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APA Style: In-text citations

A guide to citing in APA Style

What are in-text citations?

In-text citations briefly identify the source of information in the body text. They correspond to a full reference entry at the end of your paper. They are important to include to avoid plagiarism. 

For more information see In-text citations from the APA Style website. 


In-text citations have two formats: parenthetical and narrative.

  • In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date appear in parentheses.
  • In narrative citations, the author name is incorporated into the text as part of the sentence and the year follows in parentheses.

-Adapted from the APA Style website

Six steps to proper citation

                Proper Citation Infographic

-Link to the PDF version

Quick reference

Author type Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
One author (Luna, 2020) Luna (2020)
Two authors (Salas & D'Agostino, 2020) Salas D'Agostino (2020)
Three or more authors (Martin et al., 2020) Martin et al. (2020)

Group author with abbreviation

First citation *

Subsequent citations


(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020)

(NIMH, 2020)


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2020)

NIMH (2020)

Group author without abbreviation (Stanford University, 2020) Stanford University (2020)

* Define the abbreviation for a group author only one in the text, choosing either the parenthetical or the narrative format. Thereafter, use the abbreviation for all mentions of the group in the text.

Adapted from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: the official guide to APA style