Skip to main content
site header image

BHS_RESEARCH HELP: APA - How to Do Parenthetical (In-text) Citations

Purdue OWL

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) from Purdue University is a great web-based source of information about how to cite information in academic projects.  This page has abbreviated information from OWL--for more detailed information or more obscure cases, go to the OWL website itself.  (Use the menus on the left side of your screen to choose a topic you want to learn about (try looking at the topic "APA In-text Citations: The Basics" and "APA Reference Page")

How to Cite Short Quotations

If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199). 

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

From Purdue OWL's APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

How to Cite Long Quotations

Long quotations

Place direct quotations that are 40 words, or longer, in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Jones's (1998) study found the following: 
Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time citing  sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the  fact that many students failed to purchase a style  manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199).

from Purdue OWL's: APA Formating guide https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

How to Cite a Summary or Paraphrase

Summary or paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)

According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

From Purdue OWL's APA formattinghttps://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

Citing 1 or 2 authors

A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in the parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in the parentheses.

Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) supports...
(Wegener & Petty, 1994)
From Purdue OWL's APA Formating: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Citing 3 -5 Authors

A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in the parentheses.

(Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993)

In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses.

(Kernis et al., 1993)
From Purdue OWL's APA formattinghttps://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Unknown Author

Unknown Author: If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized or underlined; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks.

A similar study was done of students learning to format research papers ("Using APA," 2001).
From Purdue OWL's APA formattinghttps://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Author is an Organization

Organization as an Author: If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source.

According to the American Psychological Association (2000),...

If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.

First citation: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000)
Second citation: (MADD, 2000)
From Purdue OWL's APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Personal Communication

Personal Communication: For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).
A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2002).
From Purdue OWL's APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Citing Electronic Sources

Electronic Sources

If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date style.

Kenneth (2000) explained...

Unknown Author and Unknown Date: If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").

Another study of students and research decisions discovered that students succeeded with tutoring ("Tutoring and APA," n.d.).

From Purdue OWL's APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Electronic Sources DO NOT have page #s!

Sources Without Page Numbers

When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help readers find the passage being cited. When an electronic document has numbered paragraphs, use the abbreviation "para." followed by the paragraph number (Hall, 2001, para. 5). If the paragraphs are not numbered and the document includes headings, provide the appropriate heading and specify the paragraph under that heading. Note that in some electronic sources, like Web pages, people can use the Find function in their browser to locate any passages you cite.

According to Smith (1997), ... (Mind over Matter section, para. 6).

Note: Never use the page numbers of Web pages you print out; different computers print Web pages with different pagination.

From Purdue OWL's APA formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/

Images

These elements appear below the visual display. For the figure number, type Figure X. Then type the title of the figure

For FULL details, click here: APA Image Directions