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)
- 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.