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How to cite in APA when there are no authors
This article covers how to cite in APA Style (7th ed.) when there are no known authors for a reference or when the author is unknown or cannot be reasonably determined. Before treating a reference as though it has no author, consider whether a group or organization (such as a government agency, association, nonprofit organization, business, hospital, task force, or study group) could be the author by checking the cover or title page.
Citing in-text when there are no authors
APA 7th ed. uses the author-date citation system for citing references in-text. In parenthetical citations, this structure includes the author’s last name and the publication year (with a comma separating them) in parentheses. In narrative citations, the author’s last name is incorporated into the sentence. This formatting applies if your source has one author or if you are citing a source with multiple authors in APA .
Parenthetical citation for source with author:
(Author Last Name, Year Published)
Narrative citation for source with author:
Author Last Name (Year Published)
If a reference has an unknown author, the title of the work substitutes as the author name in the in-text citation.
- The title should have each significant word capitalized (basically sentence case).
- This means it is part of a larger work (like when citing a journal article from a journal in APA ).
- If the source title is italicized in the reference list entry, italicize the title in the in-text citation (example: books when cited in APA ).
No author, source title italicized:
(Source Title , year published)
( Park Avenue Summer , 2019)
No author, source title in quotes:
(“Source Title,” year published)
(“22 New Apple Varieties,” 1997)
Author designated as “Anonymous”
Only use the capitalized word “Anonymous” in place of the author’s name when it’s overtly designated, not as a general substitute for a reference with an unknown author.
“Anonymous” as author name:
(Anonymous, year published)
Citing in the reference list when there are no authors
To add a reference with no author to the reference list, first move the title of the reference to the author position in your citation . For further information on creating reference list citations, see this guide on APA citations.
Reference list examples:
Park avenue summer. (2019). Penguin Random House.
22 new apple varieties. (1997). Food Magazine . https://foodmag.com/article/1997/22-new-apple-varietites
If the reference is overtly signed “Anonymous,” then you can add the entry to the reference list as if “Anonymous” were the author’s last name.
Anonymous. (2020). Navigating the high seas. Sea Life. https://sealife.gov
Alphabetizing the reference list for sources with no known author
Reference list entries without an author are alphabetized by the first significant word of the title.
- Ignore the words “A,” “An,” and “The” when putting your reference list in order.
- Begin the entry with the word “Anonymous” only if the work is signed “Anonymous.”
- If the reference has no author and is not signed “Anonymous,” then you can alphabetize it in the reference list based on the work’s title.
- If the title begins with a number, alphabetize the reference as though the number were spelled out. For example, you would alphabetize the number 22 as though it were written as the word “twenty-two.”
Alphabetical order of reference list example:
22 new apple varieties. (1997). Food Magazine . https://foodmag.com/article/1997/11/new-apple-varietites
Published October 28, 2020.
APA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Parenthetical Citations
- Reference Page
- Sample Paper
- APA 7 Updates
- View APA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all APA Examples
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To cite a source with no author or no date in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the title of the work, publisher if it is a book reference or volume and page details if it is a journal reference, and/or URL (uniform resource locator). The templates and examples for in-text citation and reference list entry of a book with no author and a book with no date are given below.
Book with no author
In-text citation template and example:
Books with no author in general, but not always, are given as parenthetical citations. If the book does not have an author, cite it by its title. If the title is too long, shorten the title in the in-text citation. Italicize the title in the in-text citation. Follow title case in the in-text citation even though the book title is in sentence case in the reference list entry. A parenthetical citation might look like this:
( Title of the Book , Publication Year)
( The Cultural Politics of Emotion , 2014)
Reference list entry template and example:
Title of the book . (Publication Year). Publisher.
The cultural politics of emotion . (2014). Edinburgh University Press
The title of the book is in italics and sentence case. While arranging the reference entry alphabetically in the reference list, arrange the entry by treating the title as author name. Remember that articles (A, An, and The), if present at the beginning of the title, should not be considered for alphabetization. When you have a numeral used in the title, consider it to be in the spelled-out form and arrange it accordingly in the reference list.
Book with no date
If you cite a book without a date, use “n.d.” in place of the year.
Author Surname (Publication Year)
Cohen, J. (n.d.). Statistical power analysis for the behavioural sciences (2nd ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
To cite a book with no author in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the title of the book, publisher, and/or URL (uniform resource locator). The templates for in-text citation and reference list entry of a book along with examples are given below:
In-text citation template and examples:
Books with no author in general, but not always, are given as parenthetical citations. If the book does not have an author, cite it by its title. If the title is too long, shorten the title in the in-text citation. Italicize the title in the in-text citation. Follow title case in the in-text citation even though the book title is set in sentence case in the reference list entry. A parenthetical citation might look like this:
( Addressing Uncertainty in Oil and Natural Gas Industry , 2009)
Title of the book . (Publication Year). Publisher. URL
Addressing uncertainty in oil and natural gas industry greenhouse gas inventories: Technical considerations and calculation methods . (2009). American Petroleum Institute. http://www.api.org/~/media/Files/EHS/climate-change/Addressing_Uncertainty.pdf
You need to set the title of the book in italics and sentence case. While arranging the reference entry alphabetically in the reference list, arrange the entry by treating the title as author name. Remember that articles (A, An, and The), if present at the beginning of the title, should not be considered for alphabetization. When you have a numeral used in the title, consider it to be in the spelled-out form and arrange it accordingly in the reference list.
APA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
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APA Style Introduction
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These OWL resources will help you learn how to use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style. This section contains resources on in-text citation and the References page, as well as APA sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster.
APA Overview and Workshop
This workshop provides an overview of APA (American Psychological Association) style and where to find help with different APA resources. It provides an annotated list of links to all of our APA materials and an APA overview. It is an excellent place to start to learn about APA format.
APA Formatting and Style Guide
APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 7 th edition of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (7 th ed.).
This poster summarizes APA style in a visual format. For more detailed information, please review the formatting and style guide linked above.
APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (6 th ed., 2 nd printing).
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APA Citation Style, 7th edition: No Author
- General Style Guidelines
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three to Five Authors or Editors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Edition other than the First
- Government Publication
- Journal Article with 1 Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
- Journal Article 21 or more Authors
- Magazine Article
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- Basic Web Page
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- Web Page with No Author
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government Document
- Film and Television
- Youtube Video
- Audio Podcast
- Electronic Image
- Secondary Sources
- Citation Support
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting Your Paper
About Citing Books
For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and an example will be provided.
The following format will be used:
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or author using your own words. For more tips on paraphrasing check out The OWL at Purdue .
In-Text Citation (Quotation) - entry that appears in the body of your paper after a direct quote.
References - entry that appears at the end of your paper.
Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
Book with no Author
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
( Book title [usually shortened], Year)
In-Text Citation (Quotation):
( Book title [usually shortened], Year, page number)
Book title: Subtitle. (Year). Publisher.
( Merriam-Webster's , 2005)
( Merriam-Webster's , 2005, p. 3)
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2005). Merriam-Webster.
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APA Format & Citation Style, 7th edition
- General Style Guidelines
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three or More Authors or Editors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Edition other than the First
- Government Publication
- Journal Article with One Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3 or More Authors
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Basic Web Page
- Web page from a University site
- Web Page with No Author
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government Document
- Film and Television
- Youtube Video
- Audio Podcast
- Electronic Image
- Secondary Sources
- Formatting Your Paper
- APA Handouts & Guides This link opens in a new window
Book with no Author
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
( Book title [usually shortened], Year)
In-Text Citation (Quotation):
( Book title [usually shortened], Year, page number)
Book title: Subtitle. (Year). Publisher.
( Merriam-Webster's , 2005)
( Merriam-Webster's , 2005, p. 3)
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (11th ed.). (2005). Merriam-Webster.
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Psychological Sciences: Major Research Sources
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APA Citation Information
- APA 7th Edition Citation Format instructions--Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
APA Style Manual
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- APA Instructional Aids The instructional aids on this page are intended for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of APA Style. They include tutorials and webinars developed by Style experts to provide an overview of seventh edition APA Style. There are also handouts, guides, and sample papers designed by APA Style in conjunction with instructors that can be printed, downloaded, and used while writing papers. More instructional resources will be added to the website as they are available.
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Purdue OWL APA Formatting and Style Guide
- General Format
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- General Format APA style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.
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Citing Your Sources
Why are citations important? Why is it necessary to cite?
To avoid plagiarism, you must give proper credit to all sources you use! Whenever you paraphrase or directly quote information, you must cite the sources of the information using a specific citation style. One of the most commonly used citation styles is APA -- the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) . The current version of the APA Manual is the 7th edition, 2020 . When using APA to cite your sources, you must have a list of References at the end of your paper and corresponding in-text citations in the body of your paper.
Cleveland State University takes plagiarism very seriously. Please see The Code of Student Conduct , which defines plagiarism as "stealing and/or using the ideas or writings of another in a paper or report and claiming them as your own. This includes but is not limited to the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment" (p. 53). Many CSU professors require their students to use a program named Turnitin.com , which checks papers for plagiarism.
Please take the time to become familiar with APA style since you will use it a lot in your courses! There are many RULES to follow when citing sources in APA style, such as order of the elements, capitalization, and punctuation.
- If you do not have access to the paper APA Manual, then refer to the Citation Guides page on the Library's Virtual Reference Desk . It contains links to websites to help you format your citations. A good starting point is the Purdue OWL site.
- The Purdue OWL is an excellent website for learning about APA Citation Style. Once you access the website, explore the links to the left, including In-Text Citations: The Basics and Reference List: Basic Rules . Review the many examples for citing different formats in APA style and the rules pertaining to Authors as well.
- The APA citing help inside a research database is a good starting point, but ALWAYS check the references because the formatting is NOT 100% correct.
- You can use free citation generators like Citation Machine or EasyBib to format citations, but they are not perfect, either! Double check your work!
- Use the References tab in Microsoft Word to insert citations and manage your sources. You can generate a reference list and insert in-text citations in your paper from this References tab. Make sure to check your citations for accuracy!
- Use Mendeley or Zotero , which are free, web-based tools "to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources." See the Mendeley Research Guide and/or the Zotero Research Guide for more information. Mendeley and Zotero are powerful reference management tools, but errors still can occur. Remember that you are responsible for the accuracy of your citations. Make sure to proofread before submitting your work.
If you need help with the writing process (including properly citing sources), then make an appointment with CSU's Writing Center , which is located on the 1st floor of the Michael Schwartz Library.
APA Manual (Paper Version)
The Michael Schwartz Library has copies of the APA Manual available for review.
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APA 7th Edition
Commonly used sources, apa style guidelines (apastyle.apa.org), important apa links.
- Other sources
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Help with 7th edition
For more help, you can
- Ask a Librarian
- Visit the Purdue OWL APA Style Guide for a quick and easy guide
- Check the APA Style Guidelines or APA Style Blog for FAQ's and tips
- Read or borrow the APA Publication Manual (7th ed.) at the HSL
Help with 6th edition
- Browse the UNC Libraries' APA guide with in-text, print, and online examples
- Read or borrow the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) at the HSL
- Cite legal materials using A Micro Guide from the UNC School of Social Work
Please note that this guide reflects the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual , which was released in October 2019. For help with the 6th edition, see the box of resources on the bottom left side of this page.
- Social Media
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number (issue number), pages. http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy
Author, A. A. (in press). Title of article. Title of Periodical.
Author, A. A. (year). Title of article . Repository Name. D OI or URL
See also the APA Style Blog entry on Preprint Article References .
Author, A. A. (year, month day). Title of article. Title of Magazine, issue, pages.
Author, A. A. (year, month day). Title of article. Title of Newspaper , pp. A1, A2.*
*for one page use p. A1; for two or more pages use p.p. A1, A2,A3.
Lots of authors? See how to cite with one or two authors, 3-20 authors, 21 or more authors, or unknown authors in your reference list at the Purdue OWL Authors page .
Wondering how to write an in-text citation for them? See this Purdue OWL In-text Citation Authors page too.
There is no need to create references for whole websites. You can mention the website in the text. For example:
We created our visualizations using Vos Viewer (https://www.vosviewer.com/).
For more information, see the APA Style Blog entry on Whole Website References .
Webpages from one website
American Psychological Association. (n.d.-a). Divisions . http://www.apa.org/about/division/
American Psychological Association. (n.d.-b). Exercise and sport psychology . http://www.apa.org/about/division/div47.aspx
American Psychological Association. (n.d.-c). For division leaders. http://www.apa.org/about/division/officers/index.aspx
For more information, see the APA Style Blog entry on Webpage on a Website References .
American Psychological Association. (2009). Blog guidelines. APA Style Blog. https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/blog-guidelines.html
For more information on citing online resources, visit the Electronic Resources page of the Purdue OWL website or see the APA Academic Writer Quick Guide Website or Webpage Reference .
Author, A. A. (Copyright year). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle . Publisher.
Author, A. A. (Copyright year). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle . Publisher. URL
Electronic book chapter
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Copyright year). Chapter title. In: A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.). Book title (pp. #-#). Publisher. DOI or URL
Edited book without author
EditorName, B. B. & EditorName, C. (Eds.). (Copyright year). Title of book . Publisher. DOI or URL
Edited book with author
Author, A. A. (Copyright year). Title of book. B.B. EditorName (Ed.). Publisher. DOI or URL
Presented paper/poster : Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year, Month Day). Title of paper or poster [Description]. Title of Conference, Location.
Published Proceedings : Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of paper or poster. Title of Proceedings, Volume , Issue, Pages-Pages. DOI or URL
Guideline with named authors
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of guideline . Publisher. URL
Guideline with institution as author
Name of the organization. (Year). Title of guideline . Publisher. URL
Guideline published in journal
Name of the organization. (Year). Title of guideline. Title of Journal, volume( issue) , pages. http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy
For more information on citing guidelines and clinical references, see the APA Style Blog entry on Clinical Practice References .
Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of software or program (Version number) [Mobile application software]. Publisher. URL
Author, A. A. (Year). Name of data set (Version No.) [Data set]. Publisher. DOI or URL
See more information on the APA Style Blog entry on Data Set References .
For tweets, status updates, photo or video posts, infographics, blog posts, etc.
Author [screen name]. (year, month day). Title [Type of content*]. Site name. URL
For real examples of these, see the APA Academic Writer Quick Guide Social Media Posts Reference
*Types of content: Tweet, Facebook status update, Video file, Infographic, Web log post, etc.
Two Authors: Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) supports... (Wegener & Petty, 1994)
Three or More Authors: Harris et al. (2001) argued... (Harris et al., 2001)
Unknown Author: A similar study was done of students learning to format research papers ("Using APA," 2001).
Organization as an Author: According to the American Psychological Association (2000),... First time: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving [MADD], 2000) Next time: (MADD, 2000)
Indirect Sources Johnson argued that...(as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).
See the Purdue OWL site for these examples and more details.
The style and grammar guidelines pages present information about APA Style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition and the Concise Guide to APA Style, Seventh Edition .
- Paper Format guidelines The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create another kind of work (e.g., a website, conference poster, or PowerPoint presentation), you may need to format your work differently in order to optimize its presentation, for example, by using different line spacing and font sizes. Paper format is covered in Chapter 2 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition
- In-Text Citations guidelines The guidelines provide specific guidance for in-text citation, including formats for interviews, classroom and intranet sources, and personal communications; in-text citations in general; and paraphrases and direct quotations. In-text citations are covered in Chapter 8 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition
- Tables and Figures guidelines A table usually shows numerical values (e.g., means and standard deviations) and/or textual information (e.g., lists of stimulus words, responses from participants) arranged in columns and rows. A figure may be a chart, graph, photograph, drawing, plot, infographic, or any other illustration that is not a table. Tables and figures are covered in Chapter 7 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition
- References guidelines References provide the information necessary for readers to identify and retrieve each work cited in the text. Check each reference carefully against the original publication to ensure information is accurate and complete. Accurately prepared references help establish your credibility as a careful researcher and writer. References are covered in Chapters 9 and 10 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition
View more style guidelines at apastyle.apa.org.
- Sample APA Papers This page contains sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style. The sample papers show the format that authors should use to submit a manuscript for publication in a professional journal and that students should use to submit a paper to an instructor for a course assignment. You can download the Word files to use as templates and edit them as needed for the purposes of your own papers
- APA Style Blog Reference Examples
- Purdue OWL APA guide
- Crossref.org's DOI lookup
- doi.org's DOI lookup
- APA 7th Ed. Guide -- UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing
- EndNote APA 7th Ed. Style
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Frequently asked questions
How do i cite a source with an unknown author or publication date in apa.
Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.
No publication date
If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).
Frequently asked questions: APA Style
APA footnotes use superscript numbers and should appear in numerical order. You can place footnotes at the bottom of the relevant pages, or on a separate footnotes page at the end:
- For footnotes at the bottom of the page, you can use your word processor to automatically insert footnotes .
- For footnotes at the end of the text in APA, place them on a separate page entitled “Footnotes,” after the r eference page . Indent the first line of each footnote, and double-space them.
For both approaches, place a space between the superscript number and the footnote text.
APA Style requires you to use APA in-text citations , not footnotes, to cite sources .
However, you can use APA footnotes sparingly for two purposes:
- Giving additional information
- Providing copyright attribution
Yes, APA language guidelines state that you should always use the serial comma (aka Oxford comma ) in your writing.
This means including a comma before the word “and” at the end of a list of three or more items: “spelling, grammar, and punctuation.” Doing this consistently tends to make your lists less ambiguous.
Yes, it’s perfectly valid to write sentences in the passive voice . The APA language guidelines do caution against overusing the passive voice, because it can obscure your meaning or be needlessly long-winded. For this reason, default to the active voice in most cases.
The passive voice is most useful when the point of the sentence is just to state what was done, not to emphasize who did it. For example, “The projector was mounted on the wall” is better than “James and I mounted the projector on the wall” if it’s not particularly important who mounted the projector.
Yes, APA language guidelines encourage you to use the first-person pronouns “I” or “we” when referring to yourself or a group including yourself in your writing.
In APA Style, you should not refer to yourself in the third person. For example, do not refer to yourself as “the researcher” or “the author” but simply as “I” or “me.” Referring to yourself in the third person is still common practice in some academic fields, but APA Style rejects this convention.
If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you’ll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.
If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point , you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021).
To distinguish between sources with the same author(s) and the same publication year, add a different lowercase letter after the year for each source, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021a, 2021b). Add the same letters to the corresponding reference entries .
According to the APA guidelines, you should report enough detail on inferential statistics so that your readers understand your analyses.
Report the following for each hypothesis test:
- the test statistic value
- the degrees of freedom
- the exact p value (unless it is less than 0.001)
- the magnitude and direction of the effect
You should also present confidence intervals and estimates of effect sizes where relevant.
The number of decimal places to report depends on what you’re reporting. Generally, you should aim to round numbers while retaining precision. It’s best to present fewer decimal digits to aid easy understanding.
Use one decimal place for:
- Standard deviations
- Descriptive statistics based on discrete data
Use two decimal places for:
- Correlation coefficients
- Inferential test statistics such as t values, F values, and chi-squares.
No, including a URL is optional in APA Style reference entries for legal sources (e.g. court cases , laws ). It can be useful to do so to aid the reader in retrieving the source, but it’s not required, since the other information included should be enough to locate it.
Generally, you should identify a law in an APA reference entry by its location in the United States Code (U.S.C.).
But if the law is either spread across various sections of the code or not featured in the code at all, include the public law number in addition to information on the source you accessed the law in, e.g.:
You should report methods using the past tense , even if you haven’t completed your study at the time of writing. That’s because the methods section is intended to describe completed actions or research.
In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used.
- Describe all relevant participant or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures used and the sample size and power .
- Define all primary and secondary measures and discuss the quality of measurements.
- Specify the data collection methods, the research design and data analysis strategy, including any steps taken to transform the data and statistical analyses.
With APA legal citations, it’s recommended to cite all the reporters (publications reporting cases) in which a court case appears. To cite multiple reporters, just separate them with commas in your reference entry . This is called parallel citation .
Don’t repeat the name of the case, court, or year; just list the volume, reporter, and page number for each citation. For example:
In APA Style , when you’re citing a recent court case that has not yet been reported in print and thus doesn’t have a specific page number, include a series of three underscores (___) where the page number would usually appear:
In APA style, statistics can be presented in the main text or as tables or figures . To decide how to present numbers, you can follow APA guidelines:
- To present three or fewer numbers, try a sentence,
- To present between 4 and 20 numbers, try a table,
- To present more than 20 numbers, try a figure.
Since these are general guidelines, use your own judgment and feedback from others for effective presentation of numbers.
In an APA results section , you should generally report the following:
- Participant flow and recruitment period.
- Missing data and any adverse events.
- Descriptive statistics about your samples.
- Inferential statistics , including confidence intervals and effect sizes.
- Results of any subgroup or exploratory analyses, if applicable.
When citing a podcast episode in APA Style , the podcast’s host is listed as author , accompanied by a label identifying their role, e.g. Glass, I. (Host).
When citing a whole podcast series, if different episodes have different hosts, list the executive producer(s) instead. Again, include a label identifying their role, e.g. Lechtenberg, S. (Producer).
Like most style guides , APA recommends listing the book of the Bible you’re citing in your APA in-text citation , in combination with chapter and verse numbers. For example:
Books of the Bible may be abbreviated to save space; a list of standard abbreviations can be found here . Page numbers are not used in Bible citations.
Yes, in the 7th edition of APA Style , versions of the Bible are treated much like other books ; you should include the edition you used in your reference list .
Previously, in the 6th edition of the APA manual, it was recommended to just use APA 6 in-text citations to refer to the Bible, and omit it from the reference list.
To make it easy for the reader to find the YouTube video , list the person or organization who uploaded the video as the author in your reference entry and APA in-text citation .
If this isn’t the same person responsible for the content of the video, you might want to make this clear in the text. For example:
When you need to highlight a specific moment in a video or audio source, use a timestamp in your APA in-text citation . Just include the timestamp from the start of the part you’re citing. For example:
To include a direct quote in APA , follow these rules:
- Quotes under 40 words are placed in double quotation marks .
- Quotes of 40 words or more are formatted as block quote .
- The author, year, and page number are included in an APA in-text citation .
APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures .
A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.
Copyright information can usually be found wherever the table or figure was published. For example, for a diagram in a journal article , look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. Images found on sites like Flickr are listed with clear copyright information.
If you find that permission is required to reproduce the material, be sure to contact the author or publisher and ask for it.
If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also include copyright information in the note for the table or figure, and include an APA in-text citation when you refer to it.
Tables and figures you created yourself, based on your own data, are not included in the reference list.
An APA in-text citation is placed before the final punctuation mark in a sentence.
- The company invested over 40,000 hours in optimizing its algorithm (Davis, 2011) .
- A recent poll suggests that EU membership “would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters” in a referendum (Levring, 2018) .
In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).
Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…
On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).
Popular word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs can order lists in alphabetical order, but they don’t follow the APA Style alphabetization guidelines .
If you use Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator to create citations, references are ordered automatically based on the APA guidelines, taking into account all the exceptions.
Order numerals as though they were spelled out:
- “20 tips to relax” is ordered on the “T” of “Twenty”.
- “100 cities you should visit” is ordered on the “O” of “One hundred”.
Read more about alphabetizing the APA reference page .
If the author of a work is unknown, order the reference by its title. Disregard the words “A”, “An”, and “The” at the beginning of the title.
- The privacy concerns around social media
- Teens, social media, and privacy
Yes, if relevant you can and should include APA in-text citations in your appendices . Use author-date citations as you do in the main text.
Any sources cited in your appendices should appear in your reference list . Do not create a separate reference list for your appendices.
When you include more than one appendix in an APA Style paper , they should be labeled “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” and so on.
When you only include a single appendix, it is simply called “Appendix” and referred to as such in the main text.
Appendices in an APA Style paper appear right at the end, after the reference list and after your tables and figures if you’ve also included these at the end.
An appendix contains information that supplements the reader’s understanding of your research but is not essential to it. For example:
- Interview transcripts
- Detailed descriptions of equipment
Something is only worth including as an appendix if you refer to information from it at some point in the text (e.g. quoting from an interview transcript). If you don’t, it should probably be removed.
If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also acknowledge the original source in the note or caption for the table or figure.
APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures.
A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents , and are presented in a similar way.
In an APA Style paper , use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.
Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:
- Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
- Is it important to your arguments?
- Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?
If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix ). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.
In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).
An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.
In APA Style , all sources that are not retrievable for the reader are cited as personal communications . In other words, if your source is private or inaccessible to the audience of your paper , it’s a personal communication.
Common examples include conversations, emails, messages, letters, and unrecorded interviews or performances.
Interviews you conducted yourself are not included in your reference list , but instead cited in the text as personal communications .
Published or recorded interviews are included in the reference list. Cite them in the usual format of the source type (for example, a newspaper article , website or YouTube video ).
To cite a public post from social media , use the first 20 words of the post as a title, include the date it was posted and a URL, and mention the author’s username if they have one:
Dorsey, J. [@jack]. (2018, March 1). We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/jack/status/969234275420655616
To cite content from social media that is not publicly accessible (e.g. direct messages, posts from private groups or user profiles), cite it as a personal communication in the text, but do not include it in the reference list :
When contacted online, the minister stated that the project was proceeding “according to plan” (R. James, Twitter direct message, March 25, 2017).
When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:
(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.
If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.
When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .
When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.
APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.
However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html
The 7th edition APA Manual , published in October 2019, is the most current edition. However, the 6th edition, published in 2009, is still used by many universities and journals.
The APA Manual 7th edition can be purchased at Amazon as a hardcover, paperback or spiral-bound version. You can also buy an ebook version at RedShelf .
The American Psychological Association anticipates that most people will start using the 7th edition in the spring of 2020 or thereafter.
It’s best to ask your supervisor or check the website of the journal you want to publish in to see which APA guidelines you should follow.
If you’re citing from an edition other than the first (e.g. a 2nd edition or revised edition), the edition appears in the reference, abbreviated in parentheses after the book’s title (e.g. 2nd ed. or Rev. ed.).
In the 7th edition of the APA manual, no location information is required for publishers. The 6th edition previously required you to include the city and state where the publisher was located, but this is no longer the case.
In an APA reference list , journal article citations include only the year of publication, not the exact date, month, or season.
The inclusion of volume and issue numbers makes a more specific date unnecessary.
In an APA journal citation , if a DOI (digital object identifier) is available for an article, always include it.
If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a database or in print, just omit the DOI.
If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a website other than a database (for example, the journal’s own website), include a URL linking to the article.
You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry .
When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:
Davis, Y., Smith, J., Caulfield, F., Pullman, H., Carlisle, J., Donahue, S. D., James, F., O’Donnell, K., Singh, J., Johnson, L., Streefkerk, R., McCombes, S., Corrieri, L., Valck, X., Baldwin, F. M., Lorde, J., Wardell, K., Lao, W., Yang, P., . . . O’Brien, T. (2012).
Include the DOI at the very end of the APA reference entry . If you’re using the 6th edition APA guidelines, the DOI is preceded by the label “doi:”. In the 7th edition , the DOI is preceded by ‘https://doi.org/’.
- 6th edition: doi: 10.1177/0894439316660340
- 7th edition: https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0894439316660340
APA citation example (7th edition)
Hawi, N. S., & Samaha, M. (2016). The relations among social media addiction, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in university students. Social Science Computer Review , 35 (5), 576–586. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439316660340
When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).
If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:
- Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
- Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
- Abbreviated heading: ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)
Always include page numbers in the APA in-text citation when quoting a source . Don’t include page numbers when referring to a work as a whole – for example, an entire book or journal article.
If your source does not have page numbers, you can use an alternative locator such as a timestamp, chapter heading or paragraph number.
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:
- Times New Roman (12pt.)
- Arial (11pt.)
- Calibri (11pt.)
- Georgia (11pt.)
The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.
The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.
Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.
You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .
Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .
APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.
Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.
Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.
To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.
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Common Citations and References in APA Style (7th Ed.)
APA Common Citations & References (7th Ed.) PDF
The American Psychological Association (APA) established writing and documentation guidelines in 1929, so readers could easily understand the major points and findings in scientific research. Today, APA Style is used across the disciplines as a standard style for academic and professional writing. APA Style helps writers think critically, communicate clearly and precisely, and document sources ethically. This tutorial on APA citations and references follows the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association seventh edition .
Citations and references are forms of documentation. We must document the ideas, theories, definitions, data, images, and other information in our writing that originated with other authors, researchers, and artists. For example, our work must include documentation when we quote, paraphrase, or summarize another’s ideas or when using data from others’ research. Documentation means including select information about a source “in text” and including additional bibliographic information about that source in a “reference list entry.” In APA Style, for every retrievable source cited in text, there is a corresponding reference list entry with that retrieval information.
Documentation is how we establish our credibility as researchers and writers. It is how we write ethically and with integrity. Writing often involves using the ideas, theories, definitions, data, and images of others in order to support or refute our theses. Documentation is how we give credit to others for their contributions to our work. Documenting sources also differentiates our original ideas from the source contributions and enables readers to locate the original source to learn more about it. Documenting sources with in-text citations and reference list entries also prevents plagiarism, which “is the act of presenting the words, ideas, or images of another as your own” (APA, 2020, p. 254).
APA Style in-text citations use the author-date system. In this APA Style in-text citations use the author-date system. In this system, the citation identifies a source used in the “text” (the body of a piece of writing) by providing the source’s author and the date of publication. Additional rules apply for in-text citations for varying source types and paraphrasing, but there are two primary types of in-text citations: narrative and parenthetical .
In narrative citations, the author’s name is part of a sentence and usually appears in a signal phrase that introduces the quoted, paraphrased, or summarized information. The second part of the citation, the publication year, then appears in parentheses immediately following the author’s name. Here is an example:
- Smith (2010) recognized that more online learning opportunities are needed to reach marginalized high school students and decrease the dropout rate.
When citing a quotation using a narrative citation, the author’s name is used in the sentence, the date is given in parentheses after the author’s name, and the specific part of the source where the quote appears such the page, paragraph, time stamp on a video, or bar on a graph goes in parentheses after the quote and before any punctuation. Here are two examples:
- Smith (2010) stressed, “The importance of dedicated study time for online courses is crucial for student success” (p. 3).
- In his TEDX Talk video, Mulvey (2013) said, “Time is too long. Space is too large” (6:18).
In parenthetical citations, the author-date information goes after the paraphrase in parentheses as in the following example:
- Online learning opportunities are needed to reach marginalized high school students and decrease the dropout rate (Smith, 2010) .
For a quotation, the parenthetical citation contains the author and date, and it also contains the specific part of the source such as the page or paragraph number or the timestamp of a video as in this example:
- Many researchers have agreed: “Online education is a viable way to help working adults earn a college degree, but it is not for everyone” (Smith, 2010, p. 4) .
An author may be an individual, multiple people, or a group such as an organization, company, or governmental agency. In an in-text citation, the format is to use the author or authors’ last names or the group author name. See No Author if a source does not specify an author.
- Individual Author: (Hannah, 2010)
- Multiple Authors: (Hannah & Lay, 2015); (Hannah, Lay, & Sleder, 2010)
- Group Author: (Hannah and Lay Company, 2020)
The URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is the web address for a source is not part of an in-text citation except in the rare cases that the URL is also the author’s name such as Drugs.com: (Drugs.com, n.d.).
The in-text citation for a quotation includes the part of the source where the information is found. Page numbers are common in printed books and articles; however, for electronic sources without page numbers, you will need to provide another way for a reader to locate the original passage being quoted. The following options are acceptable:
- Paragraph number: (Mackenzie, 2018, para. 1)
- Heading or section name: (Mackenzie, 2018, Highlands section). In this example, the information being cited can be found on the source website or page under a section named “Highlands.”
- Both section and paragraph: (Mackenzie, 2018, Highlands section, para. 1)
- For audiovisual works, provide the time stamp of when the quoted words begin: (Mulvey, 2013, 6:18).
A reference list entry should be provided for each source cited in text. Reference list entries have four elements: author, date, title, and source. The “source” here is the publication where the information was published such as a website, book, or periodical. Each element of the reference answers a question:
- Author: Who is responsible for this work?
- Date: When was this work published?
- Title: What is this work called?
- Source: Where can I retrieve this work?
Reference entries and in-text citations correspond: The author or title given in the in-text citation is the first element of the reference entry. Example reference entries are provided in the Common Citations and References section of this resource. The following formatting requirements apply to the reference list:
- Label the reference list References in bold font, centered at the top of the page.
- Double-space all reference list entries. Also use double spacing within entries. Do not use additional spacing between entries.
- Reference entries are not numbered or bulleted.
- Use a hanging indent for all references, so the first line of the entry is against the left margin and subsequent lines of the entry are indented 0.5 in.
- Alphabetize the entries according to the author’s last name. If the entry does not include an author, begin the entry with the title followed by the year in parentheses, and alphabetize according to the first significant word of the title. If the title begins with the words “A,” “An,” or “The,” alphabetize using the next word in the title. Example: The title The Whales in the Ocean would be alphabetized using the letter “W” because “Whales” is the first significant word.
Resources available online have URLs, which are web links, or DOIs, which are unique strings of numbers that provide persistent and reliable links to resources. Here are some basic guidelines for URLs and DOIs in reference entries:
- If a source has a DOI, include it in the reference entry. Some print texts also have DOIs. The DOI is often given near the copyright information at the beginning of a text.
- Present DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks in the reference entry. Hyperlinks begin http:// or https:// . DOIs will begin https://doi.org/ . It is acceptable to use the shortDOI® Service to shorten long DOIs and an URL shortening service such as https://bitly.com/ to shorten URLs.
- All hyperlinks should be live and may appear using the automatic formatting of the word processing program (for example in blue font and underlined), or they may appear in standard black font without an underline, but papers read online should have clickable, live links.
- Do not include additional words before the hyperlink such as “Retrieved from” or “DOI.” Exception : If a characteristics of the source is that it is updated regularly, such a reference book with a group author (dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus) or a Facebook page, a retrieval date would provide valuable information to a reader who tries to locate your source and sees different content. In the reference, include the date you accessed the source in the following format for the URL element of the reference: Retrieved Month day, Year, from URL.
Common Citations and References (APA 7th Ed.)
Note: Most of the examples in this resource are fictional. Any similarities to real sources or names are coincidental.
In-Text Citation for Articles
- Parenthetical: (Jensen, 2010, p. 5)
- Narrative: Jensen (2010) stated, “The results of this global warming study are skewed to present a problem that has political pull” (p. 5).
- Parenthetical: (Jensen, 2010)
- Narrative: Jensen (2010) believes the results are being misconstrued to support a political agenda.
Reference for a blog article
Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Title of article. Blog Title . URL
Wayne, J. M. (2010, January 3). Finding balance. Health for Life . http://wayne.blogger.com/longdays
Reference for an editorial article
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article [Editorial]. Periodical Title , volume (issue), pages. DOI or URL
Michaels, J. C. (2020). The seeds of change [Editorial]. Nutrition Today , 10 (4). 2-3. https://doi.org/10.1199/001043456787654
Reference for a journal article with a nondatabase URL
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title , volume(issue), pages. URL
Jones, L. (1990). How to eat and stay slim. Journal of Healthy Living, 4 (3), 120. http://journalofhealthyliving.org
Reference for a journal article without a DOI from a database__
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title, volume (issue), pages.
Shultz, L. (2012). The traveling contractor. Urban Living , 3 (4), 1-15.
Reference for a print journal article with no DOI or URL
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title , volume (issue), pages.
Shultz, L. (2012). The life of a traveling contractor. Urban Living , 3 (4), 12-15.
Reference for a print or online journal article with a DOI
Author, A. A. (date). Title of article. Journal Title, volume (issue), pages. DOI
West, B. I. (2019). A study of decisions. Academics Journal, 5 (10), 152- 155. https://doi.org/12345678910
Reference for a magazine from an online research database or in print
Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Title of article. Periodical Title , pages. URL if online
Godwit, F. L. (2008, August 12). Epic journey of the Bar-Tail. Birding Magazine, 8 (1), 11-19. http://bit.ly.bar-tail-journey
Goldfinch, G. B. (2020, January 28). Bird migration: Tracking radar hampered by weather. The New Yorker . 12-13.
Note . Magazines may be published in regular issues and have volume and issue numbers like journals. Include the volume and issue if available in the format Title , Volume Number (Issue).
Reference for a newspaper article in print
Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Article title. Newspaper Title . pages.
Fuller, C. (2009, August 17). Mismanagement of valley waterways causes havoc. The Clovis Herald , A3-A4.
Reference for a newspaper article online
Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Title of article. Newspaper Title . URL
Brooks, D. (2008, December 27). Mental health issues raise concerns. New Brunswick Times . http://www.newbrunswicktimes.com
In-Text Citations for Audio Works
- Parenthetical: (Clements, 2011, 00:54.)
- Narrative: Clements (2011) said in his podcast, “To be terrific, you must be specific” (00:54).
Note . The citation includes the time stamp where the quoted part of the audio begins.
- Parenthetical: (Clements 2011)
- Narrative: Clements (2011) said in his podcast that precise wording is key to writing well.
Reference for a podcast
Host, H. H. (Host). (Year, Month day). Title of work [Description]. Publisher or Department Name, University Name. URL
Clements, K. (Host). (2020). Understanding documentation [Audio podcast]. Academic Success Center, Purdue Global. https://bit.ly/understandingdocumentation
Note . If an element shown in the template is not available, omit it from the reference entry.
Reference for a song or track
Artist, A. A. (Year). Title of song. On Title of album . Label. URL (if available)
Reference for a speech audio recording
Presenter, P. P. (Year, Month day). Title of speech [Speech audio recording]. Production Company or Site Name. URL
Kennedy, J. F. (1961). Presidential inaugural address [Speech audio recording]. American Rhetoric. https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkinaugural.htm
In-Text Citation for Books
- Parenthetical: (Martinez, 2009, p. 3)
- Narrative: Martinez (2009) said, “The way to learn APA is to use a guide as a cross-reference” (p. 3).
- Parenthetical: (Martinez, 2009)
- Narrative: Martinez (2009) said APA does not need to be memorized.
Reference for a book with an author, print or electronic.
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work . Publisher. DOI (if it has one) or URL (if it is an e-book without a DOI)
Martinez, D. L. (2009). Writing with humor (2nd ed.). A1 Press. http//doi.org/10.1036/0091393733
Note . Print books may also have DOIs. Include the DOI if available.
Reference for a book with an editor, print or electronic
Editor, E. E. (Ed.). (Year). Title of work . Publisher. DOI (if it has one) or URL (if it is an e-book without a DOI)
Sexton, A. S. (Ed.). (2017). Transformational webinars. Simon and Schuster. https://doi.org/10.13232323232325
Reference for a chapter in a book with an editor
Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor, F. F. Editor, & G. G. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (X ed., Vol. X, pp. xx-xx). Publisher.
Boone, J. A. & Cairns, C. A. (2008). Writer’s block demystified. In K. Clements, A. Sexton, & L. V. Hanson (Eds.), Writers write right (3rd ed., pp. 23-37). Genius Press.
Note . Omit missing elements from the reference entry, such as the volume number in this example.
Reference for an entry in a reference book with a group author (dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus)
Group Author. (Year, Month XX). Entry title. In Title of source . Retrieved Month day, Year, from URL
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Diaspora. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary . Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diaspora
Note . Use “n.d.” for “no date” for entries that are continuously updated.
Note . Provide a retrieval date before the URL when the site is continuously updated and does not provide a permanent, archived link (as in a Wikipedia entry reference.
Reference for a volume in a multivolume work and a book in a series
Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (year). Title of work (Vol. X). Publisher. DOI (if it has one) or URL (if it is an e-book without a DOI)
Breiter, A. L. & Sexton, A. (1999). Writer’s block demystified (Vol. 1). Hachette Book Group. https://doi.org/10.132444463232325 .
Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (year). Title (X ed.). Publisher. DOI (if it has one) or URL (if it is an e-book without a DOI)
Mason, R. J. & Schram, B. L. (2016). Restaurant management (5th ed.). Randolph Press. https://doi.org/10.13244456782325
Reference for a Wikipedia entry
Entry title. (Year, Month XX). In Wikipedia . URL
Diaspora. (2020, February 28). In Wikipedia . https://bit.ly/wiki-diaspora
Note . Wikipedia entries have permanent, archived links. On the Wiki page, select “View History” then the time and date of the version you used. The link in the address bar will be an archived link to that version.
In-Text Citation for Discussions and Course Resources
- Parenthetical: (Sullivan, 2011, para. 3)
- Narrative: Sullivan (2011) said, “Discussions help students learn from each other’s professional experience” (para. 3).
- Parenthetical: (Sullivan, 2011)
- Narrative: Sullivan (2011) believes peer-to-peer learning results from discussion forums.
Reference for a classroom discussion
Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Title or content of the post up to the first 20 words . Site Name. Retrieved Date, from https://xxx
Sullivan, M. (2011, January 5). Prewriting feedback reflection. CM107 Unit 3 Discussion 1 . Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://purdueglobal.brightspace.com/d2l/e/40068/discussions
Note . Use a reference for internal sources only when the reader can access the source. Otherwise, cite internal sources as a personal communication with an in-text citation but no reference entry.
Reference for a course resource
Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Title of resource . Site Name. Retrieved Date, from https://xxx
Purdue Global. (n.d.) Learning outcomes and assessment UG . Course Resources. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from https://purdueglobal.brightspace.com/d2l/le/content
Note . Include a retrieval date when a source is updated regularly and may appear different to a reader who accesses it on a different date.
In-Text Citation for Personal Communications
Quotation or paraphrase.
- Parenthetical: (D. L. Martinez, personal communication, March 5, 2011)
- Narrative: D. L. Martinez (personal communication, March 5, 2011) said, . . .
No Reference Entry
Works only accessible to an internal group that are not retrievable by other readers of your paper such as personal interviews, emails, text messages, conversations, memos, and lectures do not appear in a reference entry on the references page. These sources require an in-text citation only.
In-Text Citation for Reports
- Parenthetical: (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office [EERE], 2019, Supplementary Information, para. 5).
- Parenthetical: (EERE, 2019, Supplementary Information, para. 5).
Note . Use brackets to enclose the abbreviation of a group author name when it is first mentioned in parentheses. Use only the abbreviation of a group author if it is well known or if the full name and abbreviation have already been used in the text.
- Narrative: The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE, 2019) reported “The cost for propane is derived from its price relative to that of heating oil”(Supplementary Information, para. 5).
Note . When page, numbers are not given, use the part of the source that would help a reader locate the quote such as the section heading and paragraph in the above examples. The cited information came from paragraph 5 under the section heading “Supplementary Information.”
- Parenthetical: (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office [EERE], 2019)
- Narrative: The EERE(2019) based the cost of propane on the cost of oil.
Reference for a government report with an individual author
Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of report (Report No. XXX if available). Publisher. DOI or URL
Burrows, M. J. & Peter, E. (2020). What world post-Covid-19? Three scenarios . Atlantic Council. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/in-depth-research-reports/report/what-word-post-covid-19-three-scenarios/
Note . If the report does not include a report number, omit that element from the entry.
Reference for a government report with a group or agency author
Group Author. (Year). Title of report (Report No. XXX if available). Publisher. DOI or URL
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office. (2019). Energy conservation program for consumer products: Representative average unit costs of energy (Report No. 2019-04245). US Department of Energy. https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EERE_FRDOC_0001-1398
Note . If the author and publisher are the same, omit the publisher element from the entry.
Reference or an issue brief
Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of brief [Issue brief] or (Issue Brief No. XXX if available) Publisher. DOI or URL
Salas, R. N., Knappenberger, P., & Hess, J. (2018). 2018 Lancet countdown on health and climate change brief for the United States of America [Issue brief]. Lancet Countdown. https://bit.ly/2018Lancet
In-Text Citation for Social Media
- Parenthetical for individual author: (Hughes, 2020)
- Parenthetical for group author: (PG Academic Success Center, n.d.)
- Narrative for individual author: Hughes (2020) posted, “Support local businesses first! #takeouttuesday.”
Note . When quoting, include any emojis or hashtags and use the same spelling as the original post even if the spelling is incorrect.
- Narrative for group author: PG Academic Success Center (n.d.) has on its Twitter profile that “Tutors are available throughout the week to assist and support Purdue Global students with their course work.”
Reference for a post on Facebook and others
Author, A. A. or Name of Group [Username]. (Year, Month day). Content up to the first 20 words [Description of audiovisuals such as Thumbnail with link attached, Video, or Infographic] [Type of post, for example Status update, Poll, Story]. Site Name. URL or Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL if the page (Timeline, Album, Home . . .) is regularly updated
APA Style [APAStyle]. (2020, March 16). For an #APAStyle reference to a webpage, although there may seem to be no individual authors, the author is very [Thumb-nail with link attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/APAStyle/photos/a.419499744742118/4211771922181529/?type=3&theater
Reference for a page on Facebook and others
Author, A. A. or Name of Group [Username]. (Year, Month day). Page Name such as Home, Timeline, About. . . . Site Name. Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL
Purdue University Global [PurdueGlobal]. (n.d.). Home [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved May 4, 2020 from https://www.facebook.com/PurdueGlobal/
Reference for a post on Twitter and Instagram
Author, A. A. [@username] or Group [@username]. (Year, Month day). Content up to the first 20 words [Description of audiovisuals such as an Infographic] [Type of Post]. Site Name. URL or Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL if an Instagram Highlight-a story featured on the Instagram profile
PG Academic Success Center [@PurdueGlobalASC]. (2020, March 23). Action plans for online learners: New video series [Thumb-nail with link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://bit.ly/actionplansontwitter
Purdue University Global [@purdueglobal]. (n.d.). Study break [Highlight]. Instagram. Retrieved April 20, 2020 from https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18021688519263190/
Reference for online forums
Author, A. A. [Username] or Name of Group [Username]. (Year, Month XX). Content of the post up to the first 20 words [Type of post]. Site Name. URL or Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL if referencing a page that is regularly updated.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration [nasa]. (2020, March 17). We are the NASA and university scientists who study exoplanets, the weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://reddit.com/r/space/comments/g35wtm/we_are-the-nasa-and_university-scientists_who/
In-Text Citation for Video Works
- Parenthetical: (Lessard, 2016, as cited in Michigan DNR, 2016, 0:27)
Note . See the Primary Sources sectin of this article for more about the “as cited in format. In this example, Lessard is a primary source speaking in a vido by the Michigan DNR, which is the secondary source. Include the publication date of the primary source when available.
- Narrative: Rebecca Lessard, Founder/Director of Wings of Wonder, (2016, as cited in Michigan DNR, 2016) said, “The mission here is really about education” (0:27).
- Parenthetical: (Lessard, 2016, as cited in Michigan DNR, 2016)
- Narrative: Rebecca Lessard, Founder/Director of Wings of Wonder (2016, as cited in Michigan DNR, 2016) described the mission as one that teaches people to respect and appreciate raptors.
Reference for a film
Director, D. D. (Director). (Year). Title of work [Film]. Production Company. URL if film is accessible by an URL
Gondry, M. (Director). (2004). Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind [Film]. Anonymous Content.
Reference for a recorded webinar
Instructor, I. I. (Year, Month day). Title of work [Webinar]. Publisher. URL
Huston, T. (2020, March 17). Critical thinking and writing [Webinar]. Purdue Global Academic Success Center. https://bit.ly/asc-criticalthinking
Note . If the webinar is not retrievable at a link online, cite it as a personal communication.
Reference for a YouTube video or other streaming video
Reference for a recorded webinar (if the recording is retrievable; otherwise, cite as a personal communication.) Instructor, I. I. (Instructor) (Year, Month XX). Title of work [Webinar]. Publisher. URL
Huston, T. (Instructor). (2020, March 17). Critical thinking and writing [Webinar]. Academic Success Center, Purdue Global. https://bit.ly/asc-criticalthinking
Reference for a YouTube video or other streaming video Artist, A. A. [username]. (year, Month XX). Title [Video]. Production Company, Label, or Site. URL
Michigan Department of Natural Resources [MichiganDNR]. (2016, November 10). Wings of Wonder: Raptor education, rehabilitation and research. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/m4jgfaxfo4k
In-Text Citation for Visual Works
- Parenthetical: (Park, 2015, slide 9)
- Narrative: During her presentation, Park (2015) stated, “All parties must be equally represented at all meetings” (slide 9).
- Parenthetical: (Park, 2015)
- Narrative: Park (2015) said representation of every member is important at meetings.
Reference for a photograph
Artist, A. A. (Year). Title [Photograph]. Publisher or Site Name. URL
Cairns, C. (2015). Lilies after rain. [Photograph]. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotlandcairns/19461114229/
Note. Using a photograph in your work that is not yours, is not in the Public Domain, or that does not have a Creative Commons license that permits use, requires permission to use in addition to a copyright note. If you have permission to use the image or the image is licensed for sharing, include a copyright notice underneath or aligned with the image in your text. The example below shows how to cite or quote from a PowerPoint or presentation slide.
Template and Examples for a Copyright Note in Text beginning with the label “ Note. “:
Note . Title and description. From (or “Adapted from” if you changed or cropped the original), Title of Image, by Name of A. Artist, Year. (URL). Copyright by Copyright Holder or Creative Common License abbreviation or In the public domain. Reprinted with permission (if permission was sought and granted).
Note . Tiger lilies holding water droplets. From Lilies After Rain , by C. Cairns, 2015. https://flic.kr/p/vDHife . CC BY 2.0.
Reference for a PowerPoint or presentation slide
Instructor, I. I. (Year, Month XX). Title [PowerPoint Slide]. Production Company or Department Name, University Name. URL
Park, L. (2011). Effective working teams [PowerPoint slides]. Bus Purdue Global. http://www.company.meetings/teams
In-Text Citation for Webpages and Websites
- Parenthetical: (Smith & Jay, 2013, para. 10)
- Narrative: Smith and Jay (2013) are sure that the best way to “preserve nature is to plant native trees” (para. 10).
Note . When page numbers are not given, use the section heading and/or paragraph number.
- Parenthetical: (Smith & Jay, 2013)
- Narrative: Smith and Jay (2013) believe the seeds of native trees are the key to environmental salvation.
Note. Use the title in the in-text citation for a work without an author as shown below.
- Parenthetical: ( Raising Roofs , n.d.)
- Narrative: Following the county’s affordable housing initiative, Raising Roofs (n.d.) reported 100 new homes have been built.
Reference for a website or webpage with an individual author
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year or Year, Month day if available). Title of work . Site Name. URL or Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL if website is regularly updated.
Smith, M., & Jay, J. (2013). Growing a better forest . Leelanau Trees. http://www.leelanautrees/plant-native-trees.com
Reference for a website or webpage with a group author such as an organization or company
Author. (Year, Month day). Title of page . Site Name. URL or Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL if page is regularly updated.
National Geographic. (2011a). Hybrid Cuban-American crocodiles on the rise . http://bit.ly/24ndK95
National Geographic. (2011b). Iceman’s stomach sampled – filled with goat meat . http://bit.ly/1QAf58E
Note . When using two or more sources with the same author and year, add lowercase letters after the year (2015a, 2015b, etc.). First alphabetize the references by author name and then by title to determine which is “a” and which is “b.” Then also add the letters to the corresponding in-text citations. If the site name is the same as the author, omit the site name element from the reference.
Reference for a webpage with no individual or group author
Title of page . (Year, Month XX or n.d. if a date isn’t available). Site Name. URL or Retrieved Month XX, Year from URL if citing a page that is regularly updated.
Raising roofs . (n.d.). http://www.raisingroofs.com
Sometimes there is missing information when formatting in-text citations and references. The following serves as guidance on how to handle those situations.
Missing month and/or day; missing volume and/or issue number; other missing information from template of reference citation : If a reference entry template shows to include information that is not available, omit the missing elements from the entry.
If a work does not specify an author, use the title in place of the author.
- For a paraphrase from an article with no author: (“Whales in the Ocean,” 2020)
- For a quotation from a book with no author: ( Plant-Based Cooking , 2020, para. 9)
- The reference list entry for an article with no author begins with the title in sentence case (capitalizing the first word only and any proper nouns):
Whales in the ocean. (2020). Ocean Life Magazine . https://www.oceanlife.com
- The reference list entry for a book, webpage, or other whole work without an author begins with the title in sentence case and italics:
Plant-based cooking . (2020). https://www.plant-basedcookingebook.com
- Only use “Anonymous” as the author if the work specifically names the author as “Anonymous”: (Anonymous, n.d.).
If no date is provided on the source, use n.d. in the date spot for both in-text citations and reference list entries. For example, an in-text citation would look like this: (Hendrix, n.d.).
Primary sources are original reports, findings, and research studies. Secondary sources are works that refer to primary sources and other secondary sources. If you are using a secondary source for your research, and it refers to another source or a primary source, whenever possible, locate the original source of the desired quote or paraphrase. If the original source is not available, use this “as cited in” method by citing the secondary source that you have while still attributing the quote in text to the original author or source.
In-Text Citation for Primary Sources
- Parenthetical: (Wright, 2012, as cited in Bragdon, 2013, p. 223).
- Narrative: Wright’s report (2012, as cited in Bragdon, 2013) showed that “obesity research indicates people need to drink more water” (p. 223).
Note . Omit the year for the primary source from the citation if the year is unknown.*
- Parenthetical: (Wright, 2012, as cited in Bragdon, 2013).
- Narrative: Wright (2012, as cited in Bragdon, 2013) showed dehydration was a common problem for those with obesity.
Reference for the Secondary Source
Follow the template for the type of source it is. The example shows the format for a journal article without a URL or DOI.
Bragdon, A. A. (2013). Obesity research. Medical Journal 23 (4), 223-227.
Note . Only list the source named after the “as cited in” phrase on the reference list.
For in-text citations, cite both names every time:
- (Rios & Sexton, 2010) or Rios and Sexton (2010) contend . . .
Note . The ampersand (&) is used between two authors when their names are written in parentheses but not when the names are written in the narrative of the sentence.
For reference list entries, cite both authors’ names (with the ampersand [&] between the names):
Rios, C. A. & Sexton, A. (2010). Fun and easy APA . Oxbow River Press.
Three or More Authors
For in-text citations, cite only the first author followed by et al.:
- (Cairns et al., 2019)
- Cairns et al. (2019) studied . . .
Note . Et al. is a Latin abbreviation for “and others.”
For a reference list entry, cite the first 20 author names. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name:
Author, A. A., Author B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., Author, G. G., Author, H. H., Author, I. I., Author, J. J., Author, K. K., Author, L. L., Author, M. M., Author, N. N., Author, O. O., Author, P. P., Author, Q. Q., Author, R. R., Author, S. S., & Author, T. T.
For 21 or more authors, use three spaced ellipsis points ( . . . ) after the 19th author and then cite the last author’s name without an ampersand (&):
Author, A. A., Author B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., Author, G. G., Author, H. H., Author, I. I., Author, J. J., Author, K. K., Author, L. L., Author, M. M., Author, N. N., Author, O. O., Author, P. P., Author, Q. Q., Author, R. R., Author, S. S., . . . Author, W. W.
Authors With the Same Surname
If you have two or more different sources that have authors with the same surname, include the author’s first name initial in the in-text citation for the source used even if the date is different like this: (D. Martinez, 2001).
A narrative citation would look like this:
- D. Martinez (2001) disagreed with S. Martinez (2003) in the findings . . .
In the reference list, D. Martinez would be alphabetized before S. Martinez.
Same Author and Year
To tell references and in-text citations apart when the author and year are the same, add lowercase letters after the year (2011a, 2011b, etc.). On the references list, first list the references in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names, then alphabetize the references by the title to determine which is “a” and which is “b.”
Hood, R. M. (2011a). Where do I place commas? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/123comma
Hood, R. M. (2011b). The writing process [Video]. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/abc-thewritingprocess
Then, add the letters to the corresponding in-text citations: (Hood, 2011a) (Hood, 2011b).
Sample Title Page for Student Papers n APA Style
Notes on this sample title page for student papers:
- In the header of the document at the right margin, insert the page number.
- In the upper half of the page, three to four lines down from the header, provide the title of the paper in bold, Title Case.
- Double-space the title page and entire paper, adding an additional double-spaced line between the title and the “byline”—author name.
- Provide the byline and related information in regular font. First provide the author’s name and affiliated university.
- Next, provide the course number and name (Course Number: Name), the professor for the course, and due date.
- Always check with your instructor about additional information required on this page.
Sample Text Page for a Student Paper in APA Style
Notes on this sample text (body) page for student papers:
- The font should be the same throughout the paper. A default word processing font such as 11-point Calibri is recommended. Other acceptable fonts are 11-point Arial, 12-point Times New Roman,10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, 11-point Georgia, or 10-point Computer Modern.
- Use 1-in. (2.54-cm) margins all around.
- The text should align with the left margin and be uneven along the right margin with one space between words and after punctuation.
- Double-space the entire paper without extra spacing between paragraphs.
- Indent the beginning of each paragraph 0.5 in., which is typically one click of the Tab key.
Sample Reference List for Student Papers in APA Style
Notes on this sample reference list for student papers:
- The reference list begins on a new page at the end of the paper before any tables or appendices.
- The right margin of the header provides the page number, continued from the previous page.
- The word References is centered on the first line under the header in bold font.
- The citations are formatted using a “hanging indent” where the second and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 in. under the first line in order to improve readability.
- Double-space the reference list, including within a reference entry.
- Two or more works by the same author are ordered chronologically by publication date.
- References with the same first author and a different second author are alphabetized by the second author.
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association: The official guide to APA style (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
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How to reference this resources in APA Style 7th Ed.
Purdue University Global Academic Success Center and Writing Center. (2020). Common citations and references in APA style (7th ed.). Purdue Global Academic Success and Writing Resource Center and Blog. https://purdueglobalwriting.center/common-citations-and-references-in-apa-style/
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Citation Style: APA 7th Edition: Frequently Asked Questions
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- APA Style Guides
- Basic Formatting
- Title Page & Abstract
- The Main Body
- The References Page
- Reference Citation Examples
- Citation Generation Tools
Frequently Asked Questions
- 7th Edition vs. 6th Edition
How to Use This Page
Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions page for APA. This is where we put the answers to some questions we get asked often.
To see the answer, just click on one of the questions below. It will expand to reveal the answer.
Do you have a question that is not answered in this guide? Send an email to [email protected] and let us know!
Missing Citation Information
Q: I’m using a section of a website for one of my sources. How do I find out who the author is?
A: Here are a few places you will often find authors and dates of webpages:
- Bottom of the page (scroll all the way down) - but be wary of a copyright date that is the same on every page (it's better to use n.d. for "no date" in that case).
- In the “Contact” or “About Us” sections
- Go to the root or home page.
- Keep in mind that the author could be an organization rather than a person.
Example for navigating to the root or home page:
If you are at this page: https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/617/overview/Green-tailed_Towhee.aspx
Try going to this page: https://identify.whatbird.com/
Q: What if I still cannot find an author or a date?
A: If you still cannot find an author, cite the resource by its title in your references list. For your in-text citation, you will use a shortened version of the title instead of the author’s last name.
See the Purdue OWL example for "Unknown Author" here.
For a source with an unknown date, use the abbreviation “n.d.” instead of the date. (It stands for “no date.”)
Q: What if my source has no page numbers (like an electronic source)?
A: If you are directly quoting a source that is lacking page numbers, try to use some other identifier to help your reader find your original source. Heading titles, section titles, and paragraph numbers can help you identify the section of your source which you quoted.
If your source has no section or heading titles, count the paragraphs from the top to where your quote is, and use that as a paragraph number for your in-text citation. If the source is quite long, it will (hopefully) have headings, which you can use to point to a section, and then count the paragraphs down from that section to the location of your quotation.
According to Smith (1980), "The engineers’ most productive month of the year was April." (Seasonal Affective Disorder section, para. 4).
For more information, see the following source:
Purdue OWL - Sources Without Page Numbers
Formatting & Basic Rules
Q: What if we are writing the paper as a group (multiple authors)? How do we format the title page in this case?
A: Put all of the authors’ names on one line, in order by contribution, separated by commas, with the last author preceded by the word “and.” Or just use the word "and" in between if there are only two names.
Source and example at: APA Student Title Page Guide
Q: What if I include an image in my paper? How should I present the image and cite the source?
A: Any image you include should have a figure number and title below the image. If you did not take the photo yourself, you must include a citation for the image in a caption beneath the image.
For information on how to cite an image, see: https://libguides.scf.edu/c.php?g=847004&p=6077102
For more information on using Figures, Tables, and Graphs – see the following sources:
Purdue OWL APA Tables & Figures
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) pp.195 - 250
Q: What is common knowledge information and why don’t I need to cite it?
A: Common knowledge means that the information is generally known by professionals in the field of research you are conducting. You don’t need to cite it because you could find this same piece of information in a number of sources, therefore it is not a unique idea to any one source. This is a "gray area" of citation that falls upon the discretion of the writer. The Purdue OWL APA Guide recommends finding the information in at least five different sources before deciding it is common knowledge. When in doubt, cite the source.
For more information on Common Knowledge practices, see the following sources:
Purdue OWL - Common Knowledge & Attribution
What is Common Knowledge?
Paraphrasing & Quoting
Q: What is the difference between paraphrasing and quoting?
A: Quoting is when you take a portion of your source and copy it exactly word-for-word into your paper. In this case, you are taking the author’s language and tone along with his/her ideas. Quoting is best for cases when the author's phrasing is the best way to convey the idea to your reader.
Paraphrasing is when you describe someone else’s ideas using your own unique language and tone. Paraphrasing is the best way to keep the paper’s tone your own. Even though you are using your own language to convey the idea, the idea is still the author’s and must be cited.
For more info, see: Purdue Guide to Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
Q: How should I format quotations?
A: If the quotation is less than 40 words long , you can simply put quotation marks around the quote. Often times, writers will use a signal phrase to identify the author and year to begin the quote, then put the page number of the source at the end of the sentence. If you do not identify the author and year in the signal phrase, then you will need to include them at the end-of-sentence citation as you would normally do.
According to Smith (1980), "The engineers’ most productive month of the year was April." (p. 86).
If the quotation is more than 40 words long , you will need to create a block-quotation. To do this, start the quotation on a new line and left-indent it by half an inch. In this case, you will not need quotation marks. The quote will still be double-spaced and have an in-text citation at the end.
Smith’s (1980) study found that:
Seasonal affective disorder decreased the productivity of 86% of the engineers at the lab. My hypothesis is that the decreased levels of sunlight and increased indoor living caused a lack of motivation on the part of the engineers and therefore their productivity decreased. Furthermore, the engineers’ most productive month of the year was April, probably due to the fact that April is the first significantly warm month after several months of a cold and dreary winter. (p. 86)
Keep in mind that whenever you use a quotation in your paper, you must cite the page or range of pages it comes from.
For more information on using quotations, see: https://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/quotations/
Q: My professor says I am paraphrasing / quoting too much in my paper? I am citing everything; what’s the problem?
A: If you are citing everything that comes from another source, that’s great! That means you are avoiding plagiarism. However, you want the majority of your paper to be your ideas. You don’t want to just compile other peoples’ ideas. You want to analyze and make conclusions about those other peoples’ ideas. In this way, your writing adds to the conversation on a topic so that whoever reads your paper will have a better understanding of that topic, and they will be able to add their own voice to the conversation in turn. Make sure no more than 50% of your paper is ideas from other sources.
Q: If I’m paraphrasing a theory or idea somewhere in my paper that takes up an entire paragraph of text, do I have to put an in-text citation for the same source after every single sentence?
A: According to the APA Style Webpage, "A paraphrase may continue for several sentences. In such cases, cite the work being paraphrased on first mention. Once the work has been cited, it is not necessary to repeat the citation as long as the context of the writing makes it clear that the same work continues to be paraphrased."
Q: How do I cite a source within a source?
A: A "source within a source" is often referred to as a secondary source. Here are some examples:
- A book quoted in another book.
- An article paraphrased and cited in another article.
- A book paraphrased and cited in an article.
- ...And so on. Anytime a source is cited in another source, that means the source you are using counts as a secondary source for that specific piece of information.
Here is what the APA Publication Manual 7th Edition (p. 258) says about using secondary sources:
In scholarly work, a primary source reports original content; a secondary source refers to content first reported in another source. Cite secondary sources sparingly—for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable, or available only in a language that you do not understand. If possible, as a matter of good scholarly practice, find the primary source, read it, and cite it directly rather than citing a secondary source. For example, rather than citing an instructor’s lecture or a textbook or encyclopedia that in turn cites original research, find, read, and cite the original research directly (unless an instructor has directed you to do otherwise).
When citing a secondary source, provide a reference list entry for the secondary source that you used. In the text, identify the primary source and then write “as cited in” the secondary source that you used. If the year of publication of the primary source is known, also include it in the text.
For example, if you read a work by Lyon et al. (2014) in which Rabbitt (1982) was cited, and you were unable to read Rabbitt’s work yourself, cite Rabbitt’s work as the original source, followed by Lyon et al.’s work as the secondary source. Only Lyon et al.’s work appears in the reference list.
(Rabbitt, 1982, as cited in Lyon et al., 2014)
If the year of the primary source is unknown, omit it from the in-text citation.
Allport’s diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003)
For more examples, visit the following links:
- Purdue OWL's "Work Discussed in a Secondary Source"
- Walden University "Citing a Source within a Source"
Q: How do I cite a famous quote?
A: The APA Style Blog discusses how you would cite a famous speech in a paper, so you would use the same rule for citing a quote by a famous person. In both cases, you don’t reference the speech or quote directly- instead, you find an authoritative (reliable) source where that quote or speech is located and cite that. So for example, if you found one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches in a book about great 20th century speeches, you would cite that book in your reference list. The key is to find that quote in a reliable source—don’t just use some random website without some idea of who created it. (Please note that this entry from the APA Style Blog was written for APA 6th edition, so please don't use the reference citation examples given in the link above. However, the concepts described above are still the same.)
If you need to find a source on the web with the quote, we recommend using the Advanced Google Search to find it. Go into Advanced Google and type in keywords from the quote you want to cite in your paper. Then, under “Search within a site or domain,” specify either “.gov,” “.edu” or “.org.” (Stay away from “.com’s.”) This way, you can cite a reliable website published by an organization or an educational or governing entity. For example, you could go to www.winstonchurchill.org to try and find a quote by Winston Churchill, instead of a .com site. Your citation would then be the same as citing a specific page on a website (see the Purdue OWL Example for "Webpage or Piece of Online Content" for the proper citation example).
Q: How do I cite the results of an online personality test I took?
A: This one is definitely tricky. If you need to cite the results of an online test you took, do it the same as you would any other website if you took the test online. Cite it as a book if you got the test from a book, and so on. List the author as whoever issued the test -- was it an organization? Institute? Then, try to find the latest copyright date—or preferably a date that will tell you the last time the test was updated if it is online. The title is going to be whatever is listed at the top of the test or test results. Finally, put a retrieval web address for the test site, and include the date that you retrieved the test results. Here is an example for you to follow:
Enneagram Institute. (2011). Title of test. Retrieved December 3, 2011 from http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/discover.asp/
Q: How do I cite the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)?
A: This information is found in Section 10.2 (example 32, p. 324) of the APA Publication Manual, 7th edition, and the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines
Citing the complete work:
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
In-Text citation: (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
Citing individual chapters:
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Cautionary statement for forensic use of DSM-5. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.CautionaryStatement
For more examples, please visit the following link:
- APA Style and Grammar Guidelines
Need More Quick Answers?
- APA Quick Answers - Formatting This page from the official APA website has links to quick answers on a number of APA-related topics.
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