Skip to main content

Cite Your Sources: APA

What is APA Style?

  • Uses the author and year in parentheses as the in-text citation.
  • Preferred by many writers in the social sciences.

Note: We are in the process of updating this guide from the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association to the 7th edition of this manual. We appreciate your patience as we make this transition. 

How do I format my in-text citations?

  • Include the author's last name and year of publication, separated by a comma and enclosed in brackets.
    • (Smith, 2010)
  • Include an in-text citation in the text immediately following the information that is being referenced.
    • This hypothesis was tested (Smith, 2010).
    • Smith (2010) tested this hypothesis.
  • When there is more than one author, use the ampersand (&) in the parenthetical citation, but not in the sentence.
    • (Novak & Gowin, 1984)
    • Novak and Gowin (1984) reported...
  • For a specific part of a source, add a comma and the specific location after the year. If there are no page numbers, use a paragraph number or the closest heading. 
    • (Zelickson & Robbins, 1986, p. 24)
  • After the first nonparenthetical citation in a paragraph (i.e., the name is used within the sentence), you can omit the year in subsequent nonparenthetical citations in that paragraph: Franklyn et al. found …
  • However, continue to include the year in all parenthetical citations: … (Franklyn et al., 2017).
    • e.g., Franklyn et al. (2017) reported that Type 2 diabetes was primarily due to obesity and lack of exercise in people who are genetically predisposed. Franklyn et al. also found that this type makes up about 90% of cases of diabetes. The other 10% is due primarily to diabetes mellitus type 1 and gestational diabetes (Franklyn et al., 2017).
  • If there is no author, use the first words from the title of the article or book. For an article title use quotation marks, and for a book title use italics. 
    • (Studies of Alcohol, 1999)
    • ("Effects of Alcoholism," 2015)

How do I format my reference list?

  • The reference list should be placed at the end of your paper on a separate page entitled "References".
  • Put the list in alphabetical order by author. Double-space the list, and use a hanging indent to format all entries.
  • Titles of books and periodicals should always be in italics; articles should be in regular type without quotation marks.
  • List authors by "Last name, First initials."
  • If there's no author, start with the article title.
  • If your article has a Digital Object Identifier or DOI, you should include this number instead of the website URL. Do not include a date of retrieval when using the DOI.

Article in a Journal or Periodical (Print)

In-text citation:

... (Sobell, Cunningham, & Sobell, 1996).

Reference list:

Author(s), A. A. (Date). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue), page–page.

Sobell, L. C., Cunningham, J. A., & Sobell, M. B. (1996). Recovery from alcohol problems with and without treatment: Prevalence in two population surveys. American Journal of Public Health, 86, 966-972.

  • Follow the example that corresponds to the number of authors for your source.

Article in a Journal or Periodical (Online)

In-text citation:

... (McKay & Zakanis, 2009).

Reference list:

  • Many publishers now assign a Digital Object Identifier or DOI to articles.
  • If your article has one, you should include this number instead of the website URL.
  • Do not include retrieval dates unless the source material may change over time (e.g., Wikis). 
  • If your article has a DOI, it will be on the first page of the article or in the full record display on the database page of the search engine you are using. If the article has a DOI, the reference will look like this:

McKay, M., & Zakanis, K. (2009). The impact of treatment on HPA axis activity in unipolar major depression. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 44(2), 183-192. doi:10.1016/ j.jpsychires.2009.01.012

Author(s), A. A. (Date). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue), page-page. Retrieved from

Patterson, Q. S. (1999). Psychology and the student. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 23(3), 225-227. Retrieved from http://www.

  • Follow the example that corresponds to the number of authors for your source.

Book - One Author

In-text citation:

… was tested (Smith, 2010).
… was tested (Statistics Canada, 2008).

Reference list:

Author, A. A. (Date). Title (Edition). Location: Publisher.

Rosenthal, R. (1987). Meta-analytic procedures for social research (Rev. ed.). Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications.

Resources to Help with Writing

Guide: Plagiarism and Academic IntegrityGuide: Cite Your SourcesVideo: How to Book a Writing Appointment

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.