In-Text Citations

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are one part of APA’s two-part citation system.  In-text citations are provided in the body or text of a paper and include the author’s name, date, and page or paragraph number, so readers can easily see when a source is being used.  Additional rules apply for in-text citations for varying source types and paraphrasing.  An in-text citation can be included either as a signal phrase before the cited material or a parenthetical citation at the end of the cited material.

Signal Phrases

A signal phrase introduces quoted, paraphrased, or summarized information using the author’s name and publication year.  Here is an example of a signal phrase citation for a paraphrase:

Smith (2010) recognized that more online learning opportunities are needed to reach marginalized high school students and decrease the dropout rate.

An example of a signal phrase that introduces a quote is shown below.

Smith (2010) stressed, “The importance of dedicated study time for online courses is crucial for student success” (p. 3).

Parenthetical Citations

If a signal phrase is not used, a parenthetical citation goes after the paraphrase as shown below.

Online learning opportunities are needed to reach marginalized high school students and decrease the dropout rate (Smith, 2010).

For a quotation, the parenthetical citation would look like this example. Notice the citation contains the page number because it refers to a quotation in a book, and the period for the sentence goes after the citation.

Many researchers have agreed: “Online education is a viable way to help working adults earn a college degree, but it is not for everyone” (Smith, 2010, p. 4).

Author Names

Sometimes the author’s name is not an individual but a corporate author, a sponsoring organization, company, or government agency. If there is no author and no corporate author, use a shortened version of the title for the in-text citation as shown below.

Corporate author

For a paraphrase (National Geographic, 2011)

For a quotation (National Geographic, 2011, p. 78)

No author and no corporate author

For a paraphrase (“Whales of the Atlantic,” 2010)

For a quotation (“Whales of the Atlantic,” 2010, p. 9)

Electronic Publications

Electronic publications often don’t have pagination, so you will need to cite the paragraph (para.) number instead of the page number. To determine the paragraph number, name the heading of the section in which the paragraph is found, and count the paragraphs to get to the one that contains your quote. Use that number in the citation: (“Introduction,” 2011, para. 6).

Remember, if you paraphrase, you do not need to include a page or paragraph number. Additionally, the URL for a web page is not part of an in-text citation except in the rare cases that the URL is also the author’s name such as