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APA 7 Referencing

How much to cite

It is important to cite each source that you use in your assignment. 

Undercitation should be avoided as it can lead to plagiarism.

Overcitation should be avoided because it can interrupt the flow of your writing.

As a general rule, try to use at least two different sources for each main point you make.

Each of the boxes below is designed to give you some guidance as to when and how to correctly cite your sources.

One work by one author

1.  Citations in brackets (parenthetical)

If the citation is parenthetical, the last name of the author and the year of publication are placed in brackets at the end of the sentence.


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

(APA manual, 2020, p 262-263)

2.  Citations that are part of the narrative

Rule 1:  ‚ÄčWhen the citation is part of the narrative, place the year in brackets after the name

             Example A:    According to Jones (2013) ...

             Example B:    Jones (2013) states that ...  

(APA manual, 2020, p 263).

Rule 2:  When the author and date are within the narrative:

              In 2016, Koehler noted the dangers of falsely balanced news coverage

(APA manual, 2020, p.263)    

Rule 3: The rules for citing an author more than once in a paragraph are quite complex: When citing the same author and item in the same paragraph, omit the date for subsequent usage.

                Koehler (2010) experimentally examined how journalistic coverage influences public perception of the level of agreement among experts.  Koehler provided participants with quotations from real reviews ... 

(APA manual, 2020, p. 265).

Citing the same source within a paragraph

When citing information from the same source within a paragraph when the topic has not changed, and it is clear the information has come from the same source:

  • place the citation in the first relevant sentence
  • do not repeat the citation in the following sentences unless the topic changes.

For example:

All patients have the right to consent to treatment (Lane, 2016). In fact, treatment without consent can be considered to be assault.  It is essential that medical radiation technologists (MRTs) are fully aware of their responsibility to ensure consent has been given before treatment commences.  MRTs need to touch patients in order to position them correctly.  This may require significant pushing and/or pulling.  It is therefore essential that the MRT has explained this to the patient and gained consent before they touch the patient.

(APA Manual, 2020. p 254)

Citing different documents by the same author

Rule One:  When citing different documents by the same author:

  • arrange by year of publication
  • give the author surname once
  • n.d., then chronological order, then in-press.

Examples:  (Department of Veterans Affairs, n.d., 2017a, 2017b, 2019).

                    Zhou (n.d., 2000, 2016, in-press)

(APA manual, 2020, p. 263).


Rule Two:  If the authors have been abbreviated using et al., place citations in chronological order.

Example:  (Carraway et al., 2013, 2014, 2019).

(APA manual, 2020, p. 263).


Rule Three:  If sources are cited within the narrative they can appear in any order.

Example:  Sulman (2018), Gutierrez (2012, 2017), and Medina and Reyes (2019) examined...

(APA manual, 2020, p. 264).

Citing the same author and same date

When citing different documents with the same author and same date add a lowercase letter after the year.


(Judge & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2012a).

(Judge & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2012b).

(Ministry of Health, n.d.-a).

(Ministry of Health, n.d.-b).

(APA manual, 2020, p. 267).

Citing multiple works by different authors

Rule One:  When citing more than one work by different authors:

  • place in alphabetical order
  • separate with semicolon


(Gabbett et al., 2010; Ministry of Health, 2019; Weiss & Taruskin, 1984; World Health Organisation, 2019).

(APA manual, 2020, p. 263).

Citing multiple authors with the same surname

When citing authors with the same surname but different initials, include the first initial:

Example:  J.M. Taylor & Neimeyer, 2015; T. Taylor, 2014).

(APA manual, 2020, p. 267).

Citing a secondary source

Where possible use original material.  However, if the information you wish to use is cited by another author, acknowledge the source you have read, showing it is a secondary source.  

Rule 1:  Within the text, use the words "as cited in" to indicate this is a secondary source.  

Rule 2:  In the reference list include the author and details of the source you actually read.


(Fawcett, 2005, as cited in Polit & Beck, 2008)

Rule 3:  If the date of the original source is unknown leave it out of the citation.


Fawcett (as cited in Polit & Beck, 2008) outlined the four main concepts...

Then in the reference list: Reference the source you used.


Polit, D. F. & Beck, C. T. (2008). Nursing research:  Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice

          (8th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

(APA manual, 2020, p. 258).