APA Format


APA Publication Manual, 7th Edition  

APA (American Psychological Association) style is used in many disciplines, particularly psychology, sociology, gender studies, and anthropology (among other social and behavioral sciences). Although it aligns very closely with MLA style, APA has several different conventions that set it apart from other writing styles. The exact guidelines of APA style are updated every few years to reflect the current state of research in these disciplines as well as accommodating any new technology that might impact the way research, citation, or writing is done. The 7th Edition is the most current edition, as it came out in October 2019. 

Page Formatting 

Part of keeping your paper within APA style is to make sure you follow the page formatting guidelines. Here is a list of the requirements and how to achieve them: 

  • A separate title page with the title and then your name, institution, course, instructor, and due date centered. See the spacing in the sample below. 

  • An abstract page (if applicable) 

  • 1-inch margins on all sides 

  • An accessible font like 12pt Times New Roman  

  • Double-spaced  

  • Text is aligned at the left margin 

  • 0.5-inch indentions for every paragraph 

  • Page numbers in the top right corner of every page (excluding the title page) 

We recommend this APA Formatting Guide to help with your paper formatting needs.  

In-text Citations 

It is very important to credit the sources you are working with and to signal to your reader(s) when you have gotten information from an outside source. APA requires that writers indicate their sources both within paragraphs as they include specific information, called in-text citations, and on a bibliographic page at the end of the essay, called a References page. For more information about how to actually put quoted, summarized, or paraphrased text into your piece, see our guide on Paraphrase and Summary

In order to show in APA style that you are using outside information in your piece, you should use an In-text Citation. This very quick process tells your reader(s) that this part of your work is not your own idea and where in your References this idea is coming from. In-text citations are needed for all types of information, whether it is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.  

Standard Citation 

All that is required in a standard APA in-text citation is the last name of the author of your source and the year the source was published, plus the page number when quoting. The author’s name can be in the sentence itself or in parenthesis at the end of the phrase or sentence with the information. Years and page numbers usually go in the parentheses, with years right after the author’s name but page numbers at the end of the sentence. For example: 

  • “Citations are the bane of my existence” (Smith, 2003, p. 72).  

  • Smith (2003) stated, “Citations are the bane of my existence” (p. 72).  

Notice how the period ending the sentence comes after the parenthesis of the citation. 

However, not all citations have one author and one page number! Some common in-text citation situations are listed below: 

Multiple Authors 

For works with two authors, list both of the authors’ last names with “&” in between them. 

Ex: (Pratchett & Gaimen, 1998) 

For works with three or more authors, list the first author’s last name and then “et al.” afterwards. 

Ex: (Stein et al., 2021) 

No Year 

For works that do not have a publishing date, write n.d. in place of the date. 

Ex: (Frieda, n.d.) 

Multiple Page Numbers 

For selections that span multiple pages of the original source, use pp. before the numbers and a dash in between the pages it covers. 

Ex: (King, 2010, pp. 8-10) 

No Page Number 

If the source does not have page numbers, use paragraph numbers or another identifying aspect instead. 

Ex: (Lee, 1986, paras. 10-11) 

No Author 

For works with an unknown author or no author listed, check what is listed first in the bibliographic reference because it will match. You usually use the organization or the title (or a shortened version of the title) in place of an author’s last name. Make sure to keep the formatting of the title from your full reference. 

Ex: (Encyclopedia of Rare Birds, 1923) 

See more examples of In-text Citations APA In-Text Citations (Purdue OWL
 

Sample Reference Page Citations 

Journal article with DOI (digital object identifier) 

Tan, H. K., Jones, G. V., & Watson, D. G. (2009). Encouraging the perceptual underdog: Positive affective priming of nonpreferred local-global processes. Emotion, 9(2), 238-247. doi:10.1037/a0014713 

Journal article without DOI 

Kiely, R., & Askham, J. (2012). Furnished imagination: The impact of preservice teacher training on early career work in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 46(3), 496-518. 

Book (print) by a single author 

Davies, D. (2010). Child development: A practitioner's guide (3rd ed.). The Guilford Press. 

Book (print) by two or more authors 

Babcock, R., Manning, K., Rogers, T., Goff, C., & Davies, A. (2012). A synthesis of qualitative studies of writing center tutoring, 1983-2006. Peter Lang. 

Electronic version of print book 

Newman, J. (2012). Best before: Videogames, supersession and obsolescence. [Ebook Library version]. http://www.ku.eblib.com 

Electronic-only book 

Stevens, K. (2008). The dreamer and the beast.  http://www.onlineoriginals.com/showitem.asp?itemID=332 

Edited book with an author or authors 

Plath, S. (2000). The unabridged journals. K. V. Kukil (Ed.). Anchor.  

Edited book with no author 

Duncan, G. J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (Eds.). (1997). Consequences of growing up poor. Russell Sage Foundation.  

Article or chapter in edited book 

Vàsquez, M. A. (2013). Grappling with the legacy of modernity: Implications for the sociology of religion. In C. Bender, W. Cadge, P. Levitt, & D. Smidle (Eds.), Religion on the edge: De-centering and re-centering the sociology of religion (pp. 23-42). Oxford University Press. 

Chapter in a volume in a series 

Fairclough, N., & Wodak, R. (1997). Critical discourse analysis. In T. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse studies: A multidisciplinary introduction: Vol. 2. Discourse as social interaction (pp. 258-284). Sage. 

Article in a reference book 

Tolchinsky, L. (2013). Childhood conceptions of literacy. In T. Nunes & P. Bryant (Eds.) Handbook of children's literacy (pp. 11-30). Kluwer. 

An entry in an encyclopedia 

Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The New Encyclopedia  Britannica. (Vol. 26, pp. 501-508).: Encyclopedia Britannica.  

Government document 

National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). U.S. Government Printing Office.  

Magazine article 

Verini, J. (2012, December). The tunnels of Gaza. National Geographic, 222(6), 673-674. 

Newspaper article 

Hennigan, W. J. (2013, January 17). FAA grounds entire fleet of Boeing 787s; Flights are canceled as a range of electrical and power problems continue to plague the Dreamliner Jets. Los Angeles Times. https://www.cnn.com/2015/05/02/us/boeing-787-dreamliner-faa-directive/in...

Motion picture 

Brigham, C., & Carter, C. (Producers), & Affleck, B. (Director). (2012). Argo [Motion picture]. United States: Time Warner. 

Video 

[GEICO Insurance]. (2013, May 22). GEICO hump day camel commercial – happier than a camel on Wednesday [Video File]. http://youtu.be/kWBhP0EQ1lA 

Episode from a TV series 

Kemper, C. (Writer), & Flender, R. (Director). (2012). The whale [Television series episode]. In G. Daniels (Executive producer), The Office. National Broadcasting Company. 

Music recording 

Caird, J., Natel, J., Nunn, T., Boubil, A., Kretzmer, & H., Schonberg, C. (2012). On my own. [Recorded by Semantha Parks]. On Les Misèrables [CD]. Universal Republic Records. 

Website 

National Eating Disorders Association [n.d.]. Contributing factors and prevention. January 17, 2013 https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/contributing-factors-prevention 

Blog post 

Germano, W. (2013, January 17). Jack Lew’s signature [Web log post]. http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2013/01/17/jack-lews-signature/ 

Tweet 

National Geographic [@NatGeo]. (2020, January 12). Scientists knew African grays are clever, but now they’ve been documented assisting other members of their species—even strangers [Tweet; thumbnail link to article]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/1216346352063537154 

Facebook Post 

U.S. Department of the Interior. (2020, January 10). Like frosting on a cake, snow coats and clings to the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/USInterior/photos/a.155163054537384/2586475451406120/?type=3&theater 

Interview or e-mail 

Note: Do not include these in the References; instead, cite these in the text: 

(Z. Ramirez, personal communication, February 1, 2013). 

OR 

Z. Ramirez, a witness for the prosecution, told me that she had seen the defendant approaching the stop sign (personal communication, February 1, 2013). 

Additional Resources 

You can find more information and examples at: 

 

(Updated July 2022)