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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.  

The guidelines and examples in this table are based on the APA Publication Manual, 7th edition. For information about what's new in the 7th edition, which was published in 2019, go here. If you are a UHWO student completing the assignment for a UHWO course, follow the directions for student formatting, unless directed otherwise by your instructor.

Font: The font chosen should be accessible and should be used in a consistent manner throughout the paper. Widely accessible fonts include, but are not limited to: sans serif fonts (11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, and 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode) and serif fonts (12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, 10-point Computer Modern).

Margins: Margins should be 1 inch.

Spacing: The entire document should be double-spaced.

Page Header:

  • Students - the page header consists of page numbers, flush right, starting with the Title Page (1).
  • Professionals 
    • Running head: The running head is a shortened (50 characters) version of the articleʻs official title. It should be located in the document header, flush left in all uppercase letters, starting on the title page.
    • Page numbers, flush right, starting with the Title Page (1).

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

  • Students:
    • 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 on the page.
      [one blank space between]
    • Author's name: First name, middle initial(s), and last name.
    • Institutional Affiliation: The location associated with the research project (e.g. University of Hawaiʻi - West Oʻahu).
    • Course: Include the course number and name (e.g. PSY 250: Social Psychology).
    • Instructorʻs Name: Identify the course instructor (e.g. Dr. Jane Doe).
    • Assignment Due Date (e.g. October 1, 2020)
  • Professionals:
    • Title
      [one blank space between]
    • Author Name(s): Do not include titles or degrees.
    • Institutional Affiliation(s)
    • Author Note: include ORCID IDs, any author change in affiliation or deaths, any disclosures or acknowledgements, contact information for the corresponding author.

*Example title pages can be found here.

Abstract: This is the second page of your document.

  • Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header, as described above. On the first line of the abstract page, center the word "Abstract" (no formatting or quotation marks). Write a single paragraph detailing the purpose of your paper and your key findings. Aim for approximately 250 words.

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. Use the abbreviation p. if you are citing one page or pp. if you are citing multiple pages.

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 (pp. 46-47).

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

If you refer to the title of the source in your narrative, capitalize every word in the title that is four letters long, or greater (exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, or adverbs). If the title is italicized in your reference list, then it should be italicized when you refer to it in your paper. If it is not italicized in your reference list, enclose it in quotation marks.

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 8.1 in the APA Manual 7th edition 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+ 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...
    • Exceptions: Generally, the only exception is if there would be ambiguity between various sources. In that scenario, include additional names to provide clarity.
      • (Perry, Richards, Stevens, et al.)
      • (Perry, Richards, Yang, et al.)
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. As an example, say you write an article that mentions both the University of Ohio and the University of Oregon. Spell out each name fully in all citations to avoid ambiguity.
        • 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 (0.5 inch) after the first line of each entry. This is called a hanging indent.

Order: Alphabetize by the first word of the entry.

Capitalization: For books, chapters, articles, reports, 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.

Anatomy of References

All references should include the following elements:

  • Author: responsible for the work
  • Date: publication year of source
  • Title: name of the work being cited
  • Source: information necessary to retrieve the source

Missing information troubleshooting:

  • Author name missing: provide title, date and source.
  • Date is missing: provide author, write "n.d" (no date), then add title and source
  • Missing Title: provide author and date, describe work in square brackets and then provide the source.

For more missing information solutions see table 9.1 in APA Manual 7th edition.

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 twenty (20) authors; when there are 21 or more authors, list the first nineteen, add an ellipsis, then list the last authorʻs name.
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).
Provide a DOI, if it is available, whether it be for a print or electronic resource. If a print resource does not have a DOI, it does not need to be included in the reference citation.

Print or Electronic Books:

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

Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency. Taylor & Francis; Cambridge University Press.

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

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. pages of chapters). Publisher Name.

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). Guilford Press.

Electronic Journal Article with a DOI

*try to include 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.

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.

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.

Electronic Journal Article without a DOI

*try to find the stable URL or the permalink when on the resource page

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.

Print Journal Article

*You should include the DOI, if it is available. The examples below are assuming that no DOI is available.

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, so if you don't have access, check for examples here.