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APA 7th ed. Style Guide

This guide gives an overview of formatting a research paper using APA 7th edition citation style

What is in-text citation?

What is in-text citation?

In-text citation is used to give credit to the research that influenced your work. In-text citations are a shortened form of a full citation found within the body of the text. In-text citations also provide a way for the reader to match the quote with the full citation and do further research of their own. In-text citation should not hinder the reader from understanding or reading your paper.

In-text citations help you avoid plagiarism and self-plagiarism.

Components of in-text citation

In-text citations in APA format are given in author date style. You need:

  • Author's last name (first initial if more than one author with same name)
  • Publication date
  • Page number, paragraph number, line number, etc. (direct quotes ONLY) 

When to use in-text citation?

Each quote or reference in your paper should have an in-text citation. Each in-text citation should have a corresponding full text citation in the reference list UNLESS it is a personal communication, general mention of a whole website, or quotes from research participants.

Types of Quotations

Direct Quote:

Direct quotes copy another work word for word. Use direct quotes sparingly. Direct quotes are appropriate for profound ideas or thoughts and things that cannot be said any other way. 

Short Quotation

  • 40 words or less
  • written inside quotation marks within the body of the text

Long Quotation

  • also called a block quotation
  • more than 40 words
  • written as a "block" off set from the regular text 


Paraphrases are summaries of someone's thoughts, work, or ideas. A paraphrase is written in your own words and not written inside quotation marks.

In-Text Citation Examples

Type of Citation Narrative Citation

Parenthetical Citation

1 Author

Fryer (1975)

(Fryer, 1975)

2 Authors

Williams and Wu (2004)

(Williams & Wu, 2004)

3 Or More Authors

Komasi et al. (2016)

(Komasi et al., 2016)

Group Author with abbreviation

First citation


Subsequent citation


National Institute of Health (NIH, 2020)


NIH (2020)


(National Institute of Health [NIH], 2020)


(NIH, 2020)

Group Author no abbreviation

Merriam-Webster (2018)

(Merriam-Webster, 2018)

Personal Communication

J. Peters (personal communication, January 4, 2020)

(J. Peters, personal communication, January 4, 2020)

Additional Notes:

  • When direct quoting or citing a specific part of a source/work include information about the location in addition to the author-date citation 
    • example: (Blume, 1981, p. 77)
  • When direct quoting from the Bible, use the book, chapter, and verse instead of page number
    • example: (Life Application Study Bible, 1996/2007, Genesis 1:1)
  • Use the title of the work if the author is unknown
    • example: (Interpersonal Skills, 2019)
  • If authors have the same last name, use their first initial to clarify the in-text citation
    • example: (J. Williams, 2019; P. Williams, 2017)
  • If a work has been translated, reprinted, republished, or reissued, include the original publication date separated by a slash then publication year of the work you are using
    • example: (Piaget, 1966/2000)