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Citing an Author or Authors in APA Format

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APA format specifies how citations should appear in-text.

In-text citations should also follow proper APA format.

Image: Kory Twaites
When talking about APA format, people often tend to focus on the reference section. However, your in-text citations are just as important. APA format establishes a number of clear rules for how to cite works using author information. In-text citations vary based on the number of authors the source is attributed to.

No Author:

While most articles, books, and other reference materials will include an author attribution, some sources lack information on authorship. How to you cite these resources in APA format? In-text citations should use a short article title enclosed in parentheses and the date. When article titles are long, simply use the first word or two of the title.

For example:
The study revealed a strong positive correlation between the two variables ("Learn APA," 2006).

One Author:

When a book, article, or other source lists only one author, simply provide the author's last name followed by the publication date.

For example:
...students demonstrated solid understanding of the concepts and information (Jones, 2001).
or
Jones (2001) found that students demonstrated a solid understanding of the concepts and information.

Two Authors:

When a source lists two authors, your in-text citations should provide the last names of both authors and the publication date.

For example:
...later studies demonstrated a similar effect (Ross & Hudson, 2004).
or
Ross and Hudson (2004) found a similar effect in later studies.

Three to Seven Authors:

Proper APA format for sources with three to seven authors requires listing the last names of all authors the first time you cite the source as well as the publication date.

For example:
...results indicated a strong positive correlation between the two variables (Robsen, Hutchkins, Ru, & Selanis, 1989).
or
Robsen, Hutchkins, Ru, & Selanis (1989) found a strong positive correlation between the two variables.

Subsequent citations should list only the last name of the first author along with the publication date.

Robsen (1989) demonstrated the affects of...
or
..in a study demonstrating these effects (Robsen, et al., 1989).

Seven or More Authors:

Listing the last name of the first author as well as the publication date should cite sources with more than seven authors.

For example:
...students demonstrated competence after reading about APA format (Smith et al., 2005).
or
Smith et al., (2005) found that...

Organizations as Authors:

How do you create an in-text citation in APA format when the author is an organization or entity? Always include the full name of the organization the first time you cite the source in-text. The citation should also include the acronym of the organization if one is available. Subsequent citations can simply list the acronym and the publication date.

For example:
The American Psychological Association (2000) reported that...
or
...found that students responded positively (American Psychological Association [APA], 2000).
and subsequent citations
(APA, 2000).

Be sure to check your references and citations using the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

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