Search toggle

Citations in the text

In the running text, the author's last name and publishing year are noted, so that the reader can identify the source and find the complete information in the alphabetical reference list. If the author's name is included in the text, it is excluded from the information within the parentheses.

If you refer to a specific page, chapter or quote, this should be stated within the paranthesis. Se examples under the heading Referring to parts in other works below.

One author

(last name, year)

  • Smith (2006) states that...
  • According to an earlier study (Smith, 2006) it is argued that...
  • In 2006 Smith published a study on...

Two authors

Always state both names.

  • New technology is rapidly changing our daily lives (Johnson & Magusin, 2005).
  • Johnson and Magusin (2005) assert that the rapid technology development...

Three, four or five authors

State all names at the first occasion. In the following citations only the first author is stated, followed by et al. This is an abbreviation of the latin phrase et alii, which means "among others".

The first citation

  • McClave, Benson and Sincich (2011) show that...

The subsequent occasions of the same reference:

  • McClave et al. (2011) found that...

Six or more authors

Only note the first author, followed by et al.

And or &

Note that in the running text, "and" is used between the authors' names, but within parentheses the &-symbol is used.

  • Caldenby, Linde Bjur and Ohlsson (2006) show that...
  • The architecture is a key to the town's history (Caldenby, Linde Bjur & Ohlsson, 2006).

Several works by the same author and same year

In order to separate works published by the same author and same year, a letter next to the year is added. Add a, b, and c etc. in the same way as the references are alphabetized in the reference list. In the reference list works by the same author with the same year are alphabetized by title.

  • (Kotler, 2005a, 2005b)
  • Kotler (2005b) asserts that... The same arguments is also used by Kotler (2005a) when...

If you use n.d. (no date), a hyphen is used in the following way:

  • (Kotler, n.d.-a, n.d.-b)
  • Kotler (n.d.-b) sserts that... The same arguments is also used by Kotler (n.d.-a) when...

Organizations as authors

Sometimes corporations, authorities, organizations and such are publishing material that are not the words of a specific author. These organizations etc. are noted in their full form each time they are cited. Organizations that are mostly known by their abbreviated acronyms are stated with the acronym within square brackets the first time. On the following occasions, only the acronym is used. In the reference list the full form of the name of the organization is noted.

The first occasion

  • (North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], 2007)

The following occasions

  • (NATO, 2007)

Publications with no author (including legal material)

Publications without any authors are noted in the running text by using the first words of the publication name used as entry in the reference list. It is usually the title. Use quotation marks around the title of an article or a book chapter. Note the title of a periodical, book, brochure or report in italics.

Authors with the same last name

If the reference list includes two or more authors with the same last name, you have to separate them by noting first name initials in the running text.

  • This opinion is held by J. Smith (2006) and is also supported by C. Smith (2005).

Several works within the same parentheses

If you refer to several works at the same occasion, they are stated in alphabetical order by author and then in chronological order. Semicolons are used between each reference.

  • Meurling talks about gender roles and ideals of beauty (1999, 2003)
  • Man's eternal dream of conquering space are manifested in many different ways (Eco, 2005; Johansson, 2006; Thulin, 2000, 2004)

Secondary sources

You should as far as possible avoid to cite material that is cited in the source you are using but that you did not read yourself. According to the rules of APA you give the secondary source in the reference list and in your text you name the original work and give citation to the secondary (the one that you have read).

  • Widerberg (as cited in Hagström, 2005) claims that...

Web sites

A web sites is cited in accordance with how the reference in the reference list is constructed. Usually, an organization is behind the web site, so therefore the citation should be made with the organization as an author (see 'Organizations as authors' above).

  • (Jönköping University Library, 2007) 

Entries in encyclopedias and dictionaries

If an entry in an encyclopedia or dictionary is sorted under the entry word in the reference list rather than than author (se example here), the entry word should be cited in text:

  • The term is thus defined as such (Behaviourism, 1986).

Personal communication

In this category you will find material which is not communicated via formal channels - letters, e-mails, interviews, telephone calls, lecture notes etc. This material should be stated in the running text but should not be included in the reference list. Note the exact date of communication, surname and, if possible, the personal name initials.

  • (B. Andersson, personal communication, July 15, 2007)

Citing specific parts of a source (quotations, tables, figures, or equations)

If you are referring to a part in a certain work, it has to be clearly stated. This should always be done when it comes to quotations and when citing tables, figures and equations:

  • (Smith, 2011, p. 57)
  • (Augustsson, 2007, pp. 50-52)
  • (Woo & Leon, 2013, Figure 3)
  • (Ebrahim, Steen, & Paradise, 2012, Appendix)
  • (Park, Van Bavel, Vasey, & Thayer, 2013, footnote 3)

If you want to cite a specific chapter of a source, note that you don't abbreviate 'Chapter':

  • (Crouch, 2005, Chapter 4)

Direct quotations must be verbatim (word-for-word). Short quotations with less than 40 words (or approx. 1-3 lines) are included directly in the running text with quotation marks. Longer quotations are indented and double-spaced, but without quotation marks.

If you use your own words when citing a specific part of a text, so-called paraphrasing or indirect quotation, it is encouraged to also provide the page number (but not required) according to APA.

Read more about this on APA Style Blog.external link, opens in new window

Content updated 2019-01-22

We use cookies on By continuing to use this site you accept the use of cookies. More information