APA, 6th edition – In text citations

There are several ways of citing your sources. The most common are MLA, APA and Chicago. The style depends on various factors such as the subject area of your course or your teacher’s preference. Be sure to check your assignment for the correct style before you start your list of references.

Posted with permission of the McMaster University Libraries

APA in-text citations use an author-date system. If the author’s name is a part of the text, it is immediately followed by the date in parentheses. The page number comes at the end of the citation, in parentheses. If the author is not named in the text, include the author’s name, the date and the page numbers in parentheses at the end of the cited material. This is known as a parenthetical reference.

The in-text citation gives just enough details to point your reader to the source of information found in your list of references. For a sample paper in APA style visit the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

One author

Indicate the author’s last name, the year of publication and the page number(s). The name may be mentioned in the text or within the parentheses at the end of the cited material. Examples.

Two authors

Indicate both last names, the date and the page number. When using a parenthetical reference at the end of the cited material, separate the authors’ names by an ampersand (&). Example.

Three to five authors

The first time you cite the work, indicate all of the authors’ last names. If the authors are included in the text separate the last two names with the word “and.” When using a parenthetical reference, separate the last two authors’ names by an ampersand (&). Example.

In subsequent citations use the first author followed by “et al.” and the year. The name and date may be mentioned in the text or in the parenthetical reference. Example.

Works by individuals who are not the author
Follow the name with a label that describes the role of the person. Examples.

Six or more authors

Indicate only the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.” and the year. The name and date may be mentioned in the text or within the parentheses at the end of the cited material. Examples.

Corporation or organization as author

Indicate the name of the group, corporation or organization in the text or in parentheses at the end of the cited material. Example.

If the organization has a familiar abbreviation, include the abbreviation in square brackets the first time it is cited and use just the abbreviation in further citations from the same organization. , 2003)

Second citation : (CAMH, 2003)”]Examples.

No author

Include the title in your in-text citation or if the title is long, include the first couple of words of the title. The title of an article, a chapter or a web page is put in quotation marks; the title of a book or a report is italicized. Example.

No date

Use n.d. where you would normally place the year.

No page numbers

Many online sources don’t have page numbers. In this case, use a paragraph number if it is provided or count the number of paragraphs from the beginning of the text and include them in the parentheses: (Smith, 2009, para. 23). If the document has headings but no paragraph numbers, include the heading and the number of paragraphs down from the heading. Example.

Whole work

This may be a book, a journal article, a website or other long work. Simply include the author’s name and date. Do not include page numbers. Example.

When citing an entire website, without making reference to a specific idea or text, include the electronic address in your text. Example.

Personal communications

Personal communications (email, private letters, personal interviews, memos, etc.) are not included in the reference list. This type of source is included only in your text.

Give the author’s initials and last name as well as an exact a date as possible. Example.

Indented quotations (block quotations)

If you are using a longer quotation it must be indented 2.5 cm from the main margin and double-spaced. At the end of the quote type a space and then insert the parenthetical reference. Note that the parentheses come after the concluding punctuation.


The researchers found that:

As long as programs target the known risk factors and
adhere to the principles of effective intervention, youths
should be affected in positive ways. Importantly, addressing
even a few risk factors can have modest effects for youths
who experience multiple risk factors in multiple domains.
(Esbensen et al. 190)

Indirect sources (source quoted in another source)

If you are using a quote that is found in a source written by someone else, begin the parenthetical reference with “qtd. in” (meaning quoted in).

Your list of works cited would include an entry for the source you consulted: in this case the book by Knudston and Suzuki. Example.

The examples found in the APA section are based on the style guide Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed., 2010 and the APA Style Guide to Electronic References, 6th ed., 2012.