Citing and referencing: In-text citations

A guide to the styles recommended by Monash schools and departments for students and researchers

In-text citing: General notes

  • Insert an in-text citation when your work has been influenced by someone else's work, for example:
    • when you directly quote someone else's work or
    • when you paraphrase someone else's work
  • The in-text citation consists of author surname(s)/family name(s), in the order that they appear on the actual publication, followed by the year of publication of the source that you are citing. 
    • For direct quotes, make sure to include page or paragraph number. eg. (Weston, 1988, p. 45). Page numbers are not normally included when paraphrasing but may be included if desired.
  • The in-text citation is placed immediately after the information being cited. 
  • If your citation is at the end of a sentence, ensure the full stop is placed after the reference.
  • If quoting or citing a source which has been cited within another document, mention the original source together with the secondary reference details; for example:  (Smith, 2008, as cited in Jones, 2010). In this case, only the secondary reference (i.e. Jones, 2010) should be included in the reference list.
    • PLEASE NOTE, HOWEVER you should use secondary sources ONLY where you are unable to obtain a copy of the original, or the original is not available in English. 
  • In-text citations are usually included in the word count of your document.
  • For citations in parentheses with two authors the ‘&’ symbol is used. If the author citation forms part of your sentence the word ‘and’ must be used,  e.g. (Brown & Black, 2010) OR “Brown and Black (2010) indicate that…”

Placement of citations can be important depending on the emphasis you wish to apply

  • If you wish to quote or paraphrase an author and want to emphasise the author,  then your citation becomes 'author prominent'. The citation will look something like this: 
    • Jones (2012) has concluded that... 
  • If you wish to emphasise the information you have paraphrased or quoted from an author, then your citation becomes 'information prominent'.  The citation will look something like this:
    • ... as evidenced from a recent Australian study (Jones, 2012).

Examples of in-text citations

One author

Rule Surname of author, no initials or suffixes such as Jr. The year of publication is also included
Citation examples

..This was seen in an Australian study (Conger, 1979).
Conger (1979) has argued that...
In 1979, Conger conducted a study which showed that...

Two authors

Rule Cite both surnames every time the reference occurs in the text

Citation examples

...(Davidson & Harrington, 2002)
Davidson and Harrington (2002)...

Three to five authors

Rule Cite all surnames and publication year the first time, thereafter only the first surname followed by et al. Note: There is a full-stop (.) after al (see below).
Citation examples  The first time cited: ...(Brown, Soo, & Jones, 1990).
Brown, Soo, and Jones (1990)...
...(Brown et al., 1990).
Brown et al. (1990)...

Six or more authors

Rule Cite only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year from the first citation. Note: There is a full-stop (.) after al (see below). Include all authors, up to seven, in the reference list. Please see instruction for eight or more authors on the introductory page of this guide.
Citation examples .... (Girad-Perregaux et al., 2003).
Girad-Perregaux et al. (2003)...

Different authors : same surname

Rule Add the initials of the author's first or given name/s to their surname to distinguish them.

Citation examples

P. R. Smith (1923) to distinguish from S. Smith (1945) ...
(S. A. Brown & Jones, 1961) to distinguish from (W. O. Brown & Smith, 1985).

Multiple authors: ambiguous citations

Rule If a multiple (3+) author citation abbreviated with et al. looks the same as another in text citation similarly shortened, add enough surnames to make a distinction, followed by a comma and et al.
Citation examples ...(Brown, Shimamura, et al., 1998) to distinguish from (Brown, Taylor, et al., 1998).

Multiple works: by same author

Rule When cited together give the author's surname once followed by the years of each publication, which are separated by a comma.
Citation examples ... (Stairs, 1992, 1993).
Stairs (1992, 1993)...

Multiple works: by same author AND same year

Rule If there is more than one reference by an author in the same year, suffixes (a, b, c, etc.) are added to the year. Allocation of the suffixes is determined by the order of the references in the reference list, not by the order in which they are cited. Suffixes are also included in the reference list, and these references are listed alphabetically by title. If cited together, list by suffix as shown below.
Citation examples Stairs (1992b)... later in the text ... (Stairs, 1992a).
...(Stairs, 1992a, 1992b).

If the author is identified as 'anonymous'

Rule Use Anonymous in place of the author's surname.
Citation examples ... (Anonymous, 1997)

Unknown author

Rule Give the first few words of the title. If the title is from an article or a chapter use double quotation marks. If the title is from a periodical, book brochure or report then use italics.
Citation examples ...the worst election loss in the party's history ("This is the end," 1968).

Corporate or group of authors

Rule If organization is recognized by abbreviation, cite the first time as follows:
Citation examples

... (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW], 2005)

Note: [AIHW] is in square brackets for the initial in-text citation and thereafter as
... (AIHW, 2005).
However, if abbreviation not widely known, give the name in full every time:
... (Australian Research Council, 1996)

Multiple references

Rule List the citations in alphabetical order and separate with semicolons
Citation examples ... (Burst, 1995; Nguyen, 1976; Turner & Hooch, 1982).

Citing specific parts of a source

Rule For a direct quote the page number(s) must be given. Indicate page, chapter, figure, table, etc. as specifically as possible. Use accepted abbreviations, i.e. p. for page, para. for paragraph..
Citation examples As one writer put it "the darkest days were still ahead" (Weston, 1988, p. 45).
Weston (1988) argued that "the darkest days were still ahead" (p. 45).
This theory was put forward by Smith (2005, chap.7)

Quote from an electronic source

Rule Where page numbers are not provided use paragraph numbers.
Citation examples   ...(Chang, 2001, para. 2)

Personal communications


These include private letters, e-mail, and conversations. As personal communications are not accessible to others, they are not included in the reference list.
However,  an in-text citation is required.

Citation examples ... (R. Smith, personal communication, January 28, 2002).
R. Smith (personal communication, January 28, 2002)...

Citation of a secondary source: (i.e a source referred to in another publication)


Note: APA 6th specifies that secondary citations should ONLY be used where the original is unavailable (for example, out-of-print). Wherever possible, read and cite the original source.

If the original source is not available, ONLY include the details of the source you actually read. In the example below, the original source would be Farrow (1968), which you saw cited in a paper by Ward and Decan (1988).

Citation  examples

... (Farrow, 1968, as cited in Ward & Decan, 1988).
Farrow (1968, as cited in Ward & Decan, 1988) ...
Ward and Decan (1988) cited Farrow (1968) as finding...

Citing legislation or legal cases

The way you cite legislation or legal cases depends on whether you read the actual legislation or read about it in another source. If it is the latter, the legislation/case should be treated as a secondary source.

Rule - Legislation

The title of the leglslation and the year (jurisdiction). Note: include the jurisdiction the first time the act is cited. The jurisdiction can be dropped with subsequent citations

Citation  examples

The Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic) states......

by virtue of s. 25.1 of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).....

..."A restrictive intervention may only be used on a person....." (Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic), s. 105)

as a secondary source

....Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (as cited in Creighton & Rozen, 2007)    

Rule - Cases

The title of the case (year). Note: Include the year with the first citation. The year can be dropped in subsequent citations.

Citation  examples 

According to the case of Rogers v Whitaker (1992).....

as a secondary source

.....Chappel v Hart (1988) (as cited in Forrester & Griffiths, 2010)

Websites (but not a specific document on that site)


When citing an entire website it is sufficient to give the address of the site in the text. No reference list entry required.

Citation  examples 

Apple is one of the most visited consumer technology websites in the world (

Web page, author


Family name and year of publication.

Citation  examples 

In a recent article on the role of quantitative analysts Loeper (2019) states…


The role of quantitative analysts has been recently reviewed (Loeper, 2019)

Web page with corporate author


Organisation name and year of publication.

Citation  examples 

A webpage regarding educational programs and discounts offered by Samsung (2019) states…


Extensive information on education programs and discounts are offered by one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies (Samsung, 2019)

Web page, unknown author


Give the first few words of the title. If the title is from an article use double quotation marks. Also include the year of publication.

Citation  examples 

An Australian government agency recommend checking rainwater tanks in Queensland (“Unsealed rainwater tanks”, 2019).

Web page, no date


Use the letters n.d. - an abbreviation of the words ‘no date’.

Citation  examples 

In a self-published autobiographical article audiovisual organisation Bose (n.d) mention…


The company’s history is outlined in a self-published autobiography (Bose, n.d.)

Market Reports/Industry databases, no individual author


Cite the database or Market Report publisher as author.

Citation  examples 

An industry report on infrastructure construction in China by IBISWorld (2019) asserts…


Infrastructure construction in China was summarised in a recent industry report (IBISWorld, 2019).

Market Reports/Industry databases, author


Family name and year of publication.

Citation  examples 

In an industry report on Australian accommodation Smith (2019) states…


Australian accommodation options were recently reviewed  (Smith, 2019).