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APA Citation Style, 7th Edition: In-Text Citations & Paraphrasing

When do I use in-text citations?

When should you add in-text citations in your paper? 

There are several rules of thumb you can follow to make sure that you are citing your paper correctly in APA 7 format. 

  1. Think of your paper broken up into paragraphs. When you start a paragraph, the first time you add a sentence that has been paraphrased from a reference -> that's when you need to add an in-text citation. 
  2. Continue writing your paragraph, you do NOT need to add another in-text citation until: 1) You are paraphrasing from a NEW source, which means you need to cite NEW information OR 2) You need to cite a DIRECT quote, which includes a page number, paragraph number or Section title. 
  3. Important to remember: You DO NOT need to add an in-text citation after EVERY sentence of your paragraph. 

Paragraph Rules of Thumb: Cite after 1st paraphrase, continue writing, add a new cite for a new source or a direct quote.

What do in-text citations look like?

In-text citation styles: 

This table demonstrates how to create an in-text citation depending on how many authors are in your reference: 
How many authors:  What a parenthetical citation looks like:  What a narrative citation looks like: 
One author  (Forbes, 2020) Forbes (2020) stated... 
Two authors (Bennet & Miller, 2019) Bennet and Miller (2019) concluded that... 
Three + authors (Jones et al., 2020)  Jones et al. (2020) shared two different... 
A group or organization as an author (East Carolina University, 2020)  East Carolina University (2020) found... 

Let's look at these examples if they were written in text: 


An example with 1 author:

Parenthetical citation: Following American Psychological Association (APA) style guidelines will help you to cultivate your own unique academic voice as an expert in your field (Forbes, 2020). 

Narrative citation: Forbes (2020) shared that by following American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines, students would learn to find their own voice as experts in the field of nursing. 


An example with 2 authors: 

Parenthetical citation: Research on the use of progressive muscle relaxation for stress reduction has demonstrated the efficacy of the method (Bennett & Miller, 2019). 

Narrative citation: As shared by Bennett and Miller (2019), research on the use of progressive muscle relaxation for stress reduction has demonstrated the efficacy of the method. 


An example with 3 authors: 

Parenthetical citation: Guided imagery has also been shown to reduce stress, length of hospital stay, and symptoms related to medical and psychological conditions (Jones et al., 2020).

Narrative citation: Jones et al. (2020) shared that guided imagery has also been shown to reduce stress, length of hospital stay, and symptoms related to medical and psychological conditions. 


An example with a group/corporate author: 

Parenthetical citation: Dr. Philip G. Rogers, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, was recently elected as the newest chancellor of the university (East Carolina University, 2020). 

Narrative citation: Recently shared on the East Carolina University (2020) website, Dr. Philip G. Rogers, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, was elected as the newest chancellor. 


Tips on Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is recreating someone else's ideas into your own words & thoughts, without changing the original meaning (Gahan, 2020). 

Here are some best practices when you are paraphrasing: 

  • How do I learn to paraphrase? IF you are thoroughly reading and researching articles or book chapters for a paper, you will start to take notes in your own words. Those notes are the beginning of paraphrased information.
  • Read the original information, PUT IT AWAY, then rewrite the ideas in your own words. This is hard to do at first, it takes practice, but this is how you start to paraphrase. 
  • It's usually better to paraphrase, than to use too many direct quotes. 
  • When you start to paraphrase, cite your source. 
  • Make sure not to use language that is TOO close to the original, so that you are not committing plagiarism. 
  • Use to help you come up with like/similar phrases if you are struggling. 
  • Paraphrasing (vs. using direct quotes) is important because it shows that YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND the information you are reading. 
  • Paraphrasing ALLOWS YOUR VOICE to be prevalent in your writing. 
  • The best time to use direct quotes is when you need to give an exact definition, provide specific evidence, or if you need to use the original writer's terminology. 
  • BEST PRACTICE PER PARAGRAPH: On your 1st paraphrase of a source, CITE IT. There is no need to add another in-text citation until you use a different source, OR, until you use a direct quote. 


Gahan, C. (2020, October 15). How to paraphrase sources. 

Citing Direct Quotes

When should I use a direct quote in my paper? 

Direct quotes should only be used occasionally: 

  • When you need to share an exact definition 
  • When you want to provide specific evidence or information that cannot be paraphrased
  • When you want to use the original writer's terminology




Definitions of direct quotes: 

Short quotes:  Have fewer than 40 words, use quotation marks around the quote, are incorporated into the text of the paper. (Shayden, 2016, p. 202)
Long quotes:  Have 40 words or MORE, DO NOT use quotation marks, are in a block quote (by indenting 0.5" or 1 tab) beneath the text of the paragraph. (Miller et al., 2016, p. 136)
Quotes for webpages: 

Websites usually do not contain page numbers, therefore you need a different way to cite the information for a direct quote. There are two ways to do this: 

  • Cite by paragraph number - count down the website to see what number paragraph the direct quote is in and in the citation where you would place the page number, add = para. #
  • Cite by heading or section name - many websites are divided into sections, find the name of the section that contains the direct quote you are using and add that information where you would place the page number = Methods section

(Jones, 2014, para. 4)

(Scotts, 2019, Resources section)

Carrie Forbes, MLS

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Carrie Forbes
Laupus Library
Room 2518
East Carolina University
600 Moye Blvd.
Greenville, NC 27834
252-744-2217 -OR- 252-689-8734 (TEXT)
Subjects: Nursing

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