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Referencing Toolkit

The Basics

APA is an 'author/date' system, so your in-text reference for all formats (book, journal article, web document) consists of the author(s) surname and year of publication.

The basics of an in-text reference in APA:

  • Include author or authors and year of publication.
  • Use round brackets.


(Smith & Bruce, 2018)
(Smith & Bruce, 2018)

Using Quotes

If you quote directly from an author you need to include the page or paragraph number of the quote in your in-text reference.

You can use narrative and parenthical quotes to incorporate your research into your assessments.

  • Include author or authors, year of publication and page or paragraph number of your quote.
  • Use round brackets.


(Smith & Bruce, 2018, pp.25-26)
(Smith & Bruce, 2018, pp.25-26)

Narrative and Parenthical Quotes

Basic Structure

In both methods the following components must be mentioned:

  • the author or authors of the work
  • the year the work was published

If you are using a direct quote from the work you must also make reference to the page number from the work.

Narrative Quotes

The author's surname appears in your text and the date the work was published is cited in parentheses immediately after.

Koehler (2016) noted the dangers of falsely balanced news coverage.

If you're referencing a work with two authors, use the word 'and' between the two surnames.

Salas and D’Agostino (2020) define biochemistry as ...

For works with three or more authors cite the first listed author followed by 'et al.' (note the full stop after al) and the year of publication from the first instance.

As found by Martin et al. (2020), referencing is a critical skill ...

Parenthetical Quotes

The author and the date, separated by a comma, are cited within parenthesis directly after quoting or paraphrasing another's work. The citation can appear either within the sentence or at the end of a sentence.

Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public’s perception of expert consensus on an issue (Koehler, 2016).

If you are citing a work with two authors use an ampersand (&) between the two author surnames and then the date (as above, separated by a comma).

"Nevertheless, a wide range of methodologies and approaches have combined to shed light on the subjective experience of inner speech and its cognitive and neural underpinnings" (Alderson-Day & Fernyhough, 2015, p. 957).

To reference works with three or more authors, cite only the first listed author's surname followed by 'et al.' (note the full stop after al) and the publication date (as above, separated by a comma) from the first instance.

Effective teams can be difficult to describe because “high performance along one domain does not translate to high performance along another” (Ervin et al., 2018, p. 470).

For more examples of both narrative and parenthical quotes, see Quotes in APA.