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Citing Your Sources

A guide to using citation styles effectively and efficiently

About APA 7th Edition

This guide is intended as an introduction to the American Psychological Association (APA) Style for references and citations. Be sure to consult the Publication Manual of the APA or the APA Style website for detailed standards and procedures.

As a general rule, use APA style in psychology, education, and other social sciences.

Quick Guides to APA

Reference Quick Guide from APA Style

How-to Create References: Journal articles and other periodicals, Books and reference works, Edited book chapters and entries in reference works

 

In-Text Citations

When you reference another source use an in-text citation in the body of your paper (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) to briefly identify the cited work.  APA Style uses the author–date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation directs readers to a full reference list entry.

In-text citations may be parenthetical or narrative.

(American Psychological Association [APA], 2020)

 

Basic Parenthetical Citation Format:

(Author's Last Name, Year).

Example: (Spring, 2018)

If using...

(APA, 2020)

 

Number of authors to include in in-text citations

In-text citations differ depending on the number of authors listed for a work, and if there is a group author.

The following table shows the basic in-text citation styles:

  Parenthetical citation Narrative citation
One author

(Trakhtenberg, 2008)

Trakhtenberg (2008)

Two authors

(McGuigan & Lehrer, 2007)

McGuigan & Lehrer (2007)

Three or more authors

(Scherwitz et al., 2005)

Scherwitz et al. (2005)

Group author with abbreviation

First citation *

Subsequent citations

 

(National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2008)

(NASW, 2008)

 

National Association of Social Workers (NASW, 2008)

NASW (2020)

Group author without abbreviation

(Freebird Meditations, 2012)

Freebird Meditations (2012)

*State the acronym for a group author only once in the text, using either the parenthetical or the narrative format. Afterward, use the abbreviation for all mentions of the group in the text. Copyright 2020 by the American Psychological Association.

References

Include the complete citation at the end of your paper in a references section. References are organized by the author's last name in alphabetic (A-Z) order. Use an hanging indent to separate each list item.

 

Basic Format:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date). Title of the work. Source where you can retrieve the work. URL or DOI if available

If citing a...

  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: You do not need to abbreviate the month.
  3. Title of the article. Note: For works that are part of a greater whole (e.g. articles, chapter), use sentence case. Only the first word of the title and subtitle and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. Title of the Newspaper or Publication. Note: Italicize and capitalize each word in the publication.
  5. URL Read more from the APA Style website about how to format references for print newspaper articles.

Note: Use this format to cite articles from online newspapers (i.e. New York Times, Washington Post). Treat articles from online news sites (i.e. NPR, CNN) like a webpage.

 

Shine, T. M. (2021, June 29). The Great American Reboot. The Washington Post Magazinehttps://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2021/06/29/i-went-las-vegas-test-whether-i-was-really-ready-life-other-side-pandemic/?itid=sf_lifestyle-magazine
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
  2. (Year).
  3. Title of the book. Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, reports), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
  4. (Edition). Note: If there is an edition or volume, include it in parentheses and use abbreviations of ed. or vol.
  5. Publisher. Note: You do not need to include the publisher location or databases where you retrieved it.
Schmidt, N. A., & Brown, J. M. (2017). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.
  1. Author(s). Note: List each chapter author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
  2. (Year).
  3. Title of the chapter. Note: For works that are part of a greater whole (e.g. articles, chapter), use sentence case. Only the first word of the title and subtitle and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. In Editor(s), Note: List each editor's last name and initials as A. A. Editor, B. B. Editor, & C. C. Editors, include (Ed.) or (Eds.) in parentheses, and end with a comma.
  5. Title of the book Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, reports), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
  6. (pp.xx-xx).
  7. Publisher. Note: You do not need to include the publisher location or databases where you retrieved it.

 

McCormack, B., McCance, T., & Maben, J. (2013). Outcome evaluation in the development of person-centred practice. In B. McCormack, K. Manley, & A. Titchen (Eds.), Practice development in nursing and healthcare (pp. 190-211). John Wiley & Sons.
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. If there is no author, spell out the name of the organization or site.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: Read more about date formats from the APA Style website. Provide as specific a date as is available. Use the date last updated, but not the date last reviewed or copyright date. If there is no date, use (n.d.).
  3. Title of page or section. Note: Italicize the title of the page.
  4. Source. Note: Usually the official name of the website. If the source would be the same as the author, you can omit the source to avoid repetition.
  5. URL
Kennedy, M. (2018, October 15). To prevent wildfires, PG&E pre-emptively cuts power to thousands in California. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2018/10/15/657468903/to-prevent-wildfires-pg-e-preemptively-cuts-power-to-thousands-in-california
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Preventing HPV-associated cancers. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/prevention.htm/
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. If there is no author, spell out the name of the organization that published the report.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: Provide as specific a date as is available.
  3. Title of the report or document. Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, reports), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
  4. Source. Includes the names of parent agencies or other organizations not listed in the group author name here.
  5. URL
Los Angeles County Deptartment of Public Health. (2017, January). Key indicators of health by service planning area. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha/
  1. Author. Note: List the author's last name and initials as Author, A. A. There is usually only one author for a thesis or dissertation, you don't need to include any faculty advisers.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: Provide as specific a date as is available.
  3. Title of the dissertation or thesis [Doctoral dissertation or Master's thesis, Name of University]. Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, dissertations, theses), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns. The title page will indicate whether it's a Doctoral dissertation or Master's thesis and list the name of the university granting the degree.
  4. Source. Note: Include the name of the database or institutional repository where you can access the work (e.g. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global, PQDT Open, CSU ScholarWorks) here.
  5. URL Note: If available it's available.
Valentin, E. R. (2019, Summer). Narcissism predicted by Snapchat selfie sharing, filter usage, and editing [Master's thesis, California State University Dominguez Hills]. CSU ScholarWorks. https://scholarworks.calstate.edu/concern/theses/3197xm925?locale=en

Check out more examples for citing dissertations and theses on the APA Style site.

For information about citing images visit Finding and Using Image Resources.

Formatting Your APA Paper

What does an example APA paper look like?

The APA Publication Manual, 7th Edition specifies conventions for formatting papers. Below are sample papers formatted in APA 7 style.

APA Style offers sample student and professional papers, including a free annotated student sample paper.

 

How do I make a hanging indent in Word?

1. Highlight the citation in your reference list with your cursor. 

2. Right click.

3. Select Paragraph.

4. Under Indentation, select Special and Hanging.

Hanging Indent Gif

 

How do I format my essay in APA using Word?

Learn how to format your essay properly, following the APA Guidelines (7th ed.).

 

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This guide was created by Erica Huff with excerpts from CSUDH University Library's Citation Guide used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

 


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