How do I cite a source discussed in another source?


Academic writing often contains citations to other sources that have been quoted or paraphrased. These are called primary sources inside a secondary source.


For example:

You are reading a paper written by Watts who quotes from a source written by Bracken. Bracken is the primary source and Watts is the secondary source.

There are two options for using the original author, Bracken:

  • Find the primary source written by Bracken to use in your assignment, OR;
  • Cite both the original author (Bracken) and secondary source (Watts) in your assignment.


For the second option, follow these templates and examples:


In-text citation:

(Primary source author(s), year, as cited in secondary source author(s), year)

(Bracken, 1977, as cited in Watts, 2018)



Only the source you read and use in your paper is included in your reference page. Do not include information about the original author.

For this example, the reference entry would be:

Watts, B. (2018). The curious life of the two-toed sloth. Journal of Zoology, 3(1), 10-16.


For more information, read the official APA style blog.


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  • Last Updated May 31, 2024
  • Views 3574
  • Answered By Library Staff

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