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Citation Style Guides: APA

This Research Guide was designed to provide you with assistance in citing your sources when writing an academic paper.

APA Style

The American Psychological Association publishes the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association as its style manual for the social sciences disciplines. It is also used by other disciplines as a handbook for authorship of papers.

The most recent edition, the sixth edition, was published in 2010. This edition can be found in the Ready Reference section of the Library. The call number is Ready Reference BF 76.7 P83 2010. Listed below are examples of sample citations.

APA 7th Edition

The newest version of the publication manual: the 7th edition was officially released in October 2019. Students: you should always check with your professor whether they’re expecting the 7th edition or the 6th edition.

To learn what has changed, visit the APA 7th Edition page. 

APA Formating Rules

Here are some general rules on how to format your paper: 

  • Margins: page margins should be set 1 inch on top, bottom, left and right
  • Font: Times New Roman, 12 font size
  • Double Space: throughout your paper, on standard white paper
  • Cover page: 
    • first page should include: full title, your name, course name and number, instructor's name, and the date
    • center and double-space all information
    • a running header with consecutive page numbering should appear flush right in the upper right-hand corner of each page, including the title page. This running header will appear one-half inch from the top of the page, and should contain a short version of the title, followed by the page number.

How do I create a citation?

A proper citation must include all of the elements in the example below when they are available. 



In APA citations, only the first initial or initials of each author are used.  For example, if your paper was written by Pierre John Upenieks, your citation should read: 

Upenieks, P. J.

For multiple authors, separate their names with commas and use an ampersand (&) between the last and second to last name.  For example:

Upenieks, P. J., Alleyne, R. L., & Wright, K. 

Include up to seven authors in this format: 

Upenieks, P. J., Alleyne, R. L., Wright, K., Bulatao, E., Winford, C. A., Cabading, J. R., & Boockvar, K. S. 

If there are eight or more authors (some scientific papers have had dozens of authors!), include the first six authors, add three ellipsis points (...), then add the name of the last author.  Example: 

Upenieks, P. J., Alleyne, R. L., Wright, K., Bulatao, E., Winford, C. A., Cabading, J. R.,...Obama, B. H.

Date Published

Include the year of publication in parentheses.  For a journal article, also include the rest of the publication date such as month and/or day.  If no date is provided, include (n.d.) for "no date".


  • (2006)
  • (2008, May/June)
  • (2015, April 14)
  • (n.d.)

Title of Article

Capitalize only the first letter of the title of the article, the rest of the words should be lowercase, except for proper nouns like names and places, and the first word if the title is more than one sentence, separated with appropriate punctuation like colons, question marks, and periods. 

Don't capitalize any other words and do not use italics.


  • Occupational health psychologists convene to share their research on work, stress, and health.
  • Capital punishment in the United States.
  • Science vs. ideology: Psychologists fight back about the misuse of research.
  • Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency. 

Title of Journal

Include the title of the journal in italics and capitalize each letter in the title, except for words like "and" and "of".


  • Journal of Abnormal Psychology
  • Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
  • Monitor on Psychology

Volume, Issue, and Page Numbers

Most academic journals, even ones that are never printed, are separated into volumes and issues just like print magazines.  It's not enough to just include the title of the journal and the page numbers, you should include the volume number and the issue number as well.  Most journals start again with page 1 for each issue or volume.  Sometimes there is no issue number, so just include the volume number.  Italicize the volume number just like the title of the journal, and put the issue number in parenthesis, but don't italicize it.  After this, add a comma and then the page numbers of the article.  If the article is only a single page, just include that single number.  If there are no page numbers, just end with a period. 


  • Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48.
  • Health Psychology, 24, 225-229.
  • Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 10(4). 


A DOI is a digital object identifier.  It is a unique string of characters, mostly numbers, that distinguishes the article from all other academic articles.  No two articles will have the same DOI, and all of them will begin with 10.  You don't have to remember what DOI stands for, just remember what it is and that most current academic articles will have them.  Include them at the end of your citation with the prefix doi:


Sometimes you will see a DOI turned into a URL (more on URLs below), like this example.  If you see that, remember that the DOI is just the part that begins with 10. so drop everything in front of that. should be doi:10.1037/0022-351​ in your paper

If you don't see the DOI while looking at your article in a library database, try clicking on "full text" or "download PDF" and looking at the first page of the article.  You can often find it there, such as in this article below, where you can see the DOI in the upper right hand corner. 

Most newer academic journal articles will have DOIs, so be persistent and try to find it.  But what if there really is no DOI?  Not every journal uses them yet.  In that case, if you found the article online or in a library database, find the URL of the article and use that instead.  URL stands for uniform resource locator, basically the address of a particular webpage.  A URL should start with http:// or https://  Add the URL to your citation in the format "Retrived from http://xxxx"


Retrieved from

Examples: Print Sources

Examples: Electronic Sources

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Reference Page: General Rules

Here are some general rules on how to format your references page: 

  • The reference list appears at the end of your paper
  • Each cited source must be on the reference list and each entry on the reference list must be cited in the text
  • Begin the reference list on a new page
  • Label the page "References"; centered at the top
  • Double-space all the text on the page
  • Indent one-half inch from the left margin all the lines after the first line (hanging indentation)
  • Invert the authors' names; give the last name first, then the initials for the first name
  • Alphabetize the entries by the last name of the author of each work. If there is more than one work by the same author, arrange them in order of publication date, from oldest to most recent.
  • For two or more authors, separate the names by commas and use "&" instead of "and" for the last name mentioned.
  • Write the full title of the journal; maintaining the punctuation and capitalization used in the journal title
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles
  • When referring to books, chapters, articles, or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.

Please note: These are basic guidelines, for more detailed information, consult the APA Manual. You can view a sample APA paper at the OWL at Purdue website. (Refer to page 9 for an example of a reference page).

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association
Call Number: BF 76.7 .P83 2010
ISBN: 9781433805592
Publication Date: 2010
Item can be found at: 
Ready Reference (Research Information Desk - 1st floor)


Citation Help

Use these websites to help you create citations.