Examples of Text Citations

Document your sources throughout the text by citing the author(s) and date of the works to which you refer in your writing. This style of citation briefly identifies the source for readers and enables them to locate the source of information in the alphabetical reference list at the end of your paper.


One Work by One Author

Berger (1967) compared religious rites between two very different cultures.

Religious rites have been compared across cultures (Berger, 1967).

One Work by Two Authors

Broyles and Drenovsky (1992) discovered the importance of church attendance...

Elderly people had better health histories if they attended church regularly (Broyles & Drenovsky, 1992).

One Work by Three to Five Authors

When a work has three to five authors, cite all authors the first time the reference occurs; in subsequent citations include only the last name of the first author followed by "et al."

Ainley, Singleton, and Swigert (1992) found . . . [first citation in text]

Ainley et al. (1992) found . . . [second citation in text]

Ainley et al. also found that . . . [omit year from subsequent citations in paragraph after first citation]

Citation of an Original Work Discussed in a Secondary Source

When you have read a secondary source that cites an original work, and you cannot find the original work to read and cite it, you may cite that original work in the following manner.

For example, you read Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, and Haller (1993) who cite Seidenberg and McClelland's work. You have not read Seidenberg and McClelland and cannot get the work, but you still want to cite their work. Proper citation in the text is as follows:

[First citation in text] Seidenberg and McClelland (as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993) argue that . . .

[Second citation in text] Seidenberg and McClelland (as cited in Coltheart et al., 1993) also conclude that . . .

Only the Coltheart et al. work is listed in the reference list.


Mazur (2006) argues that "positive transfer is most likely to be found when two tasks involve similar or identical movements in response to a similar stimulus situation" (p. 309).

"Most researchers reject the notion that animals have rights that preclude their use in research, but recognize that scientists have certain responsibilities to the research animals that are studied" (Kimmel, 2007, p. 276).

A quotation greater than 40 words:

  On the surface, the use of all-volunteer samples would seem to eliminate the ethical problems that arise when subjects . . . are coerced into participating in research. After all, the assumption of voluntary participation lies at the heart of such fundamental ethical regulations as informed consent, freedom to withdraw [from participation], and the like. (Kimmel, 2007, p. 226)

Notice the 0.5" indent for all lines of this quotation, the lack of quotation marks, and punctuation and formatting of the citation at the end of the quotation.


These frequently used styles of referencing were taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., second printing, pp. 174-179). For more information on text citations, check the other information on the website. For more examples, please refer to the manual itself.

These samples are not intended to be complete but to provide some models of how to cite sources properly using APA style.