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APA Citation Style Overview

The APA citation style is most commonly used in the sciences. APA has a large number of benefits, and this page will explore the primary points of the APA citation style.

APA format is typically used in the fields of science, psychology, biology and others. Take note that this style has a title page, headings (including running head) and a special way of formatting the references page.

The attached documents will walk you through each format and what is expected.

General guidelines for APA format include a page header, located at the top of every page. The "running head" is a shortened version of the paper's title, which must be included at the top of every page. In terms of formatting, an APA-style paper must have a Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References Page. The Title page must contain the title, author, and affiliation of the author (specific university, think-tank, and so on).

APA Style Title Page

APA Style Title Page

APA Style References Page

APA Style References Page

APA Style In-Text Citations

APA format follows a method called "author-date" for properly constructing in-text citations.

In-text citations must have the last name of the author followed by the year of publication. Likewise, a full bibliographical reference must be included in the References page at the end of the paper. For paraphrasing, sources must be referenced in the format above. When constructing an in-text citation involving a short, direct quote from a publication, include the author, year of publication, and page number of the reference provided. Shown below:

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date (With Signal Phrase) According to Powell (2004), "it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" (p. 65).

If we do not use a signal phrase to lead the quotation, we must use the format shown below:

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Without Signal Phrase) He stated that "it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action"(Powell, 2004, p. 65).

If you are offering a summary or paraphrase of an author's work, be sure to reference the author's last name and year of publication. A page number is recommended per APA guidelines, but not required.

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Summary or Paraphrase) According to Powell (2004), it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action (p. 65).

When citing a work by two or more authors, both authors should be recognized in the signal phrase.

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Two Authors) According to Powell and Granger (2004), "it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" (p. 65).

Be sure to use the word "and" in the text itself, and the ampersand "&" in the parentheses.

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Three to Five Authors, In-text) According to Powell, Granger, and Smith (2004), "it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" (p. 65).
In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Three to Five Authors, Parenthetical) According to the authors, "it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" (Powell, Granger, & Smith, 2004, p. 65).

If a work has six or more authors, follow the above format, but simply add "et al." to the signal phrase or parenthetical citation.

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Six or More Authors, Parenthetical) According to the authors, "it is important to note that the Court did not decide against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" (Powell et al. 2004, p. 65).

Often, you will encounter works by unknown authors. These are works that have no listed author, and can only be referenced by their title.

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Unknown Author) It is important to note that the Court did not decide "against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" ("Affirmative Action in Universities", 2004).

When citing electronic documents, use the same author-date style as above.

In-Text Citation Example: Author-Date Style (Electronic Document) It is important to note that the Court did not decide "against the University because of its adherence to affirmative action" (Powel, 2004, p. 65).

APA References

In APA, you will be required to create a References page which includes all the works that are cited in the piece. The References page comes with very specific formatting standards.

There are a number of basic rules that APA References pages must follow: 

  1. All lines after the first line of each entry must be indented half an inch from the left margin. 
  2. Sort the list in alphabetical order with last name listed first. 
  3. Follow the reference's preferred styling of capitalization
Generic APA FormatLast Name, First Initials. (Year) Title of Piece. Location: Publisher
Citation for a BookPowell, D. (2004). Diversity in Universities. Las Vegas, Nevada: Ultius Publishing.
Citation for an Article Retrieved from a Database with a DOIPowell, D. (2004). Diversity in Universities. Modern Education Monthly, 47(4), 485-512. doi: 10.1004/10893-291-329-1
Citation for Article without a DOIPowell, D. (2004). Diversity in Universities. Modern Education Monthly., 47(4), 485-512. Retrieved from http://www.ultius.com
Citation for an Internet Site: Newspaper ArticlePowell, D. (2004). Diversity in Universities. Ultius Writer Citaton Styles. Retrieved from http://www.ultius.com
Citation for an Internet Site: Standalone Document (No Author)Diversity in Universities.(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ultius.com

APA Style References Page

APA Style References Page

APA Style Files and Downloads

This page contains useful APA style files and downloads, such as sample papers, templates, and other downloads.

Download all available APA related files.

AssetFile TypeDownload
APA TemplateMS Word 2007/8.docx file
Sample APA PaperPDF.pdf file

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