Section 3. Citing Sources in APA Style


How to Format a Basic Parenthetical Reference
A parenthetical reference will usually have the author's last name (or an abbreviated title if no author) and the publishing date of the work. A page number (or paragraph number for electronic sources without pages) is included if the borrowed material is a quotation. These parts act as tags to inform the reader what information has been borrowed and from whom. The 'tags' point to the full citation at the end in the Reference list.

Paraphrases, summarizations or quotes can be formatted or 'tagged' in a variety of ways:

Parenthetical for a summary or paraphrase
This and the following examples are taken from: Peters, K. M. & Blumberg, F. C. (2002) Cartoon violence: Is it as detrimental to preschoolers as we think? Early Childhood Education Journal 29 (3), 143-148. Here is a parenthetical reference for part of a work that has been summarized or paraphrased. The borrowed information has been condensed into a sentence that is "tagged" at the beginning with the author and publication date:
Paik and Comstock (1994) also suggested that cartoons might be harmful because young children have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy.
Parenthetical for a quotation
Quotations should not stand alone in a sentence but should be worked into your narrative. Here is a parenthetical reference for a quotation. The quote is introduced with the author's name and publication date so that only the page number is needed after the quote in parentheses:
Findings from Bandura and Huston (1961) indicate that for preschoolers, observation of aggressive models is a "sufficient condition for producing imitative aggression" (p. 317), regardless of the nature of the relationship between the model demonstrating the behaviors and the child.
Parenthetical for an entire work
When an entire work is referenced, it is preferable to include the author (or for more than seven authors - first author's name, et al.) in your narrative and indicate in your passage that the work is being summarized. Remember to reference the entire work in the Reference page:
According to the American Psychological Association's review of research (1985). . .
Zillmann's excitation transfer or arousal theory (1971) contends. . .
Bjorkqvist and Lagerspetz (1985) found that. . .


Here's a list of signal phrases that help introduce quotes, summaries or paraphrases (from St. Martin's Guide):

admits, agrees, argues, asserts, believes, claims, compares, confirms, contends, denies, emphasizes, insists, notes, observes, points out, reasons, refutes, rejects, reports, responds, replies, suggests, thinks, writes

In addition to the above list of verbs, there are other phrases you might use:

In _____'s words...

According to ____'s (notes, study, narrative, novel, etc.)...


Click below if you would like specific information about:

 Which parenthetical reference is better?
The National Television Violence Study (NTVS), funded by the National Cable Television Association, assessed television violence with the "goal of encouraging more responsible television programming and viewing" (1997, p. 1).

The National Television Violence Study (NTVS), funded by the National Cable Television Association, assessed television violence. "There is a goal of encouraging more responsible television programming and viewing" (NTVS, 1997, p. 1).