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Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen
Last Updated: Jul 20, 2015     Views: 78554

When you summarize or paraphrase someone else's information in several sentences or more, it feels awkward to put in a citation at the end of each sentence you write. It is also awkward to read! However, technically, APA demands that your reader knows exactly what information you got from someone else and when you start using it. Thus, an end-of-paragraph citation does not meet that requirement. 

Solution:  Use a lead-in at the beginning of your paragraph. Basically, introduce the source you are summarizing or paraphrasing at the beginning of the paragraph and then refer back to the source when needed to ensure your reader understands you are still utlizing the same source. 

For examples of the "bad," the "ugly" and the "good," please see below:

Bad. In this paragraph, the citation occurs only at the end and reader does not know exactly when/where information comes from the source. Do not do this:

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. They are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. When frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. In addition, when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment (Willemssen, 2010).

Correct but Ugly. This paragraph is technically correct for APA, but it is difficult to read in large part because the in-text citations are intrusive and awkward:

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. They are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution (Willemssen, 2010). When frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland (Willemssen, 2010). In addition, when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment (Willemssen, 2010).

Good. These paragraph are "APA correct" and easy to read. Note the reader knows exactly when/where information from the source is used:

Sample 1

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health. According to a recent study by Willemssen (2010), frogs are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. The study notes that when frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. In addition, when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment (Willemssen, 2010).

Sample 2

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health.  Willemssen (2010) relates research conducted recently in Wisconsin that shows that frogs are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. Her research indicates that when frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. In addition, she finishes by noting that when oddities in frog morphology appear, like frogs with five legs or two heads, one can also assume something is going wrong in the wetland environment.

Sample 3

Frogs are excellent indicator species to measure wetland health.  Willemssen (2010) recently conducted research in Wisconsin that shows that frogs are very sensitive to changes in pH caused by acid rain, and they are also very sensitive to different types of pollution. Willemssen's research indicates that when frog populations in a wetland plummet, one can be sure that something is going wrong in the wetland. One very telling quote from Willemssen's research is that "87% of wetlands where two-headed frogs are found have high levels of  environmental contamination" (p. 341). 


 

For more information on quoting, paraphrasing, and summarzing in APA, please see:

Our answer on quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing

Our APA Guide's In-text Citation section

Comments (12)

  1. That is incredibly helpful! I've been puzzled about this for so long!
    by becca on Jan 02, 2015.
  2. Thank you so much for this great advice. I wish examples like this were included in the APA manual.
    by Chris on Jan 25, 2015.
  3. Thank you for this information! I don't know why it isn't included in the APA manual.
    by Gia on Feb 22, 2015.
  4. Thank you so much, I have never been sure how to do this correctly and worried that incorrectly cited paraphrasing would be seen as plagiarism.
    by sally on Mar 23, 2015.
  5. What if the source has multiple authors? I am citing a book with four authors and the title of the book is incredibly long as well. It would be awkward to say "According to Roehlkeparatin, King, Wagener, and Benson (2011) frogs . . ."
    by Laurie L on Mar 25, 2015.
  6. You do list all four authors the first time you cite them in-text. However, once you have listed them all the first time, you can change to just listing the first author and replace the rest with et al.

    So in your example you would start as you did and then might continue with something like this: Roehlkeparatin et al. (2011) continue by saying ….

    For more information on how to work with multiple authors, see our answer at http://rasmussen.libanswers.com/faq/32514
    by Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen on Mar 26, 2015.
  7. Woow thank u , I was looking for this information
    by fdf@gdf.ocm on Apr 07, 2015.
  8. This is brilliant, thank you! I have been struggling with this for awhile.
    by Riaan on Apr 08, 2015.
  9. This was the thing I was looking for and Sample 3 does the job for me ! Thank You ! This puzzled me for a while, but what was more puzzling is that I hadn't found anyone or any material to explain it like this.
    by josh on May 17, 2015.
  10. Thank you so much! This helped A LOT!

    cheers
    by J S W on Aug 21, 2015.
  11. Examples are extremely helpful. Thank you.

    Sam
    by Sam on Aug 22, 2015.
  12. Bravo. Its people like yourself that make the internet useful!
    by Ryan on Aug 25, 2015.