Skip to main content

APA Writing & Citing Guide

APA examples provided are not exhaustive. Students must seek assistance from the Writing Centre and/or their Professor for specific or problematic references. The library is not responsible for errors, omissions or problems of interpretation. Last Updated

APA 6th Edition

This guide is representative of the 6th edition Publication Manual of APA.

Effective October 1, 2019.

In-text citations

"In-text citations" are pointers in the paragraphs of your assignment that show which item on your reference list is the original source for the quote, paraphrase you used, or idea you are expressing.

The following are typical examples of in-text citations:

  1. "this line is a direct quote so include page number" (Smith, 2014, p. 10). [direct quote example]
  2. ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (Smith, 2014). [paraphrased example]
  3. Smith (2014) reported that… (p. 43)  [signal phrase example]

Example #2 already mentions the author in the running text; as a result, only the year is in brackets.

Tip: Sometimes a page number is required when you use a signal phrase. Use a page number when you are summarizing information from a specific page. If you are using a signal phrase to summarize a whole work, a page number is not required.

Direct quotes

If you are using a direct quotation from an author's work, then include (author, date, p. page):

  • "this line is a direct quote so include page number" (Smith & Brown, 2014, p. 10).

For articles & websites without page numbers, you may need to include a paragraph number or the section heading.

When directly quoting from a webpage without page numbers or section headings, count the paragraphs and indicate a paragraph number in your in-text citation:

Here's an example of an article from Oregon State University, News and Research Communications.

Screenshot of article from OSU News & Research Communications, demonstrating a webpage that has no page numbers or section headings.
Image source: Klampe, M. (2011, August 17). Study: College students not eating enough fruits and veggies. Oregon State University: News and research communications. Retrieved from http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2011/aug/study-college-students-not-eating-enough-fruits-and-veggies

Direct quotation from this page:

"Cardinal, who is an expert in the psychological and social aspects of health and exercise, said the larger take-away message is that proper eating and nutrition is not integrated enough into our society. He said the surveyed students came from OSU, where healthy options are available in dining halls." (Klampe, 2011, para. 7)

The in-text citation contains the author & year, since they are known. You should count the number of paragraphs and insert the paragraph number so your reader knows exactly where you found the information you are quoting!

Reference page entry:

Klampe, M. (2011, August 17). Study: College students not eating enough fruits and veggies. Oregon State University: News and research communications. Retrieved from http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2011/aug/study-college-students-not-eating-enough-fruits-and-veggies

In-text citation:

(Klampe, 2011, para. 7)

Some webpages have section headings that can be used to help identify direct quotes.

Here is an example of an article with section headings, from the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences.

Screenshot of an article on a website demonstrating a document with section headings that can be used to identify direct quotations in an in-text citation

Image source: Tsang, R. (2011). The college student's perception of healthful eating. Undergraduate research journal for the human sciences, 10. Retrieved from http://www.kon.org/urc/v10/tsang.html

Direct quotation from this page:

"The purpose of this study was to identify the sources by which college students receive nutritional information and what constitutes the best dietary plan for maintaining a healthful lifestyle. The survey instrument used in this study measured the perceptions of college students about their practices in healthful eating and the sources they consulted to receive healthful eating information. It aligned with research that suggests college students choose to consult peers and the Internet for nutritional information over the consultation of a professional." (Tsang, 2011, "Abstract", para. 1)

Reference page entry:

Tsang, R. (2011). The college student's perception of healthful eating. Undergraduate research journal for the human sciences, 10. Retrieved from http://www.kon.org/urc/v10/tsang.html

In-text citation:

(Tsang, 2011, "Abstract", para. 1)

Note: You may need to abbreviate the section heading if it is too long to work with easily. Please see the APA style blog: Direct Quotations for more examples.

Loading ...

Paraphrased ideas

Paraphrase means to use different words to express someone else's claim/words.  

If you know the author(s) and date, then include (author, date):

  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (Smith & Brown, 2014). 

If you already mentioned the names of the author(s) in your sentence then include (date):

  • Smith and Brown (2014) reported that...

Signal Phrases

Signal phrases are used to introduce or lead into a quote. They help the reader to know that you are introducing information from another source.  Some common signal phrases are reports, illustrates, claims, etc.

Direct quote using a signal phrase, include the author(s), date and page number:

  • Smith (2014) reported that "...." (p.43)

Paraphrase using a signal phrase, include author(s), date and page number:

  • Smith (2014) reported that ....this is a paraphrase and sentence or idea... (p.43).

More information on signal phrases

Tip: Sometimes a page number is required when you use a signal phrase. Use a page number when you are summarizing information from a specific page. If you are using a signal phrase to summarize a whole work, a page number is not required.

Multiple authors

If a work has two authors, all your in-text citations must also have both authors, followed by the date.

  1. ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (Smith & Brown, 2014).

However, if you already mention the authors in the running text of your sentence, then only cite the date.

      2. Smith and Brown (2014) reported that...

 

Notice in example #1, the ampersand '&' is used inside the brackets.  In example #2, the full word 'and' is used since the authors are mentioned in the running text.

If a work has three to five authors, then the first occurrence of the in-text citation must display all the authors followed by the date.  However, for subsequent occurrences after that, just cite the first author followed by "et al." then the date in brackets.

  1. ...this is the first paraphrased sentence or idea (Smith, Brown, & Villaruz, 2014).
    ...this is the second paraphrased sentence or idea (Smith et al., 2014).
  2. According to Smith, Brown, and Villaruz (2014), their research found...
    On the other hand, the research of Smith et al. (2014) seems to contradict...

Notice in example #1, the ampersand '&' is used inside the brackets.  In example #2, the full word 'and' is used since the authors are mentioned in the running text.

If a work has six or more authors, then cite the first author's surname followed by "et al." and then include the date:

  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence of a work with six or more authors (Smith et al., 2014).
  • The research of Smith et al. (2014) reports that...

 

If the author of a work is a group (e.g., corporation, association, government agency or study group) then include the group name followed by the year.  

  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (University of Toronto, 2014).
  • According to University of Toronto (2014) they claim...

If the group name has a short form, then for the first, in-text occurrence, cite the full name of this group name, followed by its shortened form in square brackets, then the date.  For subsequent occurrences, just use the short form of the group name followed by the date:

  1. ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2014).
    This is the second paraphrased sentence or idea (NIMH, 2014).
  2. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2014)...
    Yet, the research of NIMH (2014) concludes that...
Loading ...

Missing Information

If author is missing, then substitute the title in place of the author position:

  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (Title of Book, 2010).
  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea ("Title of Article", 2010).
  • "this is a direct quote so include page number" ("Title of Article", 2010, p. 10).

Use italics when citing a book title or a report; use quotation marks when citing an article title and other documents.  
Capitalize important words in the title.

If date is missing, then use "n.d." which is short form for "no date".

  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (Smith, n.d.).
  • "this is a direct quote so include page number (Smith, n.d., p. 10).

If author and date are missing, then substitute the title in place of the author.  Also, use "n.d." which is short form for "no date".

  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea (Title of Book, n.d.).
  • ...this is a paraphrased sentence or idea ("Title of Article", n.d.).
  • "this line is a direct quote so include page number" ("Title of Article", n.d., p. 10).

Use italics when citing a book title or a report; use quotation marks when citing an article title and other documents.
Capitalize important words in the title.

Loading ...