APA citations are citations that are formatted according to the rules, guidelines, and stylistic conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, an organization of physicians and medical practitioners who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and behavioral disorders, for use in its own publications, such as The American Journal of Psychiatry and The American Journal of Insanity. APA citations have been adopted by many departments in psychology, criminology, nursing, medicine, economics, and business as the standard editorial style for documenting sources used in a research paper in many colleges and universities.
This style requires both in-text citations and a corresponding APA reference page. For every in-text citation that appears in the main body of your paper, there should be a corresponding citation entry in the APA reference page. This page is an alphabetized list of all the sources that you have used in writing your essay. Located at the end of your document, this page provides publication information for every source that you have cited. In-text citations refer to the references that appear within the body of the paper, including all the resources that you have quoted, summarized, or paraphrased.
For purposes of clarity, in-text citations are normally placed within or after sentences and paragraphs so to show readers what information is being quoted or paraphrased and whose information is being cited. As a rule, the first time you mention a particular source, you should cite it right away as part of the text. The citation, including the year of publication, is enclosed within parentheses. For example:
… “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” (Fitzgerald, 1945). …
As exemplified above, an in-text citation consists of the last name of the author and the year of publication enclosed within parentheses and inserted in the text at an appropriate point. The citation can also be written into a sentence, with the year of publication enclosed in parentheses, as with the following example:
… “The test of a first-rate intelligence, according to Fitzgerald (1945), is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” …
The citation example happens to be a book, namely, The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and thus there should be a corresponding APA book citation entry in your APA reference page:
Fitzgerald, F. S. (1945). The Crack-Up: Essays, Letters, and Notes. New York: New Directions.
If, for instance, you took the quotation from an online source, such as a website or a database, you need to include an APA website citation,which looks like this:
Fitzgerald, F. S. (1945). The Crack-Up: Essays, Letters, and Notes. Esquire. Retrieved Jun 28, 2012, from http://www.esquire.com/features/the-crack-up