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I have the following sentence, where the citation refers to the first part of the sentence. Because of how it appears in the formatting of my paper, and how it reads, I would like to have the citation at the end of the sentence as below. Is this acceptable in APA style formatting?

However, location controls should control for variation common across regions, while my placebo test does not provide evidence that an unseen trend in weight gain is responsible for my results (Mincy & De la Cruz Toledo, 2014).

The citation refers to a study which uses location controls, while the placebo test refers to something I did myself, but that I mention here to provide additional support to the plausibility of my results.

Even if it's not your personal preference, would it be OK by APA to have this reference at the end of the sentence?

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    It should go after regions, it is confusing to read this way May 26 at 19:30
  • Perhaps remove however from the start of the sentence and use it like this : ..... regions - Citation - However..... ..
    – Alchimista
    May 27 at 7:55
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I think the bigger problem is with your sentence structure.

However, location controls should control for variation common across regions, while my placebo test does not provide evidence that an unseen trend in weight gain is responsible for my results (Mincy & De la Cruz Toledo, 2014).

By starting the sentence with "However" a contrast is implied. I'm assuming the contrast is against a (hopefully simple) point made in the prior sentence.

What really kills comprehension is the "while" in conjunction with the "however". "While" is "coexisting in time" and since we have two items in contrast, it is not clear if the commentary is referring to the placebo test or the contrasted item. This uncertainty impacts the citation, making it equally ambiguous.

I'd just start with the subject, the placebo test:

The placebo test does not support that an unseen trend in weight gain is responsible for the results.

With this simple idea as an independent sentence, it is easier to place the citation with it or not. The citation will be fully clear if placed in this sentence, as it is only supporting one idea; not a portion of a compound idea containing a contrast where one of those items occur simultaneously with a third item.

Incredibly long sentences and complex grammar are superficially brilliant; true brilliance is making a complex idea simple.

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    +1 for nice explanation of why sentence structure should be kept simple if possible in technical writing, where almost any ambiguity is BAD. I was also having trouble understanding exactly what was intended, and I was mentally thinking of something to say in a comment until I read your answer. One phrase I wondered about was "my placebo test does not provide evidence". This seems weaker than intended, since the claim about not providing evidence could also be made in cases where the placebo test was incorrectly carried out. In fact, my turning on a TV set also does not provide evidence. May 26 at 19:54
  • @DaveLRenfro In my example I altered it a little to "does not support" because in my mind, tests either support or invalidate ideas in Science, they don't create evidence, Of course, this only one viewpoint of a dozen or more useful viewpoints, tied to a strict definition of evidence as observation, that is rarely used. Other viewpoints are valid too, provided they are useful, concise, and clear in whatever approaches they offer.
    – Edwin Buck
    May 27 at 16:20
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When the purpose of the reference is to provide supporting evidence for an assertion (as appears to be the case here), I like to place the reference directly after the verb in that assertion (in this case, after "should"). However, I publish mainly in journals that use numerical citations, and you may find that, with the author-date scheme you've got here, that approach breaks the flow of the text too much.

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