Q. How do I cite information found within the text that is already cited by the author of the source I am reading?

Answer

This type of citation is considered a secondary source or indirect citation

What to do? Cite the source you have in hand, but refer to the source they cited.

For example, if Allport's work is cited in Nicholson and you did not read Allport's work, list the Nicholson reference in the reference list. In the text, use something similar to the following citations:

For a paraphrase or summary:

  • Allport's research (as cited in Nicholson, 2003), indicates that....
  • Nicholson (2003) cites a research study by Allport in which he states...

For a quote:

  • Allport’s research shows “it was the worst economic impact…” (as quoted in Nicholson, 2003, p. 13).
  • Nicholson (2003) quotes Allport as saying "it was the worst economic impact" (p. 13).

For the reference list:

  • Only the work by Nicholson would be in the reference list, because Allport was cited or quoted by Nicholson.

Note: Secondary sources should be used sparingly.  

There is an example of this type of citation on page 5 of the APA Sample PaperYou can also find more information on citing secondary sources in the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition, section 6.17.


For more examples, visit the Personal Communications & Secondary Sources page of the APA Guide. 

  • Last Updated Jun 29, 2020
  • Views 2767
  • Answered By Emily Gilbert, Health Sciences Librarian

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