In-Text Citation Guide

What are in-text citations?

An in-text citation is a citation within your writing to show where you found your information, facts, quotes, and research. APA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the year of publication, for example: (Field, 2005). For direct quotations, include the page number as well, for example: (Field, 2005, p. 14). For sources such as websites and e-books that have no page numbers, use a paragraph number instead, for example: (Fields, 2015, para.3).

In-text citations follow any sentence in your writing that contains a direct quote, or paraphrased or summarized information from an outside source.

Each in-text citation in your writing must also have a corresponding entry in your References list. There are two exceptions to this rule: personal communications, like interviews, emails, or classroom discussion posts, and classic religious texts, like the Bible or the Koran. These types of sources should be cited by in-text citations only.

In-Text Citation Infographic

Always include in-text citations for:

All in-text citations require the same basic information:

Basic Examples of In-Text Citations

NOTE: If you mention the author and the year in your writing to introduce the quote or paraphrased material, then you need only include the page or paragraph number in the in-text citation.

For example:

According to Jenny Cook-Gumperz (1986), “The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (p. 27).

Additional In-Text Citation Models

For online sources:

NOTE: Because most online sources do not contain page numbers, use the paragraph number. While many online sources may include numbers beside the paragraphs, others may not, and you might have to count them yourself. In the case of an extremely long article or an online book, you may include the section/chapter number and title and then the paragraph number, like this:

(Smith, 2012, Chapter #, “Section Title,” para. 12).

For online sources:

Sometimes the quote you want to use is quoted by someone else in another source, like your textbook. You can still use that quote inside the textbook – this is called citing from a secondary source. In this case, the secondary source is your textbook and its author; the primary source is the quote and its author.

So, in your writing, introduce the original author and the year of publication, and then in the in-text citation you’ll include the secondary source information. For instance, you might want to include a quote by Sarah Vowell that is cited in your textbook by Ryan Smith. You would write this:

According to Sarah Vowell (2008), “The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief” (as quoted in Smith, 2012, Section #, “Section Title,” para. #).

NOTE: When citing from a secondary source, only the secondary source information appears in the references list. The primary source author and original date of publication only appears in your writing.

Moving the Citation Information Around

In-text citations contain three pieces of information: author, publication date, and page/paragraph location. However, if in your writing you place this information elsewhere, like in the introductory phrase before the quote, you do not need to repeat it in the citation. Use the citation to “catch” anything you haven’t already included.

Here are three examples where thecitation information is placed in different locations around the quote:

“The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (Cook-Gumperz, 1986, p. 27).

According to Jenny Cook-Gumperz (1986), “The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (p. 27).

According to Cook-Gumperz, “The systematic development of literacy and schooling meant a new division in society, between the educated and the uneducated” (1986, p. 27).

NOTE: Parentheses that contain citation information come after the closing quote mark but before the punctuation ending the entire sentence. Block quotes are the exception, where the parenthetical citation comes after the period at the end of the quote.


For a comprehensive overview of crediting sources, consult Chapter 6 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.