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APA (American Psychological Association) style is most frequently used within the social sciences, in order to cite various sources. This APA Citation Guide provides the general format for in-text citations and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed.
In APA style, two citations are used to cite a source:
- A short citation used in the text (called the in-text citation).
- A full citation (called the reference) in the reference list at the end of a paper.
The in-text citation is a short citation that is placed next to the text being cited. The in-text citation lets the reader know that the information came from the cited source. The reference list entry provides complete details of a source and is shown at the end of a document.
In order to properly cite a source in APA style, you must have both citation types in your paper. Every in-text citation has a reference list entry. Every reference list entry has at least one (maybe more) corresponding in-text citation.
The basic elements needed for an in-text citation are the author’s surname and the publication year. Sometimes, page numbers are also included, especially when quotes are mentioned in the text. In-text citations are mentioned in the text in two ways: as a narrative citation or a parenthetical citation.
Narrative citations are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. Usually, narrative citations use the author’s name in the text and the publication year is enclosed in parenthesis after the name. An example of a narrative citation for one author is given below:
Barbarin (2013) examined socioemotional learning in African boys.
Parenthetical citations add the author’s name and the publication year at the end of the sentence in parenthesis. An example of a parenthetical citation is given below:
Inhibition and working memory in young children were studied extensively (Aase, 2014).
When are page numbers are included?
Page numbers are referred to within in-text citations when quotes are used. Examples of both narrative citations and parenthetical citations are given below.
Ahmed (2004, p. 44)
Ahmed (2004, pp. 53–56)
(Ahmed, 2004, p. 44)
(Ahmed, 2004, pp. 53–56)
Examples of in-text citations
Here are a few examples of in-text citations for a different number of authors:
Use the surname of the author in in-text citations. Use a comma before the publication year in parenthetical citations.
Separate the author surnames with an “and” in narrative citations. Use an ampersand symbol (&) in parenthetical citations.
Popescu and Pennacchiotti (2010)
(Popescu & Pennacchiotti, 2010)
Three or more authors
Use the first author surname name followed by et al.
van Dijck et al. (2018)
(van Dijck et al., 2018)
Treat the group author similar to how you would treat author names.
Auger Collaboration (2003)
(Auger Collaboration, 2018)
If there is no author for the source, use the source title in place of the author’s name. In general, sources with no author appear as parenthetical citations.
When you add such in-text citations, you will either italicize the text or place it in quotations. If the source title is italicized in the reference list entry, italicize the title in the in-text citation. If the title is not italicized, place it in quotation marks.
(Nothing here, 1997)
Parenthetical, journal article:
(“Examination of parrotfish impact on coral reefs,” 2018)
Reference list entries
Reference list entries are also called full citations. There are four main details that most reference list entries have:
- The author field.
- The publication year.
- The title of the work (italicized or in “quotation marks”).
- The source from where the reference can be obtained (e.g., URL, DOI, etc.).
Depending on the source type, you will also need additional details like volume number, publication title, contributors, medium, etc.
Examples of reference list entries
Below are a few examples of different types of reference entries along with their templates. The examples given are for one author. Note that “F” and “M” in the templates denote the first and the middle initials of an author’s name.
The title of the book is set in italics and sentence case.
Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the book. Publisher.
Ahmed, S. (2014). The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh University Press.
The title of the article is in sentence case. The first word of a subtitle is capitalized. The journal title and the volume number are set in italics. If an article has a DOI it should always be included. Use “https://doi.org/” before the DOI. If there is no DOI for an online journal, include the URL instead. Do not use a period after the DOI or URL.
Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. URL or DOI
Collins, R. (2004). Rituals of solidarity and security in the wake of terrorist attack. Sociological Theory, 22(1), 53–87. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9558.2004.00204.x
Newspaper or magazine article
Newspaper and magazine articles take the same style. The title of the article is in plain text and sentence case; the title of the newspaper or the magazine is set in italics. Follow the format given in the template and example for setting the date, month, and year.
Surname, F. M. (Date of publication). Title of the article. Title of the Newspaper or Magazine. URL
TNN. (2021, July 18). Parents have a habit of comparing kids to others but you don’t need to. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com//home/sunday-times/parents-have-a-habit-of-comparing-kids-to-others-but-you-dont-need-to/articleshow/84507857.cms
The webpage title is in plain text, while the Website name is set in italics. Follow the format given in the template and example for setting the date, month, year, and URL.
Author or Organization Name. (Year, Month Day of Publication ). Webpage title. Title of the Website. URL
Lamberth, H. (2021, August 12). Binge drinking is problem drinking: How to get back in control. PSYCOM. https://www.psycom.net/binge-drinking-problem-drinking
The video title is set in sentence case and italicized. The first word after a colon is capitalized. The word “Video” is enclosed in brackets after the video title. This is followed followed by the word “YouTube.” Finally, the link is given. Note that a period is not given after the URL.
Uploader’s name, F. (Year, Month Day Published). Video title [Video]. YouTube. URL
Ananta, P. (2021, February 21). APJ Abdul Kalam inspirational quotes [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjfL51RFL2k
Reference entries for different number of authors
The number of authors in the source decides how the author name(s) will be set in the references list. Here, you will see many journal references with different numbers of authors.
List the author name followed by the publication year.
Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range.
Spitka, T. (2017). Mediating among mediators: Building a consensus in multilateral interventions. International Negotiation, 23, 1–30.
Separate the author names by an ampersand. Use a comma between the first author’s initial and the ampersand symbol.
Author Surname, F. M., & Author Surname, F. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. DOI or URL
Bernstein, B., & Solomon, J. (1999). Pedagogy, identity and the construction of a theory of symbolic control: Basil Bernstein questioned by Joseph Solomon. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 20(2), 265–279. https://doi:10.1080/01425699995443
When you add two organizations in the author field, do not use a comma before the ampersand.
Organization 1 & Organization 2. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. DOI or URL
American Psychological Association & American Psychological Society. (2020). Psychology of children. Journal of Child Psychology, 34(23), 1–12.
List all author names. Do not forget to insert an “ampersand” before the last author. The example given below is for three authors.
Author Surname, F. M., Author Surname, F. M., & Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. DOI or URL
Pyysiäinen, J., Halpin, D., & Guilfoyle, A. (2017). Neoliberal governance and ‘responsibilization’ of agents: Reassessing the mechanisms of responsibility-shift in neoliberal discursive environments. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 18(2), 215–235. https://doi:10.1080/1600910X.2017.1331858
More than 20 authors
List the names of the first 19 authors followed by an ellipsis. Add the final author name after the ellipsis but without the ampersand symbol before the last author name.
Author Surname1, F. M., Author Surname2, F. M., Author Surname3, F. M., Author Surname4, F. M., Author Surname5, F. M., Author Surname6, F. M., Author Surname7, F. M., Author Surname8, F. M., Author Surname9, F. M., Author Surname10, F. M., Author Surname11, F. M., Author Surname12, F. M., Author Surname13, F. M., Author Surname14, F. M., Author Surname15, F. M., Author Surname16, F. M., Author Surname17, F. M., Author Surname18, F. M., Author Surname19, F. M,¼ Last Author name, F. M. (Publication Year). Article title: Subtitle. Journal Title, Volume(issue), page range. DOI or URL
Fox, J., Harper, D., Bird, A., Kindler, F. A., Feng, H.-G., Seng, A. L., Sevel, K., Ed, E., Nell, A., Ten, T., Elin, K. J., Thomas, A., Thendy, S., Fall, W., Fint, E., Gurdy, A. K., Dondy, D., Egert, E., Nanda, A. L., ¼ Long, G. (2015). Pedagogising knowledge: Bernstein’s theory of the pedagogic device. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 23(4), 571–582.
For additional information on APA format, select from one of the source types below. For help creating APA citations, check out the BibMe APA citation generator.
- How to cite a Book in APA
- How to cite a Magazine in APA
- How to cite a Newspaper in APA
- How to cite a Website in APA
- How to cite a Journal Article in APA
- How to cite a Film in APA
- How to cite an Interview in APA
- How to cite a Lecture in APA
- How to cite a TV Show / Radio Broadcast in APA
- How to cite an Encyclopedia in APA
- How to cite a Photograph in APA
- APA 7 Updates
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- How do I format an in-text citation for a source with more than 20 authors in APA style?
As per Section 8.17 from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, for any work that has three or more authors, the name of the first author and “et al.” should be used as in-text citation. The Latin phrase “et al” means “and others” and is used to reduce the citation length.
Example In-Text Citation Entry:
No stretch of reason can categorize cultural appropriation as imaginary (Rahim et al., 2020).
Sometimes, the same set of initial authors and the same publication year appear in a paper. In such rare circumstances, as per Section 8.18 of the APA manual, write out as many names as needed to differentiate between these similar references.
Example In-Text Citation Entries:
Miller, John, Reighstag et al. (2018)
Miller, John, Amudsen, et al. (2018)
- How do I format an in-text citation for a group author in APA style?
As per Section 8.21 and Table 8.1 of the APA Publication Manual, a citation for a group author may be abbreviated in in-text citations. It is not compulsory to do so; however, if the group author is well known or if it appears at least thrice in the paper, then the name of the group may be abbreviated.
Parenthetical in-text citation template and example:
(Full Name of the Group [Abbreviation], year)
(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2018)
Whether it is a narrative or parenthetical in-text citation, the full name of the group should be mentioned in the first instance, along with the abbreviation.
Narrative in-text citation examples:
The American Psychological Association (APA, 2017) argues that… (first instance)
As per the APA (2017), it is standard practice that… (subsequent instances)