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How to Do In-Text Citation and Reference Pages in APA

How to Do In-Text Citation and Reference Pages in APA

Author: Katie Sutton

Identify appropriate use of APA in-text citations in context.

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Hi. My name is Katie. And today, we'll discuss how to do in-text citation and reference pages in APA style.

We'll begin today's lesson by talking about how sources are represented in research essays in both the form of in-text citations and reference pages. Next, we'll take a look at how in-text citations and reference pages are constructed by discussing the components that go into them. Finally, we'll analyze qualities of good citations and reference pages by looking at some examples.

Let's begin with the big picture. There are two ways that you need to represent the sources that you cite in your research essay. The first is within the body of your essay. You need to provide in-text citations for sources that you use through either quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing. Then, at the end of your essay, you need to provide what's called a reference page for your reader. While in-text citations just give some brief bibliographic information, reference pages provide full citations so that your readers can identify the sources that you used and refer to them on their own if they so choose.

Let's begin our analysis of citation constructions by looking at how you cite sources within the text of your essay. The term in-text citation refers to how you format bibliographic information within the body of your essay. Each time that you reference the work of another author, you need to provide a parenthetical reference, which gives brief bibliographic data regarding the source that the information comes from.

In-text citations are often also accompanied by what we call signal phrases, which are terms or phrases that introduce a quote, often by referencing the author and the title of the source. So when you're creating these parenthetical references, you want to keep the signal phrases that you use in mind, because, as you'll see, the way that you construct the parenthetical reference is directly related to the way that you introduce the quote.

In order to construct an in-text citation in APA style, you need the author's last name, the year the source was published, and the page or paragraph number where the quote or paraphrase information can be found. I wrote page numbers here because most scholarly sources do provide page numbers. Paragraph numbers is sort of a reaction to the digital age where now we get much of our information online, and you often don't get page numbers with the web. So that's when you want to use paragraph numbers.

One thing that makes APA style stand out from other styles is that it includes the date the source was published right next to the author's name. And this is particularly helpful, because most researchers have more than one publication out there. The date not only gives context for the author's argument within the body of your essay, but also helps differentiate that research study from another research study that might also be attributed to the same author.

A typical in-text citation looks like the one that you would find down here. As you can see, I give some information that is not common knowledge. So I have to cite where my source is from. And you can see here, I have the author, date, and page number listed right at the end of the quote, but before the closing punctuation. I'll give some more examples of this in a minute, but first let's talk about how this in-text citation translates into a reference page.

APA style uses what's called a reference page at the end of your essay to log in all the sources that you use. So any in-text citations that you give brief bibliographic information for within the essay should be listed on this reference page. It's also important to remember that your reference page should only have sources actually cited in your essay. If you want to give a list of recommended sources that you didn't actually cite within the body of your essay, you need to do that somewhere else. Because there is this correlation between your in-text citations and your reference page, you can see that it's very important to accurately document your sources.

On our last slide we discussed that the author, the date, and the page number were important components for an in-text citation. So let's compare that to the components that you need for your reference page. You still need the author, but now, you'll also need to include the title of the author's work. Again, you'll need to give a page number. But here, instead of just giving the pages that the quote was taken from, you'll want to give the page range of the article. And then you'll still preserve the date as well.

In addition, you'll need to cite the umbrella source. This means, for example, that if you're citing an article from a journal, you'll need the journal's title. Or if you're citing maybe a chapter from a book, you'll use the book's title. Also, if you're using web sources, APA style dictates that you need to give the URL where the website was found. You can just copy and paste this from your browser. But this is definitely one of the aspects that you want to make sure you record as you're researching, because it can be a real pain to have to go back and identify the URL. And it's something that you could have really easily recorded right in the beginning.

Now, let's take a look at some sample in-text citations and talk about different nuances of recording them within the text. And then, we'll take a look at how those in-text citations are correspondingly represented in a sample reference page.

So this text here is the same as I gave you in the example when we talked about the components of an in-text citation. And it's what I would call the most traditional form of an in-text citation in APA style. Here, I have the cited information. And it's followed by a parenthetical reference, which gives the author's name, the year that it was published, and the page number that I found the information on.

Note that in this case, the punctuation is outside the parenthetical reference. If this were a block quotation using more than 40 words, the punctuation would come before the parenthetical medical reference. And there would be no punctuation afterwards.

However, if like in this case I put the author's name within the body of my text, I just give the date right after the author's name. And I don't have to supply another parenthetical reference at the end. I could also put in a page number if I choose.

In this example here, you can see that, again, I put the author's name within the text. So I give the date range here. But I use a paragraph reference, because hypothetically this source didn't give page numbers.

Similarly, if I did not give the author's name within my text, as you can see here, I've reworked the sentence a little bit. I put both authors names in. It happens to be in alphabetical order. But even if it wasn't, I would just put it in the order that they were listed in the actual publication. And then I give the date and the paragraph reference number again.

Now, let's talk about what this would look like on a reference page. So far we only have the author's name, the year that everything was published, and the page numbers for the quotations. But, as you can see here, I have to give more complete information on my reference page.

A reference page needs to come at the last page of your essay. As you can see here, I have my running head, which is required by APA style, and then the page number over here. This fresh page should start with the center heading references. And while the first lines of each reference are aligned on the left margin here, all subsequent lines have what's called a hanging indent. They're indented 1/2 an inch from the left margin.

And author names should be inverted. As you can see here, we have the last name first and then just the first initial of each author's first name. Your reference list should also be alphabetized. Having it listed this way, helps your reader find their information quickly, especially when you have a lot of sources to choose from. If it's the case that you're using multiple sources by the same author, you should organize them by the date of publication from oldest to newest.

You don't need to put any quotes, italics, or underlines around shorter works on the reference page. But the titles of journals are still put in italics, as well as the titles of books, as you can see down here. And note here the difference that I mentioned before, while you give page numbers for quoted information within the text of your essay, you want to give the page range when you get to the reference page. Also, for online sites, like you can see here, you want to write retrieved from and then give the URL where you accessed the information.

Many people like to use online citation generators for creating the reference pages. And while that can be a handy tool, I advise against it because a computer is not a human. And it doesn't know how to check for certain nuances that you're looking for. And often, your citations will come out incorrectly, and you have to go back and edit them anyway.

In today's lesson, we discussed the basics of how to do in-text citation and reference pages in APA formatting. We began by looking at the big picture of how we cite sources in our essay and realized that we needed to cite authors in text in the body of our essay as we reference the information from their sources, but also need to compile this information in a more detailed way in a reference page at the end of your essay. Then, we took a look at the components of in text citations and then compared them to what we need for reference pages, which although they share some qualities, we realized reference pages requires a little bit more citation information. Finally, we looked at how to incorporate in-text citations into the body of our essay by using signal phrases and parenthetical references. And then, we took a close look at qualities of a good reference page by looking at a model.

As always, I recommend that you either purchase a formatting guide or familiarize yourself with some online sources for learning the nuances of APA formatting. But I hope that this general overview will get you started. Thank you very much for joining me today.

Terms to Know
In-Text Citation

Sources used or cited in an essay through quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing, so-called because they appear within the text of the essay itself (as opposed to in footnotes or on a references page).

Parenthetical Reference

Specific bibliographic data, contained in parentheses at the end of in-text citations.

References/references page

A list at the end of an essay or book that includes properly formatted bibliographic data for all the sources cited in the essay.