Step 11: Research Paper Quotes and Citations (APA)
The APA style is the method for formatting a paper, including quotations, and citing sources, that has been provided and recognized by the American Psychological Association. APA is the style that is normally used is a variety of social sciences and humanities fields, such as psychology and sociology. However, the APA style is at times used in other fields, and will sometimes be assigned by a professor as specific requirement for a research paper. Many scholarly publications and professional journals also require the use of the APA style. It is therefore essential that effective writers familiarize themselves with the APA style and strive to become skilled in its use.
There are several ways quotations may be utilized in the APA style. The simplest of these is an in-text quotation. A quotation of this kind often involves a paraphrase of the source’s original words rather than a direct quotation. Instead, the author’s last name will be provided as a source of the information with the date of publication of the author’s original work cited in parenthesis.
APA In-Text Quotation Examples
1. Davidson (1994) found that previous research had been inadequate and wished to explore the question further.
2. In the most recent study of this particular type of treatment for cancer patients (Johnson, 2013), it was discovered that….
3. In 2004, Stephens analyzed the effectiveness of…
A short quotation will normally include forty words or less. A quotation of this type should be included within double quotation marks. An in-text citation should be present that includes the author’s last name, date of publication, and the page number. Punctuation marks that are part of the writer’s original text should be placed after the parenthesis around the citation, but punctuation marks that are actually part of the quote should be included before the citation and within the quotation marks.
APA Short Quotation Examples
1. The author of the study observed, “The medications showed little effect when initially provided to patients” (Richardson, 2008, p. 65), but offered only limited explanation of the specific symptoms of the patients.
2. According to Sanchez (1999) “President Lincoln was the most influential statesman in American history” (p. 225).
3. Chung (2001) argued that “Germany started World War One as a result of its imperial ambitions” in his early work (p. 154), but modified his thesis in his later work.
Longer quotations (normally those with more than forty words) should be included as a block quotation without quotation marks. The quotation should be started on a separate line, and the entire quotation (not just the first line) should be indented in the same manner as a new paragraph would be. Subsequent paragraphs in the quotation should also be indented in the same way, and the quotation should be followed by a page number in parenthesis.
APA Long Quotation Example
1. Bryant’s research was published in 2005 and suggested that earlier research of this kind in genetics had been incomplete. It was observed that further research was necessary in order to further determine the hereditary patterns concerning disease susceptibility in these areas of concern. (p. 98)
Compiling a List of References
Every source that is cited or quoted in the text of the paper should be listed in a compilation of references that appears at the end of the paper when using the APA style. The reference list should include not only sources that are directly quoted in the paper, but also any other sources for which an in-text citation is provided. A quality paper should included in-text citations for all ideas and information that are not either original to the author or a matter of general common knowledge. For example, if the writer conducts their own scientific research and offers their own interpretation of the data they present, then this information involves the writer’s own work and thoughts, and a citation is not needed. However, it is necessary to include a citation for any reference to prior research by other writers, or previous ideas offered by other writers, that is either directly referred to or used as a source of information for the paper. Likewise, it would not be necessary to include a reference or citation when stating that George Washington was the first President of the United States since this is a well-known and established fact. However, a discussion of the personal and political conflicts between George Washington and Thomas Paine would require references and citations as these questions are less clear in terms of the facts and subject to interpretation.
The format for listing references in the APA style varies according to the nature of the particular source being referenced. Examples of how particular kinds of sources should be formatted are provided below:
An article in a scholarly publication, newspaper, or magazine
The last name of each author should be listed followed by their initials. The year, month and day of publication should follow in parenthesis. The title of the article should then be provided in lower case lettering. The publication in question and the specific volume of the publication should then be listed in italics, followed by the issue number and the page numbers listed in regular text, but separated by a comma. The first line of the reference should start at the left margin. The hanging indent feature should be used for subsequent lines.
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Print Source Examples
Johnson, C.B., Davis, D.M., & Stevenson, R.P. (2012, February 11). A comparison of the heart disease rates among smokers and non-smokers. Journal of American Medicine 20, 2, 45-53
Thomas, B. T. (1969, September 1). Trial of the Chicago eight to begin this month. Time 24, 21-26.
The last name of the author should appear at the left margin followed by their initials and the year of publication in parenthesis. The title of the book should then appear in lower case lettering using italics. The city of publication should then be listed followed by the publisher, with a colon separating the two. Once again, any additional lines in the reference should include a hanging indent.
Cho, W. C. (2007). Class conflict in nineteenth century England. London: Progressive Publishing
Richards, T.A. (1999). The role of the state in fostering class inequality: The debate between anarchists and Marxists. In B. T. Rubin (Ed.), Class struggles in the industrialized world (pp. 66-81). New York: Radical Publishers.
The last name and initials of the authors appear at the left margin followed by the publication date in parenthesis. The title of the work is listed in lower case lettering using italics, and followed by an indication that this is an online source in brackets. The date the online source was retrieved then appears followed by the website and the URL. Each additional line in the reference should include a hanging indent.
Perez, A.C. & Norton, T.M. (2014, July 14). The conflict in the Ukraine continues [online]. Retrieved August 3, 2014 from World Affairs website: URL
The same format is used for listing the author and publication date that would be used for a website or print publication. The title of the article will then appear in lower case lettering. The publication, issue, and page numbers will be listed next using italics and lower case lettering. The date of retrieval will then be listed followed by the URL.
Brandt, S.M. & Marcus, R. B. (2013, January 3). The use of alliteration in short stories by American writers. American literary studies, 4, 31-36. Retrieved April 4, 2014 from URL
An email reference does not need to be included in a general reference list as emails are a form of private communication and not a matter of public record. However, an email source should be included as an in-text citation in the paper.
The leading scientist on the research team indicated he was not satisfied with the research process (James Vyas, personal communication, August 8, 2014).
A translated work
Nietzsche, F. (1954). The portable Nietzsche (W. Kaufmann, Trans.). New York: Penguin.
National Institute of Drug Abuse. (1998). Effects of hallucinogenic drug use among adolescents and young adults (Department of Health and Human Services Publications No. ADM 89-1568). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Smith, D. F. (1989). Ancient Greece. In The new encyclopedia brittanica (Vol. 19, pp. 108-128). New York: Encyclopedia Britannica.
Tyler, D. W. (1971). Durkheim revisited: Is there a social utility to delinquency? [Review of the film A clockwork orange]. Journal of Sociological Studies 23, 2, 221-227.
Using Footnotes and Endnotes in APA
The APA style does not encourage the frequent or extensive use of footnotes or endnotes when writing an academic paper. These should be used only when necessary for explanatory purposes, such as the clarification of bibliographical references or the inclusion of extraneous but relevant information.
See Thomas (2004) for further explanation of research in this area.
On anthropological studies of the ancient Hindus Valley civilization, see Rubenstein (1997) pp. 197-264. For comparable studies of the Macedonian civilization, see Perdue (2001).
Simons discussed his theories more extensively in an interview with Time magazine (Nichols, 2009, pp. 24-26).
The proper method of formatting footnotes in APA is to provide a textual indication of the footnote using ordinary numbers in superscript form. The footnotes are then listed on a separate page from the body of the text. This page should be headlined simply as Footnotes with the heading appearing at the top of the page in the center. The notes on this page should likewise be identified with the use of ordinary numbers in superscript form. The notes should also be double-spaced.