What is an in-text citation?
In APA Style, an in-text citation tells the reader where you got any and all information that did not come from inside your own head. This is more obvious when you are directly quoting from a source, but it is also needed when you have summarized or paraphrased from a source and even if you got an idea from somewhere else. In order to avoid plagiarism, it is extremely important that you cite all the words and ideas that you got from somewhere else. To learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it, see Ethically Use Sources and Plagiarism guidance from APA.
When citing sources in an APA Style paper, APA uses the author-date citation system. In this system, the writer includes the author and date within the body of the paper and includes a corresponding reference in the reference list. This citation system allows the reader to identify sources used in the paper by reviewing the author and date within the text of the paper, and then easily locate the corresponding reference in the alphabetical reference list.
There are two types of in-text citations that are used within the body of an APA paper to help the reader locate the corresponding reference in the reference list. The two types of in-text citations are parenthetical citations and narrative citations. A narrative citation is a type of citation where the author's name is used within the text of the sentence; whereas, a parenthetical citation is a type of citation where the author and date are in parentheses at the end of the sentence.
How do I create narrative or parenthetical citations?
In APA Style, cite your sources by putting the information about the source in parentheses at the end of a sentence or in the text of your paper as opposed to a footnote where the source information is at the bottom of the page or an endnote where it goes at the end of your paper. There are slight differences depending on which style you are using.
Give the author’s last name and the publication year.
Only use page numbers or paragraph numbers for a direct quote.
Make sure the source information in parentheses matches with your reference in the reference list.
The punctuation for the sentence goes AFTER the parentheses.
For a quote less than forty words put quotation marks around the quoted words. For sources with designated page numbers - if the author and date are introduced in the sentence as a narrative citation, then add the page number in parentheses at the end of the quote. If the source does not have designated page numbers, then add the paragraph number, heading, or a combination of both the heading and paragraph number. If the author and date are not introduced as part of the text, then include the author and date with the page or paragraph number. The period should come after the parentheses.
If your quote is more than forty words, set it off in a block text by beginning the block quote on a new line, indent 0.5 inches (one-half), and do not add quotation marks around the block quote. At the end of the quote put the period after the last word of the sentence followed by the parentheses. For more information, see Block Quote.
For more information about parenthetical and narrative citations, see pages 253-278 of the APA Manual 7th edition for further explanation and examples.