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Citing Sources: APA

Featuring the most frequently used citation styles...


The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) is the style manual of choice for writers, editors, students, educators, and professionals in psychology, sociology, business, economics, nursing, social work, and justice administration, and other disciplines in which effective communication with words and data is fundamental. In addition to providing clear guidance on grammar, the mechanics of writing, and APA style, the Publication Manual offers an authoritative and easy-to-use reference and citation system and comprehensive coverage of the treatment of numbers, metrication, statistical and mathematical data, tables, and figures for use in writing, reports, or presentations.  



*In the Library

The guidelines and examples in this table are based on the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition (the 7th edition was published in 2019).

Font: The preferred font of APA is Times New Roman 12 pt.

Margins: Margins should be 1 inch.

Page Numbers: Page numbers should be placed in the document header, flush right.

Spacing: The entire document should be double-spaced, except for the abstract.

Title Page: This is the first page of your document.

  • Title: The title of the paper should be written in uppercase and lowercase letters. It should also appear in the upper half of the page and be centered between the left and right margins.
  • Author's name and institutional affiliation: The author's name (first name, middle initial, last name) and institutional affiliation is normally included on the title page. Students writing research papers may be directed to include the course information also.  The author information should be located below the title by 2 or 3 returns.
  • Running head: The running head is a shortened (50 characters) version of the official title. It should be located in the document header, flush left in all uppercase letters. On the title page only it is preceded by-  Running head:
    First page = Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
    Subsequent pages = TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
  • Page numbers: The page numbers should be located in the document header, flush right. The title page is considered page 1.

*An example title page can be found on Purdue OWL.

Abstract: This is the second page of your document. It should be single-spaced.

  • Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (TITLE and page number). On the first line of the abstract page, center the word "Abstract" (no formatting or quotations). Write a single paragraph detailing the purpose of your paper and your key findings. 

In-text citations should ALWAYS include the author's last name and the item's publication date. A page (print) or paragraph number (website) must be included if it's a direct quotation.

There are three ways to cite in-text: quoting, summarizing, and/or paraphrasing.

Consider the following example passage and consult with the table below:

Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.

from pages 46-47 of:

Lester, J. D. (1976). Writing Research Papers (2nd ed.). Glenview, Illinois: Scott Foresman.

  What? Why? How? Example:
Paraphrase Restating, in your own words, the author’s words or ideas

-To simplify or clarify the original text

-To demonstrate comprehension of original source

-Reflect on what the author has written, then rewrite it using your own words and sentence structure

-Be sure to accurately represent the author

In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester, 1976).

Quote Using the author’s exact words

-To support or add credibility to your arguments.

-When the original is difficult to rephrase

-When the author's original wording is succinct and needs no improvement.

-Use “quotation marks” to mark someone else’s words

-Ensure the quote is identical to the original

-In his book, Writing Research Papers, James Lester (1976) asserts that "students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes" which leads them to then use too many quotations in their papers (p. 46-47).

-Students tend to use too many quotations in their research papers because they "frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes" (Lester, 1976, p. 46-47).

Summarize Condensed/distilled version of the author’s words or ideas

-To include only main points of the original text

-To give a broad overview of the source material

-A summary is shorter than a paraphrase and covers main points only.

-Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester, 1976).

-To minimize the amount of quoted material in research papers, Lester (1976) suggests that students avoid utilizing direct quotations when taking notes.

Each of your in-text citations should then point to the item's full citation in your Reference list or Bibliography. Review the guidelines for the citation style you're required to use. More information about the various citation styles can be found in the box below.

Multiple Authors

Below are some basic rules; consult Table 6.1 in the APA Manual for additional examples.

  • 1 or 2 authors: always include both the names
    • Examples:
      • "The network form is on the rise in a big way, and because of this, societies are entering a new epoch" (Arquilla & Ronfelt, 1996, p. 43).
      • Arquilla and Ronfelt (1996) report that “the network form is on the rise in a big way, and because of this, societies are entering a new epoch” (p. 43).
  • 3-5 authors: always include all the authors for the first in-text citation. For subsequent in-text citations, list the first author followed by et al.
    • Example:
      • First - According to Adams, Bush, and Carlisle (2015)...
        ...revealed at the conclusion of their study (Adams, Bush, & Carlisle, 2015).
      • Subsequent - Adams et al. (2015) assert that...
        ...shocking assertion (Adams et al., 2015).
  • 6+ authors: list the first author followed by et al. 
    • Examples:
      • ...students citing sources (Perry et al., 2015).
      • When citing sources, Perry et al. (2015) discovered that students...
No Known Author
  • When citing an item without an author use the first few words of the title.
    • Article, Chapter, Website: use double quotation marks
    • Periodical, Book, or Report: italicize
Entity as Author
  • If a corporation, government agency, etc. is the author, spell it out the first time it is used in-text. If it is easily recognizable and can be abbreviated, you may do so in subsequent in-text citations. However, if the abbreviation does not allow readers to easily identify the source, continue to write the entire name in each subsequent in-text citation.
    • Examples:
      • Easily Identifiable, can be abbreviated
        • First: American Civil Liberties Union
        • Subsequent: ACLU
      • Not Easily Identifiable, continue to write the entire name
        • First: University of Ohio
        • Subsequent: University of Ohio

Your list of references should go at the end of your paper and should start on its own page with the title "References" centered at the top of the page. There should be no special formatting or quotations. Remember that all of the items in your reference list should be cited in-text at some point.

Indents: Indent after the first line of each entry.

Order: Alphabetize by the first word of the entry.

Capitalization: For books, chapters, articles, or websites = capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title and proper nouns ONLY. If there's a subtitle, capitalize the first word after the colon. For journal titles, capitalize all the major words.

Multiple Authors
  • List only the first (and middle if available) initials of all authors
  • List all authors with the last name first
    • Example: Smith, J. D.
  • Two authors are separated with a comma and an ampersand ( & )
    • Example: Smith, J. D., & Jones, R. L.
  • Three authors are formatted with commas and an ampersand ( & )
    • Example: Smith, J. D., Jones, R. L., & Harper, S. G.
  • List up to six (6) authors; above that number, list the first six and then et al.
    • Example: Smith, J. D., Jones, R. L., Harper, S. G., Harris, K., Thompson, L. C., Nelson, G. A., et al.
Entity as Author
  • Authors that are organizations, corporations, government entities, etc.
    Do not invert or use abbreviations.
    • American Civil Liberties Union.
    • United States Department of Commerce.
Editor(s) if using the entire book, not a chapter within a book
  • List the editor as the author with the abbreviation "(Ed.)" after the name, or "(Eds.)" if there is more than one editor. Multiple editors are formatted the same way as authors (above).

Print Books:

Author(s). (Year of Publication). Title of book (edition). Location of Publication: Publisher.

Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency. London, England: Taylor & Francis.

Sternberg, E. (2000). Just business: Business ethics in action (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


Author(s). (Year of Publication). Title of book (edition). Retrieved from database url.

Roush, C. (1999). Inside Home Depot: How one company revolutionized an industry through the relentless pursuit of growth. Retrieved from

Author(s). (Year of Publication). Title of book (edition). doi number

Schiraldi, G. R. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth. doi:10.1036/0071393722

Book Chapter:

Author(s). (Year of Publication). Title of chapter or article.  In Editor #1 1st Initial. Middle Initial. Last Name, & Editor #2 First Initial. Middle Initial. Last Name (Eds.), Title of book (pp. page numbers). Location of Publication: Publisher.

Haybron, D. M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well-being. In M. Eid & R. J. Larsen (Eds.), The science of subjective well-being (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Electronic Journal Article with a DOI

*try to utilize the DOI if it is available

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year of Publication). Title of article. Name of Journal, volume(issue), pages. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx

Gaudio, J. L., & Snowdon, C. T. (2008). Spatial cues more salient than color cues in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) reversal learning. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 122(4), 441-444. doi: 10.1037/0735-7036.122.4.441

Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24(2), 225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Electronic Journal Article without a DOI

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year of Publication). Title of article. Name of Journal, volume(issue), pages. Retrieved from complete URL

Carter, S., & Dunbar-Odom, D. (2009). The converging literacies center: An integrated model for writing programs. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 14(1), 38-48. Retrieved from

Print Journal Article

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year of Publication). Title of article. Name of Journal, volume(issue), pages. 

Agodini, R., & Harris, B. (2010). An experimental evaluation of four elementary school math curricula. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3(3), 199-253.

Bolick, C. M., Adams, R., & Willox, L. (2010). The marginalization of elementary Social Studies in teacher education. Social Studies Research and Practice, 5(2), 1-22.

Search for what you need in any of the "resources" located to the left. The official manual guide is always your best bet.