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APA Citation Style Guide (6th): In-text Citations


APA uses the Author-Date method. When you are quoting or paraphrasing someone’s words, you must give that person credit with an in-text citation.  Your citation within the text should include the author’s last name, followed directly by the year.

(author's last name, year)

When directly quoting someone, your citation should list the author, year and page number (or paragraph number, as an alternative). 

(author's last name, year, page number)

If there is no author, use the title of the work in place of the author’s name.


There are three ways of setting up an in-text citation, depending on your sentence. 

#1:  If the name of the author appears in your text, insert the year of publication in parentheses after the author’s name:

In-text Citation:  Malchiodi (2007) argues that structured art projects are beneficial to homeless youth.

#2:  If the author’s name is not in your text, add the author’s name and publication year at the end of the sentence:

In-text Citation:  Art therapy falls into two camps: those who believe in its ability to heal and those who regard it as a communication tool (Malchiodi, 2007).

#3: If you are quoting directly from the author's work, include the page number or, if from an online source without pagination, include the paragraph number:

In-text Citation with page number: Malchiodi rightly observes that artists "have long understood the potential of art to express and make sense of our inner world" (Malchiodi, 2007, p. 42).

Complete citation:  

Malchiodi, C.A. (2007). The art therapy sourcebook. NY: McGraw-Hill.

In-text Citation with paragraph number: People planning for retirement need more than just money—they also “need to stockpile their emotional reserves” to ensure they have adequate support from family and friends (Chamberlin, 2014, para. 1).

Complete citation:

Chamberlin, J. (2014, January). Retiring minds want to know. Monitor on Psychology, 45(1). Retrieved from


If there are two authors, list both names every time you refer to the work.

In-text Citation: As Stephens and Rains (2011) demonstrate, using complementary information . . .

In-text Citation: As the study shows, (Stephens & Rains, 2011), using complementary . . .

If there are three to six authors of the work you are citing, list all the names the first time they are cited.  After that, you can list only the first author’s last name, followed by et. al. and the date).

In-text Citation: First time cited: Powell, Zehm and Garcia (1996) found that strategies for selecting schools varied.

In-text Citation: Subsequent citing: Powell et al. (1996) point out that teacher education must be ongoing.

Complete Citation:

Powell, R.R., Zehm, S., & Garcia J. (1996.) Field experience: Strategies for exploring diversity in schools. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

If there are more than six authors, only cite the first author, followed by et. al. and the date.

In-text Citation: Elliott et al. (1987) .....

Complete Citation

Elliott, R., Hill, C.E., Stiles, W.B., Friedlander, M.L., Mahrer, A.R., Margison, F.R. (1987). Primary therapist response modes: Comparison of six rating systems. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 55(2), 218-223. Retrieved from