APA Style Quick Guide

This guide is for the 7th edition of the APA manual (2020).

Citations within the Text of your Paper

APA Style uses brief citations within the text of a paper when referring to a source. The brief citation gives the author(s) last name and year of the source in parentheses, allowing readers to locate the full citation in your reference list at the end of your paper.

Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course (Kessler, 2003).
Kessler (2003) found that early onset results in a more persistent and severe course.

APA Style states that it is best to paraphrase sources rather than using direct quotations. If you must reproduce a direct quotation, include the specific page number, or if the source does not have page numbers, the section name, paragraph number (for example: para. 4) or another way of locating the quotation.

Magical thinking is defined as “the illusion that thought or rituals can influence events, fulfill wishes, or ward off evil” (Corsini, 2016, p. 562).

No author?

Use the title instead. If the title is italicized in the reference list, italicize it. If the title is not italicized in the reference list, use quotation marks around it. If the title is long, shorten it by using the first 2-3 words of the title. Capitalize the first letter of major words, regardless of how its capitalized in the reference list.

("Study Finds", 2007)
(College Bound Seniors, 2008)

No date?

If the date cannot be determined, use the abbreviation "n.d." for "no date".

(Strickland, n.d.)

Citing Multiple Authors in the Text

2 authors: Cite both last names every time you reference it in your text.

Kozma and Stones (1983) demonstrated
as has been shown (Kozma & Stones, 1983)

3 or more authors: Include the last name of the first author followed by the abbreviation “et al.” which is Latin for “and others”.

According to Maqsood et al. (2013)
(Maqsood et al., 2013)

Source Within a Source

When you have a citation within a source you are using, for example if you are reading an article by Sung and Mayer (2012) and they cite Clark (2001), it is preferable to locate and cite the original source (in this case, Clark). If you cannot locate the original source, in your in-text citation, cite Clark, followed by “as cited in” Sung and Meyer:

(Clark, 2001, as cited in Sung & Mayer, 2010)

Only list the source you actually read (e.g. Sung & Mayer) in your reference list.


For more information on citing sources within your paper, see pp. 253-278 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: The official guide to APA style, 7th ed. (2020) available in our libraries in Reference and on Reserve. Call number: BF 76.7 P83 2020