Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

APA Citations (7th ed.): Secondary Sources

This guide will help you learn how to properly cite sources in APA style and how to avoid plagiarism.

What is a Secondary Source?

A primary source reports original content.

secondary source refers to content first reported in another source.

It is preferred to cite primary sources. You should cite secondary sources when:

  • The original work is out of print or unavailable
  • The original work is only available in a language you do not understand
  • You are not able to locate the original work

To learn more about citing secondary sources, see p. 258 of the manual.

 

How to Cite Secondary Sources

To cite a secondary source:

  • Provide a reference list entry for the secondary source you are citing.
  • In the text, identify the primary source and then write "as cited in" the secondary source that you used.
  • If the year of publication is known for the primary source, also include it in the text.

Example

Say you read an article by Knipe & Horowitz (2018) in which Truslow (2009) was cited. You are unable to read Truslow's work yourself. The reference list would only include the secondary source by Knipe & Horowitz (2018). The in-text citation would look as it does below:

In-text citation:

     (Truslow, 2009, as cited in Knipe & Horowitz, 2018)

Unknown Year, Primary Source

If the year of the primary source is unknown, omit it from the in-text citation.

In-text citation:

     Newton's diary (as cited in Hale, 1912)