I'm currently writing an academic paper for a school assignment, specifically a short Position Paper with 500 word limit. I have chosen to use APA for my citations.

I am wondering if that

  1. it is compulsory or a MUST to stick to EITHER using in-text citations OR parenthetical citations for the whole paper?

IF no to 1, would it be best to

  1. stick to using one particular citation style, which for my case, using in-text citations for the entire paper, or

  2. should I consider mixing both in-text citations and parenthetical citations throughout the paper?

I am relatively new to writing an academic paper and only need to cite around 5 or 6 points/sentences, my concerns are that 2. might make the whole paper very dull and monotonous but 3. might make the paper look messy.

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    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


There is no rule stating that you have to stick to one in-text citation style or the other for the whole paper. If you're including a direct quote, you need to include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference, but they don't all have to be in parentheses. You can mention the author in a signal phrase. I think mixing the two different styles can make the language seem more natural and readable, but use your best judgement for each reference.

Also, it's worth noting that if you're paraphrasing an idea (not directly quoting), you only have to include the author and year in your in-text citation. You're encouraged to include the page number, but it's not required.

Reference: Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide - In-Text Citations: The Basics


You should decide sentence by sentence. Because the APA Style Manual requires so much garbage to be inserted in those reference citations, you cannot escape distracting your readers.

Sometimes a parenthetical cite will be better than an in-text cite, and sometimes vice versa. There is no standard rule. Whatever works best for your particular text is best.

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