Remember, you have to cite every piece of information that came from another source, whether or not it is in your own words. Everything cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and everything in your reference list must be something you have referred to in text. Make sure you don't have anything in one place that isn't in the other.
Using references in text
For APA, you use the authors' surnames only and the year of publication in text. If you are using a direct quote, you will also need to use a page number.
If you are using the authors' names as part of the sentence, normal sentence rules apply - always use "and", and never us an "&". However, if you haven't mentioned your authors in the sentence, and they are in the brackets, follow the style rules and always use an "&".
Note: Some lecturers want page numbers for all citations, while some only want page numbers with direct quotes. Check with your lecturer to see what you need to do for your assignment.
For 1 or 2 authors, you will always use the names of both authors:
Jones and Smith (2013) found that "the mice disappeared within minutes" (pp. 29-30).
The authors stated "the mice disappeared within minutes" (Jones & Smith, 2013, p. 29).
For 3 - 5 authors, you will need to use the names of all authors the first time, but from then on you can shorten the reference to the first author and "et al.":
Green, Brown, and Davis (2016) noted that the changes in the post-test results were not statistically significant.
The changes in the post-test results were not statistically significant (Green, Brown, & Davis, 2016).
Green et al.'s (2017) findings indicated that the intervention was not based on evidence from clinical trials.
It appears the intervention was not based on evidence from clinical trials (Green et al., 2017).
For 6 or more authors, you usually cite the first author, and then abbreviate with "et al.":
Ellenbogen et al. (2013) suggests that microscopic fissures might be responsible for the damage.
The damage could have been caused by microscopic fissures (Ellenbogen et al., 2013).
N.B.: How and when you use "et al." may change if you have several groups of authors with the same first author, but check with your librarian if you're not sure.
Please note that et al. is short for "et alia", which means "and others". You can never used et al. for two authors, and the full stop goes after the al.
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You can read the entire Big Fake Essay on the Writing Guide. It includes more details about academic writing and the formatting of essays.
When you have multiple authors with the same surname who published in the same year:
If your authors have different initials, then include the initials:
As A. Smith (2016) noted...
...which was confirmed by J.G. Smith's (2016) study.
(A. Smith, 2016; J. G. Smith, 2016).
If your authors have the same initials, then include the name:
As Adam Smith noted...
...which was confirmed by Amy Smith's (2016) study.
(Adam Smith, 2016; Amy Smith, 2016).
Note: In your reference list, you would include the author's first name in [square brackets] after their initials:
Smith, A. [Adam]. (2016)...
Smith, A. [Amy]. (2016)...
When you have multiple works by the same author in the same year:
In your reference list, you will have arranged the works alphabetically by title (see the page on Reference Lists for more information). This decides which reference is "a", "b", "c", and so on. You cite them in text accordingly:
Asthma is the most common disease affecting the Queensland population (Queensland Health, 2017b). However, many people do not know how to manage their asthma symptoms (Queensland Health, 2017a).
When you do not have an author, and your reference list entry begins with the title:
Use the title in place of the author's name, and place it in "quotation marks" if it is the title of an article or book chapter, or in italics if the title would go in italics in your reference list:
During the 2017 presidential inauguration, there were some moments of awkwardness ("Mrs. Obama Says ‘Lovely Frame’", 2018).
Note: You do not need to use the entire title, but a reasonable portion so that it does not end too abruptly - "Mrs. Obama Says" would be too abrupt, but the full title "Mrs. Obama Says 'Lovely Frame' in Box During Awkward Handoff" is unecessarily long. You should also use title case for titles when referring to them in the text of your work.
If there are no page numbers, you can include any of the following in the in-text citation:
When you are citing a classical work, like the Bible or the Quran:
References to works of scripture or other classical works are treated differently to regular citations. See the APA Blog's entry for more details:
We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.