19 What is an In-Text Citation?
If you want to include information from a source you consulted in your paper, you need to create an in-text citation. As mentioned before, in-text citations use only a few details of the source, enough to locate its matching reference citation in the reference list.
In APA style you need to include the following elements for all in-text citations, whether you are citing a book, a journal or trade article, a website or any other item:
- the author’s family name(s) or the group name
- the year
- and if you are quoting word for word, also the page number or other locator*
*Instructors may prefer location information for all in-text citations, so check with your instructor.
Where do I place citations in my writing?
Because in-text citations tell your reader which ideas belong to you and which ideas belong to someone else, it is crucial that you place them correctly. There are two different ways that you can include in-text citations into your assignments:
- as a parenthetical citation at the end of your sentence
- as a narrative citation as part of the sentence
1. In-text citation example for a paraphrase
Click on the symbol to learn about the parenthetical and narrative citation used in these paraphrases.
2. In-text citation examples for a short quote
Click on the symbol to learn about how to add in-text citations for short quotes (less than 40 words).
3. In-text citation examples for a long quote
Click on the symbol to learn about how to add in-text citations for long quotes (more than 40 words).
What if there aren’t any page numbers?
Some sources don’t have page numbers, in which case you should try to include some other pinpoint, so your reader can find the quote more easily. This could be a section heading, a chapter number, paragraph, and so on.
The image below details some location information examples and their appropriate abbreviation. Also, check out our In-text Citations tab on the APA Citation guide for some examples.
What if there is no author? What if there are multiple authors? What if there is no date?
Whatever the situation, you still need to cite your source. Check out the APA Citation guide for answers to these and other questions, and if you need help, please ask us.
“Two Ways To Insert Your Citation” by University of Alberta Library’s APA Style Citation Tutorial is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International.
“When to cite specific location information“ by University of Alberta Library’s APA Style Citation Tutorial is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International.