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APA Style, 7th Edition

A guide to using APA Style for writing research papers.

It is very important to insure that any item listed in a parenthetical or in-text citation corresponds to an item in your reference list.  Make certain that author, title, and publication information are listed exactly the same in both citation types.

Parenthetical and Narrative Citations in APA

APA uses parenthetical or in text citations where the last name of the author, date of publication, and specific page or chapter are placed in parentheses within the text. Examples may be found in  APA section 8. 

Most parenthetical citations, placed immediately after a quotation or paraphrase, must include the following elements as shown in section 8.10-11.

  • Include only the author's last name without any initials or suffixes followed by a comma.
  • Include only the year of publication.
  • When citing a specific quotation, idea, or figure from a specific page of the source, indicate the page number, chapter, or figure or table number after the publication year with a comma in between.  The word page may be abbreviated but not chapter or figure. See 8.13 for additional examples.
  • Place all elements in parentheses with the period after the closing parentheses.

Narrative citations incorporate the author and publication date within the sentence. In most instances, the author's name will be given and the publication date placed in parentheses immediately after. In some instances, the date may be included in the sentence without parentheses. 

8.12 Multiple Works in One Citation

When utilizing multiple sources in a single instance, group all of the sources together in a single note. Sources should be listed alphabetically in the order found in the reference list and separated by semicolons. 

List two or more works by the same author in chronological order

To highlight specific works that are particularly relevant to your point, place those works first in alphabetical order. Then use a semi-colon and the phrase see also before listing additional citations also in alphabetical order.

If citing multiple sources in a sentence as a narrative citation, no specific order is required.

8.14 Unknown or Anonymous Author

If no author is listed, refer to the work by title within the text and parenthetical citation.

If the author is officially listed as "anonymous," APA indicates that word should be treated as the author's real name in both the parenthetical citation and reference list.

8.17 Number of Authors in In-Text Citations

  • For one or two authors, include both author names in every citation. 
  • For three or more authors, include the name of the first author followed by et al.
  • The exception is when using et al would create confusion because more than one reference begins with the same authors.
  • In those cases, write out all of the names until there is a difference. 
  • If there are multiple authors remaining, use et al.
  • If there is only one additional author, write out that name as well.
  • Use an ampersand (&) between names for two authors and before the last author's name when multiple authors are listed.
  • In a narrative citation, write out the word and.

8.19 Works with the Same Author and Date

References by the same author with the same publication date should be listed in chronological order by the specific date and then place a lower case letter immediately after the year in the in-text citation. 

8.20 Authors with the Same Name

When citing more than one work by authors with the same last name, include the author's initials in all text and parenthetical citations in order to differentiate between works.

8.21 Group Authors

If a group name has a familiar abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets after the full name for the first usage and then utilize the abbreviation for the following citations. 

If two groups share the same abbreviation and both groups are cited in a paper, spell out both group names every time.