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In-Text Citations: The Basics

Summary:
APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social
sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers
examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the
reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).
Contributors:Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael
Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2014-11-11 10:20:40

Reference citations in text are covered on pages 169-179 of the Publication Manual. What follows
are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.
Note: APA style requires authors to use the past tense or present perfect tense when using signal
phrases to describe earlier research, for example, Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has
found...

APA citation basics


When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the
author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for
example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of
the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making
reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author
and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are
cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining

Always capitalize proper nouns, including


author names and initials: D. Jones.

If you refer to the title of a source within


your paper, capitalize all words that are
four letters long or greater within the title
of a source: Permanence and Change.
Exceptions apply to short words that are
verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and
adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is
Nothing Left to Lose.
(Note: in your References list, only the
first word of a title will be capitalized:
Writing new media.)

When capitalizing titles, capitalize both


words in a hyphenated compound word:
Natural-Born Cyborgs.

Capitalize the first word after a dash or


colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case
of Hitchcock's Vertigo."

Italicize or underline the titles of longer


works such as books, edited collections,
movies, television series, documentaries,
or albums: The Closing of the American
Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.

Put quotation marks around the titles of


shorter works such as journal articles,
articles from edited collections, television
series episodes, and song titles:
"Multimedia Narration: Constructing
Possible Worlds"; "The One Where
Chandler Can't Cry."

Short quotations
If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication,
and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal
phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.
According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what
implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication,
and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.
She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199),
but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Long quotations
Place direct quotations that are 40 words, or longer, in a free-standing block of typewritten lines,
and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left
margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the
new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch
from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come
after the closing punctuation mark.
Jones's (1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time citing
attributed to the

sources. This difficulty could be

fact that many students failed to purchase a style

ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Summary or paraphrase

manual or to

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author
and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide
the page number (although it is not required.)
According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time
learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p.
199).

General Format
Summary:
APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social
sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers
examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the
reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).
Contributors:Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael
Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2013-03-01 08:28:59

Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA.
To see a side-by-side comparison of the three most widely used citation styles, including a chart of
all APA citation guidelines, see the Citation Style Chart.
You can also watch our APA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel.

General APA Guidelines


Your essay should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11") with 1" margins
on all sides. You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt.
Times New Roman font.
Include a page header (also known as the "running head") at the top of every page. To create
a page header/running head, insert page numbers flush right. Then type "TITLE OF YOUR
PAPER" in the header flush left using all capital letters. The running head is a shortened version
of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation.

Major Paper Sections


Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and
References.

Title Page
The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name, and the institutional
affiliation. Include the page header (described above) flush left with the page number flush right
at the top of the page. Please note that on the title page, your page header/running head should
look like this:
Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER

Pages after the title page should have a running head that looks like this:
TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
After consulting with publication specialists at the APA, OWL staff learned that the APA 6th edition,
first printing sample papers have incorrect examples of Running heads on pages after the title
page. This link will take you to the APA site where you can find a complete list of all the errors in
the APA's 6th edition style guide.
Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. APA
recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain
abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on
the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.
Beneath the title, type the author's name: first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Do not
use titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD).
Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation, which should indicate the location
where the author(s) conducted the research.

Image Caption: APA Title Page

Abstract
Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above).
On the first line of the abstract page, center the word Abstract (no bold, formatting, italics,
underlining, or quotation marks).
Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not
indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants,
methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of
your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a
single paragraph double-spaced. Your abstract should be between 150 and 250 words.
You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you
would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your
keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.

Image Caption: APA Abstract Page

Please see our Sample APA Paper resource to see an example of an APA paper. You may also visit
our Additional Resources page for more examples of APA papers.

How to Cite the Purdue OWL in APA


Individual Resources
Contributors' names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every
page on the OWL.
Contributors' names (Last edited date). Title of resource. Retrieved from http://Web
address for OWL resource

Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderlund, L., & Brizee,
A. (2010, May 5). General format. Retrieved from
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

In-Text Citations: Author/Authors


Summary:
APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social
sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers
examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the
reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing).
Contributors:Joshua M. Paiz, Elizabeth Angeli, Jodi Wagner, Elena Lawrick, Kristen Moore, Michael
Anderson, Lars Soderlund, Allen Brizee, Russell Keck
Last Edited: 2014-12-02 10:08:04

APA style has a series of important rules on using author names as part of the author-date system.
There are additional rules for citing indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page
numbers.

Citing an Author or Authors


A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each
time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use
the ampersand in the parentheses.
Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) supports...
(Wegener & Petty, 1994)
A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the
first time you cite the source. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and
use the ampersand in the parentheses.
(Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993)
In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal
phrase or in parentheses.
(Kernis et al., 1993)

In et al., et should not be followed by a period.


Six or More Authors: Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in
parentheses.
Harris et al. (2001) argued...
(Harris et al., 2001)
Unknown Author: If the work does not have an 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 or
underlined; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks.
A similar study was done of students learning to format research papers ("Using
APA," 2001).
Note: In the rare case the "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name
(Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.
Organization as an Author: If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention
the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the
source.
According to the American Psychological Association (2000),...
If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets the first
time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.
First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)
Second citation: (MADD, 2000)
Two or More Works in the Same Parentheses: When your parenthetical citation includes two
or more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list (viz., alphabetically),
separated by a semi-colon.
(Berndt, 2002; Harlow, 1983)
Authors With the Same Last Name: To prevent confusion, use first initials with the last names.
(E. Johnson, 2001; L. Johnson, 1998)
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year: If you have two sources by the
same author in the same year, use lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order the entries in
the reference list. Use the lower-case letters with the year in the in-text citation.
Research by Berndt (1981a) illustrated that...
Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords: When citing an Introduction, Preface,
Foreword, or Afterwords in-text, cite the appropriate author and year as usual.

(Funk & Kolln, 1992)


Personal Communication: For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person
communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and
the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.
(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).
A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style
(personal communication, November 3, 2002).

Citing Indirect Sources


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.
Johnson argued that...(as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).
Note: When citing material in parentheses, set off the citation with a comma, as above. Also, try
to locate the original material and cite the original source.

Electronic Sources
If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date
style.
Kenneth (2000) explained...
Unknown Author and Unknown Date: If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal
phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for
"no date").
Another study of students and research decisions discovered that students succeeded
with tutoring ("Tutoring and APA," n.d.).

Sources Without Page Numbers


When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help
readers find the passage being cited. When an electronic document has numbered paragraphs, use
the abbreviation "para." followed by the paragraph number (Hall, 2001, para. 5). If the paragraphs
are not numbered and the document includes headings, provide the appropriate heading and
specify the paragraph under that heading. Note that in some electronic sources, like Web pages,
people can use the Find function in their browser to locate any passages you cite.
According to Smith (1997), ... (Mind over Matter section, para. 6).
Note: Never use the page numbers of Web pages you print out; different computers print Web
pages with different pagination.

APA Style Workshop


Summary:

This workshop provides an overview of APA (American Psychological Association) style and where to find
help with different APA resources. It provides an annotated list of links to all of our APA materials and an
APA overview. It is an excellent place to start to learn about APA format.
Contributors:Kristen Seas, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2012-07-03 05:47:29

Welcome to the OWL Workshop on APA Style! This workshop will introduce you to important
aspects of using the American Psychological Association (APA) Style to write and format research
papers. You should begin with the introductory material, which covers what APA Style is, why it is
used, and who should apply it to their work. Then you are invited to work through the OWL's
handouts on APA Formatting and Writing Style, as well as APA Citations and Reference Lists.
NOTE: This workshop should answer most of your basic questions about using APA Style.
However, if you are writing a complex document such as a thesis or lengthy manuscript, or if you
have detailed questions, you should consult The Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association (6th edition), which you can usually find at your local library or in many bookstores.
The APA also has a website that allows you to order the book online and read some of their
frequently asked questions about APA style. Purdue's OWL also has a list of Additional Resources
covering APA style that you can consult.

What is APA Style?


APA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:

the organization of content

writing style

citing references

and how to prepare a manuscript for publication in certain disciplines.

Why Use APA?


Aside from simplifying the work of editors by having everyone use the same format for a given
publication, using APA Style makes it easier for readers to understand a text by providing a
familiar structure they can follow. Abiding by APA's standards as a writer will allow you to:

Provide readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate
information of interest to them

Allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar
formatting

Establish your credibility or ethos in the field by demonstrating an awareness of your


audience and their needs as fellow researchers

Who Should Use APA?


APA Style describes rules for the preparation of manuscripts for writers and students in:

Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology

Business

Nursing

Before you adopt this style for your paper, you should check to see what citation style your
discipline uses in its journals and for student research. If APA Style is appropriate for your writing
project, then use this workshop to learn more about APA and how to follow its rules correctly in
your own work.

APA Formatting and Writing Style


You should start by becoming familiar with the general formatting requirements of APA Style, as
well as the different standards for writing that are expected among APA writers. Because APA is
different than other writing styles, you should pay attention to everything from general paper
layout to word choice. The following pages will introduce you to some of these basic requirements
of APA Style to get you started in the right direction.

General APA Format

Covers the basic page layout for a typical APA manuscript, including everything from
margin widths to the use of headings and visuals

Includes a general list of the basic components of an APA paper: title page, abstract, and
reference page

Also includes a PowerPoint slide presentation with detailed information about the APA
citation style

Types of APA Papers

Describes the two most common types of APA papers: the literature review and the
experimental report

Outlines what sections must be included in each type of paper, from introductions to a
methods section

APA Stylistics: Basics

Describes three basic areas of stylistic concerns when writing in an APA field: point of view,
clarity/conciseness, and word choice

Explains how poetic language and devices should be avoided in APA reviews and reports

Suggestions and examples are given for each stylistic issue

APA Stylistics: Things to Avoid

Identifies the risk of bias in language concerning gender, race, disability, and sexuality
when writing up research in APA fields

Provides links to APA's official guidelines on avoiding bias

Offers suggestions on finding alternatives to gendered pronouns and using different


descriptors when identifying people in your research

APA Citations and Reference List


Perhaps the trickiest part to mastering APA Style is understanding the requirements for citing and
listing secondary sources accurately. The following pages walk you through the details of writing
citations and developing a reference page at the end of your paper. Read these guidelines
carefully! It is important that you refer to your sources according to APA Style so your readers can
quickly follow the citations to the reference page and then, from there, locate any sources that
might be of interest to them. They will expect this information to be presented in a particular style,
and any deviations from that style could result in confusing your readers about where you obtained
your information.

In-Text Citations: The Basics

Addresses the basic formatting requirements of using the APA Style for citing secondary
sources within the text of your essay

Provides guidance on how to incorporate different kinds of references to borrowed


material, from short quotes to summaries or paraphrases

In-Text Citations: Author/Authors

Focuses on various details about referring to the authors of your sources within your essay,
which can be difficult to do efficiently if the source has more than one author or has an
unclear author (e.g. an organization)

Describes how to cite indirect quotes, electronic sources, and/or sources without page
numbers

Footnotes and Endnotes

Recommends using footnotes or endnotes to avoid long explanations in the text

Covers two basic kinds of notes: bibliographic and digressive

Reference List: Basic Rules

Guides you through the general rules that apply to any reference list developed using APA
Style

Covers everything from where the reference list appears to the capitalization of words in
the titles of sources

Serves as a primer on formatting that will be followed in all of the following handouts on
creating APA reference entries

Reference List: Author/Authors

Walks you through how to construct a reference entry for different text starting with a
focus on author

Notes how the references are different depending on the number of authors or if there are
multiple works by the same author

Reference List: Articles in Periodicals

Builds from the previous handout by looking specifically at how to refer accurately to a
periodical source

Lists types of entries depending on the kind of journal (e.g. one paginated by volume), if
the source is a magazine v. a newspaper, or the kind of article the source is (e.g. a letter
to the editor)

Reference List: Books

Builds from the author handout by describing how to properly refer to book-length sources

Addresses both the basic format as well as requirements for those unique book sources
that require you to note specific details, such as whether it is a translation or part of a
multivolume work

Reference List: Other Print Sources

Offers a short list of other less common print sources you might be citing in your
manuscript and how to construct references for them

Covers examples such as citing a source that is cited in another, or citing a government
document

Reference List: Electronic Sources

Walks through the requirements and unique qualifications (see the Notes throughout the
page) for constructing references for electronic sources

Covers sources from online periodicals and scholarly databases, to emails.

Reference List: Other Non-Print Sources

Focuses primarily on how to reference video and audio texts that are used as sources,
from movie clips to sound recordings

Notes that personal communication (e.g. an interview or conversation) is not to be


included in the reference list.