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APA Quick Citation Guide

In General


APA journals use the author-date method of citation.

Surname of the author (not including suffix such as Jr.) and the year of the publication are inserted at the appropriate point.

Elements of a parenthetical reference include the last name of the author, and year the work was published. If quoting directly the page number (page is abbreviated as "p." / multiple pages as "pp.") or paragraph number is also required.


See the boxes below for more specific information.

Direct Quotation

When directly quoting, APA requires a parenthetical including the three components of author, year, page number (page abbreviated as "p.") [Note: for works that do not use pagination list the paragraph number].


"You may remember me from such hits as Christmas Ape and Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp" (McClure, 1998, p.352).

One Work by One Author


Quimby (2000) compared monorail systems

In a recent study of monorail systems (Quimby, 2000)

In 2000 Quimby compared monorail systems

One Work by Multiple Authors

  • When a work has two authors, always cite both names every time the reference occurs in text.


As Smithers and Skinner (1993) demonstrated has been shown (Nahasapeemapetilon & Ormand, 1989)


  • When a work has three, four, or five authors...
    • Cite all the authors the first time the reference occurs.
    • In subsequence citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al. (including the period)
    • Cite the year if it is the first citation of the reference within a paragraph.


Hibbert, Rivera, Monroe, Foster, Zweig, and Colossus (1994) found
[Use as first citation in the text]

Hibbert et al. (1994) found
[Use as subsequent first citation per paragraph thereafter.]

Hibbert et al. found
[Omit year from subsequent citation after first citation within a paragraph.]


  • When a work has six or more authors, cite only the surname of the first author followed by et al.


Wiggum et al. (1983) found 
[First in a paragraph citation]

Wiggum et al. also found 
[Omit the year after the first citation in the same paragraph]

  • Exceptions in Multiple Authors...    

If two references with the same year shorten to the same form, cite the surnames of the first authors and of as many of the subsequent authors as necessary to distinguish the two references, followed by a comma and et al.


If there are two resources with the author:
Meyers, Bobbins, & Powers, 1994, and Meyers, Powers, Bobbins, & Groening, 1994
both shorten to Meyers et al., 1994
Bradley, Ramirez, and Soo (1994) and Bradley, Soo, et al. (1994)

No Author or Anonymous Author

  • For works with no author listed cite the first few words of the reference list entry followed by a comma and the date
  • For anonymous works cite the word Anonymous followed by a comma and the date.


(Anonymous, 1998)

("Springfield's Elite", 2008)

Other Examples

  • Authors with same surname - S. Duff (1959) and R. Duff (1989) also found
  • Two or more works by the same author(s) - Past research (Jones & Muntz, 1981, 1983)
  • Works by same authors with same pub. date - Several studies (Brockman & Pie, 1978a, 1979b)
  • Works by different authors are listed in the same parentheses in alphabetical order - Several studies (Frink & Stu, 1979; Moleman, 1978)
  • Specific part of a source - (Pennycandy, 1980, chap. 35)
  • For letters, conversations, etc. (Cite only in text.) - S. Stanky (personal communication, November 1, 2000)

Basic Citation Styles Table

Note: This table can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition), p.177. Our thanks to St.Francis University, Loretto, PA for creating it.  
American Psychological Association. (2010). Table 6.1 basic citation styles. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

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