How to Cite a Paraphrase in APA Format

Whenever you are writing a paper and referencing an idea from one of your sources, it is necessary to provide a reference showing where you drew your information from. This is true not only for directly quoting your sources but also for paraphrasing them -- expressing their ideas in your words. American Psychological Association (APA) style provides a simple guideline for how to note your paraphrases in text.

In-Text Citations

Whenever you paraphrase a sentence or idea from a source, include an in-text citation. This is a parenthetical including the name of the source's author(s) and the year the source is written.

For example, consider this sentence paraphrasing and citing an author's description of medieval helmets:

Circular or crown-like decorations were often included on bascinets (Wilkinson, 1973).

You can also include the page number on which the paraphrased information appears in the source. While this is not required in APA style, it is encouraged:

While ideas of pollution can complement moral rules, they do not have the same unambiguous fixed structure (Douglas, 2002, p. 162).

Author Name in Running Text

If you note the date or author of a work in a paraphrased sentence, you do not need to include that information in your in-text citation.

For example,

Borges' description of the Naga derives from that in the Mahabharata, a figure noted for forcing its affections on Arjuna (2005, p. 137).