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APA Guide 6th ed.

In-text Citations

What are In-text Citations?

If you quote, paraphrase or summarize a source in your paper, it needs to be cited in the text. An in-text citation contains just enough information to help the reader find the source in the references list. A typical in-text citation will include author(s) and the year the source was published.  Include page numbers if citing a specific part of the source.  Place the citation as close as possible to the information you are citing.


Typical In-text Citation with One Author (APA Manual, p. 174)

Place the author's last name and the year, separated by a comma, in parenthesis. If the in-text citation lands at the end of a sentence, place the period outside the parenthesis. 

Example 1: Electronic Health Records can improve patient satisfaction (Taylor, 2018).
or
Example 2: Taylor (2018) discussed how Electronic Health Records can improve patient satisfaction.


Two Authors (APA Manual, p. 175)

When a source has two authors, cite both names every time the reference occurs.  Use an ampersand (&) between the names in the parenthesis.  Use "and" when referring to the authors in the text of your paper.  Be sure to include both names every time you cite the source. 

Example 1: Nurses that work long hours are more prone to cognitive errors (Smith & Jones, 2018).
or
Example 2: Smith and Jones (2018) also discovered that nurses that work long hours are more prone to cognitive errors.


Three to Five Authors (APA Manual, p. 175)

When a source has three, four, or five authors, cite all authors the first time the reference occurs; in subsequent citations, include only the last name of the first author followed by "et al." and the year if it is the first citation of the reference within a paragraph.  For the second and any subsequent citations, list the first author followed by et al. (Latin for "and others").

Example 1st time source is referenced: A heavy workload can lead to nurse burnout and decreased patient satisfaction (Adams, Smith, & Jones, 2018).

Example for subsequent citations: Adams et al. (2018) discovered that in an acute care setting, a high nurse to patient ratio can lead to nurse burnout and an increased risk of patient infection.
OR
In an acute care setting, a high nurse to patient ratio can lead to nurse burnout and an increased risk of patient infection (Adams et al., 2018).


Six or More Authors (APA Manual, p. 175)

When a source has six or more authors, cite only the first author's last name, followed by et al.

Example 1:  A high nurse to patient ratio can lead to adverse patient outcomes (Jackson et al., 2019).
or
Example 2: Jackson et al. (2019) discovered that a high nurse to patient ratio can lead to adverse patient outcomes.


No Author / Anonymous Author (APA Manual, p. 176)

When a work has no author, cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year.  Follow the same format as the references list (titles that are italicized in the reference list are italicized in text; titles that are not italicized in the reference list appear in quotation marks.)  Unlike the reference page, the main words of the title should be capitalized. If there is no date, use “n.d.” (without quotation marks) instead.

Example of a book with no author given:  (Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 2016)

Example of a journal article with no author given:  ("Intrusive Thoughts, Impulses, and Schizoaffective Disorder," 2019).