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APA Referencing

Citing sources in APA format

Introducing Sources with Reporting Verbs and Signal Phrases

Sources do not speak for themselves; they must be introduced and placed into a new context. This new context is your paper, your ideas, your argument. In scholarly writing, these introductions are called "signal phrases" and the language we use to introduce our sources is called "reporting." This webpage will show you the language and the grammar for introducing and reporting your sources.

There are two methods for citing sources in your text:

1. Narrative citation (included in the body of the sentence)

McAdams (1993) points out that in some instances, stories have the power to heal, to "mend what is broken even move us toward psychological fulfillment and maturity" (p. 31).*

The narrative citation is useful in setting apart various sources from your own ideas because it clearly indicates the beginning and end of the source material. Also, when a narrative citation is the only source used in a paragraph, you do not need to include the year in subsequent narrative citations within that paragraph.

2. Parenthetical citation (no initial introduction to author / source material + citation)

Stories embody our history, beliefs, and identity (Brody & Punak, 2002; Livo, 2001; McAdams, 1993)*

The parenthetical citation method (at the end of a sentence) is useful for handling general information that is not the core of your argument or for information that has been widely cited. Note that there are three sources in this one citation, which indicates the text is summarized material.


Four main patterns of narrative citations are used in academic writing. These patterns are outlined in individual guides (see Tabs on the left of the screen) and in the handout found below.

Source for example sentences:

* Restrepo, E., & Davis, L. (2003). Storytelling: Both art and therapeutic practice. International Journal for Human Caring, 71), 43-         48.

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