I would like to pick up a claim made in Example (2012), which in itself references other academic writings. That is, Example (2012) writes something along the line of:

Inequality in France has increased since the 1980s (Source1, 1999; Source2, 2001; Source3; 2005).

In my writing, I would like to build an argument on this fact, that inequality in France has risen. How do I properly cite this claim, bearing in mind that I only have the book of Example (2012), and not any of the others. I know that secondary citations are usually denoted by as cited in, like this.

As inequality has been rising in France over the course of the past decades (Source1, 1999; Source2, 2001; Source3; 2005, as cited in Example, 2012).....

However, I feel that this citation style overstates the importance of the secondary sources to my argument. I would prefer something along the line of

As inequality has been rising in France over the course of the past decades (Example, 2012; referencing Source1, 1999; Source2, 2001; Source3; 2005).....

However, I have not found any such format in the APA guidelines.

Does anyone know how to handle this properly?

1 Answer 1


Neither "as cited in" nor your alternative is good.

The only way to handle it properly is to get the other sources and read them.

If you don't understand why, read "Academic Urban Legends" by Rekdal: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0306312714535679

  • Yeah, the trouble is that the Sources are books without any indication of page number or chapter... But I do see your point. If I go back to the primary sources, do I still have to cite (Example, 2012), as they pointed me in the direction of the primary sources?
    – Pentaquark
    Apr 11, 2022 at 13:54
  • 1
    Yes, it can be tedious. And you might find that all those sources just state the claim with no evidence except another citation (or several), and then you have to look those things up. Finding primary evidence can take time. You might even find that your sources don't lead to any at all! But when you find one piece of proper primary evidence, like some statistics about inequality, then I think you can stop and cite that. No, you don't have to cite Example (2012) in this case.
    – gib
    Apr 11, 2022 at 14:05

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