Skip to main content

APA Citation Style: In-Text Citations

This guide provides information on the 6th edition of the APA citation style as used at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. This guide will be updated to the 7th edition in Fall 2020.


Use in-text citations within the paper to indicate where certain ideas or words were derived. This citation should include the author’s last name and the date of publication.  The page number is also included when using a direct quotation. Don't forget to list a corresponding reference list entry at the end of your work. 


(Surname, Year)
(Smith, 2000)

Direct Quote
(Surname, Year, Page)
(Smith, 2000, p. 124)


  • If a work does not have an author or editor, list the first word or two of the title in the parentheses.
    • EXAMPLE: ("Using APA", 2000)
  • If a work does not have a date, list n.d. within the parentheses.
    • EXAMPLE: (Smith, n.d.)
  • If the work, such as a website or brochure, does not have pages, a paragraph or heading can be used in the in-text citation.  Page or paragraph numbers are used when quoting directly from a source.
    • EXAMPLE: (Smith, 2000, para. 3)

How to Cite a Direct Quotation

Short Quotations

When you incorporate a direct quotation into a sentence, you must cite the source. Fit quotations within your sentences, enclosed in quotation marks, making sure the sentences are grammatically correct.


Gibaldi (2003, p. 109) indicates that, “Quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively.”

Remember that “[q]uotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (Gibaldi, 2003, p. 109).

In 2003, Gibaldi wrote that, “Quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (p. 109).


Longer Quotations

If a quotation is 40 words or more, omit quotation marks and use a block format in which the quotation is indented about ½ inch (or 5 spaces) from the left margin. Maintain double-spacing within the block quote. Cite the source an parentheses at the end of the block quote, after the final punctuation mark.

Co-presence does not ensure intimate interaction among all group members. Consider large-scale social gatherings
in which hundreds or thousands of people gather in a location to perform a ritual or celebrate an event. In these
instances, participants are able to see the visible manifestation of the group, the physical gathering, yet their ability
to make direct, intimate connections with those around them is limited by the sheer magnitude of the assembly. (Purcell, 1997, para. 14)


How to Cite When Altering a Direct Quotation

When you need to leave out part of a quotation to make it fit grammatically or because it contains irrelevant/unnecessary information, insert ellipses (three dots).
If you must add or slightly change words within a quotation for reasons of grammar or clarity, indicate the change with square brackets.

How to Paraphrase

Even if you put information in your own words by summarizing or paraphrasing, you must cite the original author and the date of publication. You are also encouraged to provide a page or paragraph number (check with your instructor to see if page numbers are required).


Within the research paper, quotations will have more impact when used judiciously (Gibaldi, 2003).

How to Cite The Same Source Multiple Times in a Paragraph

Longer Paraphrased Sections
If you are writing a paragraph that is citing the same source multiple times, you do need to clearly identify all information in that paragraph that is from that source. It would be awkward to put a citation at the end of each sentence but an end of paragraph citation is not sufficient.  According to the current APA manual, "Within a paragraph, when the name of the author is part of the need not include the year in subsequent nonparenthetical references to a study as long as the study cannot be confused with other studies cited in the article. Do include the year in all parenthetical citations" (p. 174).

In other words, include a full in-text citation the first time you mention the source in your paragraph. As you are writing the rest of the paragraph, refer back to that source as needed so that your reader knows you are continuing to use that same source.  If you are using a direct quotation, always include the year as well as the page number. 


Example: (Adapted from: )

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health.  Willemssen (2010) recently conducted research in Wisconsin that shows that frogs are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. Willemssen's research indicates that when frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. One very telling quote from Willemssen's research is that "87% of wetlands where two-headed frogs are found have high levels of  environmental contamination" (2010, p. 341). 

How to Cite Information for Tables, Charts, and Images

It is important to note that the APA Manual does not provide specific directions related to figures (e.g., images, charts, and tables). Consult with your instructor to confirm the format they require for figures within an APA style paper.

If an in-paper reference is required, this reference appears as a caption underneath the figure that you copied or adapted for your paper. Begin the caption with the word "Figure", a number, and a title. Follow this with "Source" and a full citation for the figure.  If you adapted the figure, begin the citation with "Adapted from" followed by the full citation.


Figure 1: Proper Desk Setup
Source: Adapted from Smith, L. (2016). Making the office safe. Toronto, Canada: Pearson Publishers.


  • Looking for images that have an appropriate licence for use in your project? Check out the Finding Images guide.


How to Cite Multiple Entries from Same Website

According to the APA Styleblog, "if you use information from multiple pages on a website, create a separate reference list entry for each page, with in-text citations that correspond to the appropriate reference list entry."

To differentiate these entries on the references list, add a letter after the date (2017a) or n.d. (n.d.-a) after the entries have been placed in alphabetical order.

Smartland Hotel pricing decreased last year (Smartland, n.d.-c) even as room bookings increased (Smartland, n.d.-a).

Reference List:
Smartland. (n.d.-a). Booking rates. Retrieved from
Smartland. (n.d.-b). Festivals, holidays, and concerts. Retrieved from
Smartland. (n.d.-c). Room rates. Retrieved from

How to Cite Secondary Sources

Sometimes an author writes about research that someone else has done, but you are unable to track down the original research report. In this case, because you did not read the original report, you will include only the source you did consult in your References. The words “as cited in” in the parenthetical reference indicate you have not read the original research.

You read Bertram's report that has an interesting result from Fong's 1987 study. You cannot locate Fong's study.

Fong’s 1987 study (as cited in Bertram, 1996) found that older students’ memory can be as good as that of young people, but this depends on how memory is tested.

[Do not include Fong (1987) in your References; do include Bertram (1996).]

How to Cite Personal Communications

According to APA guidelines, personal communications (e.g., emails, phone calls, interviews and lectures) are not typically included in the list of references. Only an in-text citation is used which includes the person's name, the phrase "personal communication", and date.


A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2015).

Many students had difficulty with APA style in writing classes (A. P. Smith, personal communication, November 3, 2015).


Consult your instructor to confirm whether you are required to list interviews, emails, phone calls, and lectures as part of the References page. 

chat loading...