APA Recommends Using Page Numbers with Paraphrases

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by Melody Pickle, Kaplan University Writing Center

There are many things that APA requires.  But, there are many more things that are left up to the judgment of the writer. Including a page or paragraph number with a paraphrase is one of these judgment calls.

The point of an in-text citation is so readers know whose ideas and words belong to whom at all times in the text.  In-text citations allow readers to easily flip or scroll to the reference list and locate the author’s last name and the full citation information.

Principle:  Provide information that makes it easy for a reader to locate the source.

According to the APA Manual (2009), “When paraphrasing or referring to an idea contained in another work, you are encouraged to provide page or paragraph numbers, especially when it would help an interested reader locate the relevant passage in a long or complex text” (p. 171).

All of the following are acceptable in-text citation examples for paraphrasing:

(Pickle, 2013)

(Pickle, 2013, p. 97)

(Pickle, 2013, para. 4)

According to Pickle (2013), APA is a useful tool when teaching research writing (p. 97).

According to Pickle (2013), APA is a useful tool when teaching research writing.

Note: Use a paragraph number to help a reader locate your references in texts without page numbers such as a webpage.

It is even okay to include a heading along with the paragraph number to direct a reader to material.

APA Publication Manual CoverStudents are often concerned with doing APA right because they don’t want to lose points on an assignment.  But, including a page or paragraph number with a paraphrase is not something that should be considered “wrong.”  On the contrary, it is highly encouraged by the APA Manual.

To Review

It is not wrong to include the page or paragraph number with a paraphrase.

It is not wrong to leave off the page or paragraph number with a paraphrase.

It is wrong to not cite the source at all.

Reminder

A page or paragraph number is required for direct quotations.

APA Style Blog is a great source for information.  Also, visit this KUWC APA Tutorial page.

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One response to “APA Recommends Using Page Numbers with Paraphrases

  1. I love this it is so clear and concise and will help my students greatly clarify that in their minds and keep them out of trouble. Thanks!

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