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APA Guide

In-Text Citations: Special Situations

Because the nature of a personal communication -- such as an interview, letter, email, telephone conversation -- is not recoverable, information used from these forms of communication is cited within the text of a paper or work but a reference is not included in the References list.  The in-text citation includes the initials and last name of the communicator followed by the term "personal communication" and the date that the communication took place.  See examples below:

When an author of a resource cannot be identified, the Title element of the citation moves into the Author position in the Reference.  In order for the in-text citation to match the first two elements of the Reference, the in-text citation also begins with the title followed by the publication year.  Note that long titles are shorted to just the first few words.

NOTE: Article titles are enclosed in quotation marks in the in-text citation. For example:

Reference for an article:

Expanding the robot brain: With material robotics. (2018). Machine Design, 90(1), 14. Retrieved from

In-text citation (parenthetical reference):                           

 ("Expanding the Robot Brain," 2018)

In some cases, an author may wish to cite information that was cited in source material.  A secondary source in-text citation is used in this situation. 

NOTE: The use of secondary citations should be rare.  First attempt to find the original work and only use this method when that is not possible.

In some cases, two or more works may be cited within the same in-text citation. 

  • Two or more works by same author
    • Published in different years
      • (Author last name, year, year)
      • ...(Miller, 2004, 2012).
    • Published in same year
      • Use a, b, c, etc. to distinguish between resources.  These must also be included in the References list)
      • (Author last name, YEARa, YEARb)
      • ...(Johnson, 2012a, 2012b).
  • Two or more works by different authors in same in-text citation
    • List works by different authors in alphabetical order by last name of author separated by semi-colons
    • ...(Allen, 2014; Smith, 2011).

In general, classical works such as the Bible or Qur'an do not require a reference in the References list, but should include an in-text citation.  If a translation of the work is being cited, state the work followed by the date of the translation.  For example:

                             (Aristotle, trans. 1931).

Likewise, if a specific version of the Bible is being cited, include the version in the in-text citation.  For example:

                              1 Cor. 13:1 (King James Version)

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