Citation Guide: American Psychological Association (APA)

American Psychological Association (APA) style, used primarily in the social sciences and in some of the natural sciences, emphasizes the author(s) and publication date of a source. Writers who use the APA documentation system cite, or formally acknowledge, information within their text using parentheses and provide a list of sources, called a references list, at the end of their document.

This guide contains information on how to format the document, incorporate in-text citations, and develop the References list. This guide is far from exhaustive and for more information or resources on APA format, see the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual or visit the Additional Resources page.

To access this guide, click on the sections listed in the Contents area to the right.

[Guide Updated Jul 2017]

General Format

APA uses an author-date form of in-text citation to acknowledge the use of another writer’s words, facts, or ideas. When you are summarizing or paraphrasing, provide the author’s last name and the year of publication either in the sentence or in parentheses at the end of the sentence. You may include a page or chapter reference if it would help readers find the original material in a longer work. When you are quoting, the citation in parentheses must include the page(s) or paragraph(s) (for sources that do not have pages) in which the quotation can be found.

Although APA requires page or paragraph numbers only for direct quotations, your instructor might prefer that you include a page or paragraph number with every source you cite in your document. If you are not certain of the requirements for your project, ask your instructor for guidance. For more information refer to the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual or visit the Additional Resources page of this guide.

Document Format

Page Format

APA format requires 1-inch margins at the top, bottom, left and right of an 8 1/2 by 11-inch page, with 12 point Times New Roman font.

Double-space the entire paper: between the title and the body of the paper, within the title, any footnotes, in the References, and in figure captions. Never use single spacing or one-and-a-half spacing, except within tables or figures.

Do not justify lines. Lines should be flush on the left and ragged on the right. In addition, do not break words at the end of a line with a hyphen. Instead, let the line run short and put the entire word on the following line.

Indent every paragraph five spaces, using the tab key. You do not need to indent the abstract, block quotations, titles, headings (unless the heading level calls for it), table titles or table notes, or figure captions. Titles should always be centered.

Title Page

Titles are an important part of a paper and need to convey the key ideas of a paper in a concise and clear way. Creating strong titles takes practice and is not always easy. Be willing to play around with different titles and try out different wordings before settling on the best one. In general, do not use abbreviations or redundant or explanatory words (i.e. "Study", Research", Investigation"). Also, a good general guideline is to keep titles to 12 words or less.

Poor Title:


Research on How Higher Grades May Appear to Affect the Mood of Freshman Students

Better Title:


The Perceived Effect of Higher Grades on Mood Freshman Year


Type the title in both uppercase and lowercase letters (meaning the entire title should not be uppercase, nor should only the first letter of the first word of the title be in uppercase). Center the title and position it in the upper half of the page.

In addition to the title, the title page should include the author's name and the institutional affiliation where the research was carried out or the paper was written. The author's name should include the first name, a middle initial, and a last name. Do not abbreviate the institutional affiliation.

Page Numbers and Running Head

Pages should be numbered consecutively, beginning with the title page. In addition to page numbers, every page should include a running head. The running head is the title of the paper or a shortened version of the title. On the title page the words "Running Head:" should appear in the left hand corner, followed by the title or shortened title in all capital letters. The page number should appear in the right hand corner. Subsequent pages should repeat this format minus the "Running Head:" portion.


An abstract is a summary of the paper. It is appropriate to include the results and your conclusions in the abstract. Succinctly explain the type of research done and the conclusions reached. Be sure to use key words and important information in the abstract, remembering to be accurate and coherent without giving an evaluation. The abstract should be objective, telling readers what was done, but without opinion. Meaning, do not imply that the research is groundbreaking, or the conclusions unexpected or surprising. Most abstracts have word limits, usually between 150 and 250 words. A good abstract takes practice and revision, much like a good title.

Writing and Grammar Tips

Good writing should be clear, concise, and free of biased language. Read your writing with this in mind. Do not use vague words or phrases, avoid euphemisms and irrelevant evaluation, and keep your audience in mind. For guidelines on reducing bias and writing clearly, refer to chapter three in the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual.

APA style allows for the use of personal pronouns, such as I, or we if there are coauthors, when discussing actions and research that you have conducted. There is no need to speak in the third person ("the researchers") when you are conducting the research.

Use the active voice, avoiding the passive voice unless specifically directed to do so by your instructor. When referring to actions that occurred as a specific time in the past, use the past tense. If referring to an action that is still occurring into the present, or that did not occur at a specific time, use the present perfect (i.e. "have conducted").

When writing numbers, use numerals for numbers 10 and above, and write numbers out below 10.

Parallel construction is a way to structure your sentences, and it can enhance your writing as well as your readers' understanding of the ideas in your paper. To create parallelism use a pair of coordinating conjunctions (between....and, both....and, neither....nor, either.....or, not only.....but also), placing the first conjunction immediately before the first clause or phrase making up the parallel structure.

The forward moved downfield while dribbling the ball and looking for defenders.

The phrases in italics create the parallelism because they are both constructed using the participle of a verb. While...and is the pair of coordinating conjunctions.

Neither the cat in the tree nor the fireman in the street knew what to do.

Part of the key to creating parallelism is to use the same words or to structure the parallel elements in the same way. The same information is in the sentence below, but it is not written in parallel.

Neither the cat out on a branch in the tree nor the fireman standing below knew what to do.

Creating parallelism takes practice and thought. For more ideas or information on how to create parallel sentences see section 3.23 in the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual or stop by the CSU Writing Center.


Insert two spaces after punctuation when ending a sentence. Use one space after commas, colons, and semicolons, after periods that separate parts of a reference citation, and after periods of initials in personal names (e.g. J. Power). Do not insert any spaces after internal periods in abbreviations (10 a.m., the U.S.) or with colons in ratios.


Research papers frequently employ specific sections, such as the Methods, Results, and Discussion. Other common sections are a Literature Review or Appendices. Brief explanations for each section are listed below. For more in-depth explanations see sections 2.05-2.13 in the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual.


The introduction should begin with a presentation of the specific problem that the author is studying as well as the research strategy. The introduction does not require a heading. A good introduction should explore the importance of the problem, review relevant scholarship, and lay out the hypotheses and how the hypotheses relates to the research design.


This section describes how the research was conducted, including sampling procedures, participant characteristics, research design, sample sizes, and experimental manipulations and interventions.


The results section reviews the data and analyses that were conducted. This section usually explains the data that is presented in accompanying figures or tables.


The discussion evaluates and interprets the results that were laid out in the previous section. This is where your interpretation of the results is explored, as well as the implications of the results and any suggestions for future research.

Literature review

A literature review does more than review previous research and studies. It explains how the previous research leads or points to the research done in this paper. This is where you build an argument for the relevance and need for your research.


This is where material (extra data, tables, figures) that doesn't fit smoothly into the body of the paper can be included. Appendices are labeled A, B, C, etc. If there is only one Appendix, then it is Appendix A.

Levels of Headings

There are five heading formats in APA. The section headings (Methods, Results, Discussion, etc) would be the highest, or the first level, and then depending on how many levels of subheadings there are, progress downward to the next level.

Heading Level Format

1 Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and

Lowercase Heading

2 Flush left, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading

3 Indented, boldface, lowercase paragraph heading

ending with a period.

4 Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase paragraph

heading ending with a period.

5 Indented, italicized, lowercase paragraph heading

ending with a period.


Method (1)
Sample Selection (2)
Participant Selection (2)
Participant characteristics. (3)
History of participants. (4)
Age and gender of participants. (4)
Participant anomolies. (5)

In-Text Citation Format

For specific rules and examples see the In-Text Citations section

The APA's in-text citation system follows a parenthetical format, much like the MLA's; however, it emphasizes authors and dates of publication because authors and dates of research are important benchmarks denoting relevancy and validity in both the social and the natural sciences.


APA uses an in-text author-date citation system. The in-text citation directs readers to the References list at the end of the paper, where every source that is cited in-text is listed alphabetically. If a source is not cited in-text, it should not appear in the References list. However, there are two types of sources that are cited in-text but not listed in the References list: classical works and personal communications.

Some general rules for APA in-text citations are:

  1. If someone's ideas, research, or theories have influenced your thinking or work, you should cite them in your writing
  2. Cite facts or figures that are not common knowledge.
  3. Always give the author's last name and the publication date.
  4. Place a comma between the author's name and the year of publication: (Fisher, 2012).
  5. If the author's name is given in the sentence where the citation appears, only the publication date needs to be given in parentheses. If the author's name is not mentioned, give both pieces of information in parentheses.
  6. Parenthetical citations are always included inside sentence punctuation.
  7. Page numbers are included for direct quotations and must include abbreviations ("p." or "pp."). Page numbers are encouraged but not required for paraphrased material.

For more detailed information on in-text citations format see chapter 6 of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual.

References Format

The end documentation in the APA system is called References. It is located at the end of a document and contains publication information for all sources that you have cited within your document, with two exceptions. Entire websites and personal communication, such as e-mail messages, letters, and interviews, are cited only in the text of the document.

Begin the list on a new page at the end of the document, and center the title “References” at the top. Organize the list alphabetically by author (if the source is an organization, alphabetize it by the name of the organization: if the source has no know author, alphabetize it by title). All the entries should be double-spaced with no extra space between entries. Entries are formatted with a hanging indent: the first line is flush with the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented one-half inch. Only the initial word and proper nouns (names of people, organizations, cities, states, and so on) in a source title and subtitle are capitalized.

In longer documents, a references list may be given at the end of each chapter or section. In digital documents that use links, such as websites, the references list is often a separate page to which other pages are linked.

For information on how to format individual entries instead of the page as a whole, see the References pages

  • This guide includes only the most common formatting rules. If what you are looking for is not included here, please click on Additional Resources for more information. When formatting online/electronic sources becomes confusing, clarify expectations with your instructor.


Below is a list of accepted abbreviations for the References list to use in entries:

Abbreviation | Book or publication part

ed. edition

Rev. ed. Revised edition

2nd ed. second edition

Ed. (Eds.) Editor (Editors)

Trans. Translator(s)

n.d. no date

p. (pp.) page (pages)

Vol. Volume (as in Vol. 4)

Vols. Volumes (as in Vols. 1-4)

No. Number

Pt. Part

Tech. Rep. Technical Report

Suppl. Supplement

Order of References

The basic rule to alphabetize seems simple, but questions and complications inevitably arise. Below are some rules for the order of Reference entries.

  1. Nothing precedes something: Gold is listed before Golding; Villavicencio is listed before Villa-Zorro; Muros is listed before Muros de Allende.
  2. Several works by the same author: If it is a one-author entry, arrange them by year of publication, with the earliest date first.

Peterkin, J. (1927). Black April. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 48.

Peterkin, J. (1928). Scarlet sister Mary. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 92.

If the dates are the same, arrange them alphabetically by title and attach suffixes to each year (a, b, c...).

Smith, S., Wesson, P., & Winchester, T. (1988a). Title alpha.

New York: Macmillan, 324.

Smith, S., Wesson, P., & Winchester, T. (1988b). Title beta.

New York: Macmillan, 76.

Smith, S., Wesson, P., & Winchester, T. (1988c). Title zeta.

New York: Macmillan, 101-103.

3. List one-author works before co-authored works with the same first author. Do this even if the publication date for the co-authored work is earlier.

Shor, I. (1986). Culture wars: School and society in the

conservative restoration, 1969-1982. Boston: Routledge

and K. Paul, 55.

Shor, I. & Friere, P. (1987). A pedagogy of liberation:

Dialogues on transforming education. New York:

Bergin and Garvey, 112-115.

If there are different co-authors, entries are listed alphabetically by the second author. If the second authors are the same, then alphabetize by the third author, etc.

Smith, M., Brown, N., & Black, L. (1993). Title one. New York: Macmillan, 57.

Smith, M., White, Q., & Toggle, V. (1989). Title two. Boston: Bedford, 32-36.

4. If you have two different authors with the same last name, alphabetize by their first initial.

Duke, K. (1998).

Duke, N. (2003).

Sample Documents

A sample title page, abstract and first page, and References list are located in the Related Resources in the menu to the right. To return to the guide after viewing the samples, select the back arrow button on your browser.

Displaying Data

Results and data can be presented in a paper in two ways. Authors can explain the results of an experiment or inquiry through text, or they can display the results in a table or figure. When the results are in the form of data, it is often more efficient to display them in a table or figure. The advantage of a table or figure is that a large amount of information can be displayed in a format that is easier to comprehend.

Do not do both. Do not explain the results in text and display a table or figure. If you use a table or figure, refer to it, discuss the highlights, but do not repeat all of the information again.

A table is used for numerical values or textual information, and is arranged in rows and columns. A figure can be anything from a chart or graph to a photograph or drawing.

When using tables or figures in a paper, there are guidelines on how to label, number, and format them. The information presented here is an overview, and for a more specific and detailed guide refer to the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, chapter 5.

General Guidelines

Data can be presented for a variety of reasons, such as explanation, communication, calculation, storage, or visual enhancement. The most common reason, however, is communication because a researcher usually wants to communicate the meaning of the data. Here are some general rules to keep in mind:

  1. Number all tables and figures in the same order in which they are mentioned in text and refer to them by their number, not "the table above" or "the table on page two". Use Arabic numerals, not letters. If you have one table and one figure, they should be labeled Table 1 and Figure 1. If you include additional tables or figure in an appendix, they should be labeled with the letter of the appendix and an Arabic numeral: Figure B3 is the third figure in Appendix B.
  2. Labels should be placed next to the element that they are labeling.
  3. Use fonts that are large enough to read easily.
  4. All of the information needed to understand the table or figure should be included in the table or figure. Use labels and table notes to accomplish this.
  5. Avoid unusual or non-standard abbreviations.
  6. Avoid decorative elements (such as shading, unusual font styles, colors, borders, etc.) if they do not add necessary content or meaning.
  7. Do not reproduce a table or figure from another source without written permission. If you do reproduce a table or figure, give credit in the caption to the author or copyright holder. For more information on permission to reproduce data displays, see section 5.06 of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual.


    Most tables are created using the table feature of the word processing program in which the text is written. When putting a table together, consider what data is necessary for readers to understand the discussion, and what data is needed to provide a sufficient understanding of the analyses conducted. For more information on data and what a "sufficient understanding" is, see section 4.44 of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual. Finally, every table needs a title, and it should be clear and explanatory.

    Tables have several basic components: the table number, table title, table body, cells, column heads, stub head, stub column, and table notes.

    Table Number X

    Table Title________________________________________

    Stub Head Column Head Column Head

    x        x       x  

    x        x       x

    x         x       x

    x        x       x

    x        x       x


    Table Note: Use this space for general notes on a table

    The column to the farthest left in a table is the stub column. The stub column lists the major independent or predictor variables. A cell is the point of intersection between a row and a column, represented in the example table by an x. The rows of cells, which contain data, comprise the table body.

    Table 1

    Temperature Ranges and Averages for Narnia, January through June____________________


    Month     Low Temperature   High Temperature   Average______________

    January      2          34      16

    February      4          26      14  

    March       12         41      28

    April       19         52      43

    May        34         68      54

    June______________ 47 __________________75_____________61_______________

    Totals______________19.6__________________49.3____________ 36_______________

    Note: All temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.

    Additional table elements are the column spanner, table spanner, decked heads, or different types of table notes. A column spanner is a heading that identifies more than one column, vs. a column heading, which can only identify one column. A table spanner is a heading that covers the entire table body. Decked heads are stacked headings, done to avoid word repetition. In Table 2, the column spanner and the column headings are decked, allowing the column headings to use less words and have less space in-between the columns than in Table 1. The column headings Low and High are better than Low Temperature and High Temperature, as in Table 1. It is better to have briefly worded column headings. Try not to have more than two levels of decked heads.

    Table X

    ______________________________________ Table Title___________________________

    Column spanner _Column spanner__

    Stub head  Column head  Column head     Column head  Column head

                     Table spanner

    x        x       x         x       x

    x        x       x         x       x

    x        x      x         x       x

    x        x      x         x       x

    x        x      x         x       x


    >Table Note. Use this space for general notes on a table
    >a Specific notes are denoted with a, b, c ... in superscript. A specific note explains something about a cell or piece
    > of data and should go below any general table notes.
    > * Probability notes (p value) are denoted with a * symbol, below any specific notes.


    Table 2

    Temperature Ranges and Averages for Narnia, January Through June, Years One and Two___


             Temperature range__

    Month      Low   High   Average_______________________________

                Year one

    January      2    34    16

    February      4    26    14  

    March       12    41      28

    April              19       52        43

    May               34       68        54

    June______________  47  _____75________ 61________________________________


                           Year two

    January            2       4         3a

    February           3       25        10   

    March             8       41        18

    April              18      52        33

    May               29      68        48

    June______________ 45* ____72_____ ___57_______________________________


    Note: All temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.
    a The White Witch is believed to have lowered temperatures for the month of January in Year two.
    * Probability notes (p value) are denoted with a * symbol, below any specific notes.

    Headings always identify the information below them. In the stub column, if there is subordinate information, indent within the column rather than creating a new column.

    With all headings, only the first letter of the first word should be capitalized. Unless they are referring to a group, stub heads, column heads, and column spanners should be singular. Table spanners, however, can be plural.

    With cells, if there is no information you should either leave the cell empty or insert a dash. Leave the cell empty if there is no information because the data are not applicable. Insert a dash if there is no information because data were not gathered or reported. Explain the dash in a general note underneath the table.

    Table notes

    Tables can have three kinds of table notes. General notes, specific notes, or probability notes. A general note qualifies, explains, or gives information about the table as a whole. A specific note refers to a column, row, or cell within the table. A probability note refers to p values. For more information about p values and probability notes, see section 5.16 of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual.

    For examples of different types of tables and their specific uses, refer to the examples in section 5.18 of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual. In section 5.19 there is a checklist for using tables. It reminds authors to consider whether or not the table is necessary, if every column has a column head, if the table is referred to in text, etc.


    Figures can be a graph, chart, map, drawing, or photograph. A chart displays non-quantitative information whereas a graph usually shows the relationship between two quantitative indices. A chart may show the flow of something through a process, for example, and a graph may show the relationship between temperatures during the summer and the number of homicides.

    Figures need to be easy to read, clear, and free from unnecessary detail. Figures should add to the information in the text, not duplicate it, and they should not have unnecessary information. They should use an easy to read font that is not too small.

    When deciding on whether or not use a figure, keep the information value in mind. What information does the figure convey? Is there a better way to convey that information, or is a figure the best way? As with tables, figures should be understandable on their own. Because of this, label figures clearly and concisely. If necessary, use a legend to explain the figure.

    A caption is used to explain a figure, whereas a legend is used to explain symbols that are used within the figure. Captions should be positioned below a figure, but legends should be placed within the figure. Use the caption as a title for the figure, keeping it brief and concise. If necessary, add information after the caption (usually a short phrase punctuated with a period) to explain the figure. Do not explain the figure in the text of the paper. Readers should be able to understand the figure fully based on the figure alone.

    For more information on figures and how to present them, including examples of figures, refer to sections 5.20 through 5.25 of the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual.

    In-Text Citations

    In APA an in-text citation must include the author's last name and the year of publication. Below are some of the more common ways to cite information in-text. For more information refer to the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, chapter 6.

    Basic Format for a Source Named in Your Text

    Place the publication year in parentheses directly after the author’s last name. Include the page number (with “p.” for “page”) in parentheses after a direct quotation.


    Jennings(2012) pointed out that humans are poor students of probability, meaning that we’re prone to “develop paranoid nightmare-inducing phobias about the unlikeliest things (plane crashes, strangers kidnapping our kids) while ignoring far more pressing risks (heart disease, car accidents)” (p. xiv).

    According to Jennings (2012), humans have a tendency to fear the most unlikely phenomena, while brushing off more apparent dangers.

    Note that APA style requires using the past tense or present perfect tense to introduce the material you are citing: Jennings argued or Jennings has argued.

    Basic Format for a Source Not Named in Your Text

    Insert a parenthetical note that gives the author’s last name and the year of publication, separated by a comma. For a quotation, include the page or paragraph number of the source.


    Psychoneuroimmunology, a new field of medicine, “studies the ways that the psyche – the mind and its content of emotions – profoundly interacts with the body’s nervous system and how both of them, in turn, form an essential link with our immune defense” (Mate, 2011, p. 5).

    Psychoneuroimmunology is a new field of medicine that examines the link between human emotion and physiology and how that unity affects health and immunity over the course of a life (Mate, 2011).

    Basic Format for Two Authors

    List the last names of both authors in every mention in the text. If you mention the authors’ names in a sentence, use the word “and” to separate the last names, as shown in the first example. If you place the authors’ names in the parenthetical citation, use an ampersand (&) to separate the last names, as shown in the second example.


    Tannenbaum and Marks (2012) indicated that “many of [MTV’s] most important founders came from radio backgrounds, which freed them from abiding by the existing rules of the television industry” (p. 14)

    MTV was largely founded by individuals with radio expertise, which allowed the network to operate outside the constraints of the television industry (Tannenbaum & Marks, 2012).


    Basic Format for Three, Four or Five Authors

    In parentheses, name all the authors the first time you cite the source, using an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. In subsequent references to the source, use the last name of the first author followed by the abbreviation “et al.” (Latin for “and others”).


    Those who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are preoccupied with one or more areas of the body they feel are imperfect or deformed (Wilhelm, Phillips, & Steketee, 2013). As a result, they tend to engage in compulsive rituals to improve or conceal the perceived flaw (Wilhelm et al., 2013).

    Basic Format for Six or More Authors

    In all references to the source, give the first author’s last name followed by the abbreviation “et al” (Latin for “and others”).


    While their study suggests that female Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqui Freedom soldiers are just as resilient to combat-related stress as are male soldiers, Vogt et al. (2011) submitted that further research is needed to evaluate gender differences in the long-term effects of stress postdeployment.

    Basic Format for a Corporate, Group or Government Author

    In general, cite the full name of the corporation, group, or government agency the first time it is mentioned in your text. If you add an abbreviation for the name in square brackets the first time you cite the source, you can use the abbreviation in subsequent citations.


    A new international treaty has been signed to help combat the illicit trade of tobacco products (World Health Organization [WHO], 2013). This protocol not only will establish a global tracing system to reduce and eliminate illicit tobacco trade but also will play an important role in protecting people around the world from a serious health risk (WHO, 2013).

    Basic Format for an Unknown Author

    Sources with unknown authors are listed by title in the list of refrences. In your in-text citation, shorten the title as much as possible without introducing confusion. Add quotation marks to article titles, and italicize book titles.


    While life expectancy in general has improved for those living in developed countries, the improvement has been far more drastic for form – a phenomenon that is closing the gender gap in longevity (“Catching Up,” 2013).

    Basic Format for Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year

    After organizing the works alphabetically by title, insert a lowercase letter after the publication year (“2013a” or “2013b”).


    Garfield (2016b) noted that our evolution as a society is consistently reflected in how we map our world: from the origins of triangulation and the fixing of longitude to aerial photography and, now, GPS and satellite navigation.

    Basic Format for Two or More Authors with the Same Last Name

    Use the authors’ initials in each citation.


    While both R. Cohen (2012) and L. Cohen (2012) have presented stark and sincere biographies free of bias, L. Cohen has introduced a new concept to the genre by chronicling three worthy subjects at once.

    Basic Format for Two or More Works Cited Together

    List the sources in alphabetical order, and separate them with semicolons. If you are referring to two or more sources by the same author, order those sources chronologically and separate them with commas; give the author’s last name only once (“Gharab, 2010, 2012”).


    Rather than encourage exploration into more difficult and inaccessible energy stores, our new awareness of the finite nature of the earth’s resources should incite a change in lifestyle that no longer strains the limits of our environment (Dietz & O’Neill, 2013; Klare, 2012).

    Basic Format for a Source Cited in Another Source

    Ideally, you should track down the original source of the information. If you cannot find the original, mention its author and indicate where it was cited.


    Slater posited that the rise in online dating services has led to a decrease in commitment, as this technology fosters the notion that one can always find a more compatible mate (as cited in Weissmann, 2013).


    Basic Format for a Source with No Page Numbers

    Many visual documents, such as brochures and digital sources, such as websites and full-text articles from databases, lack page numbers. If the source has numbered paragraphs, indicate the paragraph number using the abbreviation “para.” If the paragraphs are not numbered, include the section heading and indicate which paragraph in that section contains the cited material.


    Doig (2012) examined the rise in tactical urbanism, a kind of city planning newly employed by big government to take small bits of unusable public space and re-create them as parks, gardens, and other areas designed for public use (para. 3).


    Basic Format for E-mail, Letters, and Other Personal Communication

    Give the first initial(s) and last name of the person with whom you corresponded, the words “personal communication,” and the date. Don’t include personal communication in your references list.


    (C.Soto, personal communication, May 13, 2016)


    Basic Format for a Website

    For an entire website, give the URL in parentheses in your text, and don’t include it in your references list. To cite a quotation from a website, give the paragraph number or section heading and include the source in your references list.


    The Library of Congress ( offers extensive online collections of manuscripts, correspondence, sound recordings, photographs, prints, and audiovisual materials spanning decades of American history.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (2016) combats climate change by evaluating policy options that “range from comprehensive market-based legislation to targeted regulations to reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of vehicles, power plants and large industrial sources” (para. 2).

    References- Print Books

    Basic Format for a Book with One Author

    List the author’s last name followed by a comma and the first initial. Insert the date in parentheses and italicize the title. Follow with the place of publication and the publisher, separated by a colon.


    Orenstein, P. (2016). Girls and sex: Navigating the complicated new landscape. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

    Cite the online version only if a print version is not available or is hard to find. Insert “n.d.” if no publication date is given.


    Robinson, K. (n.d.). Beyond the wilderness. Retrieved from

    If you consulted an e-reader, list the format in square brackets. The URL stands in place of information about the publisher. If you accessed the online version from a paid site, such as, use the phrase “Available from” rather than “Retrieved from.”


    Inoue, A.B. (2015). Antiracist writiing assessment ecologies: Teaching and assessing writing for a socially just future [ePub]. Retrieved from

    Basic Format for a Book with Two or More Authors

    List the authors in the same order that they title page does, each with the last name first. Use commas to separate authors and use an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name. List every author up to and including seven; for a work with eight or more authors, give the first six names followed by three ellipsis dots and the last author’s name (Do not use an ampersand in such cases).


    Watkins, D., & Brook, Y. (2016). Equal is unfair: America’s misguided fight against income inequality. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

    Grant, A., & Sandberg, S. (2016). Originals: How non-conformists move the world [Kindle]. Available from


    Basic Format for a Book with a Corporate or Group Author

    Write the full name of the corporate or group author. If the corporation is also the publisher, use “Author” for the publisher’s name.


    Linguistic Society of America. (2016). Annual report: The state of linguistics in higher education. Washington, DC: Author.


    Basic Format for a Book with an Unknown Author

    When no author is listed on the title or copyright page, begin the entry with the title of the work. Alphabetize the entry by the first significant word of the title (not including A, An, or The).


    The book of Aquarius: Alchemy and the philosopher’s stone. (2011). Charleston, SC: Forgotten Books.


    Basic Format for Citing Two or More Books by the Same Author

    Give the author’s name in each entry and the list of titles in chronological order.


    Duhigg, C. (2012). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. New York, NY: Random House.

    Duhigg, C. (2016). Smarter, faster, better: The secrets of being productive in life and business. New York, NY: Random House.


    Basic Format for a Translated Book

    List the author first, followed by the year of publication, the title, and the translator (in parentheses, identified by the abbreviation “Trans.”). Place the original date of the work’s publication at the end of the entry.


    Mauriac, F. (2015). What I believe (W. Fowlie, Trans.). Londong, England: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1963).


    Basic Format for an Edition Other Than the First

    Note the edition (“2nd ed., “ “Rev.ed.”) after the title.


    Spatt, B. (2016). Writing from sources (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.


    Basic Format for a Book with an Author with an Editor

    Include the editor’s name and the abbreviation “Ed.” in parentheses after the title.


    Newport, M.T. (2011). Alzheimer’s disease: What if there was a cure? (P. Hirsch, Ed.). Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications.


    Basic Format for a Work in an Edited Collection or Anthology, Including a Foreword, Introduction, Preface, or Afterword

    Begin with the author, publication date, and title of the selection (not italicized). Follow with the word “In,” the names of the editors (initials first), the abbreviation “Ed.” or “Eds.” in parentheses, the title of the anthology or collection (italicized), inclusive page numbers for the selection (in parentheses, with the abbreviation “pp.”), and the place and publisher.


    Sargeant, S. (2016). Psychology and models of health. In A. Tom & P. Greasley (Eds.), Psychology for nursing (pp. 21-34). London, England: Polity Press.

    Joli, F. (2016). Foreword. In J. Arena, Legends of disco: Forty stars discuss their careers (pp. 1-2). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.


    Basic Format for a Sacred Text

    Treat as you would a book.


    Holy Bible: King James version. (2011). New York, NY: American Bible Society.


    Basic Format for a Dissertation or Thesis

    Give the author, date, and title before identifying the type of work (doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis). End with the name of the database and the identifying number, or the URL.


    West, R. (2012). Hostility toward the unattractive: Challenging current “sexual harassment” law (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (AAI 3545458).


    Basic Format for a Book with Two or More Sources By the Same Author in the Same Year

    List the works alphabetically, and include lowercase letters (a, b, and so on) after the dates.


    Roach, M. (2013a). Gulp: Adventures on the alimentary canal. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

    Roach, M. (2013b). My Planet: Finding humor in the oddest places. White Plains, NY: Reader’s Digest..

    References- Print Periodicals

    Citing Sources in Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers.

    Basic Format for Citing an Article in a Journal

    Most journals continue page numbers throughout an entire annual volume, beginning again at page 1 only in the first volume of the next year. After the author and publication year, provide the article title, the journal title, the volume number (italicized), and the inclusive page numbers.


    Thonus, T. (2016. Time to say goodbye: Writing center consultation closings. Linguistics and Education, 33, 40-55.

    If every issue of the journal begins at page 1, include the issue number in parentheses, not italicized, directly after the volume number.


    Garicano, L., & Rayo, L. (2016). Why organizations fail: Models and cases. Journal of Economic Literature, 54(1), 137-192.

    Many online journal articles now have DOIs (digital object identifiers), unique numbers assigned to specific content. If an article has a DOI, list it at the end of the entry; you do not need to list the database you used to access the article or the date you accessed the database.


    Logan, J. R. (2016, March 29). As long as there are neighborhoods. City and Community 159(1), 23-28. doi:10.1111/cico.12149.

    If no DOI is available for an article accessed on the Web or in a database, give the URL for the journal’s home page instead.


    West, M. R. (2016). Schools of choice. Education Next 16(2). Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing an Article in a Magazine

    Give the publication date as year and month for monthly magazines; year, month and date for weekly or biweekly magazines. Place the issue number, if any, in parentheses directly after the volume number. Include all page numbers. For articles accessed on the Web, end with the URL of the magazine’s home page.


    Fecht, S. (2012, December). Reef in a box. Popular Science, 281(6), 16.

    Galea, S. (2016, April 5). Your healthy lifestyle won’t necessarily make you healthier. Wired. Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing an Article in a Newspaper

    Give the publication date as year, month, and date. Next give the article title followed by the name of the newspaper (italicized). Include all page numbers, preceded by “p.” or “pp.”


    Levenson, M. (2016, April 11). School closings bring pain, and not always savings. Boston Globe, p. A1.


    Basic Format for Citing an Unsigned Article

    Begin with the article title, and alphabetize in the references list by the first word in the title other than A, An, or The. Use “p.” or “pp.” before page numbers.


    RNA-only genes: The origin of the species? (2012, April 28). The Economist, 388(8592), p. 40.


    Basic Format for Citing an Editorial

    Include the word “Editorial” in square brackets after the title.


    Affirm gays’ right to marriage [Editorial]. (2012, December 14). The Dallas Morning News, p. B12.


    Basic Format for Citing a Letter To the Editor

    Include the words “Letter to the editor” in square brackets after the title of the letter or, if the letter is untitled, in place of the title.


    Gonzalez Hernandez, L. (2012, November 23). Stores should close on holidays [Letter to the editor]. Newsday, p. A24.


    Basic Format for Citing a Review

    After the title of the review, include the words “Review of the book ...” or “Review of the film ...” and so on in square brackets, followed by the title of the work reviewed. If the reviewed work is a book, include the author’s name after a comma; if it is a film or other media, include the year of release. If the review is untitled, give the bracketed information in place of the title.


    Lane, A. (2014, December 15). Swinging Seventies [Review of the film Inherent Vice, 2014]. The New Yorker, p. 76.

    Green, J. (2016, March 10). Theater review: Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels in a superb Blackbird [Review of the play Blackbird, 2016]. Retrieved from

    References- Print Other

    Basic Format for Citing a Dissertation or Thesis

    Give the author, date, and title before identifying the type of work (doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis). End with the name of the database and the identifying number, or the URL


    West, R. (2012). Hostility toward the unattractive: Challenging current “sexual harassment” law (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (AAI 3545458).

    • If a Doctoral dissertation or a Master's Thesis is unpublished, that fact should be stated in parentheses after the title.

    Basic Format for Citing a Government Publication

    Give the name of the department, office, agency, or committee that issued the report as the author. If the document has a report or special file number, place that in parentheses after the title. If the publication was found online, provide the DOI or URL.


    United States Congress. (2015). Economic indicators, October 2015. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

    Basic Format for Citing a Legal Document

    Legal publications have their own unique format depending on the type and source of the document. They should be treated the same way as reference entries with no author; alphabetize them by the first significant word entry other than A, An, or The.


    Court Decisions

    Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Location and Date).

    Meyer v. State of Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (S.Ct. 625 1923)


    Name of Act, Volume Source § section number (year).

    Farm Credit Act, 42 U.S.C.A. sec. § 410 (1959).

    Legislative Materials (enacted Federal bills and resolutions)

    xx. Res. xxx, xxx Cong., Volume Source page (year) (enacted)

    S. Res. 223, 103d Cong., 2nd Sess., 140 Cong. Rec. 6871 (1993) (enacted).

    Administrative and Executive Materials

    Exec. Order No. xxxx, 3 C.F.R. Page (year).

    Exec. Order No. 12149, 3 C.F.R. 420-22 (1979).

    References- Digital and Media

    Media Sources

    Basic Format for a Citing a Film or Video Recording

    List the director and producer (if available), the date of release, the title, the medium in square brackets (“Motion picture,” “DVD,” or “Blu-Ray disc”), the country where the film was made, and the studio or distributor.


    Nichols, J. (Director). (2016). Loving [Motion picture]. United States: Focus Features.


    Basic Format for a Citing a Television or Radio Program

    List the director, writer, producer, host, or reporter (if available); the broadcast date; the title, followed by “Television” or “Radio” and “broadcast” or “series episode” in square brackets; the name of the series; and the city and name of the broadcaster.


    Bee, S. (Host). 2016, February 15). Episode 2 [Television series episode]. In Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Atlanta, GA TBS.


    Basic Format for a Citing a Sound Recording

    List the author of the song; the date; the song title, followed by “On” and the recording title in italics; the medium in square brackets; and the production data. If the song was recorded by an artist other than the author, add “Recorded by” plus the artist’s name in square brackets after the song title and the recording year in parentheses after the production data.


    Clapton, E. (2016). Catch the blues. On I still do [CD]. Encinitas, CA: Bushbranch/Surfdog Records.


    Digital Sources

    Basic Format for Citing a Web Document

    For a stand-alone Web source such as a report, or a section within a larger website, cite as much of the following information as possible: author, publication date, document title, and URL. If the content is likely to be changed or updated, include your retrieval date.


    Matz, M. (2016, March 24). Five reasons to protect the Cherokee National Forest. Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing an E-mail Message or Real-Time Communication

    Because e-mail messages and real-time communications, such as text messages, are difficult or impossible for you readers to retrieve, APA does not recommend including them in your references list. You should treat them as personal communication and cite them parenthetically in your text.

    Basic Format for Citing a Message Posted to a Newsgroup, Electronic Mailing List, or Online Discussion Forum

    List the author, posting date, and the title of the post or message subject line. Include a description of the message or post in square brackets. End with the URL where the archived message can be retrieved. Include the name of the group, list, or forum if it is not part of the URL.


    Nelms, J. (2016, January 14). Re: Evaluating writing faculty [Online discussion list post]. Retrieved from

    Basic Format for Citing a Blog Post or Comment

    To cite an entry on a blog, give the author (or screen name, if available), the date the material was posted, and the title of the entry. Include the description “Blog post” or “Blog comment” in square brackets and provide the URL.


    Wade, L. (2016, March 10). Does your vote affect public policy? [Blog post]. Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing a Facebook Post

    Start with the author’s name exactly as it appears and the date of the post. Give the first few words of the post in place of the title, and include the label “Facebook post” in square brackets. Include the retrieval date and the URL. If the Facebook page is private and will not be accessible to readers, cite it as you would cite personal communication within the body of your text, not in the reference list.


    Macmillan Learning. (2016, April 28). College readiness and remediation go hand in hand [Facebook post]. Retrieved from

    Basic Format for Citing a Twitter Post

    Use the author’s real name, if possible, followed by the screen name in brackets. Include the entire tweet in place of the title, followed by the label “Tweet” in square brackets. End with the URL.


    Applebaum, Y. (2016, March 29). I can say as a historian, with a fair amount of confidence, that scholars will certainly mine social media in the future – they already are [Tweet]. Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing a Podcast

    Give the name of the producer, the date of the podcast, and the title. Include a description in square brackets and the URL.


    Blumberg, A. (Host). (2015, November 15). The Secret Formula. StartUp [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing an Online Video

    Give the name of the creator, the date it was posted, and the title. Include a description in square brackets and the URL.


    Neistat, C. (2012, November 3). Staten Island hurricane destruction [Video file]. Retrieved from


    Basic Format for Citing Computer Software or Game

    Sometimes a person is named as having rights to the software or game: in that case, list that person as the author, followed by the date in parentheses. Identify the source in square brackets as “Computer software” or “Computer game.” End with the place of publication and the publisher, or list the URL if the software is available online. If the creator is unknown, begin with the name of the software or game, followed by the label in square brackets and the date in parentheses. End with the locatin and publisher or URL. If you are referring to a specific version that isn’t included in the name, put this information last.


    Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Level 1 [Computer software]. (2010) Arlington, VA: Rosetta Stone.

    References- Other Sources

    Note: Whenever anything is retrieved online or electronically, the reference entry should end with "Retrieved from" and the location information, i.e. "http://xxx", or a DOI. For more information see References- electronic/online .

    Basic Format for Citing a Cartoon or Comic Strip

    Cartoons or comic strips can appear in newspapers, magazines, or in book format. If the cartoon appears in a book, use the standard book format. If it appears in a newspaper or magazine, use the format for a newspaper or magazine.


    Artist, A. A. (date). Title of cartoon/comic strip. Title of Newspaper, pp. xx.

    Morin, J. (2008, November 5). "Golly, Dick". The Denver Post, p. 23B.

    • If the item is published in a magazine, include the issue and volume number.
    • If there is no caption or title for the cartoon, include the first few words of dialogue.

    Basic Format for Citing Conferences and Meetings

    Information from conferences and meetings can be published, either in book form or as a regular occurring periodical. When this is the case, the reference should follow the format for a book or periodical. If retrieved electronically, the reference should include "Retrieved from...." with the DOI or "" as the final piece of the reference entry. If, however, the information is not formally published, follow the templates below.

    Contributor B. B., & Contributor C. C. (date). Title of contribution. In D. D. Chairperson (Chair), Title of conference/symposium. Conference/Symposium conducted at the meeting of Organization Name, Location.

    Anderson, J. R., & Powell, M. (2011, November 20). The history of the American Indian caucus. In S. Parks (Chair), NCTE centennial writing and working for change founders panel, part 2: 1980's and 1990's. Meeting conducted at 101st Annual Convention of NCTE, Chicago, IL.

    Paper presentation or Poster Session:

    Presenter E. E. (date). Title of paper or poster. Paper or poster session presented at the meeting of Organization Name, Location.

    Goff, B. F., & Goodrich, D. C. (1998, June). Integrated observations of semi-arid land-surface-atmosphere interactions. Poster session presented at a special symposium of the American Meteorological Society, San Diego, CA.

    Basic Format for Citing Data Sets, Software, Measurement Instruments, and Apparatus

    It is unnecessary to create a reference entry for standard software and programming languages (Microsoft Word or Excel, Java, Adobe Photoshop, SAS or SPSS). Simply give the name and the version number of the software in text. Reference entries are needed, however, for specialized software or computer programs with only limited distribution.


    Rightsholder, F. F. (year). Title of program (Version number) [Description of form]. Location: Name of producer.

    REA Testware (2011). Praxis II English subject assessments (2nd edition) [CD]. Piscataway, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

    • If retrieved online, substitute the online retrieval information (Retrieved from for the location and name of producer

    Data set

    Author, G. G. or Organization. (year). Title of data set [Data set]. Retrieved from

    Pew Hispanic Center. (2008). 2008 Post-election national survey of Latinos [Data set]. Retrieved from


    • Italicize data set titles, but not software, programs or languages.
    • Unless there is an individual with proprietary rights to the software, the reference should be displayed as an un-authored work.
    • Identify the version number in parentheses immediately after the title, unless there isn't one.
    • After the title/version number put the description of form in brackets [ ], i.e. [Computer program], [Data set].
    • In the publisher position give the location and name of the organization that produced the work. Or, if it can be downloaded or ordered online, provide that information instead in the same position.
    • The legal reference format should be used for an apparatus patent
    • For more information, particularly on measurements and apparatus, see the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, section 7.08.

    Basic Format for Citing an Entry in a Dictionary or an Encyclopedia [Including a Wiki]

    Begin your citation with the name of the author or, if the entry is unsigned, the title of the entry. Proceed with the date, the entry title (if not already given), the title of the reference work, the edition number, and the pages. If the contents of the reference work are arranged alphabetically, omit the volume and page numbers. If the entry was found online, provide the DOI or URL. Because the material on a wiki is likely to change, include the retrieval date as well.


    Ray, S. & Schwartz, H. (2016). Globalization. In Encyclopedia of post-colonial studies. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

    House music. (2015). Wikipedia. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from

    Basic Format for Citing an Entry in a Dictionary or an Encyclopedia [Including a Wiki]

    Begin your citation with the name of the author or, if the entry is unsigned, the title of the entry. Proceed with the date, the entry title (if not already given), the title of the reference work, the edition number, and the pages. If the contents of the reference work are arranged alphabetically, omit the volume and page numbers. If the entry was found online, provide the DOI or URL. Because the material on a wiki is likely to change, include the retrieval date as well.


    Ray, S. & Schwartz, H. (2016). Globalization. In Encyclopedia of post-colonial studies. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


    Basic Format for Citing a Brochure or Pamphlet

    Format the entry as you would a book. Insert “n.d.” if there is no publication date.


    UNESCO. (n.d). The world heritage brochure. Paris: Author Press.


    How interviews are cited and listed in the references depends on the original format of the interview. If the interview is a 3rd party interview (not conducted by you), and is recoverable (it is published or recorded and archived and can be retrieved by someone else), then use the appropriate reference format, i.e. video, sound recording, article, etc.

    If the interview was conducted by you for information purposes and that person agrees to be identified as a source, then it falls under personal communication and is cited in-text only. A reference entry is not required for it because it cannot be retrieved.

    If the interview involved a research participant no citation is necessary. Do not cite in-text or list as a reference entry as this would constitute a breach in confidentiality.

    Basic Format for Citing Unpublished Survey Data

    Give the title of the survey first, followed by the date the survey was distributed, and the words “Unpublished raw data.”


    The University of Iowa graduation exit survey. (2012, April 22). Unpublished raw data.


    Basic Format for Citing an Unpublished Letter

    Treat unpublished letters as personal communications, and include them in your text only. Do not cite unpublished letters in your references list.

    Basic Format for Citing a Lecture or Public Address

    Provide the name of the speaker, followed by the full date of the presentation and the title of the speech if there is one. End the entry with a brief description of the event and its location.


    Wolin, P. (2016, May 3). Descendants of light: American photographers of Jewish ancestry. 92nd Street Y, New York, NY.

    Map or Chart

    Organization producing item (Cartographer). (year). Title of map [Type of map]. Location: Publisher.

    American Automobile Association (Cartographer). (1992). Chicago and vicinity [Road map]. Heathrow, FL: AAA.

    If retrieved online

    Organization producing item (Cartographer). (year). Title of map [Type of map]. Retrieved from

    National Geographic (Cartographer). (1968). Atlantic Ocean Floor Map 1968 [Topographic map]. Retrieved from,1529,1541&pid=15757

    Work of Visual Art

    Artist, U. (year). Title of piece [Identify type of art: sculpture, photograph, etc]. Location viewed.

    Van Gogh, V. (1889). Sunflowers [Oil on canvas]. Retrieved from

    • For location, give the geographical location (City, State) along with the name of the museum or building where the work was viewed. If viewed online, include that information in the location position as "Retrieved from".
    • For the type of art, give as much information as you have: watercolor, print, bronze sculpture, oil painting, photograph, etc.

    Additional Resources

    Print Resources

    Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition. (2008).

    Online Resources

    APA style website:

    Purdue Owl website:

    Citation Information

    Will Allen, Mike Palmquist, Karen A. Buntinas, Carol Busch, Beth Etter, Laurel Nesbitt, Nick Carbone, Heidi Scott, Jill Salahub, and Peter Connor. (1994-2022). Citation Guide: American Psychological Association (APA) . The WAC Clearinghouse. Colorado State University. Available at

    Copyright Information

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