APA documentation relies on a combination of in-text citations and a reference list at the end of the paper. In-text citations include some combination of the author’s last name, the date of publication, and (if citing a direct quote) page number, all separated by commas. The reference list is a list of complete publication information from the resources you cited in your paper, alphabetized by the author’s last name. For more information on the reference list, see the quicktip by that title.
If the author’s name is included in a signal phrase, only the date needs to be placed in parentheses:
Patterson (1998) has noticed the same phenomenon.
If you simply allude to a study, both the author’s last name and the year must be listed in parentheses:
This same phenomenon has been noted elsewhere (Patterson, 1998).
If the original source has page numbers, indicate the location of the quote by using the abbreviation p. or pp. followed by the page number(s):
“The likelihood that adopted children will develop normally is highly contingent on the attitude of their parents” (Patterson, 1998, p. 201).
If the original source does not have page numbers (e.g., it is a non-paginated online source), indicate the location of the quote by using the section title and the abbreviation para. followed by the paragraph number:
“Social workers act honestly and … promote ethical practices on the part of the organizations with which they are affiliated” (NASW, 1999, Ethical Principles section, para. 6).
Variations of in-text citations occur in situations of multiple works by the same author(s) in the same year, multiple authors, institutions or groups as authors, specific parts of a source, personal communication, etc. For more variations, see the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), pp. 174–179.
Writers can use signal phrases in several ways when they introduce quoted or cited material into their texts. Below are some of the most common:
According to Vandenberg (1999),...
Smith (1998a) suggested that...
As Hacker (2003) pointed out in her introduction,...
Several scholars (Grimm, 1996, 1999; Mick, 1999; Trimbur, 1987) have noted...
When choosing from the list, be sure you are using transitive and intransitive verbs correctly. For help, check a good Learner's Dictionary like the one linked to each word below.
acknowledged | added | admitted | argued | asserted | believed | claimed | commented | compared | concluded | confirmed | contended | continued | declared | denied | described | disputed | emphasized | explained | found | granted | hypothesized | illustrated | implied | insisted | noted | noticed | observed | pointed out | proposed | reasoned | refuted | rejected | replied | reported | responded | showed | studied | suggested | wrote
List adapted from Hacker, D. (2003, p. 336.). A writer’s reference (5th ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
For more information:
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
American Psychological Association. (2012). APA style. Retrieved June 26, 2012, from http://www.apastyle.org
Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2011). A writer’s reference (7th ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.