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APA guidelines: Adapted from the Purdue Online Writing Lab
APA citation basics
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author’s last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining
- Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
- If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change. Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.
(Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)
- When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word:Natural-Born Cyborgs.
- Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: “Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock’s Vertigo.”
- Italicize or underline the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.
- Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles: “Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds”; “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry.”
If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by “p.”). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author’s last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.
to Jones (1998), “Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time” (p. 199).
Jones (1998) found “students often had difficulty using APA style” (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?
If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.
She stated, “Students often had difficulty using APA style” (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.
Place direct quotations that are 40 words, or longer, in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.
(1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time citing sources.
This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many
students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask
their teacher for help. (p. 199)
Summary or paraphrase
If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)
to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).
Reference List: Basic Rules
Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.
Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page “References” centered at the top of the page (do NOT bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.
- All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
- Authors’ names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author’s name. After the ellipses, list the last author’s name of the work.
- Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
- For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
- Present the journal title in full.
the punctuation and capitalization that is used by the journal in its
- For example: ReCALL not RECALL or Knowledge Management Research & Practicenot Knowledge Management Research and Practice.
- Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
- When referring to books, chapters, articles, or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
- Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
- Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.
Article in Journal Paginated by Volume
Journals that are paginated by volume begin with page one in issue one, and continue numbering issue two where issue one ended, etc.
Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology[AG1] [AG2] , 55, 893-896.
Article in Journal Paginated by Issue
Journals paginated by issue begin with page one every issue; therefore, the issue number gets indicated in parentheses after the volume. The parentheses and issue number are not italicized or underlined.
Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(3), 5-13.
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
Note: For “Location,” you should always list the city and the state using the two letter postal abbreviation without periods (New York, NY).
Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication[AG3] . Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pages of chapter). Location: Publisher.
O’Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men’s and women’s gender role journeys: A metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York, NY: Springer.
An Internet source
Davidson, M. (2009). Writing clearly. Retrieved from www.writingclearstatements.com/writingcearly.
[AG1]In italics & all words in the journal title should start with a capital letter.
[AG3]Book title is in italics & ONLY the first word of the book title should be capitalized.