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Cite Your Sources: APA

How do I format my in-text citations?

  • An in-text citation includes the author's name and the year of publication, separated by a comma.
  • The following explains what information should be included for various specific citation situations.
    • These formats for in-text citations apply to both electronic and print sources. 

How do I format my reference list?

  • The reference list comes at the end of your paper on a separate page entitled "References."
  • Put the list in alphabetical order by author, double-space, and use a hanging indent to format all entries (as shown).
  • List authors by "Last name, First initials."
  • This list shows you how to format various kinds of reference list entries. In the list, titles of books and periodicals should always be in italics; articles should be in regular type without quotation marks.

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:

Online article with a DOI

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

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. j.jpsychires.2009.01.012

Online article without a DOI

Author, A. A. (Date). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue), page-page. URL

Patterson, Q. S. (1999). Psychology and the student. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 23(3), 225-227.

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.

Book - one author

In-text citation:

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

Reference list:

Author, A. A. (Date). Title (Edition). Publisher Name.

Rosenthal, R. (1987). Meta-analytic procedures for social research (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.

Book - two authors

In-text citation:

… (Elias & Williams, 1996).
Elias and Williams (1996) tested …

Note the use of the ampersand (&) in the parenthetical citation, but not in the sentence.

Reference list:

Silvestri, M., & Crowther-Dowey, C. (2008). Gender and crime. SAGE Publications. 

Book - three to twenty authors

In-text citation:

Franklyn et al. (2017) found …

Or … (Franklyn et al., 2017).

When there are three or more authors, use “et al.” in the parenthetical citation and in the sentence. Note the comma in the parentheses.  


If the first authors of two different sources have the same last name, e.g., (Franklyn, Rosen, Lock, Smith, & Chen, 2017) and (Franklyn, Rosen, Connor, Murray, & Ehrenfield, 2014), cite as many names as you need to distinguish between the two texts.

In this case, you would abbreviate the first citation to “(Franklyn, Rosen, Lock, et al., 2014)” and the second to “(Franklyn, Rosen, Connor, et al., 2014).”

Reference list:

DeFilippis, J., Fisher, R., & Shragge, E. (2010). Contesting community limits and potential for local organizing. Rutgers University Press. 

Book - more than twenty authors

In-text citation:

For the first and all subsequent citations in the paper, the author’s names can be shortened to the first name plus et al.:

… (DeMarcos et al., 1998).

Also see Exception above under Three to Twenty Authors.

Reference list:

  • List up to and including twenty authors. If there are more than twenty, include the first nineteen, then an ellipsis (...), then the last author's name:

DeMarcos, D. J., Alexander, T. G., Turner, W. G., Zebrinsky, R. T., Williams, A. G., Thomson, T. R., Wanzhou, K.T., McParland, K.L., Philips, D. E., Kenney, T. O., Ford A. E., Carney Y.T., Winfrey, K.R., Jade, R.E., Koskinen, R.T., Draisaitl, T.E., Brady, T.B., Peters, O.N., Guterres, A.T.,... Higgins, J. B. (2016). Effective Collaboration in Higher Education. Green Alpaca Press.

Chapter in an edited book

In-text citation: 

...(Dillard, 1989).

Reference list:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (page range). Publisher.

Hunt, P. (2011). Children’s Literature. In P. Nel and L. Paul (Eds.), Keywords for Children's Literature (pp. 42-47). NYU Press.

Groups or government as authors

In-text citation:

Groups with abbreviations:

For the first citation:
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2003)...
Or ...(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2003).

For the subsequent citations:
NIHM (2003)...
Or ... (NIMH, 2003).

Groups with no abbreviation:

University of Guelph (2015)...
Or ... (University of Guelph, 2015).

Reference list:

Organization. (Date). Title (Report No. XXX). Publisher. DOI or URL

Statistics Canada. (1995). National population health survey overview 1994-95 (Catalogue No. 82-567). Minister of Industry.

Dissertation or thesis published online

In-text citation: 

...(McNamara, 2008).

Reference list:

Author, A.A. (Date). Title of dissertation [Doctoral dissertation, Name of institution awarding the degree]. Archive name. URL

Kaviani, M. (2019). A Study of Similarity Measures for Personal Names [Doctoral dissertation, University of Guelph]. The Atrium, University of Guelph Institutional Repository.

Dissertation or thesis from a database

In-text citation:

...(McNamara, 2008).

Reference list:

Author, A. A. (Date). Title of dissertation (Publication No.) [Doctoral dissertation, Name of institution awarding the degree]. Database name.

McNamara, K. H. (2008). Fostering sustainability in higher education: A mixed-methods study of transformative leadership and change strategies (Publication No. 3340863). [Doctoral dissertation, Antioch University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

Reprinted publication (classical works)

In-text citation:

  • Provide the original publication date and the reprinted publication date, separated by “/”.
  • If the original publication date is unknown, provide the reprinted date.

Burney (1778/1982).
Or ...(Burney, 1778/1982).

Reference list:

Burney, F. (1982). Evelina: or, the history of a young lady’s entrance into the world. E. A. Bloom (Ed.). Oxford University Press. (Original work published in 1778).

Sophocles. (1994). Antigone. (R.C. Jebb, Trans.). The Internet Classics Archive. (Original work published ca. 442 B.C.E.)

Newspaper article (online)

In-text citation:

... (Rushowy, 2003).

Reference list:

Author(s), A. A. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Newspaper Title. URL

Rushowy, K. (2019, December 12). Ontario teacher unions launch court challenge against wage-cap legislation. Toronto Star.

  • If there's no author, start with the article title (your in-text citation should use the first words from the title).

Newspaper article (print)

In-text citation:

... (Stevenson, 2003).

Reference list:

Author(s), A. A. (Date). Title of article. Newspaper Title, page number.

Stevenson, J. T. (2003, December 17). Depression contributes to weight gain in adolescents. Toronto Star, p. D17.

  • If there's no author, start with the article title (your in-text citation should use the first words from the title).

Online document

In-text citation:

...(Stevenson, 2003).

Reference list:

  • If there's no author, start with the title (your in-text citation should use the first words from the title).
  • See the No author entry.

Author, A. A. (Date). Title of work. URL

Stevenson, R. T. (2003). Helping children help themselves.

Depression drug causes legal furor. (2004, March 16).

Unpublished information

In-text citation:

… (J. R. Ewing, personal communication, November 16, 2003).
… (M. Li, lecture notes, POLS2000 Canadian Government, February 10, 2004).

Reference list:

  • Unpublished information that is not available to other scholars — including your own lecture notes — should be cited and described, but not included in your reference list.

Traditional knowledge or oral traditions of indigenous peoples

Please see the full Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for guidance on how to respectfully cite Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of Indigenous Peoples. 

Business database reports

In-text citation:

...(Database Name, date). 

...(Marketline, 2012).

Reference list:

Author Last Name, First Name or Database Name. (YYYY, DD Month). Title. URL

Economist Intelligence Unit. (2010, September). Canada [country report].

MarketLine. (2013, 15 November). China Telecom Corporation Limited.

MarketLine. (2014, 29 August). Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.: Is the SmartThings acquisition a smart thing?

  • For more examples, please see the SFU Citation Guide for Business Sources: 

Archival material

In-text citation: 

  • Use the author's surname and the date of the material.

... (Fowler, February 1960). 

Reference list:

Author last, Author first (Year, Month, Day). Title. [Description of material]. Name of collection (Call number, Box number, File number). Name of repository, Location.

Fowler, C.F. (1960, February). Massey-Harris Business Correspondence [Letter]. Massey-Harris Ferguson Collection (XA1 RHC A04420, Box 4, File 24). University of Guelph Archival and Special Collections, Guelph, Canada.

Online forum post

In-text citation:

...(Obama, 2003).

Reference list:

Author, A. A [username]. (Year, Month Day). Title of post [Description of form]. Website. URL

Obama, B [PresidentObama]. (2012, August 29). I'm Barack Obama, President of the United States -- AMA. [Online forum post.] Reddit.

Course readers

In-text citation:

  • Treat an article in a course reader as a chapter in an edited book or collection.
  • For the in-text citation, use the author of the article followed by the year the article was published or the year the course reader was published.

Reference list

  • Use the format for a chapter in an edited book. 

Course manuals

In-text citation:

  • Treat these as books with the instructor as author (unless another author is indicated).

...(Stengos, 2003)

Reference list:

Stengos, T. (2003). ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course manual. University of Guelph.

Lecture notes

In-text citation:

  • Treat these as books or non-periodicals if they are published, but as unpublished information if they are your own notes or are unpublished.
  • Lecture notes are considered published if they have been copied and distributed in print or on the web with the instructor's permission.

… (M. Li, lecture notes, POLS2000 Canadian Government, February 10, 2004).

Reference list:


Stengos, T. (2003). ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course notes. University of Guelph.


Stengos, T. (2003). ECON*4640 Applied Econometrics course notes. Retrieved November 23, 2003, from

  • NOTE: Using lecture notes as sources should be done sparingly unless otherwise specified by the instructor. It is better to provide information from a primary source. 

Citing multiple sources, different authors

In-text citation:

  • List them alphabetically, regardless of date, separated by a semi-colon.

… (Alberts et al., 2003; Jones, 1998a, 1998b; Klevezal & Thompson, 1980; Sergeant, 1973, 1975; Stanford, 2001).

No author

In-text citation:

  • Cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title of the article or book) and the year.
  • Italicize titles of books, brochures, periodicals, and reports.
  • Put quotation marks around titles of articles, chapters, webpages, etc.
  • When there is no title, cite the first few words of the text itself.
  • When the author is specifically designated as "Anonymous," use the word "Anonymous" in your in-text citation. 

… (Studies of Alcohol, 1999).

... ("Effects of Alcoholism," 2015). 

...(Anonymous, 2019).

Reference list:

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.).(1993). Merriam-Webster.

Citing a source within your source

In-text citation:

  • Avoid using "secondary" sources by finding and using the original source (e.g., Brown) whenever possible.
  • If you can't find and use the original, list only your "secondary" source (e.g., Smith) in the reference list.

… Brown's study (as cited in Smith, 1995, p. 14).

  • If your quotation includes a citation, keep it in, but include only the source you are using (e.g., Lamont) in the reference list:

… several cases of "unusual side effects (Turner & Jones, 1989)" have been reported (Lamont, 2003, p.47).

Reference List:

  • If you need to cite a source within a source, you should only include a citation for the secondary source that you consulted in your reference list. For example, if you include a quotation from Aristotle that you found in a secondary work, you would provide a citation for this secondary work in your reference list.

Fortenbaugh, W.W. (2002). Aristotle on emotion: a contribution to philosophical psychology, rhetoric, poetics, politics, and ethics. (2nd ed.) Duckworth.

Citing a specific part of a source

In-text citation:

  • Add a comma and the specific location after the year. If there are no page numbers, use a paragraph number or the closest heading.

… (Alberts, 2001, Table 6).
… (Zelickson & Robbins, 1986, p. 24).

  • If directly quoting online material, give the author, year, and page number in parenthesis. If there is no pagination, use the paragraph number.

… (Brown & Jones, 2007, Conclusion section, para. 4).

No date

In-text citation:

… (Smith, n.d.).

Reference List:

  • If your source does not have a date, you should include the abbreviation “n.d.” in parentheses where the date would typically go.

Canadian Hearing Society. (n.d.). Strategic Plan.

Different authors, same last name

In-text citation:

  • Use initials to distinguish them, and place them in alphabetical order by first initial in parenthetical references.

… (N. B. Smith, 2000; T. R. Smith, 1993).
N. B. Smith (2000) and T. R. Smith (1993) . . . 

Reference List:

  • If two of your authors have the same last name and the same first initial, you can put their names in brackets.

Butler, J. [Jeremy]. (2014). Making soda at home: mastering the craft of carbonation. Quarry Books.

Butler, J. [Judith]. (1990). Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge.

Multiple sources, same author

In-text citation:

  • Order them chronologically, earliest to latest.

… (Jones, 1965, 1973, 1988).

  • NOTE: Use 'a' and 'b' to distinguish two works by the same author in the same year. (These are also distinguished by 'a' and 'b' in the reference list, where they should be ordered alphabetically by title.)

… (Jones, 1998a, 1998b).

Reference list:

  • List works by same authors in order of year of publication (earliest first)
  • If there are multiple works by the same author published in the same year, organize the sources alphabetically by article title and add a letter to the year.

Goodley, D. & Runswick-Cole, K. (2015a). Big society? Disabled people with the label of learning disabilities and the queer(y)ing of civil society. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 17(1), 1-13.

Goodley, D., & Runswick-Cole, K. (2015b). Critical psychologies of disability: boundaries, borders, and bodies in the lives of disabled children. Emotional and behavioural difficulties, 20(1), 51-63.

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