Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Sociology Research Guide

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