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APA Style Guide

In-Text Parenthetical Citations

APA uses the author-date citation system in which a brief in-text citation leads to a full reference list entry. Give credit in the text to exact quotations as well as paraphrases of information and ideas.

There are three ways to cite sources in the text:

1. Statements followed by the citation in parentheses.

  • ‚Äč(Exact Quote) "...mothers who are overly strict and harshly punitive...who strongly show their anger or disappointment with their children, are likely to impede their children's prosocial development" (Hastings et al., 2000, p. 543).

  • (Exact Quote with no page numbers -- use section and paragraph) "...mothers who are extremely strict...may impede their children's prosocial development" (Hastings et al., 2000, Conclusion section, para. 4).

  • (Paraphrase) Extremely critical mothers might warp children's social development (Hastings et al., 2000).
    [Note: This is not a good paraphrase; it changes just a few words. You are encouraged to include page or paragraph numbers if it will assist the reader in finding the passage in a long or complex text.]

2. Statement, which includes the author(s) name(s), with the year in parentheses.

  • Hastings et al. (2000) found that overly strict mothers...

3. Statement, which includes the author(s) name(s) and the year.

  • A 2000 study by Hastings et al. determined that...

Note: For in-text citations with one or two authors, include the author name(s) in every citation; for in-text citations with more than two authors use the abbreviation "et al." following the first author's name for all citations, including the first citation.  (APA 7, 8.17).


Block Quotes

When a direct quote includes 40 or more words, you must display it as a block quote. Block quotes are free-standing blocks of text and have several unique characteristics. When using a block quote, you should start the quote on a new line, indent the block a half-inch from the left margin, and omit the quotation marks. Include the cited source and the page number in parentheses after the final punctuation mark. 


According to some, which brand of computer you prefer may be a good indicator of certain personality traits:

Although researchers have not clearly differentiated the personalities of users of different brands, personality traits may play a more nuanced role in relation to brand preferences. In our study, although PC and Mac users were not distinguishable in terms of Big Five personality traits, these personality traits were associated with judged importance consumers placed on detriments of their choice of computer brands. (Nevid & Pastva, 2014, p. 35)

Exceptions to the Rule

Generally all in-text citations will lead to a full entry in the reference list. The following kinds of information are exceptions

  • Personal communications (sources which are unrecoverable by the reader such as unpublished interviews, private emails, classroom lectures, etc.) are cited in the text only. APA 7, 8.9
  • General mentions of whole websites or periodicals and common software and apps in the text do not require a citation or reference list entry. APA 7 8.22
  • The source of an epigraph does not require a reference list entry unless cited elsewhere in the work. APA 7, 8.35
  • Quotations from research participants can be presented and discussed in the text but do not need citations or reference list entries. APA 7, 8.36
  • References included in meta-analysis may be cited in-text or not at the author's discretion. APA 7, 9.52