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Literature Review: Conducting & Writing

This guide will provide research and writing tips to help students complete a literature review assignment.

APA Intext Citations

Many Social Science disciplines use APA format for citing sources.  The most recent guide is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th Edition.  See our additional page to format in-text or parenthetical citations.  

The following examples of the most commons types of in-text citations are adapted from the 6th edition (2010) of the APA manual.  For additional examples, consult chapter 6 (pages 174-179) of the APA Manual or browse the APA Style online guide at  There is a particularly useful chart about in-text citations on page 177.

Single Author

In-text citation rule:  For paraphrasing and quotations, always include the author's last name and the date published.  Paraphrases do not have to include page numbers (and some instructors may prefer this method, so check with them). However, in the new edition of the APA Manual, they are recommended.

Referring the author in the text: According to Ball (2001), the earth contains many bright colors (p.10).

Author not referred to in the text: The earth contains many bright colors (Ball, 2001, p.10).

Multiple Authors

If a work has only two authors, cite both names each time you reference the material.

     EXAMPLE: According to Bird and Martin (2005), Robert Oppenheimer led a tragic life.

If a work has three, four, or five authors, you should cite all of the authors by last name in the first in-text reference.  In a subsequent reference, you would cite the name of the first author listed followed by et al.


Johnson, Lee, and Martin (2010) attempted this experiment. [first in-text citation]

Johnson et al (2010) confirmed the number of participants.

If a work has six or more authors, only cite the first author's last name followed by et al for all in-text citations.

Vidal et al (2010) concluded that working in a library is the best job a student can have.

Works with no author

For an in-text citation for a source with no identified author, your in-text citation will include the first part of your reference, usually the title.

EXAMPLE: When research is completed in a timely manner, student grades are better ("How To Succeed," 2010).

Corporate author (easily identified by acronym)


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2007), high cholesterol levels are affecting children as well as adults.

In subsequent in-text citations, you should use NIMH (2003).