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APA in-text citations

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In-text citations are short versions of citations that give a brief indication of the sources used in the paper. They are written in the text and inform the reader that full details are available in the reference list. The information available in the list will help the reader to find and use the sources listed. To write in-text citations, you should know two important components:

Author or organization’s name

Publication date

In-text citations overview

APA uses the author-date system for in-text citations. This means that in-text citations usually include information on the author, then the date published. For example, if Harold King wrote a book in 2021, his in-text citations would look like this:

(King, 2021)

King (2021)

There are two kinds of in-text citations are available in APA style: narrative citations and parenthetical citations. Let’s review them both.

Narrative citation

A narrative citation includes the name of the author or the organization as part of sentence text and includes the year published in parentheses. Here are two examples:

Blanchard (2020) argues that the development of a country depends on the growth of the village in the country.

API (2007) revised the guidelines for oil and natural gas field.

Parenthetical citation

A parenthetical citation includes both the name of the author or the organization and the date of publication inside parentheses. A comma comes between the author and the publication date.

For quotes, parenthetical citations must also include a page number. Use “p.” for a single page and “pp.” for a page range. Here are examples:

With the author

It is argued that the development of a country depends on the growth of the village in the country (Blanchard, 2020).

It is argued that the development of a country depends on the growth of the village in the country (Blanchard, 2020, p. 17).

Organization treated as the author

It was concluded to release the revised guidelines for the oil and natural gas field (AIP, 2007).

In-text citation examples

One author

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication date)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication date)

Examples:

Narrative: Coleman (2011)

Parenthetical: (Coleman, 2011)

Two authors

In narrative citations, the word “and” separates the surnames of the two authors. In parenthetical citations, use an ampersand between the two authors.

Templates:

Narrative: First author Surname and Second author Surname (Publication date)

Parenthetical: (First author Surname & Second author Surname, Publication date)

Examples:

Narrative: Francis and RIchter (2007)

Parenthetical: (Francis & RIchter, 2007)

Three or more authors

If the number of authors is more than two, use “et al.” in both narrative and parenthetical citations.

Templates:

Narrative: First author Surname et al. (Publication date)

Parenthetical: (First author Surname et al., Publication date)

Examples:

Narrative: Rolph et al. (2017)

Parenthetical: (Rolph et al., 2017)

Group author

If a source is by a group author, use the group author name in the author’s name field. Abbreviations are allowed in a group author name. If the group name first occurs in citations, you can still abbreviate it in citations. Note that a narrative citation and a parenthetical citation have different formats in using the abbreviation when included.

If the first occurrence of an abbreviation comes in a narrative citation, include the abbreviation inside the parenthesis before the date. If your abbreviation comes first in a parenthetical citation, add the abbreviation in square brackets after the group author name as shown below:

Templates:

Narrative: Group author (Abbreviation, Publication date)

Parenthetical: (Group author [Abbreviation], Publication date)

Examples:

Narrative: Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists (IACP, 2008)

Parenthetical: (Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists [IACP], 2018)

No author/Anonymous author

For a reference with no author, you need to include the title of the paper for the in-text citations. Usually, they appear as parenthetical citations. The title is written in the same way as it is mentioned in the reference list. For example, if the title is written in italics in the list, you need to italicize it in the in-text citation as well. However, if the title is plain in the list, write using title case, meaning that you must capitalize significant words of the title and enclose it in double quotes.

Template:

Parenthetical: (“Title of the Work,” Publication date)

Example:

Parenthetical: (“Human Behavior,” 2018)

If the author of a work is given as “Anonymous,” use “Anonymous” in place of the author.

Example:

Parenthetical: (Anonymous, 2007)

Other citations

Multiple citations in one sentence

Multiple citations appearing together are arranged alphabetically within the group. Note that alphabetical arrangement is applicable only for in-text citations. The citations are separated by semicolons. Example:

(Anna, 2021; Blume & Alex, 2012; Robert, 2004)

If you include many references contributed by the same group of authors, arrange them chronologically and separate them by commas. The order of chronological citation for the same author group is (1) n.d., (2) citation with a publication date, and (3) in press. “n.d.” refers to “no date.”

(Allen, 2016a, 2016b; Bennet & Bennet, 2012, in press; Peterson, n.d., 2002)

Same surname, same publication date, different initials

You may have to include initials within in-text citations if multiple entries in the reference list have the same surname of the first author and same publication date, but different initials. This will aid the reader to find out the correct source of the citation. A few examples are listed below for your understanding. “F” and “M” are the first initials of the authors.

Templates:

Narrative: F. Author Surname (Publication date)

Narrative: M. Author Surname (Publication date)

Parenthetical: (F. Author Surname, Publication date)

Parenthetical: (M. Author Surname, Publication date)

Examples:

Narrative: G. Beauchamp (2013)

Narrative: L. Beauchamp (2013)

Parenthetical: (G. Beauchamp, 2013)

Parenthetical: (L. Beauchamp, 2013)

Same surname, same initials, same publication date

You may have to include a lowercase letter after the date if you have multiple entries in the reference list with the same surname of the first author, same publication date, and same initials. This will help the reader locate the correct source of a citation. This will help the reader to identify the correct source of the citation. A few examples are listed below for your understanding.

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication date followed by a suffix)

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication date followed by a different suffix)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication date followed by a suffix)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication date followed by a different suffix)

Examples:

Narrative: Ikehara (2011a)

Narrative: Ikehara (2011b)

Parenthetical: (Ikehara, 2011a)

Parenthetical: (Ikehara, 2011b)

Translated work

Two dates are used for a translated work: publication date of the original work and the publication date of the translated work. Both dates are added to the in-text citations. Add the publication date of the original work first followed by the date of the translated work. Use a slash as a separator between the dates.

Templates:

Narrative: Author Surname (Original work’s date/Translated work’s date)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Original work’s date/Translated work’s date)

Examples:

Narrative: Hopkins (1997/1999)

Parenthetical: (Hopkins, 1997/1999)

Personal communication

Works such as telephonic conversation, chat messages, personal interviews, text messages, and emails do not need any source. These are classified under personal communication. It is not possible to get the information again; therefore, they are not included in the reference list. When you want to cite personal communication, use the initials of the authors in the text. Give the exact date of personal communication.

Templates:

Narrative: Communicator’s name (personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Parenthetical: (Communicator’s name, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Examples:

Narrative: T. Kirubakaran (personal communication, May 15, 2005)

Parenthetical: (T. Kirubakaran, personal communication, May 15, 2005)


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