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APA Citation Style: How often do I need to cite?

Basics

  • Any parenthetical reference that contains the author must also include the year
  • when the author is referred to as part of the sentence (instead of in a parenthetical reference), the date needs to be included after the first reference in a paragraph; you do not need to repeat the date if you cite the author as part of a sentence again in the same paragraph (see example three); however, you DO need to repeat the year if there was a parenthetical reference before (see example two)
  • If pronouns such as he/she/they are used, they must have a clear referent.

How often do I need to cite?

RULE: the APA Publication Manual does not specify how often an author's name must be mentioned when citing a source. The basic rule is that credit must be given for anything that is not one's own thought, idea or creation, and that it must be clear to the reader which of the information is borrowed and which one is not.

EXAMPLE ONE

Here, credit is given for each borrowed sentence in the author-date parenthetical format. Although this is perfectly correct, it is stylistically not the best writing:

The average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science (Sagan, 1995). One of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers (Sagan, 1995). Some even go as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire (Sagan, 1995). Other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe (Sagan, 1995)


 

So what could you do differently?

When writing a paragaraph, you can alternate between citing an author parenthetically and using the author's name or a pronoun in the running textBy using these variations, you can avoid redundancy and still make clear throughout the paragraph that the ideas are those you borrowed.

 

EXAMPLE TWO - a bit better


According to Sagan (1995), the average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science. He states that one of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers. Some even go as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire (Sagan, 1995). Sagan (1995) points out that other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe.

 

EXAMPLE THREE - a bit better

The average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science (Sagan, 1995). Sagan (1995) states that one of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers. He declares that some even go as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire. Sagan points out that other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe.

EXAMPLE FOUR - better

According to Sagan (1995), the average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science. He states that one of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers. Sagan declares that some even go as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire. He points out that other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe. 

 

EXAMPLE FIVE - better

According to Sagan (1995), the average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science. He states that one of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers. Sagan declares that some even go as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire. Other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe (Sagan, 1995)

 

EXAMPLE SIX - better

According to Sagan (1995), the average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science. He states that one of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers. He declares that some even go as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire. Lastly, he also points out that other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe.

 

EXAMPLE SEVEN - even better (combining two sentences)

According to Sagan (1995), the average person accepts pseudoscience much more readily than real science. He states that one of the reasons is that pseudoscience feeds the illusion of having unrealistic personal powers, with some going as far as to proclaim that wishful thinking is enough to create the reality we desire. He also points out that other branches of pseudoscience satisfy our spiritual longings and promise that we are one with the Universe.

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