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Citing Secondary Sources in APA Style

How to cite secondary sources in APA style

In APA Style - What are Secondary Sources?


When reading and citing your articles, any article that is referenced within the article you have is called a secondary source.

If you wish to reference this secondary source in your paper, the best practice is to try and track down the original article and cite it directly.  However, if that is impossible, you may include a secondary source citation in your paper.

How to Cite Secondary Sources in APA

To cite a secondary source:

- Enter the source that you actually read (i.e. the article you have) in your reference list.

- In the main text of your paper, you will give the author's name of the original article (the primary source) with an "as cited in" parenthetical citation following the mention of the primary source.


For example:

You have a 2005 article written by T. K. James.  Within that article he discusses a study by Johnson and Chu that contains important conclusions you'd like to include in your paper.  After searching the Capella library to see if we have the Johnson and Chu article, you conclude we do not and you do not have time to wait for an Interlibrary Loan request. 

Here is how to format your citation....

In-Text Citation:

Johnson and Chu's study (as cited in James, 2005) found that......

Reference list entry:

James, T. K. (2005). Transitions in pop music. Culture Today Journal, 25, 73-98.

Additional APA Resources

For additional help citing secondary sources, please see example 6.17 on page 178 of your APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) or visit these sites: