APA In-Text Citations

APA style uses in-text citations to give credit to authors when using their research (facts, figures, statistics) or quoting and paraphrasing them. In-text citations include two parts, the lead-in phrase and the parenthetical citation.


The lead-in phrase is an important element of the in-text citation to include when integrating sources into your own writing. As stated above, it is when lead-in phrases are left out that students sometimes get accused of plagiarism because it is not clear where a paraphrase has begun.


As in the example above, if you inserted a quotation into an essay, and then you spent two paragraphs and part of a third explaining the quotation in terms of your main argument and showing why it supports that point of view. What will happen if you then include a paraphrase that is several sentences long without the lead-in phrase? Again, if you don’t include a lead-in phrase, the reader will not know you have begun paraphrasing your source and this could lead to accusations of plagiarism, even if unintentional.


You will additionally notice in many journal articles you read in psychology, education, counseling, and other disciplines that use APA style that page or paragraph numbers are frequently left out. Leave out page numbers when you are summarizing an entire article or the results of several studies. If you quote directly, give a statistic, or discuss the results of a particular study mentioned in an article, you should give a page number. If you paraphrase even just a small piece of an article, we strongly encourage you to give a page number.