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Willis N. Hackney Library

FYS 102: Bulldog Skills Online Workshop: APA-Style Citations, 7th Edition

In-Text Citations

As we have already seen in Step 2, in-text citations appear in the body of your paper where necessary in the narrative, and they act as an abbreviation or shorthand to refer your reader to the more complete Reference citations at the end of your paper. 

Tip:  It's easier to build your References page citation first, then you can more easily create the in-text (parenthetical) citations within your paper. 

Before we begin using our full Reference page examples to build in-text citations, we need to talk about two different kinds of in-text citations necessary in APA style, and the ways to format each:

  1. An in-text citation for work that you paraphrase (or put in your own words) the ideas, thoughts, philosophies, etc.,  of your source; and 
  2. An in-text citation for instances when you are quoting word-for-word from the author's original (using the same words, punctuation, spelling, etc., of the original source).  These direct quotations would either be enclosed in quote marks if short (under 40 words), or set off in a block quote, if long (40 or more words).  [We will not address block quotes in this workshop.] 

Now scroll down to the next section, to see two examples of how to create an in-text citation for a paraphrase.

Building an In-Text Citation for a Paraphrase (Putting the Author's Ideas Into Your Own Words)

We will use an example Reference citation for a book with one author to create our in-text citation for a paraphrase (putting an author's material into our own words).  Note that the basic elements required for an in-text citation for a paraphrase are the author(s) name(s), and the year of publication (no page numbers are required in APA style for paraphrases).  The author's name and year of publication are enclosed in parentheses ( ):


  • Reference citation for the book:  
    • Zakaria, F. (2008). The post-American world. New York: W. W. Norton. 
  • Corresponding In-Text citation for a paraphrase:
    • (Zakaria, 2008)

This in-text citation (highlighted in yellow below) goes immediately after the text in your paper where you are using information from this source, and before the period ending your sentence.  See the following example:

The author identifies three major power shifts that have taken place over the last five hundred years, ushering in new eras of power.   The first he identifies as the rise of the Western world;  the second as the increasing prominence of the United States; and the third as the rise of other nations and entities (Zakaria, 2008).

Now that you know how to cite a paraphrase in an in-text citation, let's scroll down to the next section to find out how to cite direct quotes (using the author's actual words).

Building an In-Text Citation for a Direct Quote (Using the Author's Words Exactly)

In APA Style, direct quotations (where you use the author's exact words, phrasing, punctuation, etc.), require one more element than paraphrases--the page number(s) from which the material is taken--in addition to the author and date.  They also require that the author's words be enclosed in double quotes (" "), or if longer than 40 words, be offset in a block quotation (we will focus on the shorter quotations here):


How will these major power shifts affect the current dominant position of the United States in terms of economy, business, culture, and more?  In other words, asks the author, "what will it mean to live in a post-American world?" (Zakaria, 2008, p. 5).

  • Notice that the direct quote from the author is enclosed in double quote marks (" "), and the in-text citation (highlighted in yellow here) follows the closing quote mark and is enclosed in parentheses, followed by a period.
  • The quote comes from page 5 of the book, so the page number is included following the abbreviation for page, "p."  (Note that while you don't include "p." in the Reference citation, you do include it in an in-text citation for a direct quote.) 

​Now you are ready to put your new knowledge about Reference and In-Text Citations into practice.  Move on to Step 8 (below right or in the left sidebar), where you will do an APA Assessment, using the skills you've learned and putting them into practice.  Directions will be given about the assessment in Step 8: APA Assessment.