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Location of citations according to the APA Style

Date published by Date updated: February 10, 2017

If you use several resources, you should refer to them often in your text. As a basic rule, it’s better to cite too much than too little.

Readers of your thesis should be able to tell at a glance whether the information has been taken from a source.

Paraphrasing/summarizing a reference text

Option 1: Recent research shows that the APA Generator is a handy tool (Swaen, 2016).
Option 2: Swaen (2016) writes that much need exists…
Option 3: In 2016, Swaen wrote that the need is growing…

Specific ground rules in-text citations:

Using the same source several times

If you use the same source more than once in a paragraph (or in multiple paragraphs), you need to show where the information is coming from each time. It is therefore not sufficient to just put one citation at the end of the paragraph or section.

The challenge is that simply citing the author and publication year at the end of every sentence can disrupt the flow of the text. You can solve this problem by using some creativity.

For example, start by describing the source. In the next sentence, you can then write “This study states that…”, possibly also with a regular citation. Thereafter you could refer to the author again.

Example of using the same source in multiple paragraphs

Financial risk is defined as the potential loss of money. A study by Liao and Cheung (2001) showed that transaction risk has a significant negative impact on the desire of consumers to buy. This research suggests that credit card fraud is a common risk on the Internet. It is also shows that consumers find online credit card fraud to be a great risk (Liao & Cheung, 2001). Product performance risk is the loss suffered by a consumer if a product does not meet expectations. This may be, for example, because the product is delivered with one or more defects (Forsythe & Shi, 2003). It is also clear that consumers often assess the quality of products incorrectly when making online purchases. One reason for this is that they cannot actually try the product out (Forsythe and Shi, 2003; Liao & Cheung, 2001).

The study of Liao and Cheung (2001) about online shopping also mentions another reason, namely the lack of information on specific products. This deficit arises because consumers often just see a picture of the product. The product’s quality also depends on its lifespan. Liao and Cheung also indicate that consumers on the Internet more often have concerns over the product’s lifespan and are therefore against buying on the Internet. This is also because they cannot “touch” or “feel” the product.

Citations for lists

If a list comes from one source, put the citation after the last list item. It if comes from several different sources, add citations for each item.

Example of citation for a list

The following factors are identified:

  • Wired Lifestyle;
  • Time Pressure;
  • Risk Aversion;
  • Internet Experience;
  • Social Interaction (Change et al., 2016).

The following two basic characteristics were found in the literature:

  • Consumers experience greater risk for online purchases (Writers et al., 2016).
  • Young consumers experience no additional risk for online purchases (Van Galen,2016).

Mentioning an author several times in the same paragraph

You do not need to mention the year again if you cite an author more than once in the same paragraph (unless it is a formal citation in parentheses).

Example: Referring to an author again in paragraph
Research by Swaen (2016) shows that many students feel the APA Generator is a useful tool. Swaen also notes that colleges are increasingly using the generator. Scribbr is therefore continuing to develop the APA Generator (Swaen, 2016).

Several publications by different authors

Put the sources in alphabetical order, separated by a semicolon and a space.

Example: Several publications by different authors
Several studies (Driessen & Anterveld, 2002; Swaen, 1997; Van Laak, 2011) show…

Sources in the reference list

No matter how often you cite a source in the text, only include the full source in the reference list once.

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Article by Bas Swaen

Bas is co-founder of Scribbr. Bas loves to teach and is an experienced thesis writer. He tries to help students with writing clear and easy to comprehend articles about difficult topics.

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