Skip to Main Content

Sociology Class Supplement: In-Text Citations

In-Text Citations

You must always give credit to those whose research you use in your paper. When writing in APA format, you can do that by using an in-text citation.  This gives readers enough information to refer to your Reference page and locate the original source, if needed. By providing accurate in-text citations and an accurate reference page, you will more likely avoid plagiarism.

One Author

In-text: Mathis (2010) attempted to prove

Parenthetical: The study aimed to prove (Mathis, 2010).

Two Authors

When citing two authors, include both authors in the citation. Use the ampersand (&) when citing parenthetically. Use the word "and" when citing in-text. 

 In-text: Brewer and Olive (2014) asserted the level of interdependency...

Parenthetical: Self-perceived social rank correlated with depression (Brewer & Olive, 2014).


Three or more authors

For three or more authors, use the last name of the first author followed by "et al." This includes the first time you cite the source.  

Authors Smith, Chein, and Steinberg (2014) would be cited in your paper as:

In-text: Smith, et al. (2014) determined that
Parenthetical: The link between the two disorders (Smith, et al., 2014)



Groups may be used as authors. 

In-text: National Institute of Health (2013) indicates an increase
Parenthetical: These results indicate (National Institute of Health, 2013).

When citing a work by multiple groups, use the same rules as citing multiple authors. 

*DO NOT USE ABBREVIATIONS FOR GROUPS. Write out the group (i.e. University of Tennessee, not UT).

No Author

If an author is not listed, use the first words of the reference list entry:

The pamphlet indicated a need for  ("Reading for College," 2012)

Cited in another work

Use this when the original work cannot be located (i.e. is out of print, in a different language), but the reference is cited within another reference:

The letter (as cited in Johnson, 2012) provided several instances

The letter provided several instances of negative self-perception (as cited in Johnson, 2012).

Recorded Works of Music

To cite a recorded work of music, you will need the songwriter's name, the copyright date (and the date of the recording, if it is different), and the track number if the song appears on an album.

In-text: Ondrasik's hit, "Superman" (2000/2001, track 1) took on new meaning with the terrorist attack on the world Trade Center in September of 2001. 

Parenthetical: "Superman" (Ondrasik, 2000/2001, track 1) took on new meaning with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in September of 2001.

Lyrics from a website may not include a track number. 

No Date

If no date is provided, use n.d.:

The report promoted the use of increased stress-relievers (World Health Organization, n.d.)


You should never cite an interview in your References list. However, you should cite it parenthetically throughout your paper. To cite an interview in your paper, include the interviewee's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of your interview.

(F. Lastname, personal communication, Month DD, YYYY).

Mrs. Smith noted that the war years were particularly difficult for her mother, who worried about her three sons in the military (B. Smith, personal communication, January 11, 1992). 


APA Publication Manual, 7th Edition (2019) was consulted in creating this guide.