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APA Quick Citation Guide

In General


APA style features the author-date method of citation. (See section 8.10 onward in the Manual for details.)

Each source (e.g., article or book) used in a paper is cited with two parts: an in-text citation within the paper and a corresponding reference entry. The in-text citation briefly identifies the piece and enables readers to identify it in the reference list at the end of the paper.

There are two types of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative. The parenthetical method incorporates the author name and publication date within parentheses and the narrative method works the author name and publication date into the parts of the sentence.

If quoting directly using either method of in-text citation, be sure to include the page number (page is abbreviated as "p." / multiple pages as "pp.") or paragraph number to help readers find the reference.


See the boxes below for more specific information.

Direct Quotation

When directly quoting, APA style requires a parenthetical including the three components of author, year, page number (page abbreviated as "p." or "pp." for multiple pages).

For works that do not use pagination, use the approach that will get readers to the source including a heading or section name, a paragraph number, or a combination of both.


"You may remember me from such hits as Christmas Ape and Christmas Ape Goes to Summer Camp" (McClure, 2018, p.352).

One Work by One Author

  • When a work has one author, always cite the author's name every time the reference occurs in text.


Quimby (2000) compared monorail systems 

In 2000 Quimby compared monorail systems 

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

One Work by Two Authors

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


As Smithers and Skinner (2020) demonstrated has been shown (Nahasapeemapetilon & Ormand, 2015)​​

Three or More Authors

  • When a work has three, or more authors...
    • Cite the name of the first author plus "" in every citation, unless doing so would create ambiguity.
    • When the in-text citations with three or more authors shorten to the same form, write out as many names as needed to distinguish the references and abbreviate the rest of the names to "", include only the surname of the first author followed by et al. (an abbreviation for "and others").      



Vargas et al., 2020


But, two works with the following authors:

Hibbert, Rivera, Monroe, Foster, Zweig, and Colossus (2017) 
Hibbert, Rivera, Da Silva, Zweig, Colossus, and Foster (2017)

Are cited as follows to avoid ambiguity:

Hibbert, Rivera, Monroe, et al. (2017)
Hibbert, Rivera, Da Silva, et al. (2017). 

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)
  • General mentions of websites, periodicals, software and apps where no specific information is used  (Cite only in text.) -SurveyMonkey ( 

Basic Citation Styles Table

Note: This table can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition), p.266. Our thanks to the Lynda M. Olson Library at Northern Michigan University for posting it. 
From Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed., p. 266), by the American Psychological Association, 2020 ( Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.

APA Style (7th Edition) | Lydia M. Olson Library

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