APA In-Text Citation in Research Paper

The APA in-text citation follows the author-date system of citation. This means that the researcher has to cite author’s last name and the year of publication in the text that can be separated by a comma. There are certain situations where page number should also be cited but in most other cases the page number does not appear in the text citation. The reason for the in-text citation is to avoid the interruption of flow that occurs when one has to check the source at the end of the manuscript. Although for every in-text citation there should be an entry in the reference list.

APA in-text citation rules

There are some basic rules that one needs to follow for in-text citation in the APA style. Though it seems very simple to cite just the author’s last name and the year of publication there are certain situations where it is not as simple. There are different types of sources all need different treatments. The researcher needs to know the rules of APA in-text citation for different sources.

Basically, there are two elements to be considered in the APA in-text citation: the signal phrase or the parenthetical citation. The researcher can cite the author’s last name and the date of publication in the signal phrase. If he does not cite the author-date in the signal phrase than the author and date should appear in parentheses.

  • The first rule is to include author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses in the text. The name of the author and the year of publication should follow by a comma. Example: According to Lewis (1990), there are many reasons for the stillbirths and there are many personal, cultural, and sociocultural factors that need to be assessed.
  • In case of a direct quotation, the in-text citation should also provide the page number. Example: Maxwell says that (2012), “the number of dropouts from high school has been reduced in Virginia since 2000” (p.56).
  • When multiple authors are present for a source you need to site all of them with their last name and separate the last two with an ampersand “&”.
  • In case there is no author mentioned on the source but an editor is present you can mention editor’s last name in the parenthetical citation.
  • When the author name is unknown you have to mention title and date in the in-text citation. If the title is too long you can write just the first few words from the title.
  • When you are using multiple works in one place separate each citation with a semicolon, like, there are studies that confirm that long screen time impacts psychological development of children during later years (George, 2000; Maxwell, 2002).


  • Tensen, B. L., Research Strategies for a Digital Age, 2nd Ed,  Thomson Wadsworth Pub, Canada, Pp-15-154
  • APA Quick Citation Guide, http://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext, Penn State University Lib, last updated on Mar 19, 2018



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