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Citation Style: APA

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Quoting Sources:

When you quote a source, you include the author's exact words in your text. Use "quotation marks" around the author's words. Include signal phrases and an in-text citation to show where the quote is from.

Paraphrasing & Summarizing Sources:

When you paraphrase or summarize a source, you restate the source's ideas in your own words and sentence structure. Select what is relevant to your topic, and restate only that. Changing only a few words is not sufficient in paraphrasing/ summarizing. Instead, you need to completely rephrase the author's ideas in your own words. You do not need to use quotation marks.

Always use in-text citations when you paraphrase or summarize, to let the reader know that the information comes from another source. Continue to use signal phrases as well.

Signal Phrases

Signal phrases let your reader know that you are quoting or summarizing from another source.


In the words of researchers Redelmeier and Tibshirani, " . . . "

As Matt Sundeen has noted, " . . . "

Patti Pena, mother of a child killed by a driver distracted by a cell phone, points out that " . . . "

" . . . " writes Christine Haughtney.

" . . . " claims wireless spokesperson Annette Jacobs.

Taken from the Bedford Handbook (583)

Verbs in Signal Phrases

points out

In-text vs. parenthetical citations

What is an in-text citation?

  • In an in-text citation, the author's name appears in the sentence and not in parentheses.  Example: Walters (2003) wrote that most people tend to follow the path of least resistance.
  • When the name of the author appears in a sentence, the year of publication, if available, must always follow it. If the year of publication is not available, n.d. (no date) is used instead.  Example:  Johnson and Travers (2016) discussed the causes of this disaster, while Marston (n.d.) focused on the consequences.
  • Page numbers must be used in parentheses after a direct quote (this is an exact quote, in quotation marks). If page numbers are not available, paragraph numbers are used. Example: (para. 10).  Page (or paragraph)  numbers are not used when paraphrasing. 
  • Book titles and the titles of other standalone works are formatted in title case and in italics. Example: Little House in the Big Woods.
  • Article titles and the titles of other parts of works are formatted in title case and in quotation marks. Example: "The Iridescent History of Light."

What is a parenthetical citation?

  • A parenthetical citation (also called "in reference") is one where the required information is placed in parentheses.
  • In APA style, the information in parentheses consists of the last name(s) of the author(s), the year of publication, and page or paragraph number(s) in the case of an exact quote.  Examples:  (Smith, 2017); (James, Vargas, & Rhodes, n.d.).
  • If there is no author, then the title of the article is placed in parentheses, followed by the year (or by n.d. if there is no date). Example: ("The History of the Circus," 1997).
  • For long titles, a shortened form of the title is used in parentheses. For example, the title "Milk Chocolate Is Better Than Dark, the End," would be shortened in the parentheses to "Milk Chocolate."

In-text/parenthetical citations and the References list

In-text and/or parenthetical citations must parallel the entries on the References list. See the examples below -- parallel elements are in red.

In-text/parenthetical citations References
Garber (2016) writes that "dark chocolate hasn't had a glass of Merlot since it saw Sideways" (para. 13).

Garber, M. (2016). Milk chocolate is better than dark, the end. Retrieved from

While chewing is normal and has health benefits for dogs, they need to be taught what they can chew and what they can't ("Destructive Chewing, " n.d.).

"Destructive chewing." (n.d).  Retrieved from

Duckworth (2018) writes that cadets with high scores are as likely to drop out of West Point as cadets with low scores.

Duckworth, A. (2018). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York,

N.Y.: Scribner.

In text and parenthetical citations

One author in text

When you reference an author in the text, you follow the author's name with parentheses containing the year the work was published.

Kessler (2003) found that among epidemiological samples, results varied.

One author in reference

When you reference the author in parentheses, use the last name followed by a comma and the year of publication).

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

Two authors in text

Refer to the authors by their last names, and follow this with the year of publication in parentheses.

Smith and Jones (2007) conducted several studies on the subject.

Two authors in reference

When you refer to more than one author in parentheses, use an ampersand (&) before the last surname and follow that with a comma and the year of publication.

Some authors conducted longitudinal studies that spanned decades (Smith & Jones, 2007).

Three to five authors in text

The first time you refer to the authors, use all their names followed by the year in parentheses. For subsequent references, use the surname of the first author followed by "et al." and the year of publication in parentheses.

First reference: Smith, Jones, and Taylor (2010) found that..

Subsequent references: Smith et al. (2010) later discovered that...

Three to five authors in reference

First reference: That year, the problem became the subject of many studies (Smith, Jones, Taylor, Coleman, & Anderson, 1976)

Subsequent references: A breakthrough finally settled the issue (Smith et al.,  1976).

Six or more authors in text or reference

When you have six or more authors, use this format for either text or reference: Last Name, et al.

In text: Smith et al. (2005) found that preferred character traits varied by culture.

In reference:  Preferred character traits vary by culture (Smith et al., 2005).

Two or more works in text
Good et al. (2001); Hedden and Gabrieli (2004); Raz (2000); and West (1996), indicated that recent behavioral research has revealed changes that occur with aging in the regulation and processing of emotion.
Two or more works in reference
Recent behavioral research has revealed changes that occur with aging in the regulation and processing of emotion (Good et al., 2001; Hedden & Gabrieli, 2004; Raz, 2000; West, 1996).
Same author (or by the same two or more authors in the same order) with the same publication date in text.

When the same authors have published more than one study in the same year, and every study lists their name in the same order, identify each study with a letter after the year (1996a, 1996b, etc.)

Several studies conducted by Smith and Harrison (2005a, 2005b) indicate that increased education has reduced crime in metropolitan areas.

Same author (or by the same two or more authors in the same order) with the same publication date in reference.

Same as above, but the information is placed within the parentheses.

Several studies indicate that increased education has reduced crime in metropolitan areas (Smith & Harrison, 2005a, 2005b).

Indirect or secondary source in text

Give the secondary source (Jones) in the reference list and in text, name the original work (Bradley) and give a parenthetical citation for the secondary source (Jones).

Bradley stated that orientation classes are necessary for new online college students (as cited in Jones, 2006, p. 42).

Web page with no author

Cite in parentheses the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title.

This has been argued before ("New Child Vaccine," 2001).

Direct quotation in text, under 40 words

When you are using a direct quotation that is up to 40 words, use quotation marks around it followed by parentheses containing the name of the author(s), a comma, the year of publication, and the page number.

Confusing this issue is the overlapping nature of roles in palliative care, whereby “medical needs are met by those in the medical disciplines; nonmedical needs may be addressed by anyone on the team” (Csikai & Chaitin, 2006, p. 112).

Direct quotation in text. No page numbers available

Some online sources do not have page numbers. Use paragraph numbers. If possible, use section heading plus the paragraph number within that section. If section heading is very long, use abbreviated heading (e.g. first few words of heading) with quotation marks.

“Sometimes interrogators went beyond the guidelines” (Frankel, 2004, Broad Public Support section, para. 4). 

“Unlike professional basketball and American Football, interest in baseball has not been sweeping the globe” (Lahman, 2014, “Origins of the Game,” para. 1).

Direct quotation in text, over 40 words

Omit quotation marks and start a block quotation on a new line and indent one-half inch from the left margin, double-spaced.

Others have contradicted this view:

Co-presence does not ensure intimate interaction among all group members. Consider large-scale social gatherings in which hundreds or thousands of people gather in a location to perform a ritual or celebrate an event (Smith et al., 2007, p. 12).

Bible, Qu'ran, or other classical religious works

Reference list entries are not required when you cite ancient Greek and Roman works or classic religious works. However, in the first parenthetical citation, indicate the version of the classic work you used. 

General in-text reference:
The researchers consulted the Bible (King James Version) to provide items for the development of their religious values assessment.

Direct quote:
Three virtues are extolled in the passage: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:1 New International Version).

The Qur’an prohibits eating pork (Qur’an 5:3).