APA Quick Guide
Click on image to access PDF for the APA (7th ed.) style guide.
*The following information is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition (2020).
When you are gathering sources to use in your papers, it is a good habit to note down the following information:
Author, corporate author, editor, translator
Title (and subtitle, if applicable)
Date of publication or updated date of publication
Issue and volume numbers (for periodicals)
*Though it may not appear in the following examples, remember to indent all citations in your references list (see PDF for reference). Your reference list should be in alphabetical order.
Example of a book with two authors
Wilson J.S.. & Messinger Carril, O. (2016). The bees in your backyard. Princeton University Press.
In the example above there are two authors listed. Whenever an author is named, their last name is listed first followed by their first initial (and then by their middle initial if they have a middle name). In this case, one author has two last names: “Messinger Carril.” The publication year is next followed by the title in italics. The last entry in this citation is the name of the publisher, which is not in italics.
In the case of ebooks, APA does not require that you make note of the format of the book, unless it is abridged or somehow different from the print version. If it was not accessed through a database – found online instead with a URL – include the URL after the publisher.
Example of a journal article from an online database
Roswell, M., Dushoff, J., & Winfree, R. (2019). Male and female bees show large differences in floral preference. PLoS ONE, 14(4): 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214909
In this example, the authors are listed first followed by the year of publication. The title of the article is included next. The title of the journal has been abbreviated and italicized. The volume number which follows has also been italicized, but the issue number – contained within parentheses – has not. Cited with the volume and issue numbers is the range of pages which contain the article. Finally, the DOI is included.
A note about abbreviating journal titles: The following link will take you to PubMed where you can input the title of the journal and then the database will present the abbreviation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/journals. IF the title is not found in the PubMed database, then you are free to use the title of the journal as presented by the database.
When citing periodicals, remember these basic rules:
Put a space between the initials
Italicize the volume numbers of the periodical articles
The issue number goes between parentheses
Example of a webpage article from a website
Fong, J. (2020, February 29). DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden. EHow. Retrieved March 11, 2020, from https://www.ehow.com/13724838/diy-mason-jar-herb-garden
The example above is a webpage article titled “DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden” from the website EHow. It was written by J. Fong and published on February 29, 2020. The retrieval date is the date on which it was discovered. Retrieval dates are to be used when a webpage is not archived and, therefore, subject to change. The last piece of information noted is the webpage’s address. It is important to note that APA style does not want the address followed by a period so that it does not interfere with the link.
Whenever a webpage has an updated date (e.g. “Updated 4/10/2020”), use that updated date instead of the original published date.
Example of an article from an online encyclopedia database
Forests. (2015). In National Geographic (Ed.), Answer book: 10,001 fast facts about our world. National Geographic Society. Retrieved from Credo Reference database.
In this example, the title of the entry “Forests” is used since there is no author given. The published date of this encyclopedia is from 2015. National Geographic is the editor and following this entry is the title of the encyclopedia: “Answer book: 10,001 fast facts about our world” in italics. The publisher of this encyclopedia is the National Geographic Society. Lastly, it is important to state where this source was found, which happens to be Credo Reference – an online encyclopedia database.
In this particular case, the URL “http://ezproxy.delta.edu:2048/login...” was not added. APA reasons that readers have access to their own databases when searching for sources and so it is not worthwhile to give them a link where they may have to enter a login code to a database they don’t have access to (APA Manual, p.296).
In any case, ask your professor if they would prefer the URL regardless of APA standards.
Interviews (check with your instructor about this APA rule)
APA does not require that you cite personal communications (interviews and emails) in the reference list. Instead give an in-text citation within the body of your paper. Here is an example where the person being interviewed is directly named: “Tim Jones (personal communication, August 25, 2007) mentioned that APA has changed the rules when it comes to citing interviews.”
This is a parenthetical citation: (Paull, 2015). This is a narrative citation: Paull (2015). A parenthetical citation is used when the author is not directly named in the body of the work, while a narrative citation is used when the author is directly named in the body of the work.
When using a direct quote or paraphrasing a specific paragraph it is important that you cite the page(s) where you pulled the information from. To cite a single page, use this format: (Paull, 2015, p. 233). To cite multiple pages, use these formats: (Paull, 2015, pp. 233-234) or (Paull, 2015, pp. 233, 235) for discontinuous pages.
Some sources don’t have page numbers. In this case, you would cite the information like so: (Fong, 2020, “Step 1: Add Pebbles to Jars” section). By naming the section in which to find the direct quote or paraphrased information, the reader can find the information directly.
When discussing an entire body of work, simply cite the source in-text like so: (Fong, 2020).
In some cases, there will be more than two authors for a source. When that happens, you should use the Latin abbreviation: “et al.” meaning “and others.” For example: (Wilson-Rich et al., 2014).
Whenever an author or editor is absent from a source, you should use the title. If the title is presented in your entry in italics, then you present it in italics in your in-text citation. If the title is not in italics, then you present it with quotation marks instead: (“Eating disorder,” 2017).
If you need to cite two or more sources in the same sentence, use this format: (Gillis, 2012; Paull, 2015). No matter how many sources need to be cited together, list them as you normally would if they were separate but with a semicolon between each source. Notice that these sources were listed in alphabetical order – the same as they would be in your references list.