What is an In-Text Citation?

An in-text citation is a citation within your writing that shows where you found your information, facts, quotes, and research. All in-text citations require the same basic information:

  • Author’s last name (no first names or initials)
  • Year of publication (or “n.d.” if there is “no date”)
  • Page or paragraph number (for direct quotations only)

How do I format an In-Text Citation?

There are two main ways to format an in-text citation.

 

  1. Put all the citation information at the end of the sentence:
    Example: "The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (Cook-Gumperz, 1986, p. 27). Note 1: Place direct quotes within quotation marks. Note 2: Use parentheses to enclose the in-text citation. Note 3: Use commas to separate the last name, year, and page number within the in-text citation. Note 4: Place the period after the citation.
  2. Include some of the citation information as part of the sentence:
    Example: According to Cook-Gumperz (1986), “The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (p. 27). Note 1: Use a signal phrase that includes the author's last name. Note 2: After the last name, state the publication year within parentheses. Note 3: After the quote, state the page number with paretheses. Note 4: Place the period after the citation.

Each source cited in-text must also be listed in your References list.

However, there are two exceptions to this rule:

  • Personal communications (e.g., interviews, emails, or classroom discussion posts)
  • Classic religious texts (e.g., Bible or the Koran).

These types of sources should be cited by in-text citations only.

If you are quoting from a work, you will need to include the author’s last name, year of publication, and the page number (p.#) or paragraph number (para.#). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

For example:

According to Cook-Gumperz (1986), “The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (p. 27).

As mentioned by Carr (2008), “As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence” (para. 34).

If the author is not mentioned as part of the sentence, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page or paragraph number in parentheses after the quotation.

For example:

“The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (Cook-Gumperz, 1986, p. 27).

“As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence” (Carr, 2008, para. 34).

If you are paraphrasing or summarizing information from a source, you only have to cite the author’s last name and year of publication in your in-text citation.  However, APA guidelines strongly encourage you to also provide the page number or paragraph number as well, even though it is not required.

For example:

Some educational theorists suggest that schooling and a focus on teaching literacy divided society into educated and uneducated classes (Cook-Gumperz, 1986).

Some argue that relying too much on the Internet for information might hinder our mental capacities and our ability to read books and other long pieces (Carr, 2008). 

When quoting an eBook like your Constellation textbook, your in-text citation needs to include the author’s last name, year, section number, and the paragraph number the quote is found in on the eBook page. It should look like this: (Author, Year, Section #.#, para. #).

For example:

“Adult development focuses on the scientific study of changes in behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that occur throughout adulthood” (Mossler, 2013, Section 1.1, para. 1).

If your text does not include an author, include the web page or article title within quotation marks (" "):

A collapse of the main ramp into the San Jose mine leaves 33 miners trapped 2,300 feet underground for two months ("All 33 Chile Miners," 2010).

If you are citing a book or eBook with no author, include the book title in italics:

Andragogy is the method and practice of teaching adult learners (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 2005).

When a group or an organization creates a work, that organization, corporation, university, government agency, or association can be treated as the author. In this case, include the full name of the group as the author:

(Ashford University, 2017, p. 4)

2 Authors

When your source has 2 authors, use an ampersand (&) for your end-of-sentence citation, but use "and" when the last names are a part of your sentence:

...(Jones & Fraenza, 2017, p. 3).

In their article, Jones and Fraenza (2017) stated that... (p. 3).

3-5 Authors

The first time you cite 3-5 authors use an ampersand (&):

...(Edwards, Howard, & Sharpe, 2016, para. 1).

If you are using the authors' last names as part of the sentence, use an "and" between the last two names:

Edwards, Howard, and  Sharpe (2006) argued that...

All other times you cite this source, only include the first author's last name, followed by “et al.”:

...(Edwards et al., 2006, para. 1).

Edwards et al. (2006) discussed that...

    6+ Authors

    When you have 6 or more authors, include only the last name of the first author listed, followed by “et al.”:

    ...(Lekkerkerk et al., 2014, para. 2).

    Lekkerkerk et al. (2014) discussed that...

    The APA defines a secondary source (aka an indirect source) as a source that cites or quotes another source.

    For example, if you read an article by Brown (2017) and that author quotes the earlier work of Smith (2010), Brown is the secondary or indirect source (because it was written later) and Smith is considered the direct or original source (because it was written first).

    To cite a source you found in another source, state the original author within your sentence and state "as cited in" followed by the last name and year of the secondary source. For example:

    According to Smith (as cited in Brown, 2017) students need faculty and staff support to succeed.

    More Examples:

    The writer wants to discuss Lee’s study who was cited in Brown’s (2014) article:

    Coffee helps students stay awake to study (Lee, as cited in Brown, 2014).

    The writer wishes to use a quote from Parker who was also quoted on page 5 within an article by Miles (2013):

    Parker (as cited in Miles, 2013) stated that “drinking coffee black is healthier” (p. 5).

    Related Video Tutorials

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    Use this interactive tutorial to learn how to make correct in-text citations.
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    Test your knowledge of APA style in-text citations.