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APA Style (Seventh edition): In text Citations

This guide will assist students in learning APA style and applying it when writing and formatting papers and other course assignments.

Direct Citations

Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work. A direct quotation is defined as, reproducing word for word material directly quoted from another author's work.

Direct Quote (under 40 words)

  • Enclose the quotation in double quotation marks

  • Place a period after the in-text citation at the end of the quotation

  • In-text citation includes the Author, Year of Publication and Page number


"Primary care is one area marked for improvement" (Purtilo, 1995, p. 111).

Direct Quote (over 40 words)

  • Display in a free-standing block.

  • Omit the quotations marks

  • Start a block quotation on a new line

  • Indent the block quote about one half inch from the left margin

  • Double space the entire quote

  • Period comes before the in-text citation at the end of the quotation

Indirect Citations / Paraphrase

Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work. An indirect quotation (paraphrase) is when you express an idea or concept from another author’s work in your own words. Using an indirect quote involves taking information from the original source and paraphrasing or putting it into your own words.

Indirect quote

  • Does not require double quotation marks.

  • In-text citation includes Author and Year of Publication.


Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public's perception of expert consensus on an issue (Koehler, 2016).

Common Knowledge

Common knowledge refers to information you can reasonably expect the general public to know such as widespread facts, dates or historical events. Common knowledge does not need to be cited; however, a good practice is to speak with your instructor or librarian when you are unsure if information is common knowledge.


There are four seasons in the year.

There 365 days in a year.

Personal Communications

A personal communication may be a private letter, memos, some electronic communications (e.g., email or messages from non-archived discussion groups or electronic bulletin boards, personal interviews, telephone conversations and the like.  Because they do not provide recoverable data, personal communications are not included in the reference list.

You may wish to cite material provided by your instructor, guest speakers, or other classroom material such as lecture notes or PowerPoint presentations.  If the material is posted somewhere online, cite the resource directly.  If the material is only available from the instructor or presenter, treat the resource as a personal communication.  

Classroom notes should be treated as a personal communication, as they are non-retrievable.

Cite personal communications in text only.  Give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as an exact a date as possible.


(K. L. Brennan, personal communication, July 2, 2010).

Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of Indigenous Peoples

If the information has been recorded and is recoverable by readers, cite it in the text and include a reference entry in the correct format for that type of source.

To describe Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions that are not recorded (and therefore are not recoverable by readers), provide as much detail in the in-text citation as is necessary to describe the content and to contextualize the origin of the information.

  • Provide the person’s full name and the nation or specific Indigenous group to which they belong, as well as their location or other details about them as relevant, followed by the words “personal communication,” and the date of the communication.

  • Provide an exact date of correspondence if available; if correspondence took place over a period of time, provide a more general date or a range of dates. The date refers to when you consulted with the person, not to when the information originated.

  • Ensure that the person agrees to have their name included in your paper and confirms the accuracy and appropriateness of the information you present.


We spoke with Anna Grant (Haida Nation, lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, personal communication, April 2019) about traditional understandings of the world by First Nations Peoples in Canada. She described . . . 

Capitalize most terms related to Indigenous Peoples. These include names of specific groups (e.g., Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Cherokee, Cree, Ojibwe) and words related to Indigenous culture (e.g., Creation, the Creator, Elder, Oral Tradition, Traditional Knowledge, Vision Quest). The capitalization is intentional and demonstrates respect for Indigenous perspectives (American Psychological Association, 2020, pp. 260-261).

Secondary Sources

APA recommends avoiding secondary sources; however, if it is not possible to find the original work, use the secondary source. 



Roberts, M., Jones, R. L., & Munroe, N. (2014). Children and cognition and the development of language. Psychological Reports, 19(7), 412-419.

In text Citation

In Warkinton’s study, (as cited in Roberts, Jones & Munroe, 2014), children’s cognitive growth and development ...


Roberts, Jones & Munroe (2014) examined Warkinton’s study on children’s cognitive growth and development.

In the example, acknowledge the original work in the text (Warkinton’s study). Provide a citation for the secondary source by Roberts, Jones & Munroe (the source you have in hand) in the reference list.