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APA Style & Citation 7th edition

How to format your paper and cite your sources using 7th ed. APA style.

Citation Rules: In-Text

Watch the short video above to see how to create a proper in-text citation using signal phrases and parenthetical citations. Below, you will find additional information about how to cite your sources within your text.

General rules (all source types):

  • Include the author's last name, year of publication, and specific part (usually page number) for a quote. "Although not required to provide a page or paragraph number in the citation for a paraphrase, you may include one in addition to the author and year when it would help interested readers locate the relevant passage within a long or complex work"(American Psychological Association, 2020, p. 269).
  • Quotes: use quotation marks around the quoted material
  • Paraphrases and summaries: do not include quotation marks
  • Citations at the end of a sentence are before the period


Pages and Specific Parts

When citing a book, journal article, or other paged source, use the page number of the borrowed material.

  • For one page, use p. 
  • For more than one page, use pp. 

When citing a source without page numbers (such as websites), find a way for the reader to locate the information you are using. This could be a section or heading name on a website, a paragraph number (manually count the paragraphs and use the abbreviation 'para.'), a slide number on a PowerPoint, a timestamp for a video, etc.

Immunotherapy "treatment involves a series of injections of purified allergen extracts" (Mayo Clinic, n.d., "Treatment" section, para.3).

To cite a quote from a film or other audiovisual media, use a time stamp in place of the a page number.

(Whedon, 2015, 16:30)


Quotations or Paraphrases

A 'narrative' in-text citation incorporates the citation information within the text you are writing.

Spencer (2006) notes that it is acceptable "to state the author's name at the beginning of the sentence, rather than always putting it in the parenthetical citation" (pp. 5-6)


A 'parenthetical' citation has all of the citation information within parentheses.

Many students still refuse to "separate the author from the citation at the end of the quoted material" (Spencer, 2006, pp. 5-6).


Organization as the Author

If you want to abbreviate the name of the organization. Introduce the abbreviation by first including the whole name, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses.

  • Example: According to the World Health Organization (WHO, 2016), 5-10% of all cancer-related deaths in Bangladesh stem from arsenic poisoning that pollutes the region (para. 9-10).
  • Example: "In Bangladesh, 5–10% of all cancer deaths in an arsenic-contaminated region were attributable to arsenic exposure" (World Health Organization [WHO], 2016, para. 9-10).


Unknown Author

  • Mention the work's title in the text or give the first word or two of the title in the in-text citation
  • Titles of articles are put in "quotation marks"
  • Titles of books are italicized
  • If Anonymous is ever used, treat it as a real name

Example: Acquiring effective study habits is the most important indicator of first-year college student success ("Students," 2002, para. 3).


Personal Communication

This can include private letters, some email, interviews you conduct, etc. They are not recoverable (no one else will be able to find this information) so do not need to be listed on the Reference page but will need to be cited in your text. Follow the same order for other in-text citations - immediately following the quote or paraphrase

First initials and last name of the communicator (personal communication, date of communication).

Example: "The quality of work has increased year to year" (D. Porterfield, personal communication, June 10, 2019).

Secondary Source

If a source you are using refers to another source, try to obtain that other source for a citation. If you can't get to that source use "as cited in" to acknowledge both sources. Include the date of the original source (should be on the source you are using's Reference page); if the date is not listed then omit that part of the citation.

(Greave, 2015, as cited in Schein, 2017) - where the source you have is by Schein from 2017, but you are citing an article by Greave published in 2015. Greave's speech (as cited in Schein, 2017) - when you do not know the date of the original source.

In-text citation format by author type
Type of Author Parenthetical Citation Narrative Citation
One author (Silas, 1989) Silas (1989)...
Two authors (Silas & Breacher, 1990) Silas and Breacher (1990) ...
Three or more authors (Silas et al., 1990) Silas et al. (1990) ...

Group author with an abbreviation*

First citation

Following citations


(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020)

(CDC, 2020)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020) ...

CDC (2020) ...

Group author no abbreviation (Central Penn College, 2019) Central Penn College (2019) ...
Two authors with the same last name

(B. Silas, 1991)

(J. Silas, 1992)

B. Silas (1991) ....

J. Silas (1992) ...

Two sources by the same author in the same year

(Silas, 1990a)

(Silas, 1990b)

Silas (1990a) ...

Silas (1990b) ...

*Group authors with abbreviations are NOT abbreviated on the Reference page, spell out the entire name.