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Citation Guide

Cite sources, create annotated bibliographies, and avoid plagiarism.

Documenting sources in APA Style

Citation styles change over time. Examples in this guide follow the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020), which is the current version. If you would like to see explanations and examples of citations from the previous manual (2013), you can visit our archived APA 6th edition guide.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is typically used in social science disciplines like psychology, sociology, and education. It can also be used in fields like business, communications, criminal justice, and health professions. Always consult your assignment or your instructor for the correct citation style to use.

Below, see basic information about APA-style citations, plus resources to learn more. On other pages (linked in the guide menu), you'll find templates and examples for creating citations for books, articles, audiovisuals, and other sources of information.

General guidelines for APA references

Names

  • When a name is the first element of a citation, list an author's last name first, followed by first and middle initials
  • Separate names with commas; use an ampersand (&) before the last author 
  • For more than twenty authors, use ellipses after the twentieth author's name, then ampersand and final author
  • If no author is given, list title first, then date
  • Use Anonymous only if the work is signed Anonymous

Dates

  • Do not abbreviate month names
  • Use the year of publication for books
  • Format for daily periodicals: (year, month day)
  • Format for monthly or quarterly periodicals: (year, month or season)
  • Use (n.d.) if no date is provided
  • Only include a retrieval date for online resources if the document is likely to change
    • For articles from library databases or simultaneously published in print, do not include the date of retrieval

Titles

  • Book titles and subtitles: italicize, and capitalize the first word and proper nouns
  • Article titles and subtitles: capitalize the first word and proper nouns
  • Periodical titles: italicize, and capitalize all words except articles and prepositions

Issue numbers

  • Always include issue numbers, especially if a periodical is paginated by issue

Page numbers

  • Book sections: use p. for one page, pp. for two or more pages
  • Newspapers: use p. for one page, pp. for two or more pages
  • Magazines and journals: do not use p. or pp.

Library databases

  • Do not include a database name unless the work was published by the database and is not available anywhere else

DOIs

  • When available, include a DOI (digital object identifier)
    • Look for a DOI at the beginning or end of a book, a book chapter, or an article
    • Many will start with http://dx.doi.org/ or https://doi.org
    • Using https://doi.org is preferred by the APA
  • For more information, see doi.org; to see if a book, chapter, article, or other source has a DOI assigned, use www.crossref.org/guestquery

URLs

  • Link directly to the item cited
  • Use permalinks when available 

More resources

On APA style

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