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APA Citation & Style Guide

Guidance for citing sources in APA style.

Examples - In-Text Citations

APA (American Psychological Association) Style uses the author-date method for in-text citations. This means that when you cite a source, you should always provide both the author's last name and the publication year for the source. If you're quoting from a source, then you also provide the page number(s) of the section you're quoting.

There are two ways you'll use other people's words in your work.

  • Quotations: using the author's exact words
  • Paraphrases & Summaries: using the author's ideas in your own words

Here are the rules for providing in-text citations in both of these situations.

QUOTATIONS

Rule: Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses. Put the page number (preceded by "p.") in parentheses at the end of the quotation.

Example:

As Davis (1978) reported, "If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists" (p. 26).

Rule: When the author's name does not appear in the signal phrase, place the author's name, the date, and the page number in parentheses at the end of the quotation. Use commas between items in the parentheses.

Example:

"If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for animal behaviorists" (Davis, 1978, p. 26).

Rule: When the quotation is more than 40 words in text, do not use quotation marks, but indent the quote into its own block of text.

Example:

Students having a hard time finding databases isn't a new phenomenon. At the University of Washington, they have problems too.

With the addition of so many new databases to the campus online system, many students were having difficulty locating the database they needed. At the same time, the role of Session Manager had evolved. The increased importance of the Session Manager as a selection tool made it a part of the navigation process itself. (Eliasen, McKinstry, Fraser, & Babbitt, 1997, p. 510)

Rule: When quoting material that has a citation within it, keep the original citation. (That embedded citation does not need to be included in your reference list.)

Example:

"In the United States, the American Cancer Society (2007) estimated that about 1 million cases of NMSC and 59,940 cases of melanoma would be diagnosed in 2007, with melanoma resulting in 8,110 deaths" (Miller et al., 2009, p. 209).

Exception: When citing from an e-book, there may or may not be page numbers. If an e-book has page numbers, include them in the in-text citation. If an e-book does not have page numbers, there are a few options to describe the location of the text being quoted.

  • Provide the paragraph number. Some e-books list paragraph numbers in the margins; otherwise, you can count paragraphs from the beginning of the e-book.
  • Provide the heading for the section along with the paragraph number within that section. (Examples of headings could be chapter titles or sub-chapter titles, section headings, etc.)
  • Provide an abbreviated heading (such as the first few words) in quotation marks if the full heading is too long to cite in full.

Example:

"'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad'" (Carroll, 2009, p. 76)

[from Carroll, L. (2009). Alice's adventures in Wonderland. Retrieved from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/28885/28885-h/28885-h.htm]

Example:

"'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad'" (Carroll, 2014, Pig and Pepper, para. 61)

[from Caroll, L. (2014). Alice's adventures in Wonderland. Retrieved from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/11/11-h/11-h.htm]

For more information, we recommend reading the APA Style Blog's post How Do You Cite an E-Book (e.g., Kindle Book)? (Lee, 2011).

PARAPHRASES & SUMMARIES

Rule: Work by one author, no quotation marks required.

Example 1:

According to Davis(1978), when they learned of an ape's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise.

Example 2:

When they learned of an ape's ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal behaviorists were taken by surprise (Davis, 1978).

Rule: When paraphrasing information from a work that is not originally from the source you have, use the phrase "as cited in" at the end. Follow with the author(s) of the source you have, the publication date, and the page number. Provide the information for the source you have in your reference list.

Example:

In their e-mail correspondence, Smith and Jones expressed their surprise about an ape's ability to use sign language (as cited in Davis, 1978).

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