sources in a single parenthetical citation, place them in alphabetical order, separating them with semicolons. 

(Daley, 2010; Saunders, 2018; West & Finkerman, 2016)


If you have two or more works by the same author(s), you can list the authors' names only once followed by the publication years in chronological order.

(Saunders, 2014, 2015a, 2015b, 2018)

Format of the Author Element [APA 8.17]

Author type
Narrative citation
Parenthetical citation
One author Herzfeld (2009) (Herzfeld, 2009)
Two authors Brett-Major and Coakley (2010) (Brett-Major & Coakley, 2010)
Three or more authors van Lankveld et al. (2016) (van Lankveld et al., 2016)

Groups as authors (with abbreviations)


First citation:

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, 2015)

Subsequent citations:

UNHCR (2015)

First  citation:

(United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], 2015)

Subsequent citations:

(UNHCR, 2015)

Groups as authors (no abbreviations) Council of Foreign Affairs (2016) (Council of Foreign Affairs, 2016)

Works without Author [APA 8.14]

Use double quotation marks to identify the title of an article, a chapter or a web page, even if quotation marks are not used in the Reference list.

Italicize the title of a book, a periodical, or a report.

Capitalize these titles, even though sentence case is used in the reference list entry.



("A Game of Dare," 2010)

... in the Oxford English Dictionary (1989) ...

Secondary Sources [APA 8.6]

You should always try to avoid using secondary sources (sources that include other references you are interested in) and locating the original source instead. When the original work is not available (i.e. out of print), you give the secondary source in the reference list, whereas in the text you name the original source but give a citation for the secondary one.



According to Smith (as cited in Clark, 2009) ....

.. and the concept of vulnerability (Smith, 1994, as cited in Clark, 2009)....


In both cases the work cited in the reference list is Clark, 2009.

Personal Communications [APA 8.9]

When you need to refer to private conversations (interviews, phone calls, e-mails, private letters), you only have to cite them in the text and not in the Reference list.

These type of sources are called personal communications and must be described with the name of the person involved and as precise a date as possible.



Narrative citation: S. Dean (personal communication, January 17, 2012)

Parenthetical citation: (S. Dean, personal communication, January 17, 2012)