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Always consult your syllabus and assignment sheets. They may differ from information you see here (or anywhere else) on citing your sources and formatting your paper!

What is APA?

APA Style, currently in its seventh edition, was developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). The style is commonly used in the fields of behavioral and social sciences. In addition to being one of the most popular style guides in academia, APA Style's most enduring legacy is its continually updated guidelines for reducing bias in language.

APA Examples

Template: AuthorLastName, F. I. (Year). Title. Publisher.

One author: Davis, A. Y. (2003). Are Prisons Obsolete? Seven Stories Press.

Multiple authors: Lewis, J., Aydin, A., & Powell, N. (2013). March: Book One. Top Shelf Productions.

Chapter in an edited book: Wright, R. (2011). High Tide in Harlem: Joe Louis as a Symbol of Freedom. In J. Schulian & G. Kimball (Ed.), At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing (pp. 68-74). Library of America.

Template: AuthorLastName, F. I. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue), pages. DOI or URL.

Journal article (with DOI): McDonald, J. E., Faytol, A. L., Grau, P. P., Olson, J. R., Goddard, H. W., & Marshall, J. P. (2020). Compassion and values influence marital quality amongst couples in three U.S. states. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 9(2), 59–72.

Journal article (no DOI): Ployd, A. (2020). What makes a martyr? The Movement for Black Lives and the power of rhetoric old and new. Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 55(1), 33-45.

Template: AuthorLastName, F. I. (Date). Article title (if applicable). Title of Website. URL

Template for videos: Author, A. A. (year, month day). Title of video [Video file]. Source. Retrieved from URL

Article on a website: Adeline, S., Hanzhang Jin, C., Hurt, A., Wilburn, T., Wood, D., & Talbot, R. (August 5, 2020). Tracking the pandemic: Are coronavirus cases rising or falling in your state? NPR.

Entire web site: News Literacy Project. (2020). News Literacy Project.

Video: University of Oxford. (2018, December 6). How do geckos walk on water? [Video]. YouTube.


  • If no author is listed, begin the entry with the web page title.
  • If the content is likely to change over time, include retrieval date.
  • If an organization is listed as the author/creator, list the organization name in place of an individual's name.

Citing Sources - In Text

In APA format, in text citations follow the author-date method. That means the author's last name and year of publication should appear in the text, with a complete reference in the reference list at the end of the paper. If a specific fact or quotation is being referenced, the page number should be included as well. 

Frederick Douglass spoke to over 1,000 people in Winona, MN in 1867 (Gannaway, 2018, p. 74).

"Douglass stood before a supportive audience of more than a thousand. It was his first visit to Minnesota" (Gannaway, 2018, p.74).

Gannaway writes that this lecture in Winona was Douglass's "first visit to Minnesota" (2018, p.74).

If the source has two authors, use "and: to link the authors in the signal phrase and use the ampersand in parentheses.

Smith and Jones (2019) note....

.... (Smith & Jones, 2019).

For sources with three or more, use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses.

Nguyen et al. (2019)

...  (Nguyen et al., 2019)

If the author is an organization or government agency, use the organization name in place of the author's name in the signal phrase or parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source. If there is a well known abbreviation for the source, include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.

First citation:

(Association for College and Research Libraries [ACRL], 2016)

Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL, 2016)

Subsequent citations:

(ACRL, 2016)

ACRL (2016)

Exceptions to the Basic In-Text Format

- When two works referenced would abbreviate to the same et al. form, spell out as many surnames as needed to disambiguate

If you're citing one paper by authors Smith, Jackson, and Jones and one paper by authors Smith, Nguyen, and Ramirez, you'd cite them as Smith, Jackson, et al. and Smith, Nguyen, et al. respectively.

- When multiple works have identical author(s) and publication year, append letters to the year

If you're citing two books by Russell & Wong from 2015, one would be cited (Russell & Wong, 2015a) and the other (Russell & Wong, 2015b)

- When the first authors of multiple references share the same surname, but have different given names, use initials in the in-text citations. Follow this rule whether the works have the same date or different dates.

If you're citing papers by both Karen Sorvaag and Scott Sorvaag, you'd cite them as K. Sorvaag and S. Sorvaag respectively.

- When the work you're citing doesn't have a date published, use "n.d." in place of the date in the in-text citations.

- When the work you're citing has been accepted for publication, but hasn't yet been published, use "in press" in place of the date.

Works Cited

American Psychological Association. (2019). About APA Style. Retrieved December 5, 2019, from