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PSY Assignment : Citations


On this page, you will learn about APA citations and plagiarism.  

Review this page as you need to. Even if you have previous experience with library research, the resources and content listed can help you be more confident about working with library resources.

APA style 

The American Psychological Association publishes the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association as its style manual for Psychology and used by other social sciences disciplines. 

The most recent edition, the seventh edition, was published in 2020. This edition can be found in the Ready Reference section of the Library at the Reference Desk on the first floor. The call number is Ready Reference BF 76.7 P83 2020.  


Created by Tessa Withorn. CC by NC SA 2.0

How do I create an APA citation?


Include the complete citation at the end of your paper in a reference list. References are organized by the author's last name in alphabetic (A-Z) order. Use an hanging indent to separate each list item.

Use the tabs to learn about parts of a reference or citation.

Basic Format:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date). Title of the work. Source where you can retrieve the work. URL or DOI if 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 more than one author, separate their names with commas and use an ampersand (&) between the last and second to last name.  For example:

Upenieks, P. J., & Wright, K. 

Include up to twenty 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 twenty-one or more authors (some scientific papers have had dozens of authors!), include the first twenty authors, add three ellipsis points (...), then add the name of the last author.  Example: 

Wiskunde, B., Arslan, M., Fischer, P., Nowak, L., Van den Berg, O., Coetzee, L., Juárez, U., Riyaziyyat, E., Wang, C., Zhang, I., Li, P., Yang, R., Kumar, B., Xu, A., Martinez, R., McIntosh, V., Ibáñez, L. M., Mäkinen, G., Virtanen, E., . . . Kovács, A.

Do not include titles, ranks, or degrees, such as PhD, Reverend, General, President, etc. 

Date Published

For a book or journal article, include the year of publication in parentheses.  For other types of periodicals (magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc.) 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".

Books and journals: 

  • (2006)

Other periodicals: 

  • (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.  In APA style, racial and ethnic groups like African-Americans should be treated as proper nouns and capitalized. 

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). 

Advance online publications

Sometimes there are no volume or issue numbers to be found.  This might be the case of what is called an advance online publication.  This is a peer-reviewed publication that has been accepted by an academic journal, and the journal has posted it online before it is officially published in the journal.  It's okay to use these as sources since they are peer-reviewed, but you should use the final published version if it is available. 

Do not assume you are looking at an advance online publication simply because you can't find volume or issue numbers.  But if you see the phrase "advance online publication" you can cite it as such, just use that phrase in place of the volume, issue, and page numbers, like so: 

  • Psychological Services.  Advance online publication.



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 the doi at the end of your citation with the prefix to turn it into a URL (more on URLs below):

Sometimes you will see a DOI turned into a URL already.  Make sure your DOI is in the standard APA format above and, if necessary, remove any extra elements.  For example:

should appear in your paper like this:​  

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 in a commonly used library database like EBSCO or ProQuest, you don't have to include any other information.  Make sure you look for the DOI first, don't just assume there isn't one!

If you found the article online, in most cases you will have to 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 and the date you found the webpage to your citation in the format "Retrieved June 21, 2020, from http://xxxx"


Retrieved June 21, 2020, from


For more information about DOIs, please watch the short video below: 

Examples: Print Sources

Examples: Electronic Sources

Formatting Your paper

What does an example APA paper look like? 

APA Style offers sample student and professional papers, including a free annotated student sample paper.


Plagiarism is the act of presenting the words, ideas, or images of another as your own; it denies authors or creators of content the credit they are due. Whether deliberate or unintentional, plagiarism violates ethical standards in scholarship (see APA Ethics Code Standard 8.11, Plagiarism).

Wrap Up

On this page, you learned about scholarly articles and finding these articles in Psychology databases. 

Important takeaways

  • American Psychological Association publishes the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association as its style manual for Psychology.      
  • Citations used in a paper are listed in a reference list. 
  • Citations have core elements: author, title, publication date, and URL or DOI.   

Now, using the Library Scavenger Hunt handout, please answer questions 11 and 12.