APA Citation Style, 7th edition: APA

General Style Guidelines

  • One Author or Editor
  • Two Authors or Editors
  • Three to Five Authors or Editors
  • Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
  • Article in a Reference Book
  • Edition other than the First
  • Translation
  • Government Publication
  • Journal Article with 1 Author
  • Journal Article with 2 Authors
  • Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
  • Journal Article 21 or more Authors
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Basic Web Page
  • Web page from a University site
  • Web Page with No Author
  • Entry in a Reference Work
  • Government Document
  • Film and Television
  • Youtube Video
  • Audio Podcast
  • Electronic Image
  • Twitter/Instagram
  • Lecture/PPT
  • Conferences
  • Secondary Sources
  • Citation Support
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Formatting Your Paper

Helpful Tip!

How do I cite an article I found using an iPhone, Android, or computer-based app? It doesn't matter on what device you read the article, but providing the reader a direct path to the " original " source of the material.

Remember - the "app" is not the source of the article - the "journal" is your source. Cite it as you would any journal article.  

APA's Official Resources

  • APA - A Complete Resource for Writing and Publishing in the Social and Behavioral Sciences The official online APA publication.
  • APA tutorial
  • APA website
  • APA Style and Grammar Guidelines
  • Digital Object Identifier (DOI) website
  • Official APA blog Provides clarification and corrections related to information in the APA manual.
  • Sample APA Papers From the official APA website.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

What is a DOI? A DOI ( digital object identifier ) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the internet. 

NOTE: It is regarded as the most important part of the citation because it will accurately direct users to the specific article.

Think of it as a "digital fingerprint" or an article's DNA!

The rules for DOIs have been updated in the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. They should be included as URLs, rather than just the alphanumeric string.

Correct:  

  • http://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
  • http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-12-114

Incorrect:     

  • doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
  • Retrieved from http://doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
  • FREE DOI Look-up (Cross-Ref)
  • DOI System: FAQ
  • Looking up a DOI
  • DOI Flowchart

Getting Started!

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American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers in science, medical, public health, health sciences and nursing as well as the social science.

 The purpose of documentation is to:

  • Identify ( cite ) other people’s ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.
  • Indicate the authors or sources of these in a References list at the end of your paper.

This guide is based on the APA Manual (7th ed.) that was published in 2020. 

The following sections provide you with information and examples that will help you to cite the sources that you come across during your research. 

Journal/Magazine Articles

Audiovisual Media

Figures/Images

Other Sources

For more examples and information, consult the following publications:

Cover Art

How & When to Cite - GW Writing Center

The Dos and Don'ts of Paraphrasing - GW Writing Center

What is RefWorks?

What is refworks.

RefWorks is an online research management, writing, and collaboration tool designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share references.

Use RefWorks to

  • quickly generate bibliographies in any citation style format. (APA*, AMA, MLA, and more!),
  • create & organize your own personal database of references,
  • import references directly from databases, journals, or the library catalog, and
  • share your RefWorks folder of reference and easily collaborate on group projects.

New Users: Getting Started!

  • Go to Himmelfarb Library's Homepage   
  • Under Other Resources Click RefWorks    
  • Select   "Create Refworks Account"  and complete the new user information form.
  • You will receive an email from RefWorks confirming your login username and password

Note: If asked to provide a Group Code, please contact the Himmelfarb Library ([email protected]).

*Tip:  Several APA 7th citation style versions are available in RefWorks. Watch this two-minute video to get tips on selecting the correct version for your needs. 

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Citations & style guide.

  • Citation Basics
  • Citation and Research Tools
  • APA Style (Social Sciences and Physical/Life Sciences)
  • Chicago/Turabian Style (Humanities)
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  • Subject Specific Styles
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  • Map Citations
  • Media Citations
  • Music Citations

APA Style 

The official manual of the American Psychological Association  is used for research in linguistics; human, behavioral, social, and political sciences; education; computer science and information management; business and management; and environmental and physical sciences.

UNT Library Books

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  ( 7th edition, print)
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (6th edition, print)

Online Resources

Citations, apa 7th edition.

  • Reference Examples  from APA's Style and Grammar Guidelines  has citation examples for all kinds of print and online sources.
  • Missing Reference Information  from APA's Style and Grammar Guidelines  is a guide to creating citations when information for an item is missing or unknown, e.g., date, author. 
  • APA Style Blog  is run by APA experts who answer questions about citations, formatting, and more. You can search previous blog posts to to get immediate answers.

Format, APA 7th Edition

  • Student Title Page Guide  provides directions for creating the title page of a course paper in APA style.
  • Abstract and Keywords Guide  describes how to write an abstract and keywords for a paper, which are not typically required for student papers. Hence, students should consult their instructor or institution to determine whether to include an abstract and/or keywords.
  • Heading Level template: Student paper 
  • Heading Level template: Professional paper 

APA 6th Edition 

  • The Basics of APA Style , a video tutorial available at the APA website, is designed for those who have no previous knowledge of APA Style. It shows users how to structure and format their work, recommends ways to reduce bias in language, identifies how to avoid charges of plagiarism, shows how to cite references in text, and provides selected reference examples.
  • APA Formatting and Style Guide , available online from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue, provides guidelines and examples for formatting a paper and for citing sources in APA style.
  • << Previous: Major Citation Styles
  • Next: Chicago/Turabian Style (Humanities) >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 11, 2022 3:00 PM
  • URL: https://guides.library.unt.edu/citations-style-guides

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APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction

  • Introduction
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine/Newspaper Articles
  • Books & Ebooks
  • Government & Legal Documents
  • Biblical Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Films/Videos/TV Shows
  • How to Cite: Other
  • Additional Help

Who Should Use APA Style?

APA style is used by social science disciplines such as communication studies, economics, education, psychology, and sociology; it is also used by business and nursing.

What is APA Style?

APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.

In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  • In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation .
  • In the References list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
  • APA 7th ed. Sample Paper
  • APA Style Paper template (Microsoft Word)

You might find the American Psychological Association's page of Handouts and Guides helpful, notably

  • APA 7th. ed. Journal Article Reference Checklist
  • APA 7th. ed. Student Paper Checklist

APA Style Guide (7th Edition)

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

Four Elements of a Reference

A reference generally has these four elements: author, date, title, and source. Each element answers a question and is listed in your citation in the following order:

  • author : Who is responsible for this work?
  • date : When was this work published?
  • title : What is the work called?
  • source : Where can I retrieve this work?

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  • Next: How to Cite: Common Sources >>
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Citation Guide

  • Citation FAQ
  • Helpful Hints for Citing in Any Style
  • MLA - Inglés y Humanidades

Basic Tips for Citing in APA - 7th Edition

Citations using apa 7th edition, in-text citations using apa 7th edition.

  • APA 7 - Ciencias Sociales
  • Chicago - Historia
  • Citing Generative AI
  • Ask a Librarian

Printable APA 7th Edition Guides

Creating citations using APA 7th Edition:

  • APA 7th Edition Citations - PDF
  • APA 7th Edition Citations - Word

Creating in-text citations using APA 7th Edition:

  • APA 7th In-Text Citations - PDF
  • APA 7th In-Text Citations - Word

Integrating sources into the text of your paper using signal phrases:

  • Integrating Sources - PDF
  • Integrating Sources - Word

How to Format Your Research Paper

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Need help formatting your research paper? Check out this guide for tips, tricks, and templates.

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Basic tips for Citing in APA

  • Title your bibliography  References.  Be sure that the word References  is center-aligned and in bold.
  • All citations should be double-spaced and have any lines after the first indented by half an inch. This is called a hanging indent.
  • Alphabetize all citations by the author's last name. If the source does not have an author, alphabetize it by the title.
  • If an author’s name and a website name are the same, omit it from the source portion. If there is no author, move the title to the beginning of the citation. If an author's name and a publisher's name are the same, omit it from the publisher portion.
  • When doing in-text citations, you only need to put a page number if you are using a direct quote. 
  • Do not use copyright or review dates in place of publication dates . If no date of publication or last update is given, use (n.d.).
  • Social Media
  • NoodleTools
  • Sample References

Basic format for a book or eBook*

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of book: Capital letter for the first word of the subtitle. Publisher Name. DOI or URL

*Use the same formats for both print books and ebooks. For ebooks, the format, platform, or device (e.g., Kindle) is not included in the reference (APA Style  Book/EBook References ).

Authored book with a DOI

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 

Brown, L. S. (2018).  Feminist therapy  (2nd ed.). American Psychological Association.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0000092-000

Authored book without a DOI

Everly, G.S., Jr., & Lating, J. M. (2017). The Johns Hopkins guide to psychological first aid . Johns Hopkins University Press.

Basic format for a book chapter

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of chapter: Capital letter for the first word of the subtitle. In E. E. Editor (Ed.),  Title of book: Capital letter for the first word of the subtitle  (Edition, Vol. #, pp. x-xx). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Book chapter

Barreto, A. R., Campos, M. M., Dias, M. C. M., Friedmann, A., Haddad, L., Kishimoto, T. M., & Vitoria, T. (2007). Brazil. In R. S. New & M. Cochran (Eds.),  Early childhood education: An international encyclopedia  (Vol. 4, pp. 914-970). Praeger.

Work in an anthology

Vicioso, S. (2016). The Caribbean, or the feminine face of multiculturalism. In E. M. Martinez (Ed.),  Daring to write: Contemporary narratives by Dominican women  (pp. 159-163). University of Georgia Press. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41276-017-0075-x  

Use this format for periodicals, magazines, newspapers, blog posts, and other sources that are available in print and on the web. Do not  use this for webpages, websites, and digital-only sources such as CNN, BBC News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Mayo Clinic, etc...

Basic format for a periodical

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article: Capital letter for the first word of the subtitle . T itle of Periodical ,  Volume (Issue), page-page. DOI or URL

Do not  use copyright or review dates in place of publication dates . If no date of publication or last update is given, use (n.d.).

Article with a DOI

Schwartz, J., Bind, M.-A., & Koutrakis, P. (2017). Estimating causal effects of local air pollution on daily deaths: Effect of low levels. Environmental Health Perspectives , 125 (1), 23–29. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP232  

Article with a URL (newspaper)

Martin, N. (2019, February 5). New Hampshire’s opioid crisis looms over marijuana legalization debate. The Boston Globe . https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/marijuana/2019/02/05/new-hampshire-opioid-crisis-looms-over-marijuana-legalization-debate/xBoezjtW0FzPbU1oyuS71M/story.html

Article with a URL (magazine)

Sciolino, E. (2020, May). The invention of hiking.  Smithsonian Magazine.  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/invention-hiking-1-180974592/  

Article with a URL (blog)

McKenna, N. (2020, April 14). The signaling pathways project: A FAIR portal into the cell signaling ‘omics data universe.  PLOS Collections .  https://blogs.plos.org/collections/the-signaling-pathways-project/

Use this format for  webpages, websites, and digital-only sources such as CNN, BBC News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Mayo Clinic.  Do not  use this for periodicals , magazines, newspapers, blog posts, and other sources that are available in print and on the web.

Basic format for web sources

Author, A. A. (Date of publication).  Title of work: Capital letter for the first word of the subtitle . Title of Website. URL

Webpage on a news website

Shukman, D. (2019, April 2). What does air pollution do to our bodies?  BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47777103

Webpage on a website with a group author

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.).  About high blood pressure . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020, April 10).  Recreational therapists.  U.S. Department of Labor.  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/recreational-therapists.htm#tab-1​

Webpage on a website with no author

Tuscan white bean pasta . (2018, February 25). Budgetbytes. https://www.budgetbytes.com/tuscan-white-bean-pasta/

Online dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia entry:

Central Intelligence Agency. (2020, March 19). Central America: Haiti . In The world factbook . https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/ the-worldfactbook/geos/aa.html

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Equity. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equity

Basic format for social media posts

Author, A. A. [@username]. (YYYY, Month DD). Insert the first 20 words of the post here  [Description of audiovisuals if necessary] [Type of post]. Name of Site. URL

Author, A. A. (YYYY , Month DD).  Insert the first 20 words of the post here  [Description of audiovisuals if necessary]. Facebook. URL

National Institute of Mental Health. (2020, May 7). Today is Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, where do you begin? Start  [Image attached]. Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/nimhgov/posts/10159664588226978

Author, A. A.  [@username]. ( YYYY , Month DD).  Insert the first 20 words of the post here  [Description of audiovisuals] .  Instagram. URL

Smithsonian Libraries [@silibraries]. (2020, May 14).  Alpine Flowers Tales (Alpenblumenmärchen) is a 1922 illustrated storybook that describes the woodland adventures of two acorn children who get  [Watercolor illustration]. Instagram.  https://www.instagram.com/p/CALfxZ1A6ck/  

Author, A. A.  [@username]. ( YYYY , Month DD).  Insert the first 20 words of the post here  [Description of audiovisuals if necessary]  [Tweet].  Twitter. URL

National Geographic [@NatGeo]. (2020, April 12). Harpy eagles—the largest of all the eagles—may look like something from a fantasy book, but in the wild [Thumbnail with link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.  https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/1249400149731934208?s=20  

Basic format for visual media

Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (Role of authors). (Date of publication).  Title of media: Capitalize the first letter of a subtitle  [Description of media]. Publisher/Production Company. URL

Citing an infographic

Creator of Infographic. (date of publication).  Title of the infographic: Capitalize the first letter of the subtitle  [Infographic]. URL

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Data sharing [Infographic]. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/ data-sharing-infographic.pdf

Citing artwork in a museum or on a museum website

Artist, A. A. (Date of creation).  Title of artwork: Capitalize the first word of a subtitle  [Description of artwork]. Museum Name, Museum Location. URL

Murakami, T. (2002).  If the double helix wakes up...  [Painting]. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.  https://collections.mfa.org/objects/354616/if-the-double-helix-wakes-up?ctx=14b9a41f-1230-490c-9bf9-3b00357e070e&idx=1

Rostgaard, A. (1967).  Cancion protesta  [Song protest] [Silkscreen]. Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.  https://www.moma.org/collection/works/7913

Citing artwork from a database

The following examples were found in various databases, however, note that APA 7 discourages the use of Database names in citations. Additionally, even though the works of art are retrieved from databases, the database states where the images are held. You would cite that as the location instead of the database itself.

Artist, A. A. (Date of creation).  Title of artwork: Capitalize the first word of a subtitle  [Description of artwork]. Database Name. Database URL (do not use a permalink to the piece of art if it requires the user to log in. If that is the case simply put the URL of the database itself)

Helicobacter pylori bacterium [Photograph]. (n.d.). Science Photo Library.  https://www.sciencephoto.com/

Homer, W. (1909).  Right & left  [Oil on canvas]. The Granger Collection.  https://www.granger.com

Miró, J. (1918). Portrait of Juanita Obrador  [Oil on canvas]. Art Institute of Chicago.  https://www.artic.edu/

Citing a webinar or PowerPoint

Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (Date of publication).  Title of webinar or PowerPoint: Capitalize the first letter of a subtitle  [Webinar/PowerPoint slides]. Publisher. URL

Goldberg, J. F. (2018)  Evaluating adverse drug effects  [Webinar]. American Psychiatric Association.  https://education.psychiatry.org/Users/ProductDetails.aspx?ActivityID=6172

Jones, J. (2016, March 23).  Guided reading: Making the most of it  [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare.  https://www.slideshare.net/hellojenjones/guided-reading-making-the-most-of-it

Citing a film or tv series

Producer, A. A. & Producer, B. B. (Producers). (Year).  Title of film or series: Capitalize the first letter of a subtitle  [Description]. Production Company A; Production Company B. URL.

Jackson, P. (Director). (2001). The lord of the rings: The fellowship of the ring  [Film; four-disc special extended ed. on DVD]. WingNut Films; The Saul Zaentz Company.

Ricciardi, L., & Demos, M. (Directors). (2015). Making a murderer [Television series]. Synthesis Films; Netflix.  https://www.netflix.com/title/80000770

Citing an online video (YouTube, Vimeo, etc...)

Uploader, A. A. (Year, Month Day).  Title of work: Capitalize the first word of a subtitle  [Description of work]. Publisher. URL

TED. (2011, May 2). Beware online “filter bubbles” [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/B8ofWFx525s

University of Oxford. (2018, December 6).  How do geckos walk on water ?  [Video]. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm1xGfOZJc8

What is a DOI?

  • DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier
  • It is a string of numbers and letters that is unique to a specific piece of content. No two published materials will ever have the same DOI.

Why use a DOI and not a URL or Permalink?

  • DOIs will always remain stable whereas URLs have a tendency to change over time.
  • If you access an item from a database and use a permalink in your citation people will have to have authentication access for that database in order to retrieve the publication information.
  • Anyone who is able to search with a DOI will be taken to an open webpage with the publication information.

How do I find the DOI?

  • Most databases will provide the DOI in the detailed record of their materials. 
  • If you are looking at a PDF or print version of an article, the DOI will typically be on the first page near the copyright notice.
  • https://doi.org/
  • http://dx.doi.org

What if the DOI isn't on the article or book?

  • Most scholarly articles published after the year 2000 have DOIs associated with them. If you cannot find the DOI on the detailed record you can use the Crossref website to locate it.

For further information on using DOIs in APA Style references:

  • APA Style Blog: DOIs and URLs This page addresses when to include digital object identifiers (DOIs) and uniform resource locators (URLs) in APA Style references.

Click the image or link below to search Crossref.org for a DOI.

Crossref search box

The library offers FREE access to the citation manager NoodleTools. NoodleTools can help you keep track of and organize your citations, and automatically create bibliographies. Click on the image or link below for more information.

Noodletools login screen

  • NoodleTools Citation Manager
  • How to log in to NoodleTools through Microsoft 365 If your school or college has enabled access through Microsoft 365, signing in to NoodleTools is simple and you won't need to remember a separate username and password.

Here are some other resources that you may find helpful in learning how to appropriately cite materials using the 7th edition of the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association​. 

If you need more assistance, please ask a librarian.

  • APA Style Blog (7th Edition) The style and grammar guidelines pages present information about APA Style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition.
  • Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) APA Guide These OWL resources will help you learn how to use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style. This section contains resources on in-text citation and the References page, as well as APA sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster.
  • APA 7 - Sample References Page - PDF
  • APA 7 - Sample References Page - Word

Sample APA 7th edition references page

  • Sources with Authors
  • Sources with Group Authors
  • Sources without Authors
  • Tables and Figures (Images)

There are two components of an APA style citation: the in-text citation (parenthetical or narrative), as well as the full Reference List entry at the end of the paper. Both components provide the information necessary for the reader to locate and retrieve the source(s) used to inform a paper. Each cited source in the text of your paper (in-text citation), must also appear in the Reference List. The following tabs contain examples of both parts of an APA citation.

Complete Citation

Your complete citation should include the name of the author, date of publication, the title of the source, the title of the journal/website, identifying information such as volume, issue, and page numbers, and either a DOI or a URL if available. This gets alphabetized and placed in the References section at the end of your paper. 

Hanauer, N. (2019, July). Education isn't enough. Atlantic , 324 (1), 19-22.

In-Text Citation

Your in-text citation contains the last name of the author, the publication year, and page number (for direct quotes only), and is placed in the text of the sentence to which it relates. There are a few ways to do this, parenthetically, narratively, and using a direct quote. Parenthetical citations place the relevant information at the end of your sentence in parentheses, while narrative citations allow for the relevant information to be conveyed in the body of your sentence. As for direct quotes, there are a variety of ways to use them in your paper. APA style prefers that you frame them using your own words rather than simply dropping a quote in as its own sentence. See below for examples of each.

Parenthetical Citation Example:

The percentage of Americans with high-school diplomas has increased from approximately 50% in 1970 to 90% today (Hanauer, 2019).

Narrative Citation Example:

Hanauer (2019) found that the percentage of Americans with high-school diplomas has increased from approximately 50% in 1970 to 90% today.

Direct Quote Example:

One way to increase the quality of public schools is to “pay people enough to afford dignified middle-class lives” (Hanauer, 2019, p. 20).

Citing Multiple Works When citing two or more sources in the same parentheses, alphabetize the citations, and separate each with a semicolon.

Example: (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.; Everly & Lating, 2017; Shukman, 2019)

In-text citations can change based upon the number of authors that a source has. Follow the examples below for creating accurate in-text citations for your references.

*If there are 21 or more authors, consult section 9.8 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th Edition.

Some sources will not have individual authors, but rather group authors. In these instances, you will still need to cite the item as you would any source with an author. Follow the example below for an accurate in-text citation of a source with a group author.

It is important to note that you should always define the abbreviation for a group author only once in the text. Thereafter, use the abbreviation for all mentions of the group in the text. See sections 8.21 and 9.11 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th Edition for more information.

At times you will come across sources where there is no author listed. If this happens, use a shortened version of the title in your in-text citation. If the title is italicized in the reference entry, italicize it in your in-text citation. If the title is not italicized in the reference entry, place it in quotation marks. See section 8.14 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th Edition for more information.

There are different ways to format quotes when they are used in your paper. Follow the guidelines below for proper formatting.

Short Quotations (Fewer than 40 words)

Include the quotation in the regular text of your paper. Be sure to use quotation marks and add an in-text citation with a page number (if applicable).

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style," (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Block Quotations (40 words or more)

If a quote has 40 or more words, treat it as a block quote. Start the block quote on its own line and indent the entire quote 0.5” from the left margin, be sure that it is also double-spaced, with no extra spaces before or after it. Do not use quotation marks for block quotes.

Use a parenthetical citation after the closing punctuation for the sentence or use the author and year in a narrative introduction before the quote. If you choose to use a narrative introduction, be sure to include the page number of the quote after the final punctuation.

Example 1 :

There are a variety of barriers to student success when working on research assignments. An example of these barriers is citation style and formatting. Jones (1998) argues the following based on her experience as an instructor:

Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Example 2 :

There are a variety of barriers to student success when working on research assignments. An example of these barriers is citation style and formatting. Based on their experiences, some instructors found that:

Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Tables in APA 7 style should follow the following format. In the example below, the author is citing a table from a primary source. Therefore, the in-text citation is included in the title of the table (in italics ). Underneath the table, there should be a note with a description of the table. The in-text citation can also be included in the note, underneath the table. The format for the in-text citation should follow the same rules as a text citation, e.g., (National Center for Education Statistics, 2019).

Example of a Table in APA Formatting

Graphics and images count as figures. These should follow the same formatting. The following examples will show how to cite these.

Graphics follow a similar format to tables. In the example below, you will notice the in-text citation for "(Creswell &Poth, 2018)" is incorporated into the description of the graph below (under " Note ").

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

The image example provided is an illustration that follows the same type of formatting as the graphic example. In the description of the image, under the note, the author provides an in-text citation.

APA 7 illustration example of broken leg bone.

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To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA : Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page . Title of LibGuide. URL

MLA : Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.

Citation Styles

Apa overview.

APA citation style is most frequently used in the social and behavioral sciences, e.g. psychology, linguistics, education, as well as nursing and business.

The first style rules were published in 1929. The American Psychological Association has produced 7 editions of the Publication Manual in the ensuing 80+ years.

APA style relies on in text citations (author, date) for paraphrased, summarized, or quoted material within a paper. In text citations correspond to sources in the References list at the end of the paper.

APA Style Manual

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Citing in APA: The Basics

New to citing? Check out the short playlist of videos to learn why you need to cite, how to cite in APA, and how to create in-text and reference list citations.

What is APA?

APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of formatting and documentation rules for research published in the Social Sciences and Business. Papers submitted for publication in professional journals follow a slightly different set of rules than student papers do. The information in this guide pertains to student papers.

APA formatting rules tell us how different elements of a research paper should appear on the page. APA documentation rules tell us how to credit the sources we use in our work using a combination of  in-text citations and a Reference  list. 

In APA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted, or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite a source in two places:

In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation (sometimes called a parenthetical reference) for any ideas or data you’ve paraphrased (stated in your own words) or quoted directly using “quotation marks.”

In the Reference list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.

Commonly Used Terms

Citing : The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

DOI (doi) : Some electronic content, such as online journal articles, is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI or doi). An item can be tracked down online using its doi.

In-Text Citation : A brief note in your paper or essay, provided at the point where you use information from a source, to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Reference List.

Paraphrasing : Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism : Taking the ideas or words of another person and presenting them as your own without a citation.

Quoting : Copying words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations appear in quotation marks and are followed by a citation that includes the page number of the source from which you copied the words.

Reference : Details about a cited source.

Reference List : Contains complete details of ALL the sources cited in a text or essay. 

Retrieval Date : Used only for websites where content is likely to change over time (e.g., Wikis), the retrieval date refers to the date you last visited the website.

Source : Anything you use in your research and cite in your paper. There are many kinds of sources (all of which have their own citation formats), including entire books, individual book chapters, eBooks, periodicals (i.e., magazines, newspapers, journals), articles/essays, websites, films, poems, songs, Tweets, YouTube   videos, TED Talks, TV shows, advertisements, etc.

What's New in the 7th Edition of APA?

Below is a summary of the major changes in the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual .

Essay Format:

  • Font - While you still can use Times New Roman 12, you are free to use other fonts. Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans 10, and Georgia 11 are all acceptable.
  • Headers - No running headers are required for student papers.
  • Tables and Figures - There is a standardized format for both tables and figures.

Style, Grammar, Usage:

  • Singular "they" required in two situations: when used by a known person as their personal pronoun or when the gender of a singular person is not known.
  • Use only one space after a sentence-ending period.

Citation Style:

  • Developed the "Four Elements of a Reference" (Author, Date, Title, Source) to help writers to create references for source types not explicitly examined in the APA Publication Manual
  • Three or more authors can be abbreviated to First author, et al. on the first citation
  • Up to twenty authors are spelled out in the Reference list
  • Publisher location is not required for books
  • eBook platform, format, or device is not required for eBooks
  • Library database names are generally not required
  • No "doi:" prefix; simply include the doi
  • All hyperlinks retain the https://
  • Links can be "live" in blue with underline or black without underlining

Do You Need Citation Help?

Stop by the library and speak with a Librarian, or use the chat box below to chat live with a Librarian. 

This citation guide is based on the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge.

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This guide is used/adapted with the permission of Columbia College and Seneca College Libraries. For information please contact [email protected] or  [email protected] .

Note: When copying this guide, please retain this box.

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This guide is a general overview of how to cite common types of sources using APA style. For more complex APA style questions, please consult the official APA formatting rules found in  The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7 th  ed.   

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

  • Basic Guide to APA Style A printable two page guide that gives you example citations for common source types.
  • APA Style & Grammar Guidelines Look here for answers to tricky questions like how to cite obscure source types and for explanations of APA rules. This is a good place to go if you have consulted the APA manual and still have questions.
  • Excelsior OWL APA Guide Another handy online guide- includes example formatted bibliographies and research papers.

HAVE A QUESTION?

Here are some of the best ways to get help.

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

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What is apa style.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is widely used in the social sciences, business, and some of the life sciences. APA Style uses brief  in-text citations  in the text that refer to an alphabetical list of  references  appearing at the end of the work.

This guide gives example citations for the most common information formats used in APA Style, as well as links to other sources and examples Many of te examples in this guide came from  Purdue OWL Guide to APA . 

In-Text Citations: the Basics

APA follows the author-date method of in-text citations. When directly quoting or paraphrasing the works of others, the author's last name, year of publication and page number (if applicable) should appear in the text, with a fill citation appearing in the References list at the end of the paper. If you are not making a direct quote, you only need to make reference to the author and year of publication in the text. 

Some examples from the Purdue OWL Guide :

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

According to Jones (1998), APA style if a difficult citation format for first-time learners.

APA style us a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

*If the quote that you are using is longer than 40 words, put it in a free-standing block, indented, and omit quotation mark. 

Example Citations: Books

General Format

Author, A. A. (Year of Publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle.   Location: Publisher. 

Edited Book

Plath S. (2000).  The unabridged journals.  K.V. Kukil (Ed.). New York, Ny: Anchor. 

Article or Chapter in Edited Book

Author, A. A. (Year of of Publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.),  Title of book   (pages of chapter). Location: Publisher.

Example Citations: Articles

Author, A.A., Author B.B., Author, C.C. (Year). Title of article.  Title of Periodical, volume  (issue), pages.

Carney, M. (2012). Compounding crises of economic recession and food insecurity: a comparative study of three low-income communities in Santa Barbara county."  Agriculture and Human Values, 29 (2), 185-201. 

Online Newspaper Article

Newton, C. (2010, Feb. 15). Driving-while-texting ban advances Senate.  The Arizona Republic. Retrieved from http://www.azcentral.com

Newspaper from Print Source

Pearson, S.L. (1997, June 5). Why Johnny can't play.  The Arizona Republic , p. HL1. 

Example Citations: Web Material

Online Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Feminism. (n.d.). In  Encyclopedia Britannica online.  Retrieved from http://www.britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/724633/feminism

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2008).  Indiana income limits  [Data file]. Retreived from http://www.hususer.org/Datasets/IL/IL08/in_fy2008.pdf

Nonperiodical Web Document or Report

Author, A. A. (Date of publication).  Title of document.  Retrieved from http://Webaddress.

Blog and Video Blog Post

J. Dean. (2008, May 7). When the self emerges: Is that me in the mirror? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.spring.org/uk/the1sttransport

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The APA citation style was created and is curated by the American Psychological Association.  APA is the most commonly used citation style in the social sciences, as well as in business and education. The most recent version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  is the seventh edition .

If you want to learn how to integrate the 7th edition APA style into your research, there are a lot of online resources & tutorials to help! In addition to online guides, c heck out the official  APA Style Blog  for answers to any and all APA 7th questions!

Note : If you had a conference presentation canceled due to COVID-19, there is an APA-style citation for it.

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  • APA Style and Grammar Guidelines Online resource created by APA to provide supplemental information about citing in APA. Click on any of the following topics and it will give you a brief summary of the guidelines and examples of how to use them. It will also provide the corresponding place in the manual for that topic.
  • APA Online Resources

Online handouts and guides

  • APA Style Handouts UND Writing Center Guidance
  • APA 7th Sample Papers
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  • APA 7th Abstract & Keyword Guide
  • APA 7th Title Page Formatting Guide
  • APA 7th Bias-Free Language Guide
  • APA 7th Edition Quick Guide Excellent visual guide to APA style citations
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Did you know that you can reach APA experts on social media? If you're a Twitter or Facebook user, you can tweet or message your citation questions to get answers. You can also follow along with tips and updates on their timelines. For more information, check out  APA Twitter  and  APA Facebook .

  • APA Style Blog Most in-depth questions are answered here - from the experts.

Hoonuit  (formerly  Atomic Learning) Online  step-by-step tutorials on APA citation style:

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APA Style Guide – 7th Edition

Click here to download a .pdf copy of our APA Style Guide !

Last updated : October 7, 2023

Consider keeping a printed copy to have when writing and revising your resume!  If you have any additional questions, make an appointment or email us at [email protected] !

Source Attribution : Information in this handout is adapted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (2020).

Reference Entry : Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

APA Style Guide - 7th Edition

Basics of formatting with apa style.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a system of documentation generally used in the social sciences. It is published in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (2020). Fields that use APA style regularly emphasize paraphrasing over direct quotes. Much of the research in these disciplines is supported by lengthy analysis and multiple studies: directly quoting every source can become tedious for authors and readers. Instead, it is common for writers to summarize an idea and then credit multiple sources.

Margins are 1 inch on all sides of the page.

Common fonts used in APA are 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 12-point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia. Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.

Paragraph and line spacing:

Indent the first line of each paragraph 0.5 in. Text is double-spaced. No blank space before or after headings or between paragraphs.

Title page:

Each paper begins with a title page. Student papers include page title, author name, affiliation, course name and number, professor’s name, and the date formatted Month Day, Year. Bold title and add empty line between title and author. Start a new page following the title page; the start of page one will repeat the title in bold, centered.

Headers and footers:

List the page number in the top right corner of every page. Student papers no longer require a running head. Running heads for professional papers include a short version of the paper’s title.

In-text citations are used to credit any external sources back to your References page. Parenthetical citations include author name, date of publication, and page numbers for direct quotes. Enclose citations in parentheses and follow by a period.

References:

Begin a new page. “References” header center aligned and bolded. List all sources used alphabetically.

Sample APA Student Title Page

Sample Title page, text description on page

APA has two types of title pages: student title pages and professional title pages. Student title pages are more commonly requested by instructors than professional title pages. The example above depicts a common APA title page and a description of the elements within.

  • Header: The header lists the page number beginning on the title page. Align to the right.
  • Title: Title is placed three to four lines down from the top of the page. Major words are capitalized. Title length may be one or two lines. Avoid abbreviations or non-essential words. A focused title is key!
  • Author : Author name(s) includes the first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Two authors are joined with an “and.” Three or more authors are formatted as a list, placing commas between author names, and an “and” before the final author’s name.
  • Affiliation: Author’s affiliation lists where the student studies and what school their discipline is within.
  • Class: List the course number as abbreviated on course materials, followed by a colon, and spell out the course’s name.
  • Instructor: Instructor name(s) include the first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Professional titles such as Dr. or degrees such as Ph.D. are appropriate here.
  • Date: Format the date as Month Day, Year. List the assignment due date, not when it was originally created.

APA Level Headings

Headings visually delineate organizational structure and help highlight key ideas within sections. Topics of equal importance share the same level heading throughout the document. The heading style recommended by APA consists of five possible formatting arrangements, which are listed below in Table 1.

APA Level Headings

More information:

  • Ordering : Begin with the first level of headings, using only the heading levels necessary to differentiate.
  • Subsections : APA suggests avoiding having only one subsection within a larger section. For instance, Section 1 can be divided into subsections A and B, but not A alone.
  • Numbering : Numbering or lettering is not appropriate for headings.
  • Spacing : Do not add an extra space before or after headings.

APA In-text Citations

Citing in the text.

In APA, every time you use the work or thoughts of another, you must cite the original author. Use of others’ ideas include summarizing, paraphrasing, and directly quoting. To cite the source, you will need an in-text citation to supplement your references page, typically consisting of the author’s last name and the date when the material was published. Page numbers are added for direct quotes. All of this information is enclosed in parentheses, separated by commas, and followed by a period.

Single Author:

List author’s last name followed by date, adding page numbers for direct quotes. For example, this quotation from Jim Dougan is found on page twenty-nine of his 2017 article:

Single Author Example

After the release of their first album, The Cows were “roundly derided as a talentless, tasteless joke” (Dougan, 2017, p. 29).

Two Authors

Two authors last names are joined by an ampersand as in:

Two Authors Examples

Hansel said goodbye to the white cat, but it was only the morning sun shining upon the chimney (Grimm & Grimm, 1812).

Three or More Authors

List the first author’s last name followed by the abbreviation “et al.” (and others). In this example by John Ramage, John Bean, and June Johnson in their 2012 article, John Ramage is listed as the first author:

Three or More Authors Example

A key component of Aristotle’s classical argument was the rhetorical triangle: the message, writer or speaker, and audience (Ramage et al., 2012).

Organization or Group Author

If no author is listed and or the source is published by an organization or group, list the group’s full name in the text or citation, followed by the abbreviation if well known. Use the acronym for every subsequent citation.

Organization or Group Author Example

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), abbreviations are ok if the abbreviation is well known (2019). After introducing the abbreviation, they recommend using it for every other in-text citation (APA, 2019).

Narrative Citation

If the author’s name, publication date, and or page numbers are given in the sentence, omit them from the following in-text citation. For example: if you introduce the author and date before quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing, then only the page numbers are included at the end of the sentence.

Narrative Citation Example

According to music critic Mark Prindle (2017), Minneapolis rock combo The Cows are an acquired taste (p. 29).

Unknown Author

If the author’s name is unknown, include a shortened version of the publication title in quotations:

Unknown Author Example

Minneapolis rock combo The Cows are widely considered to be an acquired taste (“All Music Guide,” 2017).

Block Quotations

A direct quotation of 40 or more words is introduced by a colon, started on a new line, and indented a half-inch from the left margin. Do not indent the first line, add quotation marks, or adjust line spacing. Include the parenthetical citation after the final period or punctuation mark of the block quote.

Block Quotations Example

Peterson and Poulsen’s (1998) study found the following:

Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration. (p. 199)

Omissions or Alterations to Quotations

Place an ellipsis (…) where parts of a quote were omitted in the middle of the sentence (e.g. “Grammar… is the study of writing techniques”). Ellipses are not necessary to indicate the first part of a phrase was omitted. Put brackets [text] around necessary alterations made to quotations for clarity, as in “[They] said…”

Common Knowledge

Facts or information that you already know, is widely available, and undisputed is considered common knowledge, which does not require an in-text citation. Common knowledge includes biographical information, dates of historical events, and other information that reasonable readers would accept as fact.

Common Knowledge Example

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.

More Information for In-Text Citations

Primary and secondary sources:.

To cite a primary source referenced in a secondary source, cite the primary source as cited in the secondary source (e.g. Gilman, 1898, as cited in Eddles & Appelrouth, 2015). Reference the primary source (e.g. Gilman, 1898) directly when possible.

Timed media:

For timed media such as videos or songs, cite the time in parentheses (e.g. Knowles, 2016, 56:37).

Multiple sources:

In-text citations with multiple sources are separated by a semicolon and listed alphabetically (e.g. Smith, 2012; Williams, 2003). However, if delineating the specific attribution is needed, avoid combining the citations and instead separate each source into its own sentence.

Multiple works by one author:

Multiple works by one author are listed chronologically, following the author’s name, separated by commas. Works without dates are placed first (e.g. Smith, n.d., 2007, 2012). If the citations are identical, delineate them by year-letter combination (e.g. Foster, 2011a or Foster, 2011b) in-text and in the References list.

Consecutive use of one or more sources:

When referencing one source multiple times consecutively, you can avoid multiple parenthetical citations by first introducing the source. Refer to the author in text using the known-new contract, adding page numbers for quotes where needed.

Personal communication:

Interviews, letters, emails, and other forms of personal communication are cited in-text only. Cite the communicator’s initials and last name and list the date (e.g. M. Keith, personal communication, August 5, 2022). Where possible, include the author’s name in a narrative citation to avoid the long parenthetical entry.

Reference Entries

Writing bibliography entries.

Disclaimer :  Our WordPress does not allow for “hanging indents,” therefore the bibliography entries below are not  formatted with hanging indents. Check out the .pdf guide for a more accurate view!

To credit sources, APA style requires a reference page that includes full citation information for each source. Begin by starting on another page titled “References,” centered and bolded. Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author listed. Additionally, each entry should be indented by a half inch after the first line, called a hanging indent. APA style customizes entries for each type of source, meaning that each citation will be unique.

Webpage from a Website

Website citations follow a basic format for all types of websites. For sources without authors, list the group or organization as author. If no group or organization is given, move the website name to the author position.

Webpage from a Website Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year, Month Day). Title of Page . Website Name. URL.

Boise State University Writing Center. (n.d.). Welcome to the Writing Center . Boise State University. https://www.boisestate.edu/writingcenter/

Books follow a standard format for print and electronic sources. For edited works add the editor’s name following the book title. If no author is listed, substitute for the editor instead. Include DOI for print and electronic sources (if available).

Book Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year). Book Title . Publisher. DOI (if available)

Jimenez, J. (2003). Latin culture in the United States . Harper Collins.

Work from a Collection

Chapters in a wider collection or anthology can be cited in two ways: citing the whole anthology as a book, or citing a single source in the anthology. An example of the latter is shown.

Work from a Collection Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year). Chapter Title. Editor. Book Title (pages). Publisher.

Shonagon, S. (1988). Hateful things. In P. Lopate (Ed.), The art of the personal essay (pp. 273- 278). Norton.

Journal Article

Journal articles, or periodicals, are print and electronic sources issued within larger journals.

Journal Article Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year). Article Title. Journal Title, Volume Number (Issue Number), pages. DOI (if available)

Lorca, R. & Rose, M. (1997). Best practices for scaling up a basic writing program. Teaching English in a Two-Year College, 33 (2), 33-74. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Newspaper Article

Newspaper and magazine articles are two other types of periodicals. Include volume, issue, and/or page number(s) if available. Unlike other citations, do not list the abbreviation “p.” or “pp.” before the page number(s).

Newspaper Article Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year, Month Day). Article Title. Newspaper Title , pages (if print). URL (if digital)

Brody, A. J. (2001, Dec. 18). The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. The Washington Post , A1, A5.

Government Report

Government reports and other legal documents fall under The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation style. List the agency as author and parent agencies as publisher for reports by government agencies.

Government Report Example

Name of Government Agency. (Year). Report Title (Report No.). Publisher. URL (if available)

National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/asth_sch.pdf

YouTube Video

Videos from YouTube or other user-generated video websites list the person or group as author. If both the author and username are the same, list the username as author.

YouTube Video Example

Last Name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Day). Video Title [Video]. Streaming Service. URL

Scientific America. (2010, Oct. 4). Powering the cell: Mitochondria [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrS2uROUjK

More Information for Reference Entries

Authors with the same last name:.

If a reference list includes authors with the same last name, arrange entries alphabetically by first initial. If both last name and initials are identical, organize chronologically.

Multiple authors:

With sources that have three or more authors, follow the first author’s name with a comma and the abbreviation ‘et al.’ (“and others”).

Organization or group author:

In instances where an organization or group authored the work, spell out the full name of the group but omit initial articles (e.g. a, an, the). If the author is the publisher, skip the author element and begin the entry with the title.

In a reference entry for a work with no author, move the title of the work to the author position.

If no date is available, insert the abbreviation “n.d.” (no date) in the date position. For undated, unarchived sources designed to change over time, add a retrieval date, e.g. Retrieved November 7, 2023, from https://www.boisestate.edu/writingcenter/

Publishers’ names are given in full; however, do not give words indicating business structure, like Ltd. or LLC. Terms like Press and Books should be included.

Sample APA References Page

APA references begin on a new page. “References” title is bold and centered. Callouts on the left-hand margin denote the type of citation cited in the corresponding reference entry. All entries are alphabetized and formatted with a hanging indent.

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

Download a PDF of APA Style Guide – 7th Edition

The Writing Center

APA 7th Style Citation Guide: Start Here

  • Reference List
  • In-text Citations
  • Finding the Author
  • Formatting Your Paper
  • Information on Using Images Found on the Web This link opens in a new window
  • When Information Is Missing
  • Common APA Errors

Choose Your Source Type

Remember that this is a general guide. You should always consult the manual of the citation style you are using for verification.

  • APA 7th Quick Guide Quick guide to journal article, book, and book chapter

Why Should I Cite My Sources

This is a guide for citing resources using the American Psychological Association (APA) style of citation. Use APA to cite sources within the social sciences, education and business subjects. Please refer to your class syllabus or consult your professor to see if this is the correct citation style for your class.

Why Cite Sources?

  • Citations allow readers to locate and further explore the sources you used to develop your thoughts and outcomes expressed in your paper. They are a measure of the depth and scope of your research.
  • Citations are the method used to give credit to authors for their ideas and research.
  • Citations provide the evidence for your arguments and establish your credibility by documenting that you have searched for and considered a number of resources during researching and writing of your paper.
  • Citing enable you to have your own original ideas and outcomes standout from the other's research.
  • Citing is standard practice in the world of academia.

When do I need to cite?

You need to acknowledge whenever you borrow quotes or ideas. The following are when you need to cite:

  • Whenever you use direct quotes.
  • Whenever you paraphrase.
  • Whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed.
  • Whenever you make specific reference to the work of another.
  • Whenever someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th Edition

Copies are located at the Citation Center, The Desk - Reserves and Circulating Collection

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Additional Online Resources

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab - APA Formatting Guide Includes sample papers, in-text citations, and reference list citations in APA 7th.

Zoter/ZoteroBib

Zotero is an application that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use and connects with your web browser to dowload citation information from books, journal articles, web pages, and other sources. Best of all it's free. ZoteroBib is a free, fast citation generator similar that is similar to (but in our experience, more accurate and reliable than) tools such as EasyBib and NoodleTools. Our Zotero LibGuide explains how to use these tools.

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APA Style: APA Citations and Writing

Guides online.

  • APA Style and Grammar Guidelines (7th Edition)
  • APA Style 7th Edition Reference Examples
  • APA Style 7th Edition Handouts and Guides
  • Guide for formatting student papers by APA (7th Edition) Info on how to set up your title page, what font, margins, line spacing and indentation you should use, as well as sample papers to look at for guidance.
  • APA 6th edition/ 7th edition Comparison Quick Guide (ECU Libraries)

Mission Not So Impossible: APA Edition

Annotated Bibliographies

  • Developing a thesis statement (UW-Madison)
  • Examples of Annotated Bibliography entries in APA citation style (UNC Chapel Hill)

Annotated bibliographies differ from abstracts or summaries of articles. Annotated bibliographies are a list of sources (journal or news articles, books, websites, datasets, etc.) on a particular topic. The list is usually in alphabetical order by author and employs a single citation style . The propose of an annotated bibliography is:

  • To prove you have done some valid research to back up your argument and claims
  • To explain the content of your sources, assess their usefulness, and share this information with others who may be less familiar with them

Some questions to help with your analysis of a source might include:

  • What’s the main point or thesis of this source?
  • Does the author seem to have particular biases or are they trying to reach a particular audience?
  • How does this source relate to your own research and ideas?
  • How does this source relate to other sources you have read? Do they have aspects of the same argument or opposing views?

Here are a few links to help you better understand and construct an annotated bibliography.

  • Annotated Bibliography with examples (UW-Madison)
  • How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography (Cornell)

Graphic Organizers to help you build an annotated bibliography:

  • Annotated Bibliography Note-taking Worksheet
  • Making Connections - Web Organizer

Connect with River Campus Libraries

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

Writing and Citing Help at UR

  • Writing and Citing Guide Provides links to easy to use guides to citing in MLA, APA and other popular citation styles and resources to help you hone your writing skills.
  • Writing Help from the Writing, Speaking and Argument Center The Writing, Speaking and Argument Center can help you at any stage of the writing process. Whether you need a quick help sheet, or an appointment with a writing consultant, there are many resources available at here.

What's a DOI Number?

A DOI (short for D igital O bject I dentifier) is a unique number assigned to any digital object like an article , a data set , image , etc.  The doi starts with the number 10 and might contain numbers, letters, and often slashes and periods.  

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

The doi number is 10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.68

How to cite an article with a DOI: APA (American Psychological Association) Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55 (1), 68-78. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.68 ​

ASA (American Sociological Association) Ryan, Richard M., and Edward L. Deci. 2000. "Self-determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-being."  American Psychologist  55(1). Retrieved March 7, 2018 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68).

For more information on DOIs, visit  https://www.doi.org/ 

Guides in Print

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

Writing for Disciplines in the Social Sciences

  • Political Science

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Citation Managers

Citation managers like RefWorks, EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero help you track and organize your citations, so that when you're writing your paper, you can easily cite your sources. Citation managers also help you insert citations, create endnotes and bibliographies. 

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

Helpful Research Guides in the Social Sciences

  • Brain & Cognitive Sciences
  • Political science
  • Public Health
  • UR Research Guides by Subject (Complete list)
  • Last Updated: Aug 29, 2023 3:30 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.lib.rochester.edu/apa

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Citation and Documentation Styles

Apa resources, quick guide to apa citation 7th edition, quick guide to formatting in apa, bias-free language.

  • Other Styles
  • Writing Resources
  • Citation Management
  • Citation and Plagiarism Zero-Cost Materials
  • Citation and Plagiarism Pedagogy

A Note about Citation Helpers

Many databases have a feature that will format a citation for you. While these can be a good place to start, the citations they produce often have errors, especially in capitalization and punctuation. Be sure to check their accuracy using the APA Manual or the APA Style Blog .

APA stands for the American Psychological Association.

Subjects that commonly use APA:

  • Agriculture
  • Allied Health
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communication Studies
  • Communication Science and Disorders
  • Health and Human Performance
  • Leadership Studies
  • Social Work
  • and other social sciences​

Papers using APA guidelines generally have this structure:

  • Subsections within the body, with headings
  • Tables and Figures

Editions: APA is currently on its 7th edition, published in 2019.

Check your assignments and your sources to make sure you are using the correct style and edition. 

  • APA 6th vs 7th edition from Massey University
  • APA Style (7th Edition) Formatting Checklist from Royal Roads University
  • Online Resources
  • Forsyth Library Resources
  • APA Style Blog official companion to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition. Most useful for obscure APA questions.
  • APA Style Reference Examples
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: APA Style (7th Ed) Well-known site with extensive explanation of citation styles and writing tips.
  • APA Style and Bias-Free Language The guidelines for bias-free language contain both general guidelines for writing about people without bias across a range of topics and specific guidelines that address the individual characteristics of age, disability, gender, participation in research, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality.
  • APA Style Citation Examples from Northwest Missouri State University, provided color-coded templates to follow.
  • Bellevue University's Library FAQ From Bellevue University's Library, this list of Frequently Asked Questions covers a wide range of questions that might come up during your research.
  • Excelsior Online Writing Lab: APA Style Clear explanations of citation styles, with examples.Also has writing and grammar tips.

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  • APA Elements
  • Dissertations
  • Chapter in Edited Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Personal Interview
  • In-Text Citations

Four Elements of Reference List Entries

Author. (Date). Title. Source.

Author Last Name, Author Initial(s). (Year in parentheses). Title.  Journal Title Italicized ,  Volume Italicized (Issue in parentheses), page range. DOI, permalink, or URL

Vrchota, D. (2011). Communication in the disciplines: Interpersonal communication in dietetics.  Communication Education, 60 (2), 210–230. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2010.523475

Published Dissertation or Theses  

Author Last Name, Author Initial(s). (Year in parentheses).  Title of dissertation or thesis italicized  [Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis, Name of Institution Awarding the Degree in brackets]. Database or Archive Name. URL.

Blinne, K. C. (2014).  Communication as yoga  [Doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida]. ​ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.  https://search.proquest.com/docview/1530298507

Author Last Name, Author Initial(s). (Year in parentheses).  Title italicized . Publisher Name.

Egolf, D. (2012).  Human communication and the brain: Building the foundation for the field of neurocommunication . Lexington Books.

Author Last Name, Author Initial(s), (Year in parentheses). Chapter title in sentence case. In Editor first initial. Editor Last Name (Ed.);  Book title in italics . (edition, pp. page numbers of chapter). Publisher. 

Peterson, B. (2011). Media violence has harmful effects on young people. In N. Merino (Ed.), Introducing issues with opposing viewpoints . Media violence (pp. 11-16). Greenhaven Press.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry with an individual author and an editor:

Author Last Name, Author Initial(s). (Year in parentheses). Title of entry. In Editor Initial(s) Last Name (ed.),  Title of encyclopedia italicized (edition, page numbers in parentheses). Publisher Name. URL, permalilnk, or DOI

Mitcho, S. R. (2017). Feminist pedagogy. In M. Peters (ed.),  Encyclopedia of educational philosophy and theory. Springer Science+Business Media. https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/sprepat/feminist_pedagogy/0

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry with no author and no editor:

Title of entry. (Year in parentheses). Title of encyclopedia italicized  (edition, page numbers in parentheses). Publisher Name. URL, permalilnk, or DOI

Education. (2003). In  The MacMillan encyclopedia  (2nd ed.). Market House Books Ltd. https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/move/education/0 

Wikipedia entry title. (Year, Month Day). In  Wikipedia . Version URL.

  • To find the date of the version you are viewing, look at the updated date at the bottom of the page, or the version date if you are using a prior version of the page.
  • To find the version URL for the version you viewed, click on "View History" at the top right of the page. Choose the version you want to cite, and use that URL. 

Example: 

Manchester baby. (2022, June 21). In  Wikipedia . https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Manchester_Baby&oldid=1094218071

Author Last Name, Initial(s) or Corporate Author. (Date published or updated in parentheses).  Title of webpage italicized.  Site Name. URL

Silver, F. (2018, July 01).  Why is it important for teachers to have good communication skills?  Chron. http://work.chron.com/important-teachers-good-communication-skills-10512.html

A personal interview, whether in person, online, or via email, is considered personal communication and should be cited in-text, but does not require a citation in your reference list. 

(First Initial. Last Name, personal communication, Month Day, Year).

(H. Smith, personal communication, May 08, 2020)

YouTube Videos:

Real last name, First initial. [Username]. (Year, Month Day).  Video title  [Video]. YouTube. URL

Wagner, S. [Simone Wagner]. (2016, June 29).  What is media literacy?  [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/AD9jhj6tM50

Use the Author-Date Citation System to cite your references in the text of your paper

(Last Name, Year)

Example:  (Vrchota, 2011)

Narrative Citations: If you refer to the author in your written text, use only the year in parentheses after the author's name.

Example: Vrchota (2011) interviewed seven registered dietitians. 

Specific Quotes:  Direct quoting is rare in APA, and should be used sparingly.

When you do directly quote a resource, include information about the specific part of your citation, such as page, paragraph, or chapter.

Example: "Relationships are built through the negotiated progression of increased and reciprocated disclosures by the participants" (Vrchota, 2011, p. 221).

In-Text Summary

(Last Name, Year).

Many programs do not have curriculum dedicated to classroom management and, if it does, it is restricted within one course at best (Hammerness 2011).

In-Text Narrative Summary

This is evidenced by Dunn and Rakes (2011) who appraised the collective impact of teacher efficacy and concerns on learner-centered practices (LCP) which they link to classroom management.

In-Text Summary with more than one source

Instead, a-contextual understanding persists and is particularly problematic given the introduction and importance of CRCM, which is used to address the diverse needs of students (Whitaker and Valtierra 2018; Yang and Montgomery 2013).

In-Text Summary combining narrative and ideas with more than one source

Chambers and Hardy (2005) found that classroom management beliefs tend to stay consistent over time based on a pretest-posttest questionnaire of secondary teacher-education students, whereas others have identified preservice teachers shifting towards a more relational understanding (Jones and Vesilind 1995; Kwok 2020).

In-Text Direct Quote

(Last Name, Year, p. number)

"Relationships are built through the negotiated progression of increased and reciprocated disclosures by the participants" (Vrchota, 2011, p. 221).

In-Text Narrative Direct Quote

Kaufman and Moss (2010) found that teachers defined classroom management as “maintaining discipline and controlling behavior” (p. 127).

In-Text with 3 or more authors

Use the first author plus "et al." 

Teacher candidates (TCs), also called preservice teachers, often are the least prepared in classroom management compared with any other pedagogical skill (Albrecht et al. 2009).

  • General Formatting
  • 1 inch margins on all sides
  • Calibri 11-point
  • Arial 11-point
  • Times New Roman 12-point.
  • A running head is NOT needed 
  • include the page number in the top margin of every page
  • APA Paper Format from APA Style
  • Adding an APA running head and page numbers in word From Concordia Library
  • Adding a hanging indent to a references page in Word from Concordia Library
  • Making a block quote in Word from College of the Mainland Library

For the Title Page, the type should be centered justification and centered vertically

The Title of Your Paper in Bold

Then the Author’s Name

Institutional Affiliation

(for publishing: An Author’s Note)

(Student papers include:)

Course Number and Name

Instructor’s Name

Assignment Due Date

  • Title Page Setup from APA Style

Start the Abstract on a separate page. It should be a single paragraph, double-spaced, and no more than 250 words.

  • Research topic
  • Research questions
  • Participants
  • Data Analysis
  • Conclusions

After the Abstract, on a new page, begin the main body of the text.

Format of headings

The following table demonstrates how to format headings in APA Style.

  • Start the References page on a separate page.
  • Entries should be in alphabetical order by author's last name.
  • Use a hanging indent for all entries
  • Retrieval dates are only needed for unarchived work that may change over time. 
  • References from APA Style

“Authors must strive to use language that is free of bias, meaning the implied or irrelevant evaluation of the group or groups they are writing about.” ( Publication manual of the American Psychological Association  2020, p. 131)

  • Focus on Relevant Characteristics
  • Acknowledge Relevant Differences that Do Exist
  • Choose terms that are specific to the topic
  • Avoid using adjectives as nouns to label people
  • Provide Operational Definitions and Labels
  • Avoid False Hierarchies
  • Call people what they call themselves

For more information check chapter 5, pages 131-149, of APA 7 th  edition.

  • APA Style Bias-Free Language An additional source on the use of Bias-Free Language

What is APA?

This style focuses on the need of presenting psychological information in a uniform format, style, and writing language. It is primarily used in social, behavioral, and health sciences.

Where do I put in-text citations? 

  • When explaining someone’s idea in a paragraph, the in-text citation should be at the end of the paragraph.
  • When quoting the in-text citation should be directly after the quote.
  • And if using a quote several times, in-text should be used each time the quote is used.

Do in-text citations count towards word count?

No, the in-text citation is not counted towards the word count of a paper. 

What are the General Guidelines for a Reference List?

  • Use a hanging indent.
  • Use only the initials for the authors' first and middle names and invert them. This is oftentimes because there is more than one author for work.
  • Double Spaced and alphabetical

Does the Reference list need to have a hanging indent?

Yes, the Reference list for a research paper should have all sources in hanging indent format.

How should more than one Author be cited?

With more than one author (for 20 or fewer authors), name all the authors in the bibliographic reference, with a comma between each author, and an ampersand (&) before the last authors.

For 21 or more authors, list the first 19, then use an “…” (ellipsis) and the final name. You DO NOT need to use an ampersand (&) for this.

How should an Editor be cited?

When citing an Editor instead of an author, use (Ed.) after their name

Example: Willis, L. (Ed.). (2013). Electronic devices in schools. Greenhaven Press.

How do I cite a reference when there is no author?

No author: Start with the Title, then the date.

Example: Educational psychology. (2020). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/educational-psychology/32021

How do I capitalize a journal, book, or webpage title in my References?

  • Titles of articles, books, reports, webpages, and other works use  sentence case  (capitalize like it is a sentence). Note that when referring to the title in your paper, use title case. 
  • Titles of journals use  title case  in the References (capitalize all major words). 
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Citation Help

  • About Citing and Citation Styles
  • Other Citation Styles
  • Citing Artificial Intelligence Tools
  • Citation Managers

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is most commonly used in the  social and behavioral sciences.

  • APA General Format The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create another kind of work (e.g., a website, conference poster, or PowerPoint presentation), you may need to format your work differently in order to optimize its presentation, for example, by using different line spacing and font sizes. Follow the guidelines of your institution or publisher to adapt APA Style formatting guidelines as needed.
  • In-text Citations In scholarly writing, it is essential to acknowledge how others contributed to your work. By following the principles of proper citation, writers ensure that readers understand their contribution in the context of the existing literature—how they are building on, critically examining, or otherwise engaging the work that has come before.
  • Reference List Check each reference carefully against the original publication to ensure information is accurate and complete. Accurately prepared references help establish your credibility as a careful researcher and writer. Consistency in reference formatting allows readers to focus on the content of your reference list, discerning both the types of works you consulted and the important reference elements (who, when, what, and where) with ease. When you present each reference in a consistent fashion, readers do not need to spend time determining how you organized the information. And when searching the literature yourself, you also save time and effort when reading reference lists in the works of others that are written in APA Style.
  • Sample Paper This page contains several sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style.
  • DOI Lookup: Crossref Search "Metadata". Crossref makes research outputs easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse. We’re a not-for-profit membership organization that exists to make scholarly communications better.
  • Basics of APA Tutorial This tutorial is designed for writers new to APA Style. Learn the basics of seventh edition APA Style, including paper elements, format, and organization; academic writing style; grammar and usage; bias-free language; mechanics of style; tables and figures; in-text citations, paraphrasing, and quotations; and reference list format and order. The Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style tutorial will permanently stay on this site for free.

APA Style from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL)

  • APA 7th Handout Two page PDF covering common citation and reference types in APA.
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  • Knowledge Base
  • Citing sources

Citation Styles Guide | Examples for All Major Styles

Published on June 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on November 7, 2022.

A citation style is a set of guidelines on how to cite sources in your academic writing . You always need a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize a source to avoid plagiarism . How you present these citations depends on the style you follow. Scribbr’s citation generator can help!

Different styles are set by different universities, academic associations, and publishers, often published in an official handbook with in-depth instructions and examples.

There are many different citation styles, but they typically use one of three basic approaches: parenthetical citations , numerical citations, or note citations.

Parenthetical citations

  • Chicago (Turabian) author-date

CSE name-year

Numerical citations

CSE citation-name or citation-sequence

Note citations

  • Chicago (Turabian) notes and bibliography

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Table of contents

Types of citation: parenthetical, note, numerical, which citation style should i use, parenthetical citation styles, numerical citation styles, note citation styles, frequently asked questions about citation styles.

The clearest identifying characteristic of any citation style is how the citations in the text are presented. There are three main approaches:

  • Parenthetical citations: You include identifying details of the source in parentheses in the text—usually the author’s last name and the publication date, plus a page number if relevant ( author-date ). Sometimes the publication date is omitted ( author-page ).
  • Numerical citations: You include a number in brackets or in superscript, which corresponds to an entry in your numbered reference list.
  • Note citations: You include a full citation in a footnote or endnote, which is indicated in the text with a superscript number or symbol.

Citation styles also differ in terms of how you format the reference list or bibliography entries themselves (e.g., capitalization, order of information, use of italics). And many style guides also provide guidance on more general issues like text formatting, punctuation, and numbers.

Scribbr Citation Checker New

The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:

  • Missing commas and periods
  • Incorrect usage of “et al.”
  • Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
  • Missing reference entries

apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

In most cases, your university, department, or instructor will tell you which citation style you need to follow in your writing. If you’re not sure, it’s best to consult your institution’s guidelines or ask someone. If you’re submitting to a journal, they will usually require a specific style.

Sometimes, the choice of citation style may be left up to you. In those cases, you can base your decision on which citation styles are commonly used in your field. Try reading other articles from your discipline to see how they cite their sources, or consult the table below.

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) recommends citing your sources using Chicago author-date style . AAA style doesn’t have its own separate rules. This style is used in the field of anthropology.

APA Style is defined by the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . It was designed for use in psychology, but today it’s widely used across various disciplines, especially in the social sciences.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

The citation style of the American Political Science Association (APSA) is used mainly in the field of political science.

The citation style of the American Sociological Association (ASA) is used primarily in the discipline of sociology.

Chicago author-date

Chicago author-date style is one of the two citation styles presented in the Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition). It’s used mainly in the sciences and social sciences.

The citation style of the Council of Science Editors (CSE) is used in various scientific disciplines. It includes multiple options for citing your sources, including the name-year system.

Harvard style is often used in the field of economics. It is also very widely used across disciplines in UK universities. There are various versions of Harvard style defined by different universities—it’s not a style with one definitive style guide.

Check out Scribbr’s Harvard Reference Generator

MLA style is the official style of the Modern Language Association, defined in the MLA Handbook (9th edition). It’s widely used across various humanities disciplines. Unlike most parenthetical citation styles, it’s author-page rather than author-date.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

The American Chemical Society (ACS) provides guidelines for a citation style using numbers in superscript or italics in the text, corresponding to entries in a numbered reference list at the end. It is used in chemistry.

The American Medical Association ( AMA ) provides guidelines for a numerical citation style using superscript numbers in the text, which correspond to entries in a numbered reference list. It is used in the field of medicine.

CSE style includes multiple options for citing your sources, including the citation-name and citation-sequence systems. Your references are listed alphabetically in the citation-name system; in the citation-sequence system, they appear in the order in which you cited them.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ( IEEE ) provides guidelines for citing your sources with IEEE in-text citations that consist of numbers enclosed in brackets, corresponding to entries in a numbered reference list. This style is used in various engineering and IT disciplines.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) citation style is defined in Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd edition).

Vancouver style is also used in various medical disciplines. As with Harvard style, a lot of institutions and publications have their own versions of Vancouver—it doesn’t have one fixed style guide.

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The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation is the main style guide for legal citations in the US. It’s widely used in law, and also when legal materials need to be cited in other disciplines.

Chicago notes and bibliography

Chicago notes and bibliography is one of the two citation styles presented in the Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition). It’s used mainly in the humanities.

The Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities ( OSCOLA ) is the main legal citation style in the UK (similar to Bluebook for the US).

There are many different citation styles used across different academic disciplines, but they fall into three basic approaches to citation:

  • Parenthetical citations : Including identifying details of the source in parentheses —usually the author’s last name and the publication date, plus a page number if available ( author-date ). The publication date is occasionally omitted ( author-page ).
  • Numerical citations: Including a number in brackets or superscript, corresponding to an entry in your numbered reference list.
  • Note citations: Including a full citation in a footnote or endnote , which is indicated in the text with a superscript number or symbol.

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

  • APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
  • MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
  • Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
  • Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

A scientific citation style is a system of source citation that is used in scientific disciplines. Some commonly used scientific citation styles are:

  • Chicago author-date , CSE , and Harvard , used across various sciences
  • ACS , used in chemistry
  • AMA , NLM , and Vancouver , used in medicine and related disciplines
  • AAA , APA , and ASA , commonly used in the social sciences

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

MLA Style  is the second most used citation style (after APA ). It is mainly used by students and researchers in humanities fields such as literature, languages, and philosophy.

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

APA Style Workshop

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Welcome to the OWL Workshop on APA Style! This workshop introduces important aspects of the American Psychological Association (APA) Style used to format research papers. The introductory material describes what APA Style is, why it is used, and who should use it. Following this, the resource provides links to some of the OWL's most helpful APA resources.

NOTE: This workshop should answer most of your basic questions about using APA Style. However, if you are writing a complex document such as a thesis or lengthy manuscript, or if you have detailed questions, you should consult the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7 th edition), which can often be found at your local library. You might also consult the APA's  website , which allows visitors to order the book online and read frequently asked questions about APA style. Finally, see our  Additional Resources  page for additional references you can consult.

What is APA Style?

APA Style establishes standards of written communication concerning:

  • the organization of content
  • writing style
  • citing references
  • and how to prepare a manuscript for publication in certain disciplines.

Why Use APA?

Aside from simplifying the work of editors by having everyone use the same format for a given publication, using APA Style makes it easier for readers to understand a text by providing a familiar structure they can follow. Abiding by APA's standards as a writer will allow you to:

  • provide readers with cues they can use to follow your ideas more efficiently and to locate information of interest to them
  • allow readers to focus more on your ideas by not distracting them with unfamiliar formatting
  • and establish your credibility or ethos in the field by demonstrating an awareness of your audience and their needs as fellow researchers.

Who Should Use APA?

APA Style provides fairly comprehensive guidelines for writing academic papers regardless of subject or discipline. However, traditionally, APA is most frequently used by writers and students in:

  • Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology

If you are a student, consult with an instructor to learn what style your discipline uses before using APA Style in your work. If APA Style is appropriate for your writing project, use the links below to learn more about APA and how to follow its rules correctly in your own work.

APA Formatting and Writing Style

The following pages introduce some of the basic requirements of APA Style as well as describing the different formatting and writing conventions that are used in APA papers.

General APA Format

  • Covers the basic page layout for a typical APA manuscript.
  • Includes a general list of the basic components of an APA paper: title page, abstract, body, and reference page.

Headings and Seriation

  • Provides models and examples for the section headers used to organize APA papers.
  • Describes how to format lists within the text of APA papers.

Footnotes and Endnotes

  • Recommends using footnotes or endnotes to avoid long explanations in the text.
  • Covers two basic kinds of notes: content and copyright permission notes.

APA Citations and Reference List

The following pages walk through the details of making in-text citations and developing a reference page at the end of your paper. They contain numerous illustrative examples.

In-Text Citations: The Basics

  • Addresses the basic formatting requirements of using the APA Style for citing secondary sources within the text of your essay.
  • Provides guidance on how to incorporate different kinds of references to borrowed material, from short quotes to summaries of entire articles.

In-Text Citations: Author/Authors

  • Focuses on various details about referring to the authors of your sources within your essay, which can be a difficult task if the source has more than one author or has an unclear author (e.g., an organization).
  • Describes how to cite indirect quotes, electronic sources, and/or sources without page numbers.

Reference List: Basic Rules

  • Guides you through the general rules that apply to any reference list developed using APA Style.
  • Serves as a primer on formatting the sorts of references that will be described in greater detail at the pages linked below..

Reference List: Author/Authors

  • Walks through how to construct a reference entry for sources with a wide variety of author configurations.
  • Notes how references differ depending on the number of authors or if there are multiple works by the same author.

Reference List: Articles in Periodicals

  • Describes how to refer accurately to academic journal articles —a very important kind of source in scholarly writing .
  • Lists types of entries depending on the type of periodical (e.g., journal, newspaper, magazine, etc.) and the type of article.

Reference List: Books

  • Describes how to properly refer to book-length sources.
  • Addresses both the basic book format as well as requirements for unique book sources that require additional detail, such as translations or parts of multivolume works.

Reference List: Other Print Sources

  • Offers a short list of uncommon print sources with instructions for how to construct references for them.
  • Examples include indirect print citations (i.e., a print source that is cited in another) and government documents.

Reference List: Electronic Sources

  • Walks through the requirements and unique qualifications for constructing references for electronic sources.
  • Covers sources from online periodicals and scholarly databases to emails.

Reference List: Audiovisual Sources

  • Offers guidance on all manner of audiovisual sources, including sound recordings and YouTube clips. 
  • Also describes how to cite visual artwork hosted online.

Reference List: Other Non-Print Sources

  • Focuses primarily on how to reference uncommon non-print sources, including presentations and interviews.
  • Notes that personal communication (e.g. an interview or conversation) is not to be included in the reference list.

Smith College Libraries

Citation guides & style manuals.

  • Social Sciences
  • Audio & Video
  • Citation Tools
  • Special Collections This link opens in a new window

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Teaching, Learning & Research Librarians

Contact: Teaching, Learning & Research Librarians

APA Style (American Psychological Association)

  • 7th edition
  • American Psychological Association (APA) Style - (Purdue Online Writing Lab) Format for APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.
  • Style and Grammar Guidelines [APA 7th edn.]
  • Reference Quick Guide, APA 7th edition APA website (2 page pdf)
  • Basics of APA Style Tutorial
  • Citing Generative AI (APA)
  • Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide Covers the basics of Chicago style without the depth of the full Chicago Manual of Style
  • Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Chapter 14.2 explains the notes and bibliography system. Chapter 14.19 and following sections provide guidance on formatting footnotes and bibliography entries for books, articles, online resources, and other sources. more... less... Completely searchable online version of this important style manual, providing quick answers to style, editing, and citation format questions (for print and electronic sources).
  • Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. Notes & Bibliography (Purdue Online Writing Lab) Format of Chicago Style research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
  • Citing Generative AI (Chicago)
  • Turabian Citation Style Concordia University's online guide
  • Turabian Style: Sample Bibliographic Entries (Bridgewater State University) Based on the 8th edition (2013) of Turabian’s A Manual for Writers.
  • American Anthropological Association (AAA) Style Guide
  • American Sociological Association (ASA) Quick Style Guide 2-page guide to basics of ASA style
  • ASA References Page Formatting American Sociological Association style guide from Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL)
  • APSA Style Manual for Political Science American Political Science Association style guide (pdf)

Legal and Government Documents

  • APA Legal References (Purdue Online Writing Lab)
  • Introduction to Basic Legal Citation Cornell University; Bluebook cross-references
  • Legal and Public Documents (Chicago Manual of Style))
  • Citing U.S. Government Publications Indiana University, Bloomington, Libraries guide [updated guide coming soon]

Help Finding the Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • DOIs and URLs guidance from APA (7th edition)
  • Free DOI Lookup (CrossRef) Simple Text Query finds persistent links for your reference list or bibliography
  • << Previous: Humanities
  • Next: Sciences >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 18, 2024 2:08 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.smith.edu/citation

Shapiro Library

Citing Your Sources

What style should i use.

There are many different citation styles that continue to evolve as technology and varieties of resources increase. Generally, a citation style is established by a ruling body, typically one of a specific profession or subject area, and provides rules and conventions that best fit the types of sources used by that profession/ subject area.

While in school, you should use the style required by your assignment or professor.

APA Style, currently in its 7th edition , is a citation protocol established by the American Psychological Association. This style was developed to ensure consistency and to provide style rules for scientific writing. 

APA is most often used in the disciplines of:

  • Social Sciences (including Psychology, Education, Sociology, Economics, Criminal Justice, etc.)

What does APA Style include?

  • the format & structure of your paper
  • how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  • how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

MLA Style, currently in its 8th edition , is a citation protocol established by the Modern Language Association. This style was developed for students to support the writing process.

MLA is most often used in the Humanities disciplines including, but not limited to:

  • English Language & Literature
  • Comparative Literature
  • Cultural Studies
  • Foreign Languages
  • Other areas in the humanities

What does MLA Style include?

  • the format & page layout of your paper
  • stylistic technicalities (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)

Chicago Style

Chicago Style, currently in its 17th edition , is a citation protocol established by the University of Chicago. 

Chicago Style is most often used in the disciplines of:

What does Chicago Style include?

  • instruction for manuscript preparation and publication
  • guidelines for style, grammar and usage
  • rules for documenting your sources in-text including the Notes-Bibliography System (NB) and the Author-Date System
  • guidelines for a Bibliography at the end of your paper

Other Styles

First, it's important that you use the citation style required by your assignment or professor (your syllabus or assignment guidelines/description should list the required citation style but if not, ask your professor).

If you are permitted to choose a citation style to use, it may be easiest to choose one of the most common citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago).

You may also want to choose a citation style based on the field of study you are working in. Here is a brief list of some major disciplines and the citation styles most commonly associated with them:

A larger listing of disciplines and citation styles can be accessed on OWL at Purdue website .

  • << Previous: Quoting & Paraphrasing
  • Next: APA Style >>

IMAGES

  1. How to insert a citation in apa

    apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

  2. APA Citation Style

    apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

  3. How To Cite A Research Paper In Apa Format

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  4. APA 6th Edition

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  5. APA Style cheat sheet: How to cite a journal article using APA Style

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  6. In Text Citation For Apa

    apa style of citation is generally recommended for research papers topics in the social sciences

VIDEO

  1. What Citation Style to Use for College Essays?

  2. Video 2023 APA&MLA

  3. Proper Citation in APA Style

  4. APA 7th Edition: References Lists

  5. Citation- APA -MLA / style we are following for Research Paper?

  6. APA Style Referenncing and Citation in Word. Reference and Citation. APA . Style. Ms Office. Words

COMMENTS

  1. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    General Format Guidelines on writing an APA style paper In-Text Citations Resources on using in-text citations in APA style The Basics General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Author/Authors How to refer to authors in-text, including single and multiple authors, unknown authors, organizations, etc. Reference List

  2. APA

    Getting Started! American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers in science, medical, public health, health sciences and nursing as well as the social science. The purpose of documentation is to: Identify ( cite) other people's ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.

  3. How to Cite in APA Format (7th edition)

    APA Style is widely used by students, researchers, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences. Scribbr's APA Citation Generator automatically generates accurate references and in-text citations for free.. This citation guide outlines the most important citation guidelines from the 7th edition APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the older APA 6th ...

  4. APA Style (Social Sciences and Physical/Life Sciences)

    APA Style The official manual of the American Psychological Association is used for research in linguistics; human, behavioral, social, and political sciences; education; computer science and information management; business and management; and environmental and physical sciences. UNT Library Books

  5. APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction

    In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places: In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation. In the References list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source. APA 7th ed. Sample Paper

  6. Research Guides: Citation Guide: APA 7

    APA 7 - Social Sciences - Citation Guide - Research Guides at Northern Essex Community College Citation Guide Basic Tips for Citing in APA - 7th Edition Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) by American Psychological Association Call Number: Ref BF76.7 .P83 2020

  7. APA

    APA citation style is most frequently used in the social and behavioral sciences, e.g. psychology, linguistics, education, as well as nursing and business.. The first style rules were published in 1929. The American Psychological Association has produced 7 editions of the Publication Manual in the ensuing 80+ years.. APA style relies on in text citations (author, date) for paraphrased ...

  8. APA Style

    The authority on APA Style and the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual. Find tutorials, the APA Style Blog, how to format papers in APA Style, and other resources to help you improve your writing, master APA Style, and learn the conventions of scholarly publishing.

  9. About APA Style

    APA Style covers the aspects of scholarly writing most pertinent to writing in psychology, nursing, business, communications, engineering, and related fields. It specifically addresses the preparation of draft manuscripts being submitted for publication in a journal and the preparation of student papers being submitted for a course assignment.

  10. Research Guides: Citation Style: APA 7th edition: Start here

    APA citation style is a set of rules created by the American Psychological Association that establishes standards of written communication (college research papers; articles, books and other documents submitted for publication) including: formatting and page layout writing style citing sources

  11. APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Welcome

    APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of formatting and documentation rules for research published in the Social Sciences and Business. Papers submitted for publication in professional journals follow a slightly different set of rules than student papers do.

  12. Basics & Help

    APA 7th Edition Citation Style Guide. A quick guide to using APA citation style. This guide is a general overview of how to cite common types of sources using APA style. For more complex APA style questions, please consult the official APA formatting rules found in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed ...

  13. Library Guides: Integrated Social Sciences Program: APA

    APA (American Psychological Association) Style is widely used in the social sciences, business, and some of the life sciences. APA Style uses brief in-text citations in the text that refer to an alphabetical list of references appearing at the end of the work.

  14. Research Guides: Citation Style Guides: APA In-Depth

    APA is the most commonly used citation style in the social sciences, as well as in business and education. The most recent version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the seventh edition.

  15. In-Text Citations: The Basics

    APA Citation Basics. 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, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  16. APA Style Guide

    The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a system of documentation generally used in the social sciences. It is published in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (2020). Fields that use APA style regularly emphasize paraphrasing over direct quotes.

  17. APA 7th Style Citation Guide: Start Here

    ISBN: 9781433832161. Publication Date: 2019-10-01. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is the official source for APA Style. With millions of copies sold worldwide in multiple languages, it is the style manual of choice for writers, researchers, editors, students, and educators in the social and ...

  18. APA Style: APA Citations and Writing

    Writing and Citing Guide. Provides links to easy to use guides to citing in MLA, APA and other popular citation styles and resources to help you hone your writing skills. Writing Help from the Writing, Speaking and Argument Center. The Writing, Speaking and Argument Center can help you at any stage of the writing process.

  19. Research Guides: Citation and Documentation Styles: APA

    Well-known site with extensive explanation of citation styles and writing tips. APA Style and Bias-Free Language

  20. APA 7th

    APA General Format The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create another kind of work (e.g., a website, conference poster, or PowerPoint presentation), you may need to format your work differently in order to optimize its presentation, for example, by using different line ...

  21. Citation Styles Guide

    APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences. MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities. Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history. Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

  22. APA Style Workshop

    Who Should Use APA? APA Style provides fairly comprehensive guidelines for writing academic papers regardless of subject or discipline. However, traditionally, APA is most frequently used by writers and students in: Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Linguistics, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology Business Nursing

  23. Social Sciences

    Citation Guides & Style Manuals; Social Sciences; Search this Guide Search. Citation Guides & Style Manuals ... Meet with Us. Contact: Teaching, Learning & Research Librarians. Use Ask Us to connect [email protected]. APA Style (American Psychological Association) ... Format of Chicago Style research papers, in-text citations, endnotes ...

  24. Research Guides: Citing Your Sources: What Style Should I Use?

    APA Style APA Style, currently in its 7th edition, is a citation protocol established by the American Psychological Association. This style was developed to ensure consistency and to provide style rules for scientific writing. APA is most often used in the disciplines of: