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Citation 101

An overview and guide to citation styles
 
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APA Citation Style

APA Style

APA Style emphasizes writing with clarity, precision, and inclusion. This guide is designed to help you ensure that your paper meets the guidelines established by the American Psychological Association.

Writers using APA Style must strive to use language that is free of bias and avoid perpetuating prejudicial beliefs or demeaning attitudes in their writing. Just as you have learned to check your writing for spelling, grammar, and wordiness, practice reading your work for bias. Please visit the APA Style website for more information about their specific guidelines. 

The Seventh Edition of APA Style was designed with modern word processing programs in mind. Most default settings in programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs already comply with APA Style. There are a few adjustments you may need to make.

Document Formatting

APA has specific rules for formatting the title and body pages of student papers. Below you will find basic parameters for both but, more detailed information can be found online at the link provided both below and on the Additional Resources tab for APA.

 

Alignment: Information on the Title Page should be Centered both Vertically and Horizontally.

Page Number: Page numbers should be included in the top right as a header.

Paper Title: The paper's title should be listed first in bold followed by two double spaced lines.

Additional Information: The title page should contain additional information in the following order; the Student's Name, Institution Name, the Course's Subject, Number and Name, the Professor's Name, and the Due Date.

Instructors' guidelines supersede APA Style. Please double-check with your professor for any specific requirements for your paper.

 

Margins: Use 1 in. margins on all sides of your paper.

Font: Use a legible font. APA Style allows for many different types of font including 12 point Times New Roman, 11 point Arial, 11 point Calibri, and 11 point Georgia. The default font on your word processing program is acceptable. 

Line Spacing: Use double-spacing for the entire paper. Do not add blank lines before or after headings. Do not add extra spacing between paragraphs. 

Page Numbers: Put a page number in the top right corner of every page, including the cover page. Student papers do not require a running head on any page.

Instructors' guidelines supersede APA Style. Please double-check with your professor for any specific requirements for your paper.

Formatting Elements of a Citation

APA Style uses the author-date citation system, where a brief citation directs the reader to a full reference list entry. Cite only those ideas and works that you have incorporated into your paper. Use the following information to help you create complete reference list entries. For each reference element (author, date, title, and source), basic information and examples are shown. Use this information to identify the reference elements for your own work. Visit APA Citation Examples for more information on how to set up your citation for different types of resources.

 

Types of Authors Examples
Individual Author(s): Write the author's last name, followed by the first and middle initial(s).  Put a comma between the last name and initials.  Put a period and space after each initial.  Separate each author with a comma.  Put an ampersand (&) before the last authors' name.  Indicate any specialized role in parentheses after the author's name and end with a period.

Bilias-Lolis, E.

Schwartz, R. C., & Sweezy, M.

Abdel Hadi, S., Mojzisch, A., Parker, S. L., & Hausser, J. A.

Schmid, H.-J. (Ed.).

Bender, J. (Director), Cuse, C. (Writer), & Lindelof, D. (Writer).
Username: Provide the username, including @ if part of the name.  If both a username and a real name are known, put the username in square brackets after the real name.  Put a period at the end.

Vogue [@voguemagazine].

Lebron James [@KingJames].
Group Author:  Provide the full name of the group.  Put a period after the group name.

Merriam-Webster.

World Health Organization.

Note: If there is no Author, start the reference with the work's title.

Note: From APA Style scaffolded reference elements worksheet, by American Psychological Association, 2021, APA, https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/scaffolded-reference-elements-worksheet.pdf

Types of Dates Examples
Year Only: Use the year for most works (e.g., journal article, book).  Put the year in parentheses.  End with a period. (2020).
Specific Date: Use a more specific date (e.g., year and month or year, month, and day) for works published on a regular basis.  Write the year, a comma, and the specific date.  Write out month names in full.  Put the date in parentheses.  End with a period.

(2016, April 6).

(2018, July).
No Date:  If there is no date for the work, write “n.d.” in parentheses. (n.d.).

Note: From APA Style scaffolded reference elements worksheet, by American Psychological Association, 2021, APA, https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/scaffolded-reference-elements-worksheet.pdf

Types of Titles Examples
Works that stand-alone (e.g., book, report, film, social media post, webpage): Italicize the title, and capitalize it using sentence case. For books and reports, enclose any identifying information (e.g., edition, volume, report number) in parentheses after the title. Put a period after, but not before, the parenthetical information. Do not italicize the period or parenthetical information. Add a description of the work in square brackets after the title (before the period) if helpful in identifying it, and place it after any parenthetical information. Entrenchment and the psychology of language learning: How we reorganize and adapt linguistic knowledge. Practical ethics for psychologists: A positive approach (3rd ed.). Guide to patient and family engagement: Environmental scan report (Publication no. 12-0042-EF). Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban [Video].
Works that are part of a greater whole (e.g., journal article, edited book chapter, TV episode): Write the title without italics or quotation marks, and capitalize it using sentence case. For episodes, enclose the season and episode numbers in parentheses after the title. Put a period after, but not before, the parenthetical information. Add a description of the work in square brackets after the title (before the period) if helpful in identifying it, and place it after any parenthetical information. Experimental evidence for the effects of job demands and job control on physical activity after work. Mindful gratitude in the schools: Building capacity across the tiers. The constant (Season 4, Episode 5) [TV series episode].

Note: From APA Style scaffolded reference elements worksheet, by American Psychological Association, 2021, APA, https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/scaffolded-reference-elements-worksheet.pdf

Types of Sources Examples
Works that stand-alone (e.g., book, report, film, social media post, webpage): The source is the publisher of the work, database or archive, social media site, or website, plus any DOI or URL. Imagine Entertainment. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/ CGDaLBKplB-/
Works that are part of a greater whole (e.g., journal article, edited book chapter, TV episode): The source is the greater whole (e.g., journal, book, TV show), plus any DOI or URL. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88(5), 445–454. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000494 In J. A. J. Smits, M. W. Otto, M. B. Powers, & S. O. Baird (Eds.), The clinician’s guide to anxiety sensitivity treatment and assessment (pp. 179–193). Elsevier Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/ B978-0-12-813495-5.00009-7
Periodicals (e.g., journal, magazine, newspaper, blog): Provide the periodical name, volume number, issue number (if present), and page range or article number. Capitalize the title of the periodical using title case, italicize it, and place a comma (not italicized) after it. Italicize the volume number. Put the issue number (not italicized) in parentheses directly after the volume number with no space in between. Put a comma after the closing parenthesis, and then write the page range (or article number). Separate the page numbers by an en dash and follow with a period. If the work is an advance online version, write “Advance online publication” in place of the journal information. Follow with a period. End with any DOI written as a hyperlink in the format: https:// doi.org/xxxxx Social Psychology, 51(4), 219–238. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/ a000411 Journal of Affective Disorders, 273, 265–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.03.182 PLoS ONE, 15(8), Article e0238415. https:// doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238415 Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000333 Time, 176(18), 40–50.
Books and reports: Write the publisher name as shown on the work and without italics, followed by a period. Do not include designations of business structure (e.g., Inc., Ltd., LLC). If two or more publishers are listed, include all of them in the order shown, separated by semicolons. When the author is the same as the publisher, omit the publisher from the source. When numerous layers of government agencies are listed on a report, include the name of the parent agency not in the group author name in the source. End with any DOI or URL. The Guilford Press. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. https://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/ final-reports/ptfamilyscan/index.html American Psychological Association; De Gruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1037/15969-000
Edited book chapters: The source is the book of which the chapter is a part. Write the word “In” followed by the initials and surnames (not inverted) of the editor(s), followed by “(Ed.).” for one editor and “(Eds.).” for two or more editors. Then put a comma, the title of the book in italic sentence case, and the page (abbreviated “p.”) or page range (abbreviated “pp.” and separated by an en dash) of the chapter. Follow with a period. End with the publisher namer, a period, and any DOI or URL. In C. Maykel & M. A. Bray (Eds.), Applying psychology in the schools. Promoting mind–body health in schools: Interventions for mental health professionals (pp. 161–172). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000157-011
Webpages: Provide the website name in title case without italics. When the author is the same as the website name, omit the website name from the source. End with the URL. In most cases, do not include a retrieval date. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/mental_health/ evidence/special_initiative_2019_2023/ en/

Note: From APA Style scaffolded reference elements worksheet, by American Psychological Association, 2021, APA, https://apastyle.apa.org/instructional-aids/scaffolded-reference-elements-worksheet.pdf

Formatting a Reference List

A reference list entry has four elements: the author, date, title, and source. Locating these elements will help you create a reference entry for any type of work. 

  • Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper.
  • Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page References in bold, centered at the top of the page (do NOT underline or use quotation marks for the title).
  • Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.
  • All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay. The font of your reference list should be consistent with the rest of your paper. You should also have a page header that contains the page number.
  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called a hanging indent. For more information on how to create a hanging indent, here are some instructions that go into greater detail.

For more information on how to format your Reference List, please visit this guide provided by the APA.

 

Formatting In-Text Citations in APA

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text at the appropriate point.

Example: (Glenewinkel, 1952)

Example: Glenewinkel (1952) found that among the samples

 

To cite a specific part of a source, indicate the page, chapter, figure, table, or equation at the appropriate point in the text.

Example: (Foreman, 1985, p. 129)

 

If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference.

Example: (Grein, 1920)

 

If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your paper. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses. If you know the year of the original source, include it in the citation.  

Example: Hartman stated that... (as cited in Dietz, 2003, p. 1019).

Example: (Hartman, 1971, as cited in Dietz, 2003, p. 1019).

 

Regardless of how they are referenced, all sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper. For more in depth information please visit: APA or Purdue OWL.

Additional Resources