Cathy Aranda
Cathy Aranda

APA In-Text Citations: Guidelines and Examples

7 min read

Published on: Apr 19, 2024

Last updated on: Apr 30, 2024

In-text Citation

The American Psychological Association (APA) citation style is a widely used format for academic and scholarly writing.

Established by the APA, this style guide provides rules and conventions for clarity, consistency, and credibility in research papers and other scholarly publications.

Accurate in-text citations are fundamental to a well-crafted academic paper. They not only acknowledge original authors but also guide readers to the sources.

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition, is the official source for APA Style

Give this guide a thorough read, and you’ll understand how to cite in-text according to the APA Format. 

Let’s get started. 

Basic In-Text Citation Structure

The APA style utilizes the author-date citation format. Every in-text citation has a corresponding reference list entry at the end of the paper. 

The in-text citation is incorporated in the body of the paper. There are two ways to use in-text citations in the APA style.

  • Parenthetical Citation: This involves placing the author's name and publication year in parentheses at the end of the cited information. For example, (Michael, 2017).
  • Narrative Citation: In this approach, the author's name is integrated into the sentence, with the publication year placed in parentheses. For instance, according to Michael (2017), …

APA In-Text Citations for One or More Authors 

When citing using the APA style, you can either use the parenthetical or the narrative style to cite works by a single author or multiple authors. The examples below contain both the parenthetical and narrative instances for in-text citations. 

Single Author

Incorporate the author's last name and the publication year within parentheses. 

Parenthetical: According to recent research, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in leadership effectiveness (Smith, 2020).

Narrative: Miller (2018) highlighted the significance of cultural diversity.

Two Authors 

For APA in-text citation with 2 authors, include both authors' last names, connected by an ampersand (&), along with the publication year. 

Parenthetical: The study conducted by Johnson and Lee (2018) demonstrated a significant correlation between exercise and mental health.

Narrative: Adams and Martinez (2019) explored the impact of urbanization on wildlife.

Three or More Authors 

For sources with three or more authors, use the first author's last name followed by “et al.” and the publication year. Take a look at this APA in-text citation for multiple authors example for a better insight.

Parenthetical: The study conducted by Brown, Garcia, and Martinez (2019) found that mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Narrative: Johnson et al. (2020) conducted a groundbreaking study on mental health.

Organization or Group Author

When citing a group author (e.g., an organization), use the full name in the first citation and abbreviate it in subsequent citations. 

Parenthetical: The guidelines provided by the American Psychological Association (2017) emphasize the importance of ethical considerations in psychological research.

Narrative: NRC (2021) provided insights into scientific advancements.

Abbreviation of Author Group

After the initial citation, use the abbreviation formed from the first few words of the group author's name. 

Parenthetical: The National Research Council (NRC, 2021) continued to shape scientific discourse.

Narrative: NRC (2021) continued to shape scientific discourse.

Citing Multiple Works with Same Author & Same Date

When multiple works by the same author share the same publication year, it's essential to differentiate them in your citations. Here’s how:

Assign lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) to each work and add them to the publication year. For instance, (Robinson, 2019a; Robinson, 2019b).

Handling In-Text Citations With Missing Information

Sometimes, information essential for a complete APA in-text citation might be missing. Here's how to handle such scenarios:

No Authors

When a source lacks a clear author, adapt your citation by using the title of the work. 

For example, (“APA Handbook,” 2017).

When the Date is Unknown

If the publication date is not available, use “n.d.” (no date) in your citation. 

For example, (Hennessy, n.d.).

Unknown Page Numbers 

When the source doesn't provide page numbers, use other location indicators, such as paragraph numbers or section numbers.

For instance, (Johnson, para. 5) OR Johnson (Section 2) proposed that innovative technologies are shaping our future.

APA In-Text Citation for Quotations

The APA citation format specifies the following set of guidelines for quoting direct quotations within the text:

  • Quotation Marks: Enclose direct quotes within double quotation marks.
  • Author and Year: Provide the author's last name, publication year, and page number for the quote in parentheses.
  • Block Quotes: For quotes longer than 40 words, format them as block quotes without quotation marks.

How to Handle Short and Long Quotations 

For short quotations in the APA style, integrate the quote into your sentence and enclose it in double quotation marks. You can consider a quotation short if it contains less than 40 words.

For example: In her recent publication, Martinez (2019) highlighted the impact of technological advancements on education, stating, “Digital tools have revolutionized the way students engage with learning materials, fostering a more interactive and personalized educational experience” (p. 76).

For a long quotation, present the quote in a block format, indented from the left margin, without quotation marks. Include the author, year, and page number or page range in parentheses after the period.

For Example: 

Self-determination theory posits that individuals have three basic psychological needs: competence, relatedness, and autonomy. When these needs are satisfied, individuals are more likely to experience a deep sense of well-being and motivation. The theory underscores the importance of fostering environments that support autonomy and competence, leading to more meaningful and sustainable motivation in various life domains (Deci & Ryan, 1985, p. 112).

How to Cite Indirect Sources? 

For referring to sources you found in another source, try to find the actual or the primary source for giving credit. 

But, if you cannot find the original source, use the phrase “as cited in” or “as noted in” to attribute the information to the actual source.

For example, (Reynolds, 1998, as cited in Mitchell and Harper, 2022)

If you cannot find the publication date of the original source, just mention the year of the publication of the secondary source. 

For example, (Fletcher, as cited in Turner, 2019) suggests that…

Make sure that you include the source you read (the indirect source) in your reference list, but make it clear that you haven't directly accessed the original work.

APA In-Text Citation for Different Sources

Here are some APA in-text citation examples for various sources so you can have a better understanding. 

For Book With a Single Author 

In his exploration of existential philosophy, Thompson (2015) posits that individuals construct their own meaning in life.

Book With Multiple Authors

The impact of globalization on cultural identities is discussed extensively (Miller & Turner, 2018).

For Edited Books 

The perspectives presented in the anthology highlight the diverse nature of contemporary poetry (Edwards, 2020).

For Journal Articles 

Research on cognitive development indicates that early experiences play a pivotal role (Garcia, 2016).

For Journal Articles Available Online

The study on artificial intelligence trends reveals intriguing patterns (Wang & Chen, 2021).

Citing Webpages

The World Health Organization (WHO, 2020) provides valuable insights into global health initiatives.

For an APA in-text citation website with no authors, you can use the title of the webpage or article. 

Here's an example

(“Understanding APA Citations,” 2022, para. 3)

Newspapers and Magazines 

An op-ed piece in The New York Times argues for sustainable urban planning (Harrison, 2019).

Citing Classical and Religious Works 

When referring to classical works like ancient texts or classical literature, include the translator or editor's name and the year of the translation in parentheses. 

For Example:

The philosophy of Stoicism is deeply rooted in the works of Epictetus (trans. Jones, 2008).

Religious Works 

When citing religious works like the Quran, Bible, or Vedas, include the book, chapter, and verse in parentheses. 

For Example:

The concept of compassion is emphasized in the teachings of the Quran (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:197).

To wrap things up, understanding APA in-text citations is crucial for academic writing. This guide covers the basics, such as how to cite sources in your paper and handle missing information. 

Whether you're referencing books, websites, or religious texts, following APA guidelines ensures clarity and gives credit where it's due. By mastering these citation rules, you can write confidently and contribute to a culture of honesty and respect in scholarly work.

Create Flawless Citations with's APA Citation Tool 

Struggling to generate accurate APA style citations? Utilize our APA Citation machine promptly to enhance the quality of your academic writing.

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Cathy Aranda


Cathy Aranda (Marketing)

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

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