APA In-Text Citation Models

This page will show some of the unique references you may encounter and have difficulty citing, with examples of how to properly write the according in-text citation. Check out the basic in-text citation format required for APA here. If you have any further questions feel free to stop by the Center for Writing & Communication, email us, or give us a quick call!

APA style references are cited in-text using an author–date citation system. The year should appear next to the author’s name. If you’ve identified the author previously in the sentence, you do not need include the author’s name in the in-text citation, unless you are talking about multiple sources in one paragraph and wish to use an in-text citation to avoid any possible confusion. In APA style, the date of publication is very important. Researchers want to know you have read the very latest research.

Multiple Authors

Two Authors  Cite both authors’ names every time you use them in a sentence or a citation, separated by an ampersand (&) when in parenthesis, but “and” when in the actually body of the text.

  • Smith and Jones (1995) found…. and then  (Smith & Jones, 1995).

Three-Five Authors Cite only the first author’s name, followed by “et al.” and the year for ALL in-text citations, even the first one. An exception is if you are using multiple sources by the same authors, and it is necessary to add the names of additional authors to make the distinction between the sources clear.

  • Smith, Jones, and Robins (2000) found…  (Smith et al., 2000).

Six or More Authors Cite only the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” and the year for ALL in-text citations, including the first one.

  • Smith et al. (2011) found… and then (Smith et al., 2011)

**Note: If two citations share last names, include as many names as necessary until the citations are distinguishable.

  • Smith, Jones, and Robins (2000) found…; Smith, Jones, and Tanner (2000) also discovered…


Quotation that Runs More Than 40 Words

If your quote if longer in length, then the quote begins on a separate line after the lead-in phrase, is indented 5 spaces, does not use quotation marks, locates the parenthetical note after the period, and is continuously double-spaced like the rest of the paper would be.

Murray (2009) writes:

I have had a fascination with psychology ever since I can remember. I think my first experience with chemistry happened when I was four years old, and my mother gave me a handful of baking powder and told me to pour vinegar over it to see what would happen. Magic. I’ve been hooked ever since.


Groups as Authors

Sometimes the names of groups as authors are occasionally abbreviated; be sure to include enough information that the reference entry is easily recognizable. For short group names, or if the abbreviation wouldn’t be recognizable as the same name, spell the group name out every time.


Same Surname

Include the initials of the authors’ first names if more than one author has the same last name, even if there are different publication dates.


Author Known, No Year Known

“N.d.” stands for “no date.” Use this when you’ve made a good faith effort to locate the year of publication. This often happens when citing electronic publications.

  • Jones (n.d.), writes that educators should consider studying cognitive science (Professional Development section, para. 18).


Author Unknown

Refer to the title when no author is attributed. This title is shortened from “Empirical Research in the Elementary Classroom.”

  • According to “Empirical Research” (2009), teachers can employ the scientific method in their classrooms to study different aspects of the learning process (p. 18).

Citing a Long Title

The title is shortened from “Unlikely Source of New Teachers”; long titles should be shortened in ways that are logical.

  • According to an article in Newsweek (2009), more and more retirees are becoming teachers as a way of giving back to their communities (“Unlikely Source,” p. 18).


Author Unknown, No Date, No Page Numbers (Quotation)

As stated on the PRSA website, “For more than a decade, PRSA’s leaders have brought attention to the issue of diversity in the public relations profession” (PRSA Diversity Efforts section, n.d., para. 1).


Secondary Sources

A source is considered secondary when an author refers to another author’s publication. For example, let’s say you’re reading a book on treatment plans written by Allred who quotes Jones, who wrote a book on education and the scientific method. You would format your citation as follows:

  • Jones reports that the scientific method is a valuable tool in teacher research (as cited in Allred, 2009).


Interviews, Email, and Other Personal Communication

Cite interviews, emails, and other personal communication list in text.

  • Martens concurs that it’s important for students to understand the very rhetorical nature

of a résumé (personal communication, September 29, 2011).


Multiple Citations

If citing two or more works in one set of parentheses, organize them alphabetically per the reference list (or by year if the author is the same), separated by a semi-colon.

  • (Jones 2011; Smith, 1996,  2000)