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In-text citations

Parenthetical and narrative citations

APA Publication Manual Section 8.11

In-text citations can be parenthetical or narrative.

Parenthetical citations place all citation information within brackets, e.g. The results of this study were inconclusive (Wilson, 2020).

Narrative citations incorporate the author's names and/or the publication year into the sentence e.g. Wilson (2020) determined that the results of the study were inconclusive.


APA Publication Manual Section 8.17

  • For a work with one or two authors, include the author names in every citation.
  • For a work with three or more authors, only cite the first author plus "et al." in every citation ("et al." is an abbreviated Latin term meaning "and others").
  • For parenthetical in-text citations, put an ampersand "&" between the first and second author names.
  • For narrative citations, use the full word "and".

APA Publication Manual Section 8.21

  • Where a reference is authored by a group, use the group name as the author
  • You may abbreviate a group name to use in subsequent in-text citations of a source
  • Provide the full name of the group in the first mention of the text
  • In a narrative citation, include the abbreviation in parentheses, before the year
  • In a parenthetical citation, include the abbreviation after the group name, in square brackets, before the year

APA Publication Manual Section 8.14

  • Where no author is known or named, use the title of the work in place of the author name. If the title is italicised in the reference list then italicise the title in the in-text citation. If the title is not italicised in the reference list then put the title in double quotation marks in the in-text citation. Use title case for titles in in-text references, even though you use sentence case in the reference list
  • When an author is specifically stated as anonymous (or anon.), the word "Anonymous" is used in the place of the author field


Author type Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
One author (Dellios, 2019) Dellios (2019)
Two authors (Moro & Henson, 2017)  Moro and Henson (2017)
Three or more authors (Watt et al., 2017) Watt et al. (2017)
Group author (Bond University, 2020) Bond University (2020)
Group author with abbreviation, first in-text citation (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation [CSIRO], 2019) Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, 2019)

Group author with abbreviation, subsequent in-text citations

(CSIRO, 2019) CSIRO (2019)
No named author, italicised title (Dinosaur Travels, 2019) Dinosaur Travels (2019)
No named author, non-italicised title ("Virtual Reality Educational Tools", 2019) "Virtual Reality Educational Tools" (2019)
Anonymous author (Anonymous, 2012) Anonymous (2012)


APA Publication Manual Section 8.10

Only use the year in an in-text citation; for works with no identifiable date, use the letters n.d. to indicate "no date". For example (Palmer, n.d.).

Citing multiple works

APA Publication Manual Section 8.12

When citing multiple works in a parenthetical in-text citation, place each source in alphabetical order, separated by semicolons, e.g. (Bond University, 2020; Moro & Henson, 2017; Watt et al., 2013).

When citing multiple sources in a narrative citation, they can appear in any order, e.g. Moro and Henson (2017), Watt et al. (2013) and Bond University (2020) all looked at....

Citing specific parts of a source

APA Publication Manual Section 8.13

To cite a specific part of a source, such as a page, paragraph, chapter or table, include the details after the year within your in-text citation.

Examples (do not bold the part details in your paper):

Single page: (Dellios, 2019, p. 20) Single paragraph: (CSIRO, 2019, para. 2) Chapter: (Stapleton, 2017, Chapter 3)
Multiple page span: (Dellios, 2019, pp. 20–21) Multiple paragraph span: (CSIRO, 2019, paras. 2–8) Table: (Stapleton, 2019, Table 2)


APA Publication Manual Section 8.23

Paraphrasing is putting the words and ideas of others into your own words. It is often used a way to summarise an author's ideas and express them more succinctly. You must always use an in-text citation when you paraphrase any source.

You may include page and paragraph numbers in the in-text citation. This is not required, but can be helpful to any readers of your work so they can easily identify where your information has come from.

Direct quotations

APA Publication Manual Section 8.25

You may need to use quotations in instances, such as:

  • Reproducing a definition.
  • An author has said something memorable or succinct that you want to capture word for word.
  • It is important to convey the exact wording.

Place in-text citations at the end of a quote, and include page numbers or paragraphs where possible. Where no page or paragraph is available from a textual work (such as a webpage, or online news article), provide another way of identifying where the quote is located, such as:

  • Provide the heading, sub-heading or section name where the quote can be found.
  • Count the paragraphs manually.

APA Publication Manual Section 8.26

For short quotations of fewer than 40 words, incorporate the quote into the text and enclose it with double quotation marks, e.g. "Wellness is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" (Kent, 2016, p. 107).

APA Publication Manual Section 8.27

A quotation of 40 words or more is formatted as a block quotation. In block quotations, you do not enclose the quote in double quotation marks. Instead, start the quote on a new line, indented from the left margin. Place parenthetical citations at the end of the quote, after punctuation.

Parenthetical example

Research on video games has shown that:

Australians who play video games spend an average of 89 minutes a day playing, including casual gameplay and in-depth gameplay. Women and girls play for 77 minutes a day on average while men and boys play for 98 minutes a day on average. (Brand et al., 2018, p. 16)


Narrative example:

Brand et al. (2018) researched the average time male and female Australian gamers play per day:

Australians who play video games spend an average of 89 minutes a day playing, including casual gameplay and in-depth gameplay. Women and girls play for 77 minutes a day on average while men and boys play for 98 minutes a day on average. (p. 16)

Citing unusual sources

APA Publication Manual Section 8.9

Personal communications, such as emails, text messages, personal interviews, unrecorded lectures or speeches and phone calls, are cited in text only. Give the initials and surname of the communicator, and as much of the date as possible, e.g. (D. Crowe, personal communication, January, 2020), E.B. Farnum (personal communication, December 4, 2019).


APA Publication Manual Section 8.22

If referring to a website generally and not a specific page or part of the site, do not include an in-text citation or a reference list entry. Simply include the name of the website in the text with the URL in parentheses, e.g. Useful resources were found using Bond's library research guide Psychology and Counselling (

Appropriate level of citation

When citing the same source for a whole paragraph, the APA offers this advice:

“It is considered overcitation to repeat the same citation in every sentence when the source and topic have not changed. Instead, when paraphrasing a key point in more than one sentence within a paragraph, cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the source remains clear and unchanged.” 

Citing works with the same author and date

APA Publication Manual Section 8.19

When multiple references have an identical author and publication year, include a lowercase letter after the year. Assign the letter in the order they appear in the reference list (arrange in alphabetic order of titles if date and authors are identical).

Use the year-letter combination for the in-text citation and the reference list entry.  

Use only the year with a letter in the in-text citation, even if the reference list entry contains a more specific date.

E.g. (Bond University, 2023a) 

APA referencing