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APA 7th Referencing Style Guide

Author-Date citation system

In-text citations appear in the body of the work (or table, figure etc.). They enable readers to locate the corresponding entry in the reference list. 

In-text citations are usually presented in the following two ways:

Parenthetical citation

The author and date appear within parentheses:

The issue was described in more detail (Smith, 2020).

Narrative citation

The author appears in the text with the date in parentheses:

Smith (2020) describes the issue in more detail...


Find more information in the APA Manual p. 253–278.


Who is responsible for the work?

Author type

Parenthetical citation

Narrative citation

One author

(Smith, 2020)

Smith (2020) examined ...

Two authors

(Smith & Jones, 2020)

Smith and Jones (2020) examined ...

Three or more authors

(Smith et al., 2020)

Smith et al. (2020) examined ...

Author of a chapter in an edited book

If a chapter is cited, cite the chapter author/s, not the editor/s 

(chapter author/s, 2020)

(Smith, 2020)

Smith (2020) suggested... 

Works with the same author and same date

Add a, b, etc. to the year in the in-text citation and reference list.

(Smith, 2020a, 2020b) In her papers Smith (2020a, 2020b) described ...

Authors with the same surname

Include the initials and arrange names alphabetically

APA Manual see p. 267, s8.20

(A. Smith, 2020; B. Smith, 2019)

Alexandra Smith (2020) and Brian Smith (2019) provided ...

Group author with abbreviation

APA Manual see p. 268, s8.21


Reference list: Use the full name of the group. Do not abbreviate the group name

First citation - full name with abbreviation:

(National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research [NIWA], 2020)

Subsequent citations:

(NIWA, 2020)

First citation - full name with abbreviation:

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA, 2020) reported  ...

Subsequent citations:

NIWA (2020) provided ...

Group author without abbreviation

(Ports of Auckland, 2020)

Ports of Auckland (2020) reported ...

Citing multiple works
Parenthetical citation: place citations in alphabetical order separated by a semi-colon.

Narrative citation: citations can be presented in any order.

(Jones, 2020; Ports of Auckland, 2019; Smith et al., 2020) Smith et al. (2020), Jones (2020), and Ports of Auckland (2019) examined ...

No author - use the title and date. APA Manual p. 264. 

Use italics if the work title is in italics in the reference list, e.g a book with no author. 

Journal or magazine article without an author: use the title to replace the author's place; use double quotation marks around the title; use title case (sentence case is usded in the reference list entry); shorten a long title.


If there is no author but "Anonymous" for a work, use it in the citation.

A book with no author:
(Oral presentations, n.d.)


An article with no author:
("Understanding the Sensory Memory," 2018)


(Anonymous, 2020)

A book with no author: 
In Oral presentations (n.d.) there is ...

An article with no author:
In "Understanding the Sensory Memory" (2018) there is a description...


Personal communication

Not recoverable. Do not include in the reference list. 

More examples on the personal communication page. 
APA Manual p. 260, s8.9

(E. Chapman, personal communication, January 20, 2020) E. Chapman (personal communication, January 20, 2020) informed me of ...
  • Include one space between initials
  • Write the name exactly as it appears on the published work
  • Retain the author’s preferred capitalization


When was the work published?

Reference type Explanation Format 
Books  Use the copyright year shown on the verso of the title page.

(Smith, 2020) 

According to Smith (2020)...

Journal article Use the year of the volume, even if it is different from the copyright year. See the APA Manual p. 289, s9.13

(Smith & Jones, 2020)

Smith and Jones (2020) examined...

Journal article in press If the work has been accepted for publication but has not yet been published, use "in press".

(Jones, in press) 

Jones (in press)...

Magazine, newspaper article, blogpost

Use the year only in the in-text citation.

(Hoskings, 2019) 

Hoskings (2019) discusses ...   

Personal communication Provide as exact a date as possible. No entry in the reference list. Burgess (February 12, 2019) replied ...
Work without a date If there is no date or the date cannot be determined, use "n.d."

(Flesch, n.d.)

Flesch (n.d.) described ...


Do not use the copyright date in the website footer as it may not indicate when the content was published.

Only use the copyright date that applies to the content you are using.

If there is a "last updated" note, use the date if it applies to the content you are citing.

If no separate date of publication is available treat the work as having no date.

If the content is reviewed or changed regularly, do not use the date appeared with the content. Use no date (n.d.). But include a retrieval date in the reference list.

(NIWA, n.d.)                                                  

NIWA (2019) reports unprecedented carbon monoxide ...


  • Check reference examples in the menu or the APA Manual s9.14 for other formats

Pages or sections

Citing specific parts of a source

When you are directly quoting or paraphrasing a specific part of a source, your in-text citation may include author, date and information about this specific part.

This could be a page number, page range, paragraph number, section number, table or figure number, or chapter number:

(Smith, 2020, p. 10)

(Smith, 2020, pp. 10–12)

(Smith, 2020, paras. 2–3)

(Smith, 2020, Table 1)

(Smith, 2020, Chapter 3)

(Smith, 2020, Part 2)

Page range

Use an en dash, not a hyphen, for page ranges, e.g. 21–27. An en dash (–) is wider than a hyphen (-). There are no gaps between the page numbers and the en dash.

  • To add an en dash in Microsoft Word: if you are using a full PC keyboard, hold the Control key and type the minus sign on the numeric keypad: Ctrl + - 


  • If your keyboard will not produce an en dash, it is acceptable to use a hyphen instead. 
  • See the APA Manual p. 157 for more details on the use of hyphens and dashes in APA style

Quotations and paraphrasing

Direct quotations

When you include a quote in your writing (a sentence or words reproduced from a text, such as a book or article) your in-text citation should include the author and date of the source, as well as a page number or other indication of the specific part of the work that the quote is from.

Short quotes, fewer than 40 words, can be included in the paragraph in quotation marks:

Smith (2020) found that "..." (p. 10)

Quotes of more than 40 words need to be in a separate indented paragraph or block quote:

In 2001, Smith found the following:

          Many young people can be encouraged to stop smoking by
          introducing specific measures including . . . dependence upon
          tobacco. (pp. 378–379)


If you are paraphrasing (restating an idea from a text in your own words) you are not required to provide a page or paragraph number in the in-text citation, but you may include one when it would help the readers locate the relevant passage. See APA Manual p. 269.

Secondary citations

A secondary citation is where you cite information or quotes that the author of your reference has taken from a source that you have not read. It is preferable to locate the original source if possible.

In-text citation

Seidenberg and McClelland's study, conducted in 1990 (as cited in Coltheart et al., 1993), shows that ...  
... as some studies show (Seidenberg & McClelland, 1990, as cited in Coltheart et al., 1993).
  • Name the author of the original work in your text, cite the secondary source in the in-text citation: (as cited in ..., 1993)

Reference list entry

Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P., & Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud: Dual-route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches. Psychological Review, 100(4), 589–608.

  • Give the secondary source in the reference list