APA Citation Style

APA citation style refers to the rules established by the American Psychological Association for documenting sources in a research paper. There are two parts to documenting these sources. First, there must be a reference citation in the text next to the quoted or paraphrased information. Second, there must be a reference list at the end of the paper. Together these elements identify and credit the sources used in the paper and allow others to access or retrieve this material. Below are some examples of the more commonly used types of citations in text and reference lists. Please check the APA style guide for complete information including more examples, as well as margin and spacing requirements, standard punctuation and grammar helps.

In Text Citation

In APA style, citations to sources are placed in the text of the paper in order to briefly identify sources for readers and enable them to locate the source of the cited information in the Reference List. These parenthetical (in text) references include the author's last name and the year of publication enclosed in parentheses. Citations are placed in sentences and paragraphs so that it is clear what information is being quoted or paraphrased and whose information is being cited.
  • Give only the information needed to identify a source. Usually the author's last name and the year of publication are enough because the full citation will be in the reference list.
  • Place the parenthetical reference as near as possible to the material being documented and where a pause would naturally occur, preferably at the end of a sentence.
  • Parenthetical material should not repeat information that is given in your text. If you include an author's name in a sentence, or the year of publication, you do not need to repeat it in your parenthetical statement. On the rare occasions when both name and date are used in the text, do not add anything in parentheses.
  • The parenthetical reference should precede the punctuation mark that concludes the sentence, clause or phrase that contains the cited material.

Example with Authors

Works by a Single Author

This concern has been expressed (Smith, 2000).

Author's name in text

Smith (2000) has expressed this concern.

Works by Multiple Authors When a work has two authors, always cite both names. In parenthetical material, join the names with an ampersand (&).

This hypothesis (Smith & Jones, 2004) suggested …

In the narrative text, join the names with the word "and."

The hypothesis suggested by Smith and Jones (2004) suggested …

When a work has three, four or five authors, cite all authors the first time the reference occurs.

Wasserstein, Zappulla, Rosen, Gerstman, and Rock (1994) found

In all subsequent citations per paragraph, include only the surname of the first author followed by "et al." (Latin for "and others") and the year of publication.

Wasserstein et al. (1994) found

Works by Associations, corporations, Government Agencies, etc.

The names of groups that serve as authors (corporate authors) are usually written out each time they appear in a text reference.

(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2005)

When appropriate, the names of some corporate authors are spelled out in the first reference and abbreviated in all subsequent citations. The general rule for abbreviating in this manner is to supply enough information in the text citation for a reader to locate its source in the Reference List without difficulty.

(NIMH, 2005)

Works with No Authors

When a work has no author, use the first two or three words of the work’s title (omitting any initial articles) as your text reference, capitalizing each word.

The book Common Medical Ailments (2001) suggests that ….

Place the title in quotation marks if it refers to an article or chapter of a book or italicize it if it refers to a book, periodical, brochure or report.

Sasquatch is a common visitor ("Rare Sightings," 2003) to this area….

Reference List

References cited in the text of a research paper must appear in a Reference List [sometimes still called a bibliography, though the term bibliography refers to a list of books.] This list provides the information necessary to identify and retrieve each source.
  • Entries should be arranged in alphabetical order by authors' last names. Sources without authors are arranged alphabetically by title within the same list.
  • Write out the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work.
  • Capitalize only the first word of a title or subtitle and any proper names that are part of a title.
  • Use an ampersand (&) instead of the word "and" when listing multiple authors of a single work.
  • Use the abbreviation p. or pp. to designate page numbers of articles from periodicals that do not use volume numbers, especially newspapers. These abbreviations are also used to designate pages in encyclopedia articles and chapters from edited books.
  • Indentation: The first line of the entry is flush with the left margin, and all subsequent lines are indented (5 to 7 spaces) to form a "hanging indent." See examples.
  • Underlining vs. Italics: Use italics instead of underlining for titles of books and journals.

Audio-Visual Media

References to audio-visual media must include the following elements:
  • Name and function of the primary contributors (e.g., producer, director)
  • Date
  • Title
  • The medium in brackets
  • Location or place of production
  • Distributor.

Garmon, L. (Producer and Director), & Apsell, P. (Executive Producer). (1999). Secrets of the wilderness [Videocassette]. Denver, CO: WGBH Educational Foundation.

Television Broadcast

Rooney, A. (Executive Producer). (2005, October 11). Sixty Minutes [Television broadcast]. New York: CBS News

Electronic Media and Online Sources

APA guidelines require the following for Internet sources:
  • Document title or description
  • Date – either the publication date or the date the information was retrieved
  • Address - URL
  • If possible, identify authors
Listed below are examples of citation styles for several types of electronic sources. Internet articles based on a print source (exists in print and online)

Vancamp, G., Kartz, S., & Darnell, J. (2001). The impact of yellow dodder on Utah agriculture [Electronic version]. Journal of Western Agriculture 5, 117-123.

Article in an Internet-only journal

Farnell, B. L. (2000, March 7). Yellow dodder, bindweed and morning glories, 3, Article 001a. Retrieved April 20, 2007, from http://www.westernagriculture.org/archives/volume3/pre0030001a.html

Article from an online encyclopedia

Bergman, P. G. & Editors of Encyclopedia Americana Online. (2007). Jackalope. Encyclopedia Americana Online. Retrieved May 4, 2007, from Encyclopedia Americana Online on the World Wide Web: http://search.ea.com/bol/topic?eu=107&sctn=?jackalope

Professional web site

Midvale Historical Association. (2006, June 1). Mythical animals of the west. Retrieved June 18, 2007, from the World Wide Web: http://search.ea.com/bol/topic?eu=107&sctn=?jackalope

Document available on university program or department site

Miller, T (2005). Technology and folklore: New research on old stories.Retrieved March 24, 2007, from Columbia University, Institute of Folkloric Studies Web site: http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/papers/newwine1.html

When citing an entire web site (and not a specific document on that site), no Reference List entry is required if the address for the site is cited in the text of your paper.

Western Sasquatch Sightings is a site that presents full text accounts of many alleged encounters with Bigfoot in the Great Basin area. (http://www.western sasquatchsightings.com/).

Encyclopedias or Dictionaries and Entries in an Encyclopedia

References for encyclopedias must include the following elements: author(s) or editor(s), date of publication, title, place of publication, and the name of the publisher. Encyclopedia set or dictionary

Sandler, E, S. (Ed.). (2001). The encyclopedia of psychic phenomena (3rd ed., Vols. 1-5). Chicago: Macmillan.

Encyclopedia article References for encyclopedias must include the following elements: author(s) or editor(s), date of publication, title, place of publication, and the name of the publisher. Encyclopedia set or dictionary

Bergman, P. G. (2004). Jackalope. In The new encyclopedia Americana (Vol. 16, pp. 501- 508). Chicago: Encyclopedia Americana.

Examples Citing Reference List of Books

Books References to an entire book must include the following elements:
  • Author(s) or editor(s)
  • Date of publication
  • The complete title and edition, if any
  • Place of publication
  • The name of the publisher
No Author or Editor

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (1993). Springfield, MA: Merriam Webster.

One Author

Henry, John. D. (1999). Little brine shrimp: Denizens of the salt sea. New York: Imaginative Press.

Two Authors

Young, Susan & Christiansen, Will D. (2001). Antelope island: A history (2nd ed.). Chicago: Cott & Sons.

Corporate Author, Author as Publisher

United States Census Bureau. (2001). Estimated population by age and sex in Utah, May 2000 (no. 3209.1). Washington, D.C. Government Printing

Edited book

Griggs, Brian T., & Graham, Richard L. (Eds.). (2006). Campfire fear: Tales of Horror in the Wasatch. Las Vegas: Jossey-Bass.

Journals, Magazines and Newspapers

References to periodical articles must include the following elements: author(s), date of publication, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number (if applicable), page numbers. Journal Article, one author

Mellers, B. A. (2000). Sasquatch: The North American Yeti. National Parks Geographic, 126, 56-79.

Journal Article, two authors

Geltzin, R., & Eisner, S. (1993). Brine shrimp and sea monkeys (Great Basin Journal, 45(2), 10-36.

Journal Article, more than two authors

Sawyer, K. J., Molten, A. P., Bachman, L., & Cohen, J. A. (2000). The in-land sea: Economics, industry and climate Western American Journal, 55, 1040-1049.

Magazine article

Kittly, E. R., & Meyers, L. R. (2000, November 10). Close encounters at Mirror Lake: Bigfoot and boy scouts. Salt Lake Magazine, 21, 13-20.

Newspaper article, no author

New evidence of creatures in Bear Lake. (1993, July 15). The Salt Lake Tribune, p. B1.

Newspaper article, one author, discontinuous pages

Dalrymple C. (2005, September 30). Small shrimp yield large bank accounts. The Deseret News, pp. E1, E7.

Technical and Research Reports

References to a report must include the following elements:
  • Author(s)
  • Date of publication
  • Title -- if the issuing organization assigned a number (e.g., report number, contract number or monograph number) to the report, give that number in parentheses immediately after the title.
  • Place of publication
  • name of publisher.
  • Additional information is included when a report is published by the Government Printing Office (GPO) or when it is available from a document deposit service such as NTIS or ERIC.
Government report

Government report, GPO Publisher

National Institute of Mental Health. (2002). Scar tissue and proud flesh: Healing with fewer problems (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.