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APA Citation Guide

Butler's guide to APA citations

APA in-text citations usually consist of three parts: author, year published, and page or paragraph number. Depending on your sentence construction, these could appear separately or together. Typically, your writing will use either a signal phrase or a parenthetical citation to indicate your source. See below for definitions and examples.

Page numbers are preceded by p. (a single page) or pp. (two or more pages). Paragraph numbers are preceded by para. (an abbreviation for paragraph).

SIGNAL PHRASE

Format: Signal phrase with author name (year published), "quote" or paraphrase (page number).

signal phrase lets your reader know that you are paraphrasing or quoting an idea from someone else's work. If your paper relies heavily on the work of one or more sources, a signal phrase introducing the source is recommended.

Note that if you are quoting a source, in-text citation always comes after the closing quotation mark.

Examples

In her work Pride and Prejudice, Austen (1995) makes the famous observation that "it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (p. 3).

Duhigg (2012) argues that we can change our habits, but because they are deeply ingrained into the brain, it can be a struggle to do so (p. 20).

PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS

Format: "Quote" or paraphrase (author, year, page).

When an author's name is not included in the text of your paper, a complete parenthetical citation is necessary. Note that when you quote from a source, your paper will flow better if you integrate the quote into a sentence.

Note that if a quote falls in the middle of a sentence, the page where you found it comes immediately after it. The author and year would still go at the end of the sentence.

Examples

We can change our habits, but because they are deeply ingrained into the brain, it can be a struggle to do so (Duhigg, 2012, p. 20).

Although "research is a collective process, one shared and added to by all researchers" (p. 90), it is not OK to plagiarize someone else's work (Upson et al., 2015).

It is not OK to plagiarize someone else's work, even though "research is a collective process, one shared and added to by all researchers" (Upson et al.,2015, p. 90).

References

Austen, J. (1995). Pride and prejudice. The Modern Library.

Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House.

Upson, M., Hall, C. M., & Cannon, K. (2015). Information now: A graphic guide to student research. University of Chicago Press.

AUTHOR NAMED IN YOUR PAPER

Format: Signal phrase with author's name (year), paraphrase or "quote" (p. page number).

Duhigg (2012) argues that we can change our habits, but it can be a struggle to do so (p. 20).

ONE AUTHOR NOT NAMED IN YOUR PAPER

Format: Signal phrase, "quote" or paraphrase (Author, Year, p. page number).

We can change our habits, but because they are deeply ingrained into the brain, it can be a struggle to do so (Duhigg, 2012, p. 20).

TWO AUTHORS NOT NAMED IN YOUR PAPER

For two authors, add ampersand (&) before final name (Author & Author, year, p. page number). 

Format: Signal phrase, "quote" (Author & Author, Year, p. page number).

Although “research is a collective process, one shared and added to by all researchers,” it is unacceptable to plagiarize someone else's work (Upson & Cannon, 2015, p. 90).

THREE OR MORE AUTHORS NOT NAMED IN YOUR PAPER

Give only the first author followed by the notation et al. Et al. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase "et alia," which means "and others." Note that since you are not abbreviating "et," you should not place a period after it.

Format: Signal phrase, "quote" (Author, et al., Year, p. page number).

In recent history, staghorn corals have dominated coral reefs; however, they are currently “in marked decline” (Renema et al., 2016, p. e1500850).

NO AUTHOR

If the source has no named author, use a shortened version of the title surrounded by quotation marks. If it is a very short title, you may use the entire title. 

Format: Signal phrase, "quote" ("Shortened Title," year, p. page). OR Signal phrase with title, "quote" (year, p. page).

 

Scholarly journals are “the repository of the accumulated knowledge of a field” (Publication Manual, 2010, p. 9).

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010), scholarly journals are “the repository of the accumulated knowledge of a field” (p. 9).

SOURCE WITH NO PAGE NUMBERS

When citing an article without page numbers in your paper, you will use paragraph numbers instead (count the number of paragraphs from the beginning of the article). If there are headings in the article, use the heading your paragraph appeared in followed by the word "section" and the paragraph number (count the number of paragraphs from the heading).

Format: Signal phrase, "quote" (Author, year, para. number). OR Signal phrase, "quote" (Author, year, Heading Your Paragraph Appears In section para. number).

According to DeRuy (2016), a baby’s caretakers “have an enormous role in creating an environment where children have both the freedom and support to learn” (para. 5).

By the late 1990s, eyewitnesses were no longer considered reliable, and "the public's faith in the ability of prosecutors and police to get the right man was shaken" (Shaer, 2015, Part Two, para. 1-2).

acknowledges
adds
admits
agrees
argues
asserts
believes
claims
comments
compares
confirms
contends
declares
denies
disputes
emphasizes
endorses
grants
illustrates
implies
insists
notes
observes
points out
reasons
refutes
rejects
reports
responds
suggests
thinks
writes

QUOTING SOURCES

When you quote a source, you include the author's exact words in your text. Use "quotation marks" around the author's words. Include signal phrases and an in-text citation to show where the quote is from.

PARAPHRASING & SUMMARIZING SOURCES

When you paraphrase or summarize a source, you restate the source's ideas in your own words and sentence structure. Select what is relevant to your topic, and restate only that. Changing only a few words is not sufficient in paraphrasing or summarizing. Instead, you need to completely rephrase the author's ideas in your own words. Since you are restating the idea in your own words instead of quoting it, do not use quotation marks.

Always use in-text citations when you paraphrase or summarize so that the reader will know that the information comes from another source. Continue to use signal phrases as well.