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APA Citation: APA FAQ

Click through the tabs to learn the basics, find examples, and watch video tutorials.

Alphabetization - Reference List

The reference list is double-spaced and in alphabetical order.

  • Alphabetize letter by letter.
  • Ignore spaces, capitalization, hyphens, apostrophes, periods, and accent marks. 
  • When alphabetizing titles or group names as authors, go by the first significant word (disregard a, an, the, etc.)
  • Look at a sample paper and examine the References: Purdue's Sample Paper, APA's Sample Paper

APA Style Blog: Alphabetization in APA Style

AUTHORS. GROUP/CORPORATE AUTHORS. NO AUTHOR.

Do you have questions on author names in APA Style?

Links to the APA Style Blog

 

What if there is no author?

Are you sure there is no author? An author can be a company, organization, and government agency. Use the name of the group as the author.

Ask the question: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS CONTENT? -- Is it a person, an organization, a company or an agency?

For example, the author of Boeing's company website is: The Boeing Company.

The author of a government article, if there is not human author, will be the agency, such as the United States Department of Labor.

APA Style Blog on group authors

I'm sure - there is no author. How do I cite this?

If there is no author and no group/corporate author, begin the reference with the title in the author-place. Use a shortened version of the title in when using in-text citations.

IN-TEXT Use the first few words of the title, or the complete title if short.  

No author - The title takes the place of the author.

In the in-text citation, put a title in quotation marks. If the title is long - you may shorten the title.


The taxi dispatch software used by companies, such as Uber and Lyft, address all of an organization's operational needs ("Taxi dispatch software market," 2009).

References

Taxi dispatch software market revolutionizing the passenger transportation industry. (2019). M2PressWIRE. Retrieved from  EBSCOhost Business Source Complete database.


Need more help?  In-Text Citations: Author/Authors by Purdue

How do I cite works written by authors with the same last name?

In text, include the first initials with the last names..

Include the first author's initials in all in-text citations even if the year of publication differs.

F. Kelly (2010) and A. Kelly (2016) described that...

or

(F. Kelly, 2010) .... (A. Kelly, 2016)....

In-text citations:

(D. Jackson, 2018)

(M. C. Jackson, Counter, & Tree, 2017)

(Nelson, Jackson, Amir, & Hajcak, 2017)

Reference list entries:

Jackson, D. (2018). Aesthetics and the psychotherapist's office. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 74, 233–238. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.22576

Jackson, M. C., Counter, P., & Tree, J. J. (2017). Face working memory deficits in developmental prosopagnosia: Tests of encoding limits and updating processes. Neuropsychologia, 106, 60–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.09.003

Nelson, B. D., Jackson, F., Amir, N., & Hajcak, G. (2017). Attention bias modification reduces neural correlates of response monitoring. Biological Psychology, 129, 103–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.08.059

APA Style Blog What’s in a Name? Authors With the Same Surname

How do I cite two or more works by the same author published in the same year?

This question also address: How do I cite multiple webpages for corporate author (a company - i.e. Boeing ) that have same publications dates?

  • In the reference list, organize the works alphabetically by the title of the works, then assign letters to the year. (1999a) (1999b)

  • In text, refer to these sources in your essay as they appear in the reference list, e.g.: Berdnet (1999a) ….

APA Style Blog – Writing Website In-Text Citations and Reference

How to Cite Multiple Pages From the Same Website

How do I format in-text citations with more than one author?

One author

Crothers (2016) found that...

or

... (Crothers, 2016).

Two authors

Use "and" between two authors in the text:
  Walker and Allen (2004) said ...
Use "&" between two authors in the citation:
  ... to stop smoking (Walker & Allen, 2004) ...

Three, four or five authors

First citation include all authors:
  ... as the findings suggested (Alred, Brusaw, & Oliu, 2009).
Subsequent citations include the first author and et al.:
  .... in the same study (Alred et al., 2009)...

Six or more authors

Cite only the surname of the first author, et al. and the year:
  Kosslyn et al. (1996) found that...

With an Anonymous author

(Anonymous, 2016)

Corporate authors / group authors

Well known corporate author:

First citation:
  ... as research indicates (Inland Revenue Department [IRD], 2007)

Subsequent citation:
  ... suggested by recent statistics (IRD, 2010).

Unabbreviated corporate authors - write the corporate author in full every time if it is not well known by abbreviation:
  ... on student retention (The University of Auckland, 2010)...

One author, multiple works published in the same year

If the year of publication is the same for both add 'a' and 'b' after the year.
  ... as research has shown (Rush, 2015a, 2015b).  
For references that are in press or that have no date (n.d.)  
  (in press-a) and (in press-b)
  (n.d.-a) and (n.d.-b)

Two or more works by the same author

... Past research (Gogel, 1990, 2006, in press)

Two or more works by different authors

... Several studies (Derryberry & Reed, 2005a, 2005b, in press-a; Rothbart, 2003)

  • List authors alphabetically

Summary

Author/s

First citation 
in text

Subsequent citations
in text

Reference list

1-2

Both authors

Both authors

Both authors

3-5

All authors

First author et al.

All authors

6-7

First author et al.

First author et al.

All authors

8+

First author et al.

First author et al.

First 6 authors ... last author

Corporate author
(if abbreviated)

in a sentence:
Ministry of Health (MoH, 2009)

in brackets:
(Ministry of Health [MoH], 2009)

in a sentence:
MoH (2009)

in brackets:
(MoH, 2009)

Ministry of Health

One author (a book chapter)

Easton, B. (2008). Does poverty affect health? In K. Dew & A. Matheson (Eds.), Understanding health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 97–106). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

One author, multiple works published in the same year

Rush, E., McLennan, S., Obolonkin, V., Cooper, R., & Hamlin, M. (2015a). Beyond the randomised controlled trial and BMI--evaluation of effectiveness of through-school nutrition and physical activity programmes. Public Health Nutrition, 18(9), 1578–1581. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014003322

Rush, E. C., Obolonkin, V., Battin, M., Wouldes, T., & Rowan, J. (2015b). Body composition in offspring of New Zealand women: Ethnic and gender differences at age 1–3 years in 2005–2009. Annals Of Human Biology, 42(5), 492–497.

Two authors (a journal article with doi)

Li, S., & Seale, C. (2007). Learning to do qualitative data analysis: An observational study of doctoral work. Qualitative Health Research, 17(10), 1442-1452. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732307306924  

Three authors 

Barnard, R., de Luca, R., & Li, J. (2015). First-year undergraduate students’ perceptions of lecturer and peer feedback: A New Zealand action research project. Studies In Higher Education, 40(5), 933–944. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.881343

  • Use "&" before the final author.

Four to seven authors

Szcz Ę Sna, A., Nowak, A., Grabiec, P., Paszkuta, M., Tajstra, M., & Wojciechowska, M. (2017). Survey of wearable multi-modal vital parameters measurement systems. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 526. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47154-9_37

  • List all authors in the reference entry

More than seven authors 

Kasabov, N., Scott, N. M., Tu, E., Marks, S., Sengupta, N., Capecci, E., . . . Yang, J. (2016). Evolving spatio-temporal data machines based on the NeuCube neuromorphic framework: Design methodology and selected applications. Neural Networks, 78, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neunet.2015.09.011 

  • First 6 authors ... last author. and follow by date and other information. 
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Capitalization

What are the rules for CAPITALIZATION?

There are APA Style rules for capitalization within for the body of a paper, citations and reference list.

Click the tab Examples to view the format for references. Need more information? APA Style Blog:

The Basics Rules for Capitalization - Reference List:

  • Capitalize only the first word of a book or article title.
  • Capitalize proper nouns, initials, and acronyms in a title.
  • Separate a subtitle with a colon and a space. Capitalize the first letter of the subtitle.
  • End the title with a period.
  • Capitalize every major word in a journal or newspaper title, do not capitalize a, and, the - unless these start the title.
  •         Italicize periodical (magazine, newspapers, journal) and book titles - not the article title.

Citing a Secondary Source

How do I cite a source I found in another source?

APA Style Blog: Secondary Sources (aka How to Cite a Source You Found in Another Source)

So, you have just read an article and it has a table, a quote, or a statistic that you want to use in your paper. This article also tells you where this information comes from. How should you cite this?

First step, try to find the original source of the information you want. It is best to use the original source for your paper - if you can find it.

When are secondary sources appropriate to cite? APA states, "It’s okay to cite a secondary source when you’ve exhausted the options for finding the original work."

Here is how APA explains it - how to cite a secondary source:

In your reference list, provide a reference for the source you read. This is known as the secondary source because it is one step removed from the original source of the idea or quotation. In the body of your paper, name the original work and provide the citation for the secondary source.

In-text citation:

In his emails, Smith argued that asynchronous line dancing would be the next Internet meme (as cited in Jones, 2010).

 

Reference

Jones, A. (2010). Meme trends. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/style/memes-trends2010.html

Dates, Page Numbers, Abbreviations...

Dates on webpages - what is the webpage's publication date?

Some webpages have the date located near the title, and other webpages have the date at the end of the article or post.

APA Style Blog states: The copyright date on the website itself should not be used as the publication date for particular content on that site.

If there is no date use n.d. For example: Author, A. (n.d.). Title of webpage: Subtitle. Retrieved from www.url.com


1. How do I cite a book with no publication date?  

  • If the publication date is not available, use n.d. in place of the year of publication.

2. How do I cite a source without a page number?

  • When the source does not have a page number, include information that will help your readers find the passage being cited, e.g.: include the paragraph number or the heading of the specific paragraph. APA Style Blog: Missing Information


3. How do I cite website material that has no author, no year, and no page numbers?

  • Since the material does not include page numbers, try to include in text either a paragraph number or a short title in quotation marks.  Since there is no date and no author, include the title and n.d. for no date. APA Style Blog: Missing Information


4. The section of the book I am quoting in my paper is from the preface, and the page numbers are in Roman numerals. Do I change these to numbers, or do I use the Roman numerals in my in-text citation?

  • Use the Roman numeral. For example: (Fisher, 2017, p. xi).


5. What is the difference between using p. or pp. for page numbers?

  • If the periodical you are citing includes a volume number, italicize the volume number.  Then give the page range without pp.

  • If the periodical you are citing does not use a volume number, include pp. before the page numbers.

  • Use p. if the source is a page or less long.


6. I came across some Latin (maybe Greek, I am not sure) abbreviations when I was reading a journal article.  How should I use them when writing my own paper?


7. When should I include date of retrieval for an online source?

  • It is necessary to include the date of retrieval when the online source is subject to change. For instance, a wiki, or other Web page that is updated frequently.

Need more information on page number issues when quoting and paraphrasing?

APA Style Blog on page numbers when quoting and paraphrasing

Headings

What are the APA Style guidelines for headings?

APA Style guidelines outline how to use headings in your paper. You cannot just make them up or be creative with the layout. There are FIVE different types of headings. You do not need to use the types of headings. In fact, you will probably only use two or three levels of headings.

APA Style Blog: How to Use Five Levels of Heading in an APA Style Paper

APA Style Blog: Five Essential Tips for APA Style Headings

Lists

Does APA Style allow for numbered lists or bulleted lists?

Yes. In the style guide book, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, the guidelines for using these types of lists begins on page 63 - Seriation. There are also excellent examples (incuding in-text citations) on pages 64-65. For online info check out the APA Style Blog:

APA Style Blog - Numbered Lists

APA Style Blog - Bulleted Lists

Note, the examples in the APA Style Blog do not include citations. If you are paraphrasing or quoting information in a list you need to include an in-text citation. The in-text citation will likely follow the last numbered item or bulleted item, unless the items are within a sentence - then you should complete the sentence and add the in-text citation at the end of this sentence.

Missing Information

How do I cite and reference when there is missing information?

Missing author, date, title, page numbers, etc...

You must problem solve it! Use the PDF - a table of solutions.

APA Style Blog

Missing Pieces: How to Write an APA Style Reference Even Without All the Information

Numbers - within the body of your paper

More on numbers

When writing your paper...

  • Use numerals to express numbers 10 and above, and use words to express numbers below 10 (see sections 4.31–4.32, pp. 111–112).

Example: Of the snakes, 13 were poisonous and nine were harmless garter snakes.

Example: The control group contained 17 participants, nine of whom were female and eight of whom were male.

  • Use numerals to express units of time, dates, ages, and numbers that denote a specific place in a numbered series (see section 4.32, p. 112).

Example: The interview began at 11:00 a.m. and was concluded a little before noon.

Example: The training session will last for 6 hours.

However, words should be used to express units of time when those units are approximate.

Example: It took the rats about three seconds to discover the new food source.

Source: APA Style Blog

APA Style Blog: Numbers Anyone?


Does APA Style allow for numbered lists or bulleted lists?

Yes. In the style guide book, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, the guidelines for using these types of lists begins on page 63 - Seriation.

APA Style Blog - Numbered Lists

APA Style Blog - Bulleted Lists

Note, the examples in the APA Style Blog do not include citations. If you are paraphrasing or quoting information in a list you need to include an in-text citation. The in-text citation will likely follow the last numbered item or bulleted item, unless the items are within a sentence - then you should complete the sentence and add the in-text citation at the end of this sentence.

Personal Communication

Interviews, Email, and Other Personal Communication
 
(Interviewee First Initial. Second Initial. Surname, personal communication, Month Day, Year). 
  • Only retrievable (traceable) items are listed in the reference list.
  • Unrecoverable items only require in-text citations.
  • If it is an interview conducted by someone else, cite the original source.

Examples:

  • (J. Smith, personal communication, March 7, 2015)
  • J. Smith (personal communication, March 7, 2015)

More? APA Style Blog: How do you cite an interview?

Plagiarism - Citing Yourself & Self-plagiarism

Can I use parts of my past assignments in another paper? Do I need to cite myself?

The first step is to make sure that your instructor permits self-citing. The reason for the caution is that citing your past assignments may reflect that you are not broadening your knowledge and exploring new sources. In general, instructors do not want their students reusing all or part of past assignments. However, there may be instances when recycling sections or passages from past assignments is appropriate. In these instances, you may need to cite yourself to avoid self-plagiarism. Check with your instructor and read through these two tabs to evaluate your situation.

Here is what APA Style says:

Self-plagiarism. Just as researchers do not present the work of others as their own (plagiarism), they do not present their own previously published work as new scholarship (self-plagiarism). There are, however, limited circumstances (e.g., describing the details of an instrument or an analytic approach) under which authors may wish to duplicate without attribution (citation) their previously used words, feeling that extensive self referencing is undesirable or awkward. When the duplicated words are limited in scope, this approach is permissible. When duplication of one's own words is more extensive, citation of the duplicated words should be the norm. What constitutes the maximum acceptable length of duplicated material is difficult to define but must conform to legal notions of fair use. The general view is that the core of the new document must constitute an original contribution to knowledge, and only the amount of previously published material necessary to understand that contribution should be included, primarily in the discussion of theory and methodology. When feasible, all of the author's own words that are cited should be located in a single paragraph or a few paragraphs, with a citation at the end of each. Opening such paragraphs with a phrase like "as I have previously discussed" will also alert readers to the status of the upcoming material.

(Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 16)

Source: Baker College

Q. What is self-plagiarism? How do I cite myself?

What is self-plagiarism?

  • "Self-plagiarism is the practice of presenting one's own previously published work as though it were new." (The APA Publication Manual, 6th ed. p. 170)

  • Generally, students are not supposed to turn in old assignment material or papers for new assignments. 

So when might a person need to cite one's self on the Reference page?

The instances in which you may need to cite yourself: 

  • You are repeating something you wrote in a work you had published.

  • You are repeating something you wrote in a work that you have not formally published, but that you have submitted for a class.

In the first scenario, it is rather obvious that you should cite something that has been published somewhere, even if it was something that you wrote yourself.

The second scenario is less obvious. In situations where you want to re-use some of your old material for a new paper, you have to cite yourself as if you are the author of an "unpublished paper." However, students are not to turn in old assignment material for new assignments. 

But if, in a very rare instance, you needed to cite yourself it would look something like this:

Smith, J. (2016). Title of really awesome paper that I wrote. Unpublished manuscript, Golden Gate University. 

Source: Southern New Hampshire university

If you want to re-use portions of a paper you wrote for a previous assignment or course, you need to take care to avoid self-plagiarism. The APA Manual (6th edition, p. 170) defines self-plagiarism as “the practice of presenting one's own previously published work as though it were new." This includes entire papers, and also slightly altered work. To avoid self-plagiarism, you should request approval from your instructor to use portions of your prior work, and you also need to provide a proper citation within your paper.

If you are citing your own writing from a paper submitted for a previous course, then you would generally cite it as an unpublished manuscript. Here are specific examples of how it works in the three major citation styles:

APA Style

The APA Manual (6th edition, p. 211) discusses unpublished and informally published works, including those submitted to a university/college for a course. This is the general format for the citation:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of manuscript. Unpublished manuscript, University affiliation.

For example (don't forget to indent the second and subsequent lines):

Fisher, J. (2017). This is the title of my paper. Unpublished manuscript, Golden Gate University.

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Punctuation

Punctuation is important in APA Style.

Reference - Book format:

Author, A. (2017). Title of book: Subtitle begins with a capital. Publisher Location: Publisher Name.
 
Author, A., & Author, B. (2017). Title of book. Publisher Location: Publisher Name.
 
Author, A., Author, B., & Author, C. (2017). Title of book. Publisher Location: Publisher Name.

 

What do I do when the title ends in a question mark or exclamation point?

Authors and readers often ask how to deal with references that already contain punctuation—for example, a title that ends in a question mark or exclamation point. The short answer is, keep the original punctuation and do not add any extra. In the example below, the question mark at the end of the title takes the place of the period we would have otherwise inserted. There is no need to have two punctuation marks in a row.

Bushman, B. J., Baumeister, R. F., & Stack, A. D. (1999). Catharsis, aggression, and persuasive influence: Self-fulfilling or self-defeating prophecies? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 367–376. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.76.3.367

Source: APA Style Blog


Reference - Journal format:

Millon, T. (2016). What is a personality disorder? Journal of Personality Disorders, 30(1), 289–306.

No author:

Reliability. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reliability

APA Style Blog: Punctuation

Punctuating the Reference List Entry

Periods in Reference List Entries

Punctuation Junction: Punctuation Before Quotation Marks

Punctuation Junction: Quotation Marks and Ellipses

Titles: Formating in-text & references

How do I type the title of an article, book, or webpage in the body of my paper?

"APA Style has special formatting rules for the titles of the sources you use in your paper, such as the titles of books, articles, book chapters, reports, and webpages. The different formats that might be applied are capitalization (see Publication Manual, section 4.15), italics (see section 4.21), and quotation marks (see section 4.07), and they are used in different combinations for different kinds of sources in different contexts."

Here are the rules you need to know: APA Style Blog. How to Capitalize and Format Reference Titles in APA Style

 

Is the formatting of an in-text article title different from the reference list?

Yes. Here are the rules you need to know: APA Style Blog. How to Capitalize and Format Reference Titles in APA Style

 

What do I do when the title ends in a question mark or exclamation point?

Keep the original punctuation and do not add any extra. In the example below, the question mark at the end of the title takes the place of the period we would have otherwise inserted. There is no need to have two punctuation marks in a row. Source: APA Style Blog

Bushman, B. J., Baumeister, R. F., & Stack, A. D. (1999). Catharsis, aggression, and persuasive influence: Self-fulfilling or self-defeating prophecies? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 367–376. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.76.3.367

APA Style Resources

YouTube logo APA Formatting - Reference List Basics:

This video teaches how to set up a reference list, and teaches the basics of creating citations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpAOi8-WUY4&list=PL8F43A67F38DE3D5D&index=2


YouTube logo  APA Reference List: Complex Authors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR2ze2oxww4


YouTube logo APA Formatting - Basics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdAfIqRt60c&feature=youtu.be

This video teaches how to set up a research paper in Word. It includes margins, headings, and more.

  OWL Purdue YouTube Channel - Writing Lab Video Tutorial


What is a citation manager?

A citation manager is also called a reference manager and bibliographic manager.

It is a  database that you build – create lists of articles, books, reports, videos, webpages, etc.

  • Software specially designed for students, scholars, and writers.
  • Formats and generates bibliographies (reference lists) using the citation style you specify.
  • Store, search and organize your research. Add notes, links, PDFs and other file types.

When should I use a citation manager?
Why use a citation manager?
What are my options?

Use the Citation Manager Guide to answer these questions and to find helpful resources.


Use the citation tool in databases

There are several library databases that provide a formatted APA Style citation, such as ProQuest and EBSCO. When you are searching a library database look around for a CITE tool - and select APA Style.

Always check the citation generated by the database - is it correct? Frequently the capitalization or the punctuation is incorrect. Use the APA Citation Guide to check the citation.

Here is an example of a cite tool included in EBSCO databases (i.e. Business Source Complete).

cite icon in ebsco database

 

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