Skip to Main Content

Referencing style - APA 7th: Secondary Sources

A guide to using the APA 7th edition referencing system for in-text citations and reference lists.

Using indirect references cited in another secondary source

If you use the ideas of an author which you did not directly read yourself, but saw referred to or cited in another publication, this is considered an indirect reference and needs to be treated as a secondary source.

The APA7 Publication Manual advises that it is better academic practice to find and read the original text - especially if you are referring to significant portions of the author's ideas.

Read this advice on the APA Blog here at this link.

  • If you do decide to use the secondary source to reference the original author's ideas then the principle is that you must acknowledge this in your in-text using this format (Harris, 2009 as cited in Lewis, 2019)  or " As highlighted by Harris (2009, as cited in Lewis, 2019). 
  • However, your full reference at the end only refers to the work you read in which the original author's ideas were cited.   That is the full reference for the work by Lewis (2019).  

Citing a secondary source

Follow the format of the reference in which you found the indirect citation. 

Material Type In-Text Citation Reference List & Notes

eBook - no DOI or website

Miller (1953, as cited in Agrios, 2012) found

or was found (Miller, 1953, as cited in Agrios, 2012)

Agrios, G. (2012). Plant Pathology. Elsevier Science.


Note:  You do not require a full citation for Miller (1953) in your end-text reference list because you have not read the work by Miller, only Agrios' interpretation of it.

Journal article (Tight, 2016 cited in Matthews et al., 2020) 

Matthews, A., McLinden, M., & Greenway, C. (2021). Rising to the pedagogical challenges of the Fourth Industrial Age in the university of the future: An integrated model of scholarship. Higher Education Pedagogies, 6(1), 1-21.


Note: You do not require a full citation for Tight (2016) in your end-text reference. 




 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.