- American Psychological Association’s Style of citing sources
- Usually used in social and behavioral sciences papers (such as psychology papers)
- Explained fully in The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.
(You can ask for this manual at the Front Desk for use in the Library.)
Download a printer-friendly version of this APA Citation Style Guide [PDF].
Table of Contents
- References List
- Indenting, How to
- Basic Citation Format for Books
- DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.
- Essay or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Essay Reprinted from Another Source (e.g., in Anthologies and Coursepacks)
- Differences between Magazines & Journals
- Basic Citation Format for Articles
- Magazine Articles
- Journal Articles
- Newspaper Articles
- Online Database Articles
- Online Database Abstracts
- Specific Library Resources:
- CQ Researcher Articles
- Annual Editions Articles
- Websites & Web Pages:
- Entire Websites
- Web Pages
- Technical & Research Reports
- Email & Other Personal Communications
- Same Author, Different Works
- Websites & Web Pages
- How to cite a source cited in your source
- Websites & Web Pages
- Online Database Articles
- Long quotes
- How to indent long quotes
- How to quote a source more than once within a paragraph
A References List is the list of the sources you used to write your paper. Place this list at the end of your paper on its own page(s).
- Title your list References
- List your sources alphabetically by author.*
- Double-space your References List.
Indent the second and subsequent lines of each citation. Use a hanging indent to indent this way.
1. Highlight all of your citations.
2. Click on the bottom triangle (not the rectangle!) of the ruler near the top of the screen.
3. Drag the bottom triangle to the half-inch mark (see below):
OR, even quicker!
1. Highlight all of your citations.
2. Ctrl + Tab (the Control key and the Tab key together)
Last name, First Initial. (Year). Book title: Subtitle. (Edition) [if other than the 1st]. Place: Publisher.
Brader, T. (2006). Campaigning for hearts and minds: How emotional appeals in political ads work. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Elder, L. & Paul, R. (2006).The miniature guide to the art of asking essential questions. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Miller, T. E., Bender, B. E., & Schuh, J. H. (2005). Promoting reasonable expectations: Aligning student and institutional views of the college experience. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
1) For essays published for the first time:
Essay Author’s Last name, First Initial. (Year). Essay title. In Editor’s First Initial Last Name (Ed.), Book title (pp. # - #). Place: Publisher.
Weinman, J. & Kleinfield, J. (2006). Do schools perpetuate a gender bias? In W. Traverner (Ed.), Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial issues in human sexuality (pp. 114-120). Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Education.
2) For essays reprinted from another source (e.g., essays in an anthology or coursepack):
Essay Author’s Last name, First Initial. (Year of book). Essay title as the book names it, not as the original source names it. In Editor’s First Initial Last Name (Ed.), Book title (pp. # - #). Place: Publisher. (Reprinted from Name of Journal, Year, Volume#, page#-page#)
Milgram, S. (2007). The perils of obedience. In W. F. Schulz (Ed.), The phenomenon of torture: Readings and commentary (pp. 110-119). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. (Reprinted from Harper’s, December 6, 1973, 246, 62-66, 75-77)
Special Note About In-Text Citations for Reprinted Essays:
Cite both years in your in-text citations, like this:
(Last Name, newest year/oldest year)
Book, Corporate Author
The publisher is listed as "Author."
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: Author.
Author's Last name. First Initial. (Year). Book title. Retrieved from home_page_URL
Brock, J., & Arciuli, J. (2014). Communication in autism. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com
eBook on a Kindle
Author's Last name. First Initial. (Year). Book title. [e-reader device name]. Retrieved from home_page_URL
Silberman, S. (2015). Neurotribes: The legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity. [Kindle ebook]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com
Audiobook on CD:
Author's Last name. First Initial. (Year). Book title [Format]. Place: Publisher.
Eide, B. E. & Eide, F. F. (2011). The dyslexic advantage: Unlocking the hidden potential of the dyslexic brain [CD audiobook]. Old Saybrook, CT: Tantor Audio.
Digital Audiobook (e.g., Audible)
Author's Last name. First Initial. (Year). Book title [Format]. Retrieved from home_page_URL
Eide, B. E. & Eide, F. F. (2011). The dyslexic advantage: Unlocking the hidden potential of the dyslexic brain [Audible audiobook]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com
Author’s Last name, First Initial. (Year). Article Title. In Encyclopedia title. (Vol. #, pp.# - #). Place: Publisher.
- (If no author is given for the entry, place the title in the author position.)
- (You do not need to include an edition statement if the encyclopedia is a first edition.)
Perez, Jr., L. (2005). Cuba. In The world book encyclopedia. (Vol. 4, pp. 1168-1179). Chicago: World Book.
- glossy cover and pages
- includes advertisements
- many photos and graphics
- easier to read
- catchy, even sensational article titles
- of general interest (Time)
- trade or technical interest (PC World)
- business interest (Forbes),
- or political interest (The Nation)
Journals (some generalizations)
- dull cover and pages
- few or no advertisements
- few or no photos and graphics
- harder to read
- more jargon/technical terms
- assumes the reader is a member of the journal's profession or discipline
- informative article titles of scholarly interest for members of a specific professional field
Last name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Title, Volume number(Issue number*), Page numbers, inclusive (the page numbers of the entire article).
*You only need the issue number for journals in which each issue is paged separately.
White, C. (2006, April). The spirit of disobedience. Atlantic, 312(1871), 31-40.
Magazine Article, Weekly
Tumulty, K. (2006, April 10). Should they stay or should they go? Time, 167(15), 3-40.
Anonymous Author (Magazine or Journal)
Class distinctions. (2006, April). Psychology Today, 39(2), 21.
Newman, J. L., Fuqua, D. R., Gray, E. A., & Simpson, D. B. (2006). Gender differences in the relationship of anger and depression in a clinical sample. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84, 157-161.
Journal Article, with Each Issue Paged Separately (Include Issue Number)
Knotts, H. G. & Haspel, M. (2006). The impact of gentrification on voter turnout. Social Science Quarterly, 87(1), 110-121.
Chavez, L. (2006, March 30). American dreams, foreign flags. The New York Times, pp. A25.
Newspaper Article, Anonymous Author
Religious leaders protest House immigration bill. (2006, April 11). The Keene Sentinel, pp. 2.
Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper Article from an Online Database
The 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association has simplified the process for citing articles from online databases.
Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Title, Volume number(Issue number), Page numbers. Retrieved from URL of database home page
Specific Example (from the Academic Search Premier database)
Denhart, H. (2008). Deconstructing barriers: Perceptions of students labeled with learning disabilities in higher education. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41, 483-497. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com
A Note about APA Citations Created by Databases
Many databases provide APA-style citations for you.
Look for words like “Citation” or “Cite” near options to print and save.
Database-generated citations may have flaws:
- Most databases capitalize every word, even prepositions like "of" and even all the words in an article title.
- Sometimes citations are missing information, such as issue or page numbers.
It's preferable to find, use, and cite the full article, but when that's not possible, APA does permit citing only the abstract (summary) of an article.
- Follow the appropriate citation format (journal, magazine, or newspaper).
- Then after the page numbers, add the following information:
1. The words “Abstract retrieved from”
2. The URL for the homepage of the article database
For example, an abstract from the database General OneFile has this URL:
Cite only the home page URL (the part ending in .com or .org):
Online Database Article Abstract: Basic Format
Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Title, Volume number(Issue number), Page numbers. Abstract retrieved from URL of database homepage
Online Database Article Abstract: Specific Example (from the Academic OneFile database)
Haddad, A. D. M., Umoh, G., Bhatia, V. & Robertson, M. M. (2009). Adults with Tourette's syndrome with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 10(4), 299-308. Abstract retrieved from http://find.galegroup.com
Articles from the online version of the CQ Researcher are cited as if they are an online version of a magazine article. You can access the full citation of the article by simply clicking the Cite Now button at the top of the first page.
If you prefer to construct the citation on your own in 6th edition APA style, here’s how:
Basic Format for a CQ Researcher Article (Online version)
Last name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title. The CQ Researcher, Volume number, Page numbers. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com
Articles from the Reference series Annual Editions are reprints of articles from magazines, newspapers or journals.
Therefore, your citation must show that you got the article from Annual Editions and that the article originally appeared elsewhere in a magazine, journal or newspaper. You treat these articles like the “Essays reprinted from another source (e.g. essays in an anthology or coursepack)” from page 4 of this guide.
Basic Format for an Annual Editions Article
Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Article title. In Editor’s First Initial Last Name (Ed.), Annual Editions: Volume title (pp. # - #). Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill. (Reprinted from Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Title, pp. # - #, Year, Month Day)
Underwood, A. & Adler, J. (2006). Diet and genes. In D. Klimis-Zacas (Ed.), Annual Editions: Nutrition (pp. 63-65). Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill. (Reprinted from Newsweek, pp. 40-48, 2005, January 17)
Editor(s): Listed on the title page in the front of the Annual Editions volume.
Reprint info: Listed at the bottom of the first page of the article.
Special Note about In-Text Citations for Annual Editions Articles:
Cite both years in your in-text citations, like this:
(Last Name, newest year/oldest year)
(Underwood & Adler, 2006/2005)
To cite an entire website, just give its name and URL in the text of your paper. Don't cite it in the References List at the end.
If instead you use (i.e., quote or paraphrase from) many pages from a website, cite each web page separately.
LD Online is a great place to start for information on learning disabilities and ADHD (http://www.ldonline.org).
Author last name, First initial (if available). (Year, Month Day web page was last updated). Title or description of page. Retrieved from URL (address of web page)
Basic Format for a Web Page, No Author
Title or description of page. (Year, Month Day web page was last updated). Retrieved from URL (address of web page)
Author: Look at the top and bottom of the page to see if an author is listed. If none is, then start the citation the page name, followed by the date.
Date: Look at the top and bottom of the page for a date. If none is listed, list the date as "(n.d.)."
Special formats: For information about how to cite specific types of web pages such as blog posts, tweets, and Facebook posts, visit this helpful page from the APA Style Blog: http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/11/how-to-cite-something-you-found-on-a-website-in-apa-style.html
Dyslexia and the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/article/Dyslexia_and_the_DSM-5_%28Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders%29
Author's last name, First Initials OR Department Responsible for the Report (Year). Title of report (Report No. xxx). Retrieved from URL (address of the report)
U.S. Department of Education (2014). Profile of undergraduate students: 2011-12: Web tables (NCES 2015-167). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015167.pdf
Author's last name, First Initial [screen name]. (Year, month day of upload). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/xxxxxx
Greenland, B. [bryangreenland]. (2012, January 13). Funny library montage [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_a7OTE2nLg
YouTube Video, No Author
Author's name not listed? Then list the screen name instead of the author's name and without brackets:
MezonBiz. (2007, December 16). Test yourself: Stroop effect [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpge6c3Ic4g
Motion Picture (Movie)
Producer’s Last Name, First Initial (Producer), & Director’s Last Name, First Initial (Director). (Year). Video title [Motion picture]. Country of Origin: Name of Movie Studio.
Bregman, M. & Elfand, M. (Producers), & Lumet, S. (Director). (2006). Dog day afternoon [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Home Video.
Non-Fiction Video (e.g., Documentary)
Producer’s Last Name, First Initial (Producer). (Year). Video title [DVD/VHS]. Available from URL of the publisher of the video
Harrison-Hansley, M. & Sussman, A. (Producers). (2005). Living with ADHD [DVD]. Available from http://www.films.com
Basic Format for an Electronic Image
Author (Role of Author). (Year image was created). Title of work [Type of work], Retrieved from URL (address of website)
Note: If you can only find the screen name of an author (such as a photographer on Flickr), that will do as the author's name.
If the screen name is all lowercase, keep the name lowercase in the in-text citation and the references list.
Electronic Image (No Author)
Title of work [Type of work]. (Year image was created). Retrieved from URL (address of website)
Electronic Image (No Author, No Title, No Date)
Many images found on the Web are of this category, but you should still look for this missing information: try clicking on the image, and/or looking at the bottom of the image.
[Format and subject of work]. Retrieved from URL (address of website)
Specific Image Examples
Japanese Geisha [Photograph]. (2006). Retrieved from http://www.bergoiata.org/fe/divers28/10.htm
Kulbis, M. (Photographer). (2006). Men pray [Photograph], Retrieved from http://accuweather.ap.org/cgi-bin/aplaunch.pl
sinead-marie (Photographer). (2012). Dyslexia [Photograph], Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/cCrXHQ
[Untitled photograph of a baby chimpanzee]. Retrieved from http://perso.wanadoo.fr/jdtr/struc/chimp3.htm
Personal communications can include email, private letters, personal interviews, and telephone conversations.
Since they don't provide information that readers can find for themselves, they are not included in the references list.
- In the in-text citation, list the communicator's first initials and last name, the phrase "personal communications" and the exact date.
- Do not cite in the references list.
In-text citation examples
S. R. Narayan (personal communication, March 19, 2017)
(S. R. Narayan, personal communication, March 19, 2017)
- List in chronological order, oldest source first.
- If both sources are from the same year, list them in alphabetical order by title.
Barkley, R. A. (2006). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A clinical workbook (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
Barkley, R. A. (2008). ADHD in adults: What the science says. New York: Guilford Press.
How to Paraphrase:
- Cite only the last name of the author (or if a website, cite the author, organization, institution, or company responsible for the website).
- Cite the year of the source.
- Within a paragraph, the second (or third, etc.) time you cite a source, don’t list the date.
- Cite the page number for books and multipage articles (but not for websites). Note: Page numbers are technically optional for paraphrases, but you might as well use them. It helps your reader, and it can help you if you need to double-check your source during the revision process.
- Use the past tense to explain what an author did: (studied something; found something, etc.) or the present perfect tense: (has studied something; has found something, etc.).
Smith (2006) studied how racism affects biracial college students (p. 62).
In a recent study of racism, biracial college students reported receiving prejudice from both racial groups to which they belonged (Smith, 2006, p. 62).
Jones and Rogers (2006, p. 123) found that stress can adversely affect sleep.
Stress can adversely affect sleep (Jones & Rogers, 2006, p. 123)
Three to Five Authors
First mention of source:
Miller, Bender, and Schuh (2006, p. 56) hypothesized that student expectations prior to enrollment would strongly influence their experiences of college life.
In an experiment to examine the impact of expectations on the experiences of first-year college students, researchers compared institution characteristics and student background characteristics with expectations of campus activities and the campus environment (Miller, Bender, & Schuh, 2006, p. 52-53).
Second mention of source (Omit the year if this is the second mention within the same paragraph):
Miller et al. were surprised to find a low correlation between time spent preparing for class and gains in general education and intellectual skills (2006, p. 59).
Their experiment found little correlation between time spent preparing for class and gains in general education and intellectual skills (Miller et al., 2006, p. 59).
Web Pages: In-Text Citations
- the heading of the section or the title of the web page
- the date of the page
- the number of the paragraph following it
Web page title example
Twice as many women than men receive a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Anxiety Disorders Association of America, 2009, “Statistics and Facts about Anxiety Disorders,” para. 3).
Section heading example
In their online information booklet, Panic Disorder, a Real Illness, the National Institutes of Mental Health state that the disorder usually starts between the ages of 18 and 24 (2006, When Does Panic Disorder Start? section, para. 1).
NOTE: When section headings or web page titles are too lengthy to cite in full, shortening them is preferred. The original heading title for the above example was “When does panic disorder start and how long does it last?”
How to cite a source cited in your source
- You’ve read and you're citing Author A.
- Author A cites Author B.
- You haven’t read Author B, but you want to cite Author B.
Here’s what you do:
1. List Author A (who you read) in the References List. Don’t list Author B there.
2. In your text, use the following citation:
Author B’s study (as cited in Author A, Year) or (Author B, Year, as cited in Author A, Year)
Find, read, and cite Author B as its own source (the preferred option, according to APA).
How to quote a source directly:
- Cite only the last name of the author (or, if a website, cite the author’s last name, or the name of the organization, institution, or company responsible for the website).
- Cite the year of the source.
- Cite the page numbers (with a p. or pp.) after the date (but for websites, see box below).
- If your quote contains a quote, use single quotation marks (‘’) around the shorter quote.
Although there is some debate concerning the prevalence of the cluster of symptoms labeled ADHD, Barkley and Murphy (2006) maintain that “there is little doubt that the disorder is virtually universal among human populations” (p. 7).
Website/Web Page Quoting
List the heading of the section or the title of the web page and then the number of the paragraph following it.
Web page title example
For persons with dyspraxia, gross motor coordination difficulties can include “poor posture and fatigue” resulting from inadequate muscle tone (Dyspraxia Foundation, 2009, “Symptoms,” para. 2).
Section heading example
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (2006) estimates that “dyspraxia affects at least 2% of the general population to some degree and about 70% of those affected are male” (What is dyspraxia? section, para. 1).
NOTE: When section headings, web page, or online article titles are too lengthy to cite in full, shorten them.
Online Database Articles, Quoting Examples
Articles in PDF format
Quote like any article or book, because the original pagination is preserved.
Articles in HTML format
The pagination has changed from the original printed article.
List the heading of the section and then the number of the paragraph following it.
HTML article example
In one study of parents of children with newly diagnosed specific learning disabilities showed that "these parents regard five facets (leisur [leisure] > pfeel [positive feelings] > energy > esteem > sex) as important contributors to their overall [quality of life]" (McCutchan, Logan, & Biangardi-Orpe, 2009, Limitations and conclusion section, para. 2).
- When article titles or section headings are too lengthy to cite in full, shorten them.
- In any quote, brackets represents words that you and not the authors inserted, or words that you modified for clarity, or in the case of [...] words were omitted for brevity.
- Start the quote on a new line.
- Indent the entire quote by 5 spaces (½ of an inch if you use the ruler in Microsoft Word—see box below for instructions).
- Don’t use quotation marks.
- Double-space the quote (just like the rest of the paper).
- Use brackets enclosing elipses […] to represent omitted text.
- If your quote contains a quote, use double quotation marks (“ ”) around the shorter quote.
- Place the last period before the in-text citation (the opposite of what you do for shorter quotes).
Example of a long quote
Elder and Paul (2006) explain the difference between absolutists and relativists:
Some people, dogmatic absolutists, try to reduce all questions to matters of fact. They think that every question has one and only one correct answer. Others, subjective relativists, try to reduce all questions to matters of subjective opinion. They think that no question has correct or incorrect answers but that all questions whatsoever are matters of opinion […] Neither absolutist nor relativist leaves room for what is crucial to success in human life: matters of reasoned judgment. (p. 10)
How to indent a long quote
- Place your cursor at the beginning of the quote.
- Click on the bottom rectangle on the ruler near the top of the screen.
- Drag the bottom rectangle to the half-inch mark (see below)
How to quote a source more than once within a paragraph
- The first time you quote a source in a paragraph, follow the examples above.
- The second and subsequent times you quote that source within the same paragraph, only include the page number in parentheses. (You don’t need the name and year.)
It can be helpful to sort questions into categories when analyzing virtually any issue. Elder and Paul (2006) offer three categories: “Questions of Procedure,” “Questions of Preference,” and “Questions of Judgment” (p. 9). Questions of Procedure are generally unarguable and call for fact or definition, such as “How many democratic administrations have there been in the U.S. since 1829?” or “What is a coalition government?” The answers to Questions of Preference are open-ended and as varied as individual values, such as “How would I live differently if I took the ideas of this author seriously?” (p. 37). Questions of Judgment require “reasoning, but with more than one arguable answer” or “the best answer within a range of possibilities” (p. 9). An example from the field of political science is: “Is democracy the best form of governance?” This latter category of questions is most challenging, as it calls for the intellectual virtues of dispositions of humility, courage, empathy, integrity, perseverance, confidence in reason, and autonomy (p. 43-44).
Need an example not listed here?
Go to the Front Desk and ask for The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.
A library staff person would be happy to help you find your example.