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Introduction to APA Style Citation: Citation and Referencing

Online quizzes and tutorials to help hone your APA citation skills.

In-text Citations

Whenever you are using anything that came from someone else - words, ideas, data, images, videos, etc. - you must provide an in-text citation for the source.  

In APA style, the in-text citation usually consists of the last name(s) of the author(s) and date of publicationPage or paragraph numbers must be included for direct quotations.  It's not necessary to include page/paragraph numbers for paraphrases, but it's encouraged.  

There are two ways to cite something in-text:

1) Naming the author/source in a signal phrase (also referred to as a narrative citation)

eg. Rothecker and Storer (1996) noted that...

2) Parenthetical citation at the end of sentence

eg. Four species of marsupials were identified in the fauna (Rothecker & Storer, 1996).


The format of an in-text citation may vary slightly, depending on your source.  Consult the APA manual or a reputable online source (see: APA Help) if you have an unusual source to cite.  Some examples you may come across in your research include:

- three or more authors

- the absence of a listed author

- the absence of a date of publication

- personal communication (emails, lectures, interviews, etc.)

- indirect or secondary sources

Reference List

The reference list at the end of your work is an alphabetized list of the full references for the sources cited in the body of your work.  With rare exceptions (eg. personal communication), anything that is cited in the body of your work must be included in your reference list.  

References usually consist of four parts: author, year of publication, title, and publication information.

References are alphabetized by the authors' surnames.  APA style, unlike some other citation styles, only uses the surname and first and middle initials of the author in the full reference. An ampersand is used in the place of "and" when there is more than one author.

The year of publication is enclosed in parentheses after the author(s) name(s).  

For titles, capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle, along with any proper nouns.  Italicize the titles of whole works, such as books, periodicals, reports, or films.  Do not italicize the titles of parts of a larger work, such as book chapters or articles within a periodical.


Storer, J.E. (1989). Geological history of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan

     Museum of Natural History.


Chapter in a book

Evans, C.P., Aitken, A.E., & Walker, E.G.  (2007).  A GIS approach for

archaeological site distribution analysis by physiographic elements in

the Lake Diefenbaker region, Saskatchewan, Canada. In L. Wilson,

P. Dickinson, & J. Jendron (Eds.), Reconstructing human-landscape

interactions (pp. 68-83). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Journal Article

Rothecker, J. & Storer, J.E. (1996). The marsupials of the Lac Pelletier

Lower Fauna, Middle Eocene (Duchesnean) of Saskatchewan. 

Journal of Verterbrate Paleontology, 16(4), 770-774.


Occasionally you may encounter a source that does not have a listed author or date of publication, or that has some other unusual element.  In these instances, refer to the APA manual or a reliable online source (see: APA Help) to determine how to reference the source.

Basic In-text Citation Styles

Sources with Missing Elements

No author

(Title, Year) or Title (Year)

eg. (“Using Citations,” 2001) 

      In the article “Using Citations” (2001), it is stated…

No date

(Author, n.d.) or Author (n.d.)

eg. (NASA, n.d.) 

      NASA (n.d.) found that...

APA Quick Guides

Citing an Article in APA