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APA 7th ed. Citation Guide: In-Text Citation

Contains the latest changes and updates to APA Style

About In-Text Citation

In APA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  • In-text citations include the last name of the author followed by a comma and the publication year enclosed in parentheses: (Smith, 2007).
  • If you are quoting directly the page number should be included, if given. If you are paraphrasing the page number is not required.
  • If the author's name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title. Follow the same formatting that was used in the title, such as italics: (Naturopathic, 2007).

Quoting and Paraphrasing: Know the Difference!

There are two ways to integrate others' research into your assignment:

Paraphrasing is the act of restating another's idea in your own words.  This is an effective writing strategy that allows the writer to summarize and synthesize information from one or more sources, focus on significant information, and compare and contrast relevant details. Use a professional tone when describing a concept, idea, or finding in your own words.  Make sure to also include an in-text citation.

Quoting is copying a selection from someone else's work, phrasing it exactly it was originally written. When quoting place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation.

In-Text Citation for Author Variations


Paraphrase citation: (Laurel & Hardy, 2000)
Quote citation: (Laurel & Hardy, 2000, p. 55)

Narrative citation:

Laurel and Hardy (2000) studied differing forms of comedy before formalizing slapstick comedy as their performance style.


Paraphrase citation: (Charles et al., 2019)
Quote citation: (Charles et al., 2019, para. 5)
Narrative citation: Charles et al. (2019) discovered that children between the ages of 10 and 16 were more prone to peer pressure.

Paraphrase citation: (Microsoft, 2020)
Quote citation: (Microsoft, 2020, para. 8)
Narrative citation: Microsoft (2020), like many large corporations, has a corporate responsibility policy that claims it is committed to giving back to Canadians.

 Corporate Author with a known abbreviation:

If the organization is often referred by an abbreviation, use the following style:

Paraphrase citation:

1st Citation: (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [CAMH], 2019)

Subsequent Citations: (CAMH, 2019)

Quote citation:

1st Citation: (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [CAMH], 2019, para. 8)

Subsequent Citations: (CAMH, 2019, para. 8)

Narrative citation:

1st Citation: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH, 2019) provides mental health services for patients found to be criminally insane and not fit for trial.

Subsequent Citations:  CAMH (2019) has responded to the large news coverage of recent patients who have left their care without authorization.

Missing Citation Information


Missing Components of a Citation


You may run into a situation where a source does not have all the information required for a citation, both reference entry or in-text.  This table provides the recommended solution for handling those cases.

Missing element Solution Reference Entry In-text Citation
Nothing - all elements are present Provide the author, date, title, and source of the work. Author. (Date). Title. Source. (Author, year)
Author* Provide the title, date, and source. *If the Author is listed as Anonymous, use that as the Author name. Title. (Date). Source. (Title, year)
Date Provide the author, write "n.d." (no date), and then provide the title and source. Author. (n.d.). Title. Source (Author, n.d.)
Title Provide the author and date, describe the work in square brackets, and then provide the source. Author. (Date). [Description of work]. Source (Author, year)
Author and date Provide the title, write "n.d." (no date), and then provide the source. Title. (n.d.). Source (Title, n.d.)
Author and title Describe the work in square brackets, and then provide the date and source. [Description of work]. (Date). Source. ([Description of work], year)
Date and title Provide the author, write "n.d." (no date), describe the work in square brackets, and then provide the source. Author. (n.d.). [Description of work]. Source (Author, n.d.)
Author, date, and title Describe the work in square brackets, write "n.d." (no date) and then provide the source [Description of work]. (n.d.). Source ([Description of work]. n.d.)
Source Cite as a personal communication or find another work to cite. No reference list entry (C.C. Communicator, personal communication, month, day, year)


No Page number

No Page Numbers

When you quote from electronic sources that do not provide page numbers (like Web pages), cite the heading and the paragraph number following it:

Bowlby described "three phases of the separation response: protest, despair, and detachment" (Garelli, 2001, Bowlby's Initial Stance section, para. 3).

If a source has no page numbers, no paragraph numbers and no headings, skip that part of the in-text citation. The in-text citation would have the author(s) last names and the year, e.g. (Garellio, 2001).

FAQ - Can I cite in-text once at the end of a paragraph, or do I need to cite after each sentence?

Unfortunately citing only once at the end of the paragraph isn't enough, as it doesn't clearly show where you started using information from another person's work or ideas. The good news is you can avoid having to write full in-text citations each and every time by using a lead-in to your paragraph. For a detailed example of how to use lead-in sentences, please see Rasmussen College's FAQ page


FAQ - Works by the Same Author with the Same Year

When you are citing two different sources that share the same author and year of publication, assign lowercase letters after the year of publication (a, b, c, etc.). Assign these letters according to which title comes first alphabetically. Use these letters in both in-text citations and the Reference list.

Example In-Text:

Paraphrasing content from first source by this author (Daristotle, 2015a). "Now I am quoting from the second source by the same author" (Daristotle, 2015b, p. 50).

Example Reference List entries:

Daristotle, J. (2015a). Name of book used as first source. Toronto, ON: Fancy Publisher.

Daristotle, J. (2015b). Title of book used as second source. Toronto, ON: Very Fancy Publisher.



FAQ - In-Text Citation For More Than One Source

If you would like to cite more than one source within the same in-text citation, simply record the in-text citations as normal and separate them with a semi-colon. List the sources alphabetically by author's last name or first word used from the title if no author is given, in the same order they would appear on the References List.

Examples of multiple in-text citations:

(Bennett, 2015; Smith, 2014). 

(Brock et al., 2016; Shumer & Zhou, 2015).


Work Quoted in Another Source

Sometimes an author of a book, article or website will mention another person’s work by using a quotation or paraphrased idea from that source. (This may be called a secondary source.) For example, the Kirkey article you are reading includes a quotation by Smith that you would like to include in your essay.

The basic rule is that in both your References list and in-text citation you will still cite Kirkey. Kirkey will appear in your References list – NOT Smith.

You will add the words “as cited in” to your in-text citation.  

Examples of in-text citations:

According to a study by Smith (as cited in Kirkey, 2013) 42% of doctors would refuse to perform legal euthanasia.

Smith (as cited in Kirkey, 2013) states that “even if euthanasia was legal, 42% of doctors would be against this method of assisted dying” (p. 34).

Example of Reference list citation:

Kirkey, S. (2013, Feb 9). Euthanasia. The Montreal Gazette, p A10. Retrieved from Canadian Newsstand Major Dailies database.

Signal Phrases

Signal Phrase

If you refer to the author's name in a sentence you do not have to include the name again as part of your in-text citation, instead include the date after the name and the page number (if there is one) at the end of the quotation or paraphrased section. For example:

Hunt (2011) explains that mother-infant attachment has been a leading topic of developmental research since John Bowlby found that "children raised in institutions were deficient in emotional and personality development" (p. 358).

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