APA Format In-Text Citation

APA Format – How to cite in APA Style.

What are “APA Style” citations?



How do I use the APA format when paraphrasing, quoting and citing authors, websites and texts?

What is the correct APA paper format?



What is “APA Style”?

APA Style is a style of writing, which was created by the American Psychological Association for use in academic texts, such as scientific journal articles, essays and textbooks. It is established as one of the most important writing formats in the world, especially in the field of academia, and is known for its relatively simple citation methods.

The format, which was established in 1929, is described in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and was intended to make scientific writing easier to comprehend. Meanwhile, subsequent editions have also offered practical advice on how to write about sensitive topics like race, gender and sexual orientation.

How to Use APA In-Text Citation for Quotations.

When writing with the APA format, in-text citations are required whenever you make use of somebody else’s words or ideas. For direct quotations of less than 40 words, there are three options for how to make a citation that adheres to the style guide and these are as follows:

APA In-Text Citation Examples:

“free will is just an illusion” (Ferdinand, 2014, p. 120)

In 2014, Ferdinand wrote that “free will is just an illusion” (p. 120)

Ferdinand (2014) hypothesised that “free will is just an illusion” (p. 120)

As you will notice, the amount of information that goes into the brackets depends on how much information appears in the text itself. Quotations of less than 40 words always require quotation marks. If the author is unknown, you can replace the author’s name with the title of the text, although the title should also be placed in quotation marks.

When quoting a piece of text that is longer than 40 characters, the quotation should appear on a new line and the entire quote should be indented. No quotation marks are required in this instance and the citation itself should go at the end of the quotation, on a separate line of its own, but still indented.

How to Use APA in Text Citation when Paraphrasing.

When paraphrasing, as opposed to making use of a direct quote, it is still important to include a citation and with the APA format, this can be achieved in the following way:

It has been suggested that free will, as a concept, is merely an illusion (Ferdinand, p. 120)

When paraphrasing, it may be helpful to include a paragraph number, especially if the quote is coming from a single page document. This can be done in the following way:

It has been suggested that free will, as a concept, is merely an illusion (Ferdinand, para. 6)

How to Use APA in Text Citation for Author Citation.

When using ideas from a text written by two authors, you should cite both authors every time you reference their work. This follows the same basic principle as referencing a single author, although the word “and” should be written in full when part of the text itself, but should be written as “&” when used within brackets, e.g.

“free will is just an illusion” (Ferdinand & Johnson, 2014, p. 120)

Ferdinand and Johnson (2014) argue that “free will is just an illusion” (p. 120)

In situations where there are three, four or five authors, all of their surnames should be referenced the first time. Any subsequent citations should then use the first author’s name, followed by “et al.” instead:

Ferdinand, Johnson and Jones (2014) said “free will is just an illusion” (p. 120)

Ferdinand et al. (2014) suggest free will is nothing more than an illusion.

If there are more than five authors, you should utilise the “et al.” format seen above every time the source is referenced within your text, including the very first mention of it.

apa format in text citations
Examples on how to use APA In-Text citations.

How to Cite Websites/Online Resources in APA Style.

With modern academic writing, it is increasingly common to need to cite online sources, rather than published books and journals. In order to do this, you should reference the author or website, followed by the date of publication. Then you should write the title of the web page, followed by the URL.

The precise format for citing website and online sources in the APA format can be seen below:

Nichols, S. (2011, November 1) Is Free Will an Illusion? Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-free-will-an-illusion/

American Psychological Association (n.d) APA Convention. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/convention/

APA Paper Formatting.

If you are writing a paper in the APA Format, you should adhere to use general guidelines:

  • Write on white 8 ½  x 11” paper.
  • Double space the entire research paper.
  • Use 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and on both sides.
  • In every paragraph, please indent the first word 1/2 inch.
  • It is recommended to use the Times New Roman font with size 12 in APA Style papers.
  • Include a short page header (“running head”) at the top of every page. Insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper. Type the Short Title justified to the left with all capital letters.
APA Format paper
Example of the preferred APA Paper Format.

Are There Any Free Online APA Citation Generators?

For those who are struggling to learn the APA format, or those who simply want to make the process of citing sources more simple, there are a number of free online citation generators available. Perhaps the easiest to use is the Citation Machine, which allows users to easily cite books, journals, websites, magazines and more.

Other examples of citation generators that can be found online include EasyBIB, which also has a more advanced paid service, and BibMe. All of these services are free to use and will allow users to search for the exact source they want to cite. They will then automatically generate a citation which adheres to the APA format, based on the type of source being referenced, and this can then be easily copied and pasted into a word processor.

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