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Citation Styles

What Is APA Style?

What is APA Style?Cover of the APA Manual

  • Each academic discipline has its own rules for citing ideas and words borrowed from other writers and researchers.
  • The Social Sciences use the  American Psychological Association style rules.
  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association contains comprehensive rules and examples for citing.

Citing Sources in APA Style

How does citing in APA work?

Step 1: Create a References page

  • Include a reference list at the end of your paper. The list should contain a full citation for each source included among your in-text citations.
  • The references list should begin on a new page at the end of your paper with the word "References" bold and centered at the top of the page.
  • Organize citations alphabetically by the first word. Usually this will be the author's last name, but, if the source has no author, you'll use the title of the source.
  • The information these full citations should include depends on the type of source you're citing - for example, whether it's a book, an encyclopedia entry, or an article in a periodical. You'll find the formulas for the most common source types in our APA 7 Quick Guide. If you're having difficulty identifying the type of source you're using, consult a librarian. 

Step 2: Use in-text citations throughout your paper

  • Use an in-text citation to acknowledge that you are quoting or paraphrasing another author's words, ideas or data in the text of your research paper.
  • Add in-text citations in parentheses at the end of the sentence but before the final punctuation (like this).
  • Each in-text citation should include all of the following elements, separated by commas:
    • the last name of the author(s)
    • the year of publication
    • the number of the page(s) where you found the information, preceded by the abbreviation p. for a single page or pp. for a range of pages
    • example: (Rivera, 2019, p. 28)
  • Exceptions:
    • You've used the author's name in the sentence, for example when introducing a quote
      • Include the year of publication in parentheses after the author's name and the page number(s) in separate parentheses at the end of the sentence.
      • example: Rivera (2019) asserts that... (p. 28). 
    • The source has no author 
      • Use the title of the source in place of the author's name. Titles of longer works such as books should be italicized. Titles of shorter works, such as a chapter from a book or an article from a magazine or journal should be placed in quotation marks. All titles should appear in standard title case (i.e. capitalize all major words). 
      • example: ("Using Citations," 2019, p. 28)
    • The source has two authors
      • Use the last names of both authors, separated by an ampersand (&)
      • example: (Rivera & Rodriguez, 2019, p. 28)
    • The source has three or more authors
      • Use the last name of the first author followed by "et al." 
      • example: (Rivera et al., 2019, p. 28)
    • There's no publication date given for the source
      • Use the abbreviation n.d. (for "no date") in place of the year
      • example: (Rivera, n.d., p. 28).
    • The source doesn't have numbered pages
      • Use the number of the paragraph the information came from preceded by the abbreviation para. in place of the page number
      • example: (Rivera, 2019, para. 4)

Step 3: Double-check your paper and citation formatting

  • The APA Manual dictates the rules for formatting your in-text citations, References page, and your final research paper.
  • Review the links in the "APA Resources" box on this page to see formatting examples.

Cite Right in APA

Microsoft Word Templates

Use APA templates in Word and Google Docs

  • When creating a new Microsoft Word document (or Google Doc), search for "APA" to see APA-style research paper templates. 

search APA in Microsoft Word template

APA Publication Manual in the Library