Skip to main content

Citing Your Sources - APA Style

Basic In-Text Citation Format

Type of citation

First citation in text

Subsequent citations in text Parenthetical format, first citation in text Parenthetical format, subsequent citations in text
One work by one author Smith (2012) Smith (2012) (Smith, 2012) (Smith, 2012)
One work by two authors Smith and Jones (2012) Smith and Jones (2012) (Smith & Jones, 2012) (Smith & Jones, 2012)
One work by three authors Smith, Jones, and Choi (2012) Smith et al. (2012) (Smith, Jones, & Choi, 2012) (Smith et al., 2012)
One work by four authors Smith, Jones, Choi, and Kim (2012) Smith et al. (2012) (Smith, Jones, Choi, & Kim, 2012) (Smith et al., 2012)
One work by five authors Smith, Jones, Choi, 
Kim, and Reed (2012)
Smith et al. (2012) (Smith, Jones, Choi, Kim, & Reed, 2012) (Smith et al., 2012)
One work by six or more authors Kagawa et al. (2015) Kagawa et al. (2015) (Kagawa et al., 2015) (Kagawa et al., 2015)

Groups/Organizations (readily identified through abbreviation) as authors

British Psychological Society (BPS, 2013) BPS (2013) (British Psychological Society [BPS], 2013) (BPS, 2013)
Groups/Organizations (no abbreviation) University of Lincoln (2009) University of Lincoln (2009) (University of Lincoln, 2009) (University of Lincoln, 2009)

Unknown Author

If a source has no identified author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks.

...the book College Bound Seniors (2008)
on free care ("Study Finds," 2007)

If the author is designated as "Anonymous," then treat it as the name of the author in your reference and in-text citation:

(Anonymous, 1998)

Multiple Sources within the Same Parentheses

When citing multiple sources within the same set of parentheses, list the sources alphabetically in the order they appear in your reference list, separated by a semicolon.

(Allen, 1989; Darnold, 1995)

If two authors have the same last name, use the first initials to prevent confusion.

(B. Johnson, 2015; K. Johnson, 2017)

Arrange two or more works by the same author by year of publication. List the authors' surname once, followed by the dates of each work.

(Department of Veterans Affairs, 2001, 2003)

When citing multiple works by the same author(s) with the same publication date, identify them by a letter added to the end of the date (e.g. 2010a, 2010b, 2010c, etc.). These these suffixes are assigned to your sources in the reference list. Be sure to assign them in an order that arranges the sources alphabetically by title.

Several studies (Skywalker & Kenobi, 2010a, 2010b; Vader, 2003a, 2003b)

Pages & Parts of a Source

To cite part of a source, provide the page, page range, chapter, section, or figure/table number after the date in your in-text citation.

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005, p. 10)
(Daniels, 2013, p. 175-196)
(Sakamura, 1999, Chapter 5)


When paraphrasing an idea from another source, always include an in-text citation to the source. Not doing so is considered plagiarism. APA style recommends that you provide a page number (paragraph number for non-paginated sources) when it would help the reader find where the idea was presented in cited source material.

Direct Quotations

Reproduce word for word direct quotations for sources and always provide the author, year, and specific page number(s) for the citation (or paragraph number for non-paginated sources).

Direct Quotation (Fewer than 40 Words)

  • Incorporate the quote into the text and enclose it with quotation marks.
  • Interpreting these results, Robbins et al. (2003) suggested that the "therapists in dropout cases may have inadvertently validated parental negativity about the adolescent without adequately responding to the adolescent's needs or concerns" (p. 541), contributing to an overall climate of negativity.

    Direct Quotation (40 or More Words)

  • Display as freestanding block of text without quotation marks
  • Indent block quotation about 0.5" from the left margin.
  • If block quote has more than one paragraph, indent the first line of each additional paragraph by another 0.5".

    Jones's (1998) study found the following:

    Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

  • Indirect Quotations

    While it is not encouraged to cite a source through a secondary source, there are times where the original source is out-of-print or otherwise hard to locate. If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.

    Keane argued that...(as cited in Jones, 2001, p. 242).