APA In-Text Citation

Are you looking for a simplified version of APA in-text citation review? You don’t need to search again as I have taken pains to read and paraphrase for your understanding.

I remember when I was writing my project, trust me I didn’t know what the words; reference or citation meant, talkless of knowing how to use them.

My supervisor put me through, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you know before time for your seminar or project so that you won’t look so dumb-founded.

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In-text citation means citations made in the body of an article, and they are usually very short and brief. There are two major referencing styles (MLA and APA), but APA (American Psychology Association) style is mostly used in Social Sciences and sometimes in science papers. We are going to look at APA in-text citation style in this article.

APA In-Text Citation Basics

  • When using the afore-mentioned citation style, you must use the Author-date method of intext citation e.g. (Jones, 1998).
  • If you are referring to an idea without exactly quoting the entire material, you can only quote the author’s last name followed by date of publication.
  • Always capitalize proper nouns e.g. D. Jones.
  • When referring to a title in another work, capitalize all initials that are four or more letters long except the word is a verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb or noun then you should capitalize the initials regardless of length e.g. “Perfect Change” or “There Is Nothing Left to Lose”.
  • When capitalizing titles, make sure you capitalize both initials of a hyphenated word e.g. “Natural-Born”.
  • Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon e.g. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  • Italicize or underline the titles of longer works like books, movies, television series, albums or documentaries. 
  • Put quotation marks around the titles of a short work like journal, song titles, television series episodes e.g. “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry”.

Citing Author or Authors

  • A work by one author; e.g. (Jones, 1998).
  • A work by two authors, e.g. ( Wenger & Petty, 1994).
  • Three to five authors, e.g. ( Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry & Harlow, 1991). Note; use only the authors’ last names. If you cite the same authors again within the same article, use et al with the first author’s last name e.g. ( Kernis et al., 1992).
  • Six or more authors; e.g. (Harris et al., 2002). Use the first author’s last name.
  • Unknown author; cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first two words in the parenthesis; titles of books and reports are italicized or underline. Titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks. e.g. …..(” Using APA,” 2003), OR (Anonymous, 2003).
  • Organization as an author; e.g. According to (American Psychology Association, 2005). If the organization has abbreviation e.g. first citation – (Mothers Against Drunk driving [MADD], 2004); second citation in the same article – (MADD, 2004).
  • Works from different authors; e.g. (Berndt, 2002 ; Harlow, 1983).
  • Authors with same last name; use their initials e.g. (E. John, 2001 ; L. John, 1998).
  • Works by same author in the same year; e.g. Research by Berndt (1981a), use a, b, c in small letters to order the works according to which one was first published.
  • Personal communications; if you get an information from a person and want to reference it; e.g. A. P. Smith also claimed that many of his students had difficulties with  APA citation style (personal communication, November 3, 2012). 
  • Indirect sources; if you cite a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase, list the secondary source in the parenthesis e.g. Israel argued that…..(as cited in Kenny, 2003, p. 102).  
  • Sources without page numbers; cite the paragraph e.g. (Hall, 2003, para.5). If the document has heading, use the heading e.g. According to Smith (1998), ….(Mind Over Matter Section, para. 6). 
  • You must write your citations in past or past perfect tense.

Short Quotation

If your direct quotation is shorter than 40 words, use quotation marks, e.g. According to Jones (1998), “students often had difficulty using APA style for the first time” (p. 199). You have to quote page number as well.

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Long Quotation

You won’t use quotation marks for direct quotation longer than 40 words. Start the quotation on a new line, 1/2 inch from the paragraph, maintain double spacing throughout. You must cite the page number because it is direct quotation.

Summary or Paraphrase

When paraphrasing or summarising another work, you don’t need page number or quotation marks, but all other protocols should be observed judiciously.

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