APA Citations

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American Psychological Association (APA) style is used in various fields of study, including social sciences and medicine. Like most citation systems, APA requires the use of both in-text and full reference citations. In-text citations help readers distinguish between the work of the writer and work pulled from other sources, and corresponding reference citations help readers locate those sources. Properly citing sources helps writers establish credibility and avoid plagiarism. While this handout covers APA citation concepts, writers should customize their work for their specific audience and assignment. Note that section numbers provided in this handout refer to the APA Manual (7th ed).

In-text Citations (8.10–8.36)

When a writer uses someone else’s words or ideas (by summarizing, paraphrasing, directly quoting), the writer must credit the original source or author(s) using in-text citations. In-text citations include the last name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication. When directly quoting a source, the quote should be contained in quotation marks, and the in-text citation must also include a page number with p. indicating the information comes from a single page, and pp. when sourced material covers multiple pages. When using sources, writers should note that APA discourages extensive quoting.

Example: “The sun is a star” (Moon, 2022, pp. 7–9).

Narrative vs Parenthetical Citations (8.11)

A narrative citation mentions the author within the sentence, so their name is excluded from the parentheses. In a parenthetical citation, the author is not mentioned in the sentence, so their name appears in the parentheses. End-of-sentence punctuation comes after the parentheses.

Narrative Example: Moon (2022) said, “The sky is blue” (p. 14).

Parenthetical Example: “The sun is a star” (Moon, 2022, pp. 7–9).

  Narrative Citations Parenthetical Citations
One Author Moon (2022) (Moon, 2022)
Two Authors Baker and Lee (2018) (Baker & Lee, 2018)
Three or More Authors Jones et al. (2021) (Jones et al., 2021)
Abbreviated Groups, First Citation Veterans Affairs (VA, 2009) (Veterans Affairs [VA], 2009)
Abbreviated Groups, Additional Citations VA (2009) (VA, 2009)
Non-abbreviated Groups Mayo Clinic (2020) (Mayo Clinic, 2020)

Sources with Missing Information

Sources with No Author (8.14)

If a source does not have information about the author or the author is unknown, include the title in place of the missing author(s). Italicize the title if it is italicized on the reference page. Otherwise, put quotation marks around the title. Titles may be shortened for the in-text citation.

Example: (“Light Pollution in Space,” 2018)

Sources with No Date (8.10, 9.17)

If a source does not have a date, use “n.d.”, which is short for no date, in place of the date.

Example: (Lopez, n.d.)

Direct Quotes without Page Numbers (8.28)

When directly quoting a source without page numbers, provide another way to locate the quoted information (e.g., a section heading or a paragraph number). If the source does not provide a section heading or paragraph number, count the paragraphs manually.

Example: (Billings, 2018, para. 14)

Example: (Billings, 2018, “Symptoms” section)

Common In-text Citation Situations

Citing Multiple Works (8.12)

When citing multiple sources in the same section of a paper, list sources in alphabetical order, and separate them using semicolons. This format is commonly used when synthesizing sources.

Example: (Bozzelli, 2021; Gonzales, 2019; Pierce, 2020)

Block Quotes (8.24)

A direct quote of 40 words or more is formatted as a block quote. Block quotes do not use quotation marks and place final punctuation before the in-text citation. Block quotes are indented .5 inches from the left margin. APA recommends that writers use block quotes sparingly.

Example: Rausch et al. (2006) concluded the following:

 A mere 20 min of these group interventions was effective in reducing anxiety to

normal levels . . . merely 10 min of the interventions allowed [the high-anxiety group]

to recover from the stressor. Thus, brief interventions of meditation and progressive

muscle relaxation may be effective for those with clinical levels of anxiety and for

stress recovery when exposed to brief, transitory stressors. (p. 287)

Personal Communications and Class Lectures (8.7–8.9)

When using information shared in a class or received via personal communication with someone in a conversation, email, interview, etc., only provide an in-text citation for the source since the communication cannot be accessed by others.

Example: (N. Feng, personal communication, September 24, 2022)

Reference Citation Elements (9.7–9.37)

While in-text citations indicate when information is borrowed from a source, citations on the reference page provide readers with all the information needed to locate sources.

Dates (9.13–9.17)

Dates are formatted in the following order: year, month day. Omit missing months and/or days. If the year is missing, use n.d., meaning no date.

Example: (2019, May 1)

Authors (9.7–9.11)

Author information is formatted with each author’s last name listed first, followed by a comma, and then the author’s first initial(s), followed by a period. Subsequent authors follow the same format with an ampersand (&) before the final author. Note that organizations or corporations can function as authors.

Example (one author): Baron, A. J.

Example (two authors): Baron, A. J., & Keller, B. N.

Example (three authors): Baron, A. J., Keller, B. N., & Cliff, K. S.

Example (21+ authors): List the first 19 authors’ names, insert an ellipsis (. . .), omit the ampersand, then add the final author’s name.

Titles (9.18–9.22)

When referring to sources that can stand alone (e.g., books, websites, films), italicize the title and capitalize using sentence case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. For sources that are part of a larger source (e.g., an article in a journal or a chapter in a book), list the source title using sentence case, then capitalize and italicize the title of the larger source using title case, meaning all words are capitalized, except short conjunctions, prepositions, and articles. If there is no title, describe the work in brackets.

Example (book): Publication manual of the American Psychological Association

Example (journal article): The war on cities. The New Yorker.

Periodicals (9.25)

When citing periodicals (e.g., journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.), italicize volume numbers, place issue numbers in parentheses directly after the volume without a space, and list a page range or article number last.

Example (journal article): 40(1), 5–26

Editors (9.28)

To cite editors of a collection, add their names after the first title. Start with the word in, give the editor(s)’ name(s), then a comma and the title of the work. Use Ed. for one editor and Eds. for multiple editors.

Example (edited collection): Of conversation. In P. Bizzell & B. Herzberg (Eds.), The Rhetorical Tradition.

Editions or Volumes (9.28)

For editions or volumes of a book, add (# ed., Vol. #) in parentheses after the title.

Example (edited collection): Explanation of social action (2 ed.)

Access Dates (9.16)

For sources that are updated frequently (e.g., social media websites or online maps), provide an access date. After the word Retrieved, add the date (Month Day, Year), a comma, the word from, and the URL or DOI.

Example: Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://xxxxx

DOIs and URLs (9.34–9.36)

A UniformResource Locator (URL) is a website address that may change. A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a stable repository for sources. DOIs are preferred over URLs, and if text will be published or read online, links should be live,  so readers can easily access the referenced source.

Example (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7771/2832-9414.1009

Reference Examples

Audiovisual Work: Video, Film, Photo, etc. (10.12–10.14)

Author Last Name, Initials. (Description of Role). (Year, Month Day). Title of work [Format]. Publisher. URL

Howard, R. (Director). (2001). A beautiful mind [Film]. Universal Pictures.

Book (10.2–10.3)

Author Last Name, Initials. (Year). Book title (edition, Volume). Publisher. DOI

Craib, I. (2015). Modern social theory (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Chapter in an Edited Book (10.3)

Author Last Name, Initials. (Publication Year). Title of chapter. In Initials Last Name of Editor & Initials Last Name of Editor (Eds.), Title of book (edition, Volume, pp. pages of section). Publisher. DOI  

Arad, G., & Bar-Haim, Y. (2021). Cognitive bias interventions. In A. B. Adler & D. Forbes (Eds.), Anger at work: Prevention, intervention, and treatment in high-risk occupations (pp. 275–301). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000244-010  

Journal Article (10.1)

Author Last Name, Initials., & Author Last Name, Initials. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume#(issue#), pages. DOI

Lazebna, N. & Prykhodko, A. (2021). Digital discourse of English language acquisition. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 17(2), 971–982. https://doi.org/10.52462/jlls.67

Newspaper or Magazine Article (10.1)

Author Last Name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Newspaper or Magazine, volume#(issue#), pages. DOI

Timiraos, N. (2023, July 30). Why the drivers of lower inflation matter. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-drivers-of-lower-


Social Media (10.15)

Author Last Name, Initials. [@username]. (Year, Month Day). Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Image/Link attached] [Type of post]. Site Name. URL

National Park Service [@nationalparkservice]. (2020, March 23). Another satisfied visitor [Image attached] [Post]. Instagram. www.instragram.com/p/Cst0yTUuKKl/?igshid=MzRIODBiNWFIZA

Republished, Translated, or Religious/Classical Work (10.2)

Author Last Name, Initials. (Year). Title of work (Translator Initials, Last Name, Trans.; edition, Volume). Publisher. DOI (Original work published date if known—use ca. [“circa”] for approximate dates)

The Bhagavad Gita (E. Easwaran, Trans.; 2nd ed.). (2019). Nilgiri Press.

Webpage on a Website (10.16)

Author Last Name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Webpage title. Site Name. URL

National Institute of Mental Health. (2023, June). Technology and the future of mental health treatment. National Institute of Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/technology-and-the-future-of-mental-health-treatment