Skip to main content

APA Guide 7th ed.

In-text Citations (pp. 261+)

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, pp. 261-262)

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, 2020).
or
Example 2: Taylor (2020) discussed how Electronic Health Records can improve patient satisfaction.


Two Authors (APA Manual, p. 266)

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, 2020).
or
Example 2: Smith and Jones (2020) also discovered that nurses that work long hours are more prone to cognitive errors.


Three or More Authors (APA Manual, p. 266)

When a source has three 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., 2020).
or
Example 2: Jackson et al. (2020) discovered that a high nurse to patient ratio can lead to adverse patient outcomes.


No Author / Author Unknown (APA Manual, pp. 264-265)

When a work has no author, include the title and year of publication in the in-text citation. If the title of the work is italicized in the references list, italicize it in the in-text citation.  If the title of the work is not italicized in the reference, use quotation marks around the title in the in-text citation.  Unlike the reference list, the main words of the title should be capitalized.  If the title is long, shorten it. 

Example 1 (Book with no author):  (Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 2016)

Example 2 (Journal article with no author):  ("Intrusive Thoughts, Impulses, and Schizoaffective Disorder," 2019).


Anonymous Author (APA Manual, p. 265)

When a work is listed as "Anonymous", "Anonymous" takes the place of the author in the in-text citation.

Example:  (Anonymous, 2017)

Parenthetical In-Text Examples (pp. 253-278)

In a parenthetical citation, the required information is placed in parentheses (p. 263).

Author First
Parenthetical Citation
Citing a Specific Part - Parenthetical
One author (Smith, 2020) (Smith, 2020, p. 5)
Two authors (Smith & Taylor, 2020) (Smith & Taylor, 2020, pp. 5-10)
Three or more authors (Smith et al., 2020) (Smith et al, 2020, para. 4)
Group Author
(identified abbreviation) 

First in-text citation:
(National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], 2020)

Subsequent in-text Citations:
(NASA, 2020)

(NASA, 2020, p. 15)
Group Author
(no abbreviation) 
(United Way, 2020) (United Way, 2020, pp. 8-9)

Narrative In-Text Examples (pp. 253-278)

In a narrative in-text citation, the author's name appears in a sentence and the date appears in the parentheses immediately after the name of the author (p. 263).

Author First
In-text Citation
Citing a Specific Part -
In-text
One author  Smith (2020) Smith (2020) summarize, paraphrase, or "quote" (p. 5)
Two authors Smith and Taylor (2020) Smith and Taylor (2020) summarize, paraphrase, or "quote" (pp. 5-10)
Three or more authors Smith et al. (2020) Smith et al. (2020) summarize, paraphrase, or "quote" (para. 4)
Group Author
(identified abbreviation) 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, 2019) NASA (2020) summarize, paraphrase, or "quote" (p. 15)
Group Author
(no abbreviation) 
United Way (2019) United Way (2020) summarize, paraphrase, or "quote" (pp. 8-9)