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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... 

Several works with the exact same author(s) 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 in-text to disambiguate between the authors, arrange names alphabetically if used together

APA Manual see p. 267, s8.20

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

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

Group (Organisation) 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, introduce abbreviation in square brackets:

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

Subsequent citations, just use abbreviation:

(NIWA, 2020)

First citation - full name, introduce abbreviation:

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

Subsequent citations, just use abbreviation:

NIWA (2020) provided ...

Group (Organisation) 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 the first few words of the title, or the complete title if short, and date.  APA Manual p. 264. 

Use italics if the work's 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 capitalisation rules (sentence case is used in the reference list entry); shorten a long title.


If there is no author but "Anonymous" is credited for the work, treat "Anonymous" as the author for 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. In-text use name with initials, "personal communication," and as exact a date as possible.

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 ...
  • If multiple initials, include one space between each initial
  • Write the name exactly as it appears on the published work
  • Retain the author’s preferred capitalisation


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 ...   

Multiple works published in same year with identical author(s) Add a lower-case letter after the year (or "-letter" if not a year, eg. "n.d.-a"). The Year-letter combination is used both in-text and in the reference list entry, even if the reference list entry has a more specific date. Letter order is determined by Reference list order, not in-text citation order.

(Smith, 2020b)

Sifuentes (n.d.-a; n.d.-b)

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 a specific part of a source, your in-text citation should include author, date and information about this specific part.

When paraphrasing an idea from a reading, an author-date citation is usually used. However, you may also provide an additional information for the specific part in the citation. This is particularly used for citing a long or complex work, such as a book. This helps readers locate the relevant passage. 

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, para. 4)

(Smith, 2020, paras. 2–3)

(Smith, 2020, Discussion section, para. 2)

(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:

  • author
  • date
  • 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)

             Note that the bracketed element stating the exact section used is after the full stop, and has no full stop after itself.


Direct quotations must be accurate, the quotation must match the wording, spelling and punctuation of the original source, even if incorrect. Note a spelling error in the original by inserting [sic] after a misspelled word ("sic" is italicised, and within square brackets).

"Sickness occurred even when reel [sic] drugs were administered" (Miele, 1993, p. 48).

Some minor changes are allowable without notification:

  • the first letter of the first word of a quotation can be changed to uppercase or lowercase to fit  the context of your sentence
  • some punctuation marks at the end of a quotation can be changed to fit your sentence syntax as long as meaning is not changed
  • single quotation marks can be changed to double quotation marks and vice-versa
  • footnote or endnote callouts can be omitted

All other changes (eg. italicising words for emphasis, or omitting words) must be explicitly indicated. See sections 8.30 -8.31 (pp. 274-276) in the APA Manual.



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 and use 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