APA In-Text Citations

APA Citations in the Body of Your Paper

APA citations follow specific conventions that distinguish them from other styles.

In most cases, APA citations in your text will follow the guidelines illustrated on the following pages.

This video will show you what in-text citations should look like and explain why you must use them.

Video Transcript
This short video will focus on the basic set up for in-text citations in APA format.

It is first helpful to get an idea about why in-text citations are important and when they should be used.

In APA, you should use citations in parentheses, within the text, to let your audience know when you have borrowed information and where that information has come from.

Most students know to cite direct quotes, but it is important to remember you must also include in-text citations for summarized and paraphrased information.

You are not just citing words; you are citing ideas.

For more information about what kinds of information must be cited within your text, be sure to review the Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial in the Excelsior OWL.

In APA, the basic in-text citation, referred to as a parenthetical citation, includes the author’s last name, the year, and the page number or paragraph number. Please note the page or paragraph numbers are only required for direct quotes.

Here, you will see the basic version of an in-text citation. In parentheses after the quote, you should provide the author’s last name, a comma, the year, a comma, a p and a period, followed by the page number. Also, in this example, the source included three authors, so the student has listed et al. after the first name.

There are variations on the standard in-text citation, however, as you will often use the author or authors’ last names as you set up a quote or paraphrased material. This is referred to as a narrative citation.

Here, you will notice the student has used the author’s name to set up this quoted material. You must place the year after the mention of the name. Then, you will need an additional citation for the page number after the quote.

Let’s take a closer look at a citation from an online source that did not include a page number. In this case, APA requires that you list the paragraph number. You will notice the “p-a-r-a.” in the citation. This lets your readers know that there were no page numbers, but this is the paragraph number for that information.

Finally, it is important to think about punctuation for your in-text documentation as well. In APA, you should place commas between each item in your in-text citations.

For short quotes or paraphrases, you should place your period after the in-text citation.

For longer quotes or block quotes, you should place your period before the citation.

In closing, the important thing to remember is to cite any ideas you borrow and to include only the required information in your in-text citation. Full publication information will be saved for your References list, which is explored in the References section on APA format in the Excelsior OWL.

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