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APA Style Guide

The documentation style recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA) is widely used for writing in the social sciences.

The current 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is available:


  • When paraphrasing or quoting an author directly, you must credit the source in the text.
  • The list of works cited is called “References”
  • Alphabetize the references by author last name
  • For any one reference, give all author names up to and including 20 authors
  • When there are 21 authors or more, include the first 19 followed by three dots, followed by the name of the last author

Electronic Sources

References to sources in electronic format contain the same elements in the same order as do references to print sources, with the addition of retrieval information such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or URL so that the reader can locate the source.

  • The retrieval date is only necessary if the content you are citing is likely to change, such as preprint journal articles, or undated content from the Web
  • If a document has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) assigned to it, include that URL in the reference
  • If there is no DOI, include the URL of the document
  • If no date is given for a resource, add n.d. for no date.

In-Text Citations

The in-text citation is a brief reference within your text that indicates the source you consulted. It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source and should direct readers to the associated entry in the reference list.


If you summarize the ideas of another author, you need to include an in-text citation. An in-text citation consists of the author’s name and publication year in parentheses at the end of the sentence containing the summary.


(Winkleman, 2009).

Authors Name in the sentence

If the author is named in the sentence, use just the publication year in parentheses.


“As a leading expert in the subject, Winkleman (2009) asserts that…”

Multiple Authors

(Winkleman & Clark, 2019)

A Work by Three Or More Authors

List only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” in every citation, even the first, unless doing so would create ambiguity between different sources.


(Winkleman et al., 2019) Winkleman et al. (2019) suggest…

Direct Quote

Add the page number when using a direct quote.


(Winkleman, 2009, p. 134).

Reference Examples

Article From a Journal, Magazine or Newspaper

Article from a Print Journal or Research Database

Rowe, J. R. (2009). Nuclear power in a carbon-constrained world. Daedalus, 138(4), 81-92.

Online Journal Article

Brown, J. D., Sintzel, J., St. Arnault, D., & George, N. (2009). Confidence to foster across cultures: Caregiver perspectives. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18(6), 633 -642. https://doi:10.1007/s10826-009-9264-z

Newspaper Article

Dvorak, P. (2009, May 30). On the street and on Facebook: The homeless stay wired — Mr. Pitts lacks a mailing address but he’s got a computer and a web forum. Wall Street Journal, p. A-1.

NOTE: If the article is from an online newspaper, include the article URL instead of the page number.

E-books and Print Books

Entire Book

Note: if the book is an e-book with a DOI, include the URL in place of publisher

Single Author

Winkleman, M. (2009). Culture and health: Applying medical anthropology. Jossey-Bass.

Two to 20 authors

Robnett, R. H., & Chop, W. C. (2010). Gerontology for the health care professional. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Note: When there are 21 authors or more, include the first 19 followed by three dots, followed by the name of the last author

Chapter in an Edited Book

Hart, L. A. (2006). Community context and psychosocial benefits of animal companionship. In A. H. Fine (Ed.), Handbook on animal assisted therapy (pp. 73- 94). Elsevier.

Note: add either the publisher or the URL at the end.

Note: this example also demonstrates and editor and an edition of the book, if these elements are not present do not add them.  



Arthritis Foundation. (2012). Exercise and arthritis.


DVD Video

American Psychological Association. (Producer). (2008). Assessing alcohol problems using motivational interviewing [Film; educational DVD]. 

Note: You can add the writer, directors, host, producers, composer or artist as the author. 

Online Video

Cain, S. (2012). The Power of introverts (Video). TED Conferences.

Blog Post

Doctorow, C. (2019, September 24). At the UN, Greta Thunberg excoriates world leaders and her elders for climate inaction. Boing Boing.


Rooks, J. (Host). (2019, November 6). Conserving Maine’s islands: What’s  being done to protect Maine islands from climate change & threats [Audio podcast episode]. In Maine Calling. Maine Public.


Demeo, A. E. (2013). A three pronged approach to community scale renewable energy: Education, incremental capital investment and smart grid technology (Publication No. 3575461). [Doctoral dissertation, The University of Maine].

Note: If the dissertation is from a research database, use the database name instead of a URL.

Legal Case

Despres v. Moyer, 827 A. 2d 61 (S.C. ME 2003).

NOTE: For information on preparing legal references, the APA refers writers to the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

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