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1.13: Quick Reference to APA Style

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    All of this information is taken from:

    APA Style

    1. Resources:

    • APA Publication Manual: American Psychological Association (6th ed.).(2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    • APA website tutorial:

    2. General Rules:

    • Language:
      • Use literal language (no metaphor, simile, and the like).
      • Use precise language (no clichés or euphemisms).
      • Use active voice if possible.
      • Use the past tense.
      • Use gender-neutral language (first initial and last name only for names of people); do not refer to the gender of any person using pronouns.
      • Use bias-free language (do not identify/refer to people by sexual orientation, racial or ethnic identity, disability, or age).
      • Alphabetize (multiple authors in references)
    • Citing References in Text (see Basic Citation Chart)
      • Cite every direct quote, paraphrased statement, new term, etc.
      • The general pattern for citation is author-date: (Jones, 2009).
      • The same is true for in-text citations: According to Jones (2009), the best …
      • Within paragraphs, cite author/date after each reference.
      • The first time you cite a work with 3 or more authors, use all the names: “…in his time” (Jones, Lontif, Norton, and Peters, 2007).
      • With 3 or more authors, after the first reference, use et al.: “…breaking the rules” (Jones et al., 2007).

    3. Reference Page – Basic Rules:

    • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
    • Authors' names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.
    • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
    • If you have more than one article by the same author, single-author references or multiple-author references with the exact same authors in the exact same order are listed in order by the year of publication, starting with the earliest.
    • When referring to any work that is NOT a journal, such as a book, article, or Web page, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
    • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
    • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
    • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.

    Single Author

    Last name first, followed by author initials:

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

    Berndt, T. J. (2002). Friendship quality and social development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 7-10.

    Two Authors

    List by their last names and initials. Use the ampersand instead of "and":

    Example \(\PageIndex{2}\):

    Wegener, D. T., & Petty, R. E. (1994). Mood management across affective states: The hedonic contingency hypothesis. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 66, 1034-1048.

    Organization as Author

    Example \(\PageIndex{3}\):

    American Psychological Association. (2003).

    Unknown Author

    Example \(\PageIndex{4}\):

    Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.).(1993). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.


    When your essay includes parenthetical citations of sources with no author named, use a shortened version of the source's title instead of an author's name. Use quotation marks and italics as appropriate. For example, parenthetical citations of the source above would appear as follows: (Merriam-Webster's, 1993).

    Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords

    Cite the publishing information about a book as usual, but cite Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword (whatever title is applicable) as the chapter of the book.

    Example \(\PageIndex{5}\):

    Funk, R. & Kolln, M. (1998). Introduction. In E.W. Ludlow (Ed.), Understanding English Grammar (pp. 1-2). Needham, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

    Article in Journal Paginated by Volume

    Journals that are paginated by volume begin with page one in issue one, and continue numbering issue two where issue one ended, etc.

    Example \(\PageIndex{6}\):

    Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, 893-896.

    Article in Journal Paginated by Issue

    Journals paginated by issue begin with page one every issue; therefore, the issue number gets indicated in parentheses after the volume. The parentheses and issue number are not italicized or underlined.

    Example \(\PageIndex{7}\):

    Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(30), 5-13.

    Basic Format for Books

    Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.


    For "Location," you should always list the city and the state using the two letter postal abbreviation without periods (New York, NY).

    Example \(\PageIndex{8}\):

    Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Article From an Online Periodical


    In 2007, the APA released several additions/modifications for documentation of electronic sources in the APA Style Guide to Electronic References. These changes are reflected in the entries below. Please note that there are no spaces used with brackets in APA.

    Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved from

    Example \(\PageIndex{9}\):

    Bernstein, M. (2002). 10 tips on writing the living Web. A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 149. Retrieved from

    Article From an Online Periodical with DOI Assigned

    Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number. doi:0000000/000000000000

    Example \(\PageIndex{10}\):

    Brownlie, D. (2007). Toward effective poster presentations: An annotated bibliography. European Journal of Marketing, 41(11/12), 1245-1283. doi:10.1108/03090560710821161

    Article From a Database

    When referencing material obtained from an online database (such as a database in the library), provide appropriate print citation information (formatted just like a "normal" print citation would be for that type of work). This will allow people to retrieve the print version if they do not have access to the database from which you retrieved the article. You can also include the item number or accession number in parentheses at the end, but the APA manual says that this is not required. For articles that are easily located, do not provide database information. If the article is difficult to locate, then you can provide database information. Only use retrieval dates if the source could change, such as Wikis. For more about citing articles retrieved from electronic databases, see pages 187-192 of the Publication Manual.

    Example \(\PageIndex{11}\):

    Smyth, A. M., Parker, A. L., & Pease, D. L. (2002). A study of enjoyment of peas. Journal of Abnormal Eating, 8(3), 120-125.

    Chapter/Section of a Web document or Online Book Chapter

    Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. In Title of book or larger document (chapter or section number). Retrieved from

    Online Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

    Often encyclopedias and dictionaries do not provide bylines (authors' names). When no byline is present, move the entry name to the front of the citation. Provide publication dates if present or specify (n.d.) if no date is present in the entry.

    Example \(\PageIndex{12}\):

    Feminism. (n.d.). In Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved from

    Nonperiodical Web Document, Web Page, or Report

    List as much of the following information as possible (you sometimes have to hunt around to find the information; don't be lazy. If there is a page like page.htm, and somepage.htm doesn't have the information you're looking for, move up the URL to

    Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of document. Retrieved from http://Web address


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