Website Directory Foundation Contacts About Capital Library Home-page

Parenthetical Citation

The APA system of citing sources indicates the author's last name and the date, in parentheses, within the text of your paper.

A. A typical citation of an entire work consists of the author's name and the year of publication.

Charlotte and Emily Bronte were polar opposites, not only in their personalities but in their sources of inspiration for writing (Taylor, 1990).

Use the last name only in both first and subsequent citations, except when there is more than one author with the same last name. In that case, use the last name and the first initial.

B. If the author is named in the text, only the year is cited.

According to Irene Taylor (1990), the personalities of Charlotte. . .

C. If both the name of the author and the date are used in the text, parenthetical reference is not necessary.

In a 1989 article, Gould explains Darwin's most successful. . .

D. Specific citations of pages or chapters follow the year.

Emily Bronte "expressed increasing hostility for the world of human relationships, whether sexual or social" (Taylor, 1988, p. 11).

E. When the reference is to a work by two authors, cite both names each time the reference appears.

Sexual-selection theory often has been used to explore patters of various insect mating (Alcock & Thornhill, 1983) … Alcock and Thornhill (1983) also demonstrate …

F. When the reference is to a work by three to five authors, cite all the authors the first time the reference appears. In a subsequent reference, use the first author's last name followed by et al. (meaning "and others").

Example of a subsequent reference:
Patterns of byzantine intrigue have long plagued the internal politics of community college administration in Texas (Douglas et al., 1997)

When the reference is to a work by six or more authors, use only the first author's name followed et al. in the first and all subsequent reference. The only exceptions to this rule are when some confusion might result because of similar names or the same author being cited. In that case, cite enough authors so that the distinction is clear.

G. When the reference is to a work by a corporate author, use the name of the organization as the author.

Retired officers retain access to all of the university's educational and recreational facilities (Columbia University, 1987, p. 54).

H. Personal letters, telephone calls, and other material that cannot be retrieved are not listed in References but are cited in the text.

Jesse Moore (telephone conversation, April 17, 1989) confirmed that the ideas. …

I. Parenthetical references may mention more than one work, particularly when ideas have been summarized after drawing from several sources. Multiple citations should be arranged as follows.


  1. List two or more works by the same author in order of the date of publication:
       (Gould, 1987, 1989)
  2. Differentiate works by the same author and with the same publication date by adding an identifying letter to each date:
       (Bloom, 1987a, 1987b)
  3. List works by different authors in alphabetical order by last name, and use semicolons to separate the references:
       (Gould, 1989; Smith, 1983; Tutwiler, 1989).


#Return to Introduction and Table of Contents