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APA In-Text (Parenthetical) Documentation

In APA style, source material is cited using a system that emphasizes the author and date of publication in its in-text citations. These in-text citations—used when source material is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized—point to full bibliographic citations located in the reference page at the end of the document. Here are general guidelines for in-text citations that cover the use of authors' names, placement of in-text citations, and treatment of nonrecoverable and electronic sources.

Use of Authors' Names

In APA style, only the author's last name is used in the document as a whole and within in-text citations in particular.

If the author's name is mentioned in the text

Most often, an author's last name appears in the text with the date of publication immediately following in parentheses:

Bolles (2000) provides a practical, detailed approach to job hunting.

If the author's name is not mentioned in the text

When the author's name does not appear in the text itself, it appears in the parenthetical citation followed by a comma and the date of publication:

Interactive fiction permits readers to move freely through a text and to participate in its authorship (Bolter, 2001).

Note: If you cite the same source a second time within a paragraph, the year of publication may be omitted.

If there are two authors

When a work has two authors, always cite both names every time the source is cited in the text:

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) define a team as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (p. 45).

If the authors' names appear in the text itself, connect the names with the word and; however, if the authors' names appear parenthetically, connect the names with an ampersand (&):

A team is defined as "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993, p. 45).

If there are three, four, or five authors

When you cite for the first time a work with three, four, or five authors, cite all authors:

Cogdill, Fanderclai, Kilborn, and Williams (2001) argue that "making backchannel overtly available for study would require making its presence and content visible and its content persist, affecting the nature of the backchannel and raising social and ethical issues" (p. 109).

(Again, if the authors' names appear parenthetically rather than in the text itself, connect the final two names with a comma and an ampersand). In all subsequent citations, include only the name of the first author followed by et al. (the abbreviation for the Latin phrase meaning "and others"):

Cogdill et al. (2001) assert that "backchannel is multithreaded, substantial, and governed by many social conventions" (p. 109).

Again, if the authors' names appear parenthetically rather than in the text itself, connect the final two names with a comma and an ampersand.

If there are six or more authors

If a work has six or more authors, cite the last name of the first author followed by et al. in all citations:

Adkins et al. (2001) studied the use of collaborative technology during a multinational, civil-military exercise.

If two authors have the same last name

If a document includes sources by two authors with the same last name, include the first and middle initial of each author in all text citations:

R. P. Allen (1994) and D. N. Allen (1998) have both studied the effects of email monitoring in the workplace.

If two or more sources are cited

When citing two or more sources by different authors within the same citation, place the authors' names in parentheses in alphabetical order, followed by the year of publication and separated by a semicolon:

Hypertext significantly changes the process of information retrieval (Bolter 2001; Bush, 1945; Landow 1997).

If no author is identified

If no author is identified, use an abbreviated title instead, followed by the date. Use quotation marks around article or chapter titles, and underline book, periodical, brochure, and report titles:

The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems has grown substantially over the past five years as companies attempt to adapt to customer needs and to improve their profitability ("Making CRM Work").

Placement of Citations for Quoted Material

Specific page numbers for paraphrased or quoted material appear within the parenthetical citation following the abbreviation for page (p.). The location of the parenthetical citation for a quote depends upon the placement of quoted material within the sentence:

Treatment of Nonrecoverable Sources and Recoverable Electronic Sources

Nonrecoverable sources

Personal communications (letters, interviews, email, and other nonrecoverable sources) are cited in the text of the paper rather than in the reference list at the end. Provide the initials and the last name of the author.When citing an email or letter, provide the date the communication was sent. When citing an interview, provide the date the interview occurred:

R. N. Valesquez (letter to author, November 17, 2000) noted misapplication as the source of poor product results.

B. O'Connor (personal interview, March 3, 2001) indicated that an environmental task force is being established to evaluate the most pressing problems and strategies for addressing them.

Recoverable electronic sources

When citing recoverable electronic sources in text (that is, those sources that have an Internet address), use the author-date method described above. Also, when quoting or paraphrasing source material from an Internet source, include either the paragraph number or "n.p." (for no page) directly following the quote or paraphrase:

Wigand and Benjamin (1995) predict "an evolution from manufacturer-controlled value chains to electronic markets" (n.p.).


© 2004 The Write Place

LEO: Literacy Education Online

This handout was written by Judith for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN, using the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association; it may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/research/apaintext.html

Updated: 6 March 2004