The information below is copied with permission from the APA's official blog, and contains many useful links to examples, tutorials, explanations and frequently asked questions about APA style.
Each fall the APA Style Blog Team puts together a “best of” feature, and this year we continue the tradition with an updated set of posts from the APA Style Blog and our parent site, apastyle.org. We hope it will be helpful as new batches of students set upon the task of learning and implementing APA Style. You can get the full story in our sixth edition Publication Manual (also available as an e-book for Kindle) and our APA Style Guide to Electronic References, plus more information via the links below.
APA Style Basic Principles
How in-text citations work
How reference list entries work (and how to handle missing information)
How to find the example you need in the Publication Manual
The principle of “cite what you see, cite what you use”
Citing a class or lecture
School intranet or Canvas/Blackboard class website materials
Classroom course packs and custom textbooks
Research participant interview data
Reference lists versus bibliographies
MLA versus APA Style (in-text citations and the reference list)
“How-To” Citation Help
Secondary sources (sources you found in another source) and why to avoid them
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+)
Lists (lettered, numbered, or bulleted)
Keep in Touch!
We hope that these resources will be helpful to you as you write using APA Style. If you are interested in receiving tips about APA Style as well as general writing advice, we encourage you to follow us on social media. You can find us (and tell your friends) on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Why we include parenthetical / in-text citations:
Researchers include brief parenthetical citations in their writing to acknowledge references to other people’s work. Generally, APA parenthetical citations include the last name of the author and year of publication. Page numbers are also included when citing a direct quote.
If some of this information is included in the body of the sentence, exclude it from the parenthetical citation. In-text citations typically appear at the end of the sentence, between the last word and the period.
Parenthetical citation without author’s name in the text:
Harlem had many artists and musicians in the late 1920s (Belafonte, 2008).
Parenthetical citation when author is mentioned in the text:
According to Belafonte, Harlem was full of artists and musicians in the late 1920s (2008).
Parenthetical citations with multiple authors:
Works with two authors
Include both names, separated by an ampersand (&).
Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart & Colbert, 2010).
Works with three to five authors
- Include all names in the first in-text parenthetical citation, separated by commas and then an ampersand (&).
- For all subsequent in-text parenthetical citations, include only the first author, followed by “et al.” and publication year if it is the first citation in a paragraph.
First in-text parenthetical citation:
Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart, Colbert, & Oliver, 2010).
All subsequent in-text parenthetical citations:
The event resulted in thousands of participants flocking to the National Mall in support of the cause (Stewart et al., 2010).
Works with six or more authors
Include only the last name of the first author, followed by “et al.” and publication year in all parenthetical citations.
The study did not come to any definitive conclusions (Rothschild et al., 2013).
Citing sources without an author:
If a work has no author, include the first few words of the bibliography entry (in many cases, the title) and the year.
- Use double quotations around the titles of articles, chapters and/or websites.
Statistics confirm that the trend is rising (“New Data,” 2013).
*Note: Unlike in your reference list, parenthetical citations of articles, chapters and/or website should have all major words capitalized.
- Italicize the titles of periodicals, books, brochures or reports
The report includes some bleak results (Information Illiteracy in Academia, 2009).
Citing part of a work:
When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page number or section identifier, such as chapters, tables or equations. Direct quotes should always have page numbers.
One of the most memorable quotes is when he says, “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!” to Augustus (Green, 2012, p. 272).
If the source does not include page numbers (such as online sources), you can reference specific parts of the work by referencing the:
Paragraph number (if given) with the abbreviation “para. xx”
He quickly learned that pandas were not considered good pets (Chan, 2011, para. 3).
- Section or heading and the number of the paragraph in which the information is found. For lengthy headings, use the first few words of the title in the parenthetical citation
The sample population included both red and giant pandas (Chan, 2011, Methodology section, para. 1).
Citing groups or corporate authors:
Corporations, government agencies and associations can be considered the author of a source when no specific author is given.
Write out the full name of the group in all parenthetical citations:
The May 2011 study focused on percentages of tax money that goes to imprisonment over education funding (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 2011).
However, you may abbreviate the group name if the group’s name is lengthy and it is a commonly recognized abbreviation in all subsequent parenthetical citations.
The report found that over a half billion of taxpayer dollars went to imprison residents “from 24 of New York City’s approximately 200 neighborhoods” (NAACP, 2011, pp. 2).
Citing classical works
For classical sources, such as ancient Greek works, cite the year of the translation or version used. Precede this information with “trans.” or “version,” respectively.
(Homer, trans. 1998).
When citing specific content from these sources, include the paragraph/line numbers that are used in classical works. This information is consistent across versions/editions, and is the easiest way to locate direct quotes from classical works.
The Bible extols the virtues of love; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Cor. 13:4 New International Version).
Note: Remember, you do not need to create formal citations in your reference list for classical works.
Citing and formatting block quotes:
When directly quoting information from sources in your writing, you may need to format it differently depending on how many words are used.
If a quote runs on for more than 40 words:
- Start the direct quotation on a new line
- Indent the text roughly half an inch from the left margin
- If there are multiple paragraphs in the quotation, indent them an extra half inch
- Remove any quotation marks
- Double-space the text
- Add the parenthetical citation after the final sentence
…here is some text from the book that clearly defines early on in the novel:
He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor.