APA in-text citation system is most commonly used in the psychology, sociology, education, and business studies. This article will discuss some general rules for in-text citation in APA system to know about the references in APA system read A Guide to APA References. The APA citation system use in-text citation and references. In APA system you can use notes when you have to provide some details about your in-text citation otherwise notes are not included.
General rules for APA in-text citations
- APA uses in-text citations and notes are used when the researcher wants to add some commentary for the readers.
- APA in-text citation is a parenthetical citation.
- For each in-text citations entry there should have to be a reference entry in the end of the manuscript.
- In general there is author’s last name and the year of publication in the in-text citation.
- The page number can be included when you want to cite a direct quote in the in-text. No page number you can cite the paragraph number in-text.
When there is one author of the book you are citing you can simply write the author’s last name and the year of publication in parenthesis. When the year of publication is not present just write n.d. in place of the year of the publication. (Author’s last name, Year) or (MacDonald, 2008). There is no need for page number in the in-text citation but page numbers will be required in the reference entry.
When there are two authors you can write the last names of each of the authors separated by ampersand. For example (White & Miller, 2009).
In case there are three authors or as many as five, you need to write the last names of each of these authors in the first in-text citation. In each of the later in-text citation of the same work you will write the last name of the first author followed by et al. (First Author, Second Author, & Third Author, Year) or (Ahmad, Hassan, & Kamal, 2000).
Six or more than six authors you can cite the name of the first author followed by et al. For example (First Author, et al., Year) or (James et al., 1999).
There might be no author mentioned on a book that you want to cite. If there is a corporate author you can mention the name of the corporate author like if it is any university publication you can mention the name of that. There might be a resource you want to cite that is published by a company or an organization, cite the name of that company, organization, or government department. For example (University of Colorado, 2000) or (Department of US Taxation, 1998).
The rules will remain the same as for citing any other book in the in-text the only difference will be that the name of the editor will replace the name of the author. If there is one editor or multiple editors follow the same rules that are for citing a book with one author or with multiple authors.
There is no difference between the in-text citation of online books and print books. The URL or DOI is not required in the in-text citation although you should provide it in the reference list. You have to provide the author name and the year of publication in the in-text citation. There should be a detailed entry for that online book in the reference list.
Write the last name of the author and the year of publication, no other information is required in the in-text citation.
List the last names of up to five authors in the in-text citation but not more than five. Journal articles have often a long list of authors involved so you can cite up to five authors. If there are more then five you can cite the last name of the first author and then write et al.
The citation rules for online journals will remain the same. Cite up to five authors with their last names and year of publication. If there is no publication year you can write n.d. When citing the same source again with three to five authors cite the name of the first author followed by et al.
Newspaper or magazine
If there is no author name present you can cite the name of the article. Cite a shortened version of the article name if it is a long one. For example (Climate Change, 2000).
With one author cite the last name of the author and the year of publication. You can also write the month and date as well as the year but that is not necessary. For example (David, 1993, October 13) or (David, 1993).
The same rules will be followed for online newspaper articles for in-text citation. In the reference list entry you have to provide the URL from where the article has been retrieved.
When citing a book review in the text you can write the name of the person who reviewed the book followed by the year the review is published. In the reference list entry you have to provide other details like the name of the magazine or newspaper where the review is published as well as the name of the book.
You have to provide the name of the encyclopedia and the year of publication. If there is no date you can write n. d.
Personal communication or interview
When citing an interview in the text cite the name of the interviewer and the year it has been interviewed. The interviewee name and the title of the interview etc is provided in the reference list entry.
Personal communications are not listed in the reference list therefore when citing personal communication in the text you have to provide full detail including full date. (P. S. King, personal interview, January 6, 2000).
You can cite a website or a web page the same way as you cite a book or any other source. If there is author name and the year or date of publication provide it. If author name is not present provide the title of the web page or the title of the website. If the title of the web page is too long you can write the shortened form of the title. When there is source that does not have a date you can write n.d. in place of the year.
Web page with author
As discussed earlier if the author name and the year of publication are there the web page can be cited in-text the same way as any other source. (Author’s Last Name, Year).
Web page without author
In case there is no author name present you can cite the title of the web page. Long web page titles can be shortened to the first few words from the title. The title of the web page should be in quotation marks. For example (“Web Page Title”, Year). If the web page has no date you can write n.d. instead of the year.
- Lipson, Charles. Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles-MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More. 2nd Ed. U of Chicago P, Chicago & London. 2006. 95-120.
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. <https://www.apastyle.org/manual>