*Investigating Public Figures with Primary Sources

A guide to finding primary sources by politicians, activists, and pundits. Created for POLS4590.

In-Text Citations

APA style citations incorporate the author, date, and page number of any quotation you use.

  • Always use the author or authors' last name(s).
  • Include the publication date in the text of the sentence or at the end of the sentence.
  • Direct quotations require the page number(s) of the original location of the source.
  • Use past tense in the phrase leading into the quotation.
  • Common knowledge does not require citations. Example: Sigmund Freud lived from 1856-1939.
  • Page numbers may be omitted when referencing an entire work.

Direct Quotations

When directly quoting there are options to list the author, publication date, and page referenced in-text. The goal is to include all three elements into the sentence with the quotation. Direct quotes require a corresponding full citation in the reference page. 

Example: Zimbardo (2007) concluded that humans "are not slaves to the power of situational forces" (p.466). OR The results show that humans "are not slave to the power of situational forces" (Zimbardo, 2007, p.446).


To paraphrase means to rephrase information and ideas expressed by someone else and restated in your own words. Paraphrased material does not include quotation marks but does require an in-text citation.  EXAMPLE.

No Author's Name

Use the first two or three words of the title for the in-text citation.

Article example: A recent study shows homeless children are often overlooked ("Study Finds," 2010).

Book example: Merit based assessment is primarily a means of promotion (Debating Affirmative Action, 2008).

No Date

Put n.d. if there is no publication or created by date available.

Example: "Yearly increase in adolescent alcohol consumption" was noted (Weinberg, n.d., p.15).


To cite an entire website (but not a specific page or document on the site), if it permissible to give the address of the site in a parenthetical note at the end of the sentence. No reference entry is needed in these instances.

To cite specific materials on a website, include author(s)' last name, date, and paragraph number for the in-text citation. If no name is available, use the first words of the title in quotation marks.

Quoting a Quotation

If you didn't cite from the original work, indicate 'as cited in' followed by the author, date, page number of the secondary source.

Example: In 1936, Keynes wrote "governments should run deficits when the economy is slow to avoid unemployment" (as cited in Richardson, 2008, p. 257).

Works by three to six authors

Include last names of all the authors the first time the source is referenced. In following in-text citations include the name of the first author followed by "et al.". List all authors' names in the reference list.


First citation: Herbal medicines "have been found to alleviate stress" (Isacc, Kelin, Fox, & Metress, 2004).

Following citation: "Post partum depression has been diagnosed amongst users in the group" (Isac et al., 2004).

Works by seven or more authors

Cite only the last name of the first author followed by et al. List all authors' names in reference list.

Organization, Institution, or Government Entity as author

If the corporate author's title is long AND is familiar and readily recognizable you can abbreviate the name if the second and following in-text citation.


First citation: Control group participants exhibited no reaction (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2008).

Following citation: The results were unanticipated and startling (CDC, 2008, p.123).

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