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Academic Resource Center (ARC) Research & Writing Resources


You must give credit to your sources of information in every paper you submit.

Students often ask about the difference between a citation and a reference:

Citation : an in-text note about the source of information you present in a paper.  Citations are in the text of the paper. 

Reference:  information about how to find all articles, chapters, or online resources mentioned in citations. References are listed at the end of a paper 

Important points to consider:

  • You must cite your sources both in the body of the paper AND in a reference list
  • In text citations need only the author and year of publication
  • Reference lists includes specific detailed information on where the reference can be found
  • All citations and references must follow APA prescribed format


In Text Citations

General Principles

  • APA 7 change:  If citation has three or more authors always use et al.

                     Example: if article is authored by Smith, Jones, James, & Freud (2020) citation is Smith et al. (2020) or (Smith et al., 2020)

  • When a citation is part of a sentence, the author's names are not placed in parentheses, but the date of the publication is. You also use "and" rather than the ampersand (&).


Smith and Jones (2002) investigated the effects of sensory deprivation on astronauts.They explained the importance of giving individuals a sense of space.

  • When the citation is not part of the sentence, the authors and the dates are cited in parentheses


Research has demonstrated the effects of sensory deprivation on astronauts (Smith & Jones, 2002).


  • When citing multiple articles by different authors in a single sentence, list the authors alphabetically by first author and use a semicolon (;) between the two articles.


Research has demonstrated the effects of sensory deprivation on astronauts (Baker & Taylor, 2010; Smith & Jones, 2002).


Lectures and Powerpoints

To cite a PowerPoint presentation or a lecture from a class, cite in the text but not in the reference list since this is considered a personal communication.  


(J. Axelrod, personal communication, May 8, 2017)

If the presentation is from a conference or an online source, you cite in text and in the reference list:

Example (in text):

(Kramer, 2017)

Example (in reference list):

Kramer, M.(2017, May 6). Using reference managers to do research. Powerpoint presented at William James College, Newton MA.


Web, Blogs, Twitter


In text citation:

If the author is known:


(Reca, 2017)

If there is no individual author, then use name of the organization:


(UNICEF, 2017)

Reference List:

If the author is known: 


Reca, A, F, (2017) The Dominican Republic's invisible children. Retrieved from

If there is no individual author:


UNICEF (2017). About UNICEF. Retrieved from

Multiple pages from a single site:

If you cite multiple pages from the same Web site, create a separate reference list entry for each page, with in-text citations that correspond to the appropriate reference list entry.

To differentiate these entries, use a letter after the year (e.g., 2016a)  assigning the letter by putting the references in alphabetical order by title in the reference list.  


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(2017a). Preventing suicide. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  (2017b). Injury, violence and safety. Retrieved from

For more information: