menu

How to Do an In-Text Citation in APA Format


The social sciences use American Psychological Association style to cite research and format articles for publication. Students, researchers and journalists can all use APA style to cite sources and format their papers. When writing in APA style, cite your sources in two places: in the text and at the end of your paper in a reference list.

Cite an article or book with a single author using the author-date method of citation. If you refer both to the author and date of publication in the text, there is no need to cite them in parentheses. For example: In 2003, Kessler showed that...

Enclose the year in parentheses if you use the author's name directly in the text. For example: Kessler (2003) found that among epidemiological samples...

Enclose both the author's name and the year of publication in parentheses if you are referencing the research in the text but are not naming the author or the publication date directly. For example: A recent study of epidemiological samples found that... (Kessler, 2003).

Cite both authors' names in the text every time you refer to their research if the work has only two authors. Use the same formats as for a single author. If you mention the authors and the publication year in the text, use the "and" construction. As for a work with a single author, there is no need to cite anything in parentheses. If you refer to the research in the text, cite the authors and date in parentheses using the ampersand between the author names. Examples are as follows:

In 2009, Smith and Jones found...

Smith and Jones (2009) found...

Recent research suggests that... (Smith & Jones, 2009)

Cite all the authors the first time you mention their research if a work has three to five authors, but use "et al." after the first author's name in subsequent citations. For example, on first mention, you would write, "Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry and Harlow (1993) found..." On second mention, you would write, "Kernis et al. (1993) found..." Follow the same format as indicated for a single author.

Cite only the first author's name followed by "et al." every time you refer to a work if a work has six or more authors.

Tip
  • Strive to phrase your sentences in a way that draws attention to the research and not to the names and dates by putting the author names and dates in parentheses as often as possible. Unless you are referring to a famous person or researcher, most citations should go inside parentheses.
References
About the Author

Danielle Cort has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in psychology, health, education and parenting. She has published articles in "Family" magazine. Before becoming a freelance writer, Cort worked in the public policy research sector, conducting research, creating surveys and budgets. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

Photo Credits