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APA (7/e) Style Guide

A guide to help users create citations in APA (American Psychological Association) 7 style.

A Note on In-Text Citations

Chapter 8 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is dedicated to formatting in-text citations, paraphrases, and direct quotations. What is presented here is a brief overview on some of these topics based on the rules found in the manual. For more details and exceptions to the rules, be sure to reference the manual.

In-Text Citations

At the minimum, in-text citations require both the author last name and the publication date. Depending on the type of resource you are citing and whether you're quoting or paraphrasing, you may have to include additional information such as page or chapter numbers. 

You can create in-text citations in one of two ways:

  • In a parenthetical citation, all citation information is found within parentheses. See example below:

Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public's perception of expert consensus on an issue (Koehler, 2016).

  • In a narrative citation, some or all citation information is incorporated into your text. See example below:

Koehler (2016) noted the dangers of falsely balanced news coverage.

If you're citing more than one source in a parenthetical citation, put the sources in alphabetical order and separate each work with a semicolon.

​Example Citations:

Number of Authors Parenthetical Citation Narrative Citation
1 (Appelros, 2019) Appelros (2019)
2 (Pollak & Povitz, 2019) Pollak and Povitz (2019)
3 or more (Yadav et al., 2019) Yadav et al. (2019)
Group Authors First Citation Subsequent Citations First Citation Subsequent Citations
(American Psychological Association [APA], 2017) (APA, 2017) American Psychological Association (APA, 2017) APA (2017)

NOTE: For resources that contain authors whose names can be abbreviated - usually group authors - include the full name and abbreviation the first time you cite the resource and subsequently use only the abbreviation.

NOTE: If you have two resources whose abbreviated names are the same (e.g. American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association are both abbreviated to APA), you need to use each author's full name every time you cite them to avoid confusion.


When you paraphrase a source, you are putting the content of that source in your own words.

Some basic rules concerning paraphrasing include:

  • Page or paragraph numbers are not required, but you can include them.
  • For paraphrases that extend for several sentences, put the in-text citation after the first mention of the source. 
    • For all subsequent uses of that source, you don't need to include an in-text citation so long as you make it clear that you are still paraphrasing the same source.
    • If you switch between multiple sources when paraphrasing, you need to include an in-text citation after each paraphrase to make it clear which source you're referring to.

Direct Quotations

When you quote a source, you reproduce its content word for word.

Some basic rules concerning quoting include: 

  • Always provide the author name, date, and page number for quotations.
    • For sources that don't have pages, provide heading or section names, paragraph numbers, times stamps, verse or line numbers, etc. as appropriate for the type of source you're using.
  • Page numbers can be designated as p. for a single page or pp. for a page range.
  • A quotation is considered a short quotation when it is fewer than 40 words.
  • Embed the quote directly into your text and enclose it with double quotation marks (e.g. "quote"). See example:

Effective teams can be difficult to describe because "high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another" (Ervin et al., 2018, p.470).

  • A quotation is considered a block quotation when it is 40 or more words.
  • Place the quote on a new line and indent all lines of the quote 0.5 inch from the left margin.
  • Do NOT put block quotes in quotation marks.
  • If you want to omit part of a quote, use an ellipsis (...) to designate where the omitted section is. Remember to add a space before and after the ellipsis.
  • If you want to insert words into a quote, surround the added words with square brackets []. 
  • If you want to emphasize part of a quote, italicize the part you want to emphasize and add [emphasis added] after the emphasized section.
  • For short quotes, use single quotation marks in place of any double quotation marks within your quoted text.
  • For block quotes, use double quotation marks for any quoted material within the block.

A Note on Secondary Sources

If a source you're using contains direct quotes, it is recommended that you find, read, and quote the original source of those quotes.

If you can't locate the original source, provide a reference list entry for the secondary source, and format your in-text citation as: (primary source as cited in secondary source).

  • Parenthetical Example: (McCoy et al., 2010, as cited in Chekov, 2017)
  • Narrative Example: According to McCoy et al. (2010), Starfleet captains cannot keep out of trouble (as cited in Chekov, 2017).

A Note on Personal Communications

Personal communications can come in a variety of reference types, but they all share one key characteristic: the work itself cannot be recovered by the reader (e.g. interviews, phone calls, etc.).

Personal communications are only utilized in-text and do not have a reference list counterpart. To format a personal communication, include the author name (including first and middle initials), the words personal communication, and the exact date.

  • Parenthetical Example: (G. Wilder, personal communication, December 5, 2018)
  • Narrative Example: G. Wilder (personal communication, December 5, 2018)