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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

American Psychological Association (APA): In-Text Citation

Basic Format

The basic format for APA in-text citation is as follows:

(Author's last name, year of publication)

If the author’s last name appears in the citation, then only the year is required:

Multiple Authors

When a work has only two authors, use both of their names each time their work is cited, joined by an ampersand (&) if in parentheses, or by the word "and" if in text:

For three, four, or five authors, refer to all authors in the first citation, then use the first author’s last name followed by the abbreviation "et al." (not italicized and with a period after "al") in all subsequent citations:

For six or more authors, use the first author's last name followed by the abbreviation et al.:

Different Authors with the Same Last Name

When citing different authors with the same last name, include their first and middle initials, so that a reader can differentiate between them:

More Than One Work by the Same Author

If you are citing more than one work by the same author, include enough information so that your reader can differentiate between them. For instance, if you have used two studies by the same authors (from different years), you simply need to include their dates of publication:

or, if you are citing both at once:

If you are citing more than one work from the same year, use the suffixes "a," "b," "c" etc., so that your reader can differentiate between them (these suffixes will correspond to the order of entries in your references page):

Multiple Authors Cited Together

Order the authors in alphabetical order by last name. Semicolons are used to differentiate between the entries:

Group Authors

When identifying group authors, use the same format as noted for single authors above, but substitute the company name.

If the name is easy to abbreviate, then write out the full name in the first citation, and abbreviate it in all subsequent citations. If it is difficult to abbreviate, write out the full name each time:

No Author Available

If no author is available, use a short form of the title (the shortest form that will allow you to recognize the work properly). For instance, if you are working with a study called "The Effects of Aspirin on Heart Attack Victims" you might use the following:

If you were working with an entire book called Aspirin and Heart Attacks, and the book had no author, you might cite the source as follows:

If the text is attributed to "Anonymous," then use the following format:

Citing Quotations

To cite a direct quote, include the name(s) of the author(s), the date of publication, and the page number:

Personal Communication

Personal communications receive a slightly more elaborate in-text citation, since they are not cited in the references section of an APA-style document:

For more specific information, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Fifth Edition) or see the APA style website.