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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.
  • Information in this guide is based on the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

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

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