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Citing Sources in APA Style

Using APA style can be challenging, especially if it's new to you. Explore the resources on this page for help!

Highly recommended starting points:

Formatting Your Paper

Official APA Style Books

Avoiding Plagiarism

Citing Print Books & E-Books

Difficult References

RefWorks: A Citation Manager

RefWorks is a web-based citation manager that helps you organize and manage your sources, as well as automatically format reference lists and in-text citations.

Click on the RefWorks tab for more information.

Citing Journal Articles

When citing articles, use the electronic version if you can, since APA considers it the "version of record." That means that even if you cite an article you looked at in print, you should include the DOI, if it has one.

Basic Format

The basic format for journal article reference is:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number if available), page  range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or

*Don't forget, you need to use hanging indent (where all but the first line is indented) for all your references, but that doesn't show up here!


One author:

Driessnack, M. (2009). Growing up at the intersection of the genomic era and the information age. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 24(3), 189-193.

Two authors:

Marshall, E., & Brockman, R. N. (2016). The relationships between psychological flexibility, self-compassion, and emotional well-being. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 30(1), 60-72.

Three to seven authors:

Richards, D., Caldwell, P. H., & Go, H. (2015). Impact of social media on the health of children and young people. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 51(12), 1152-1157.

Eight or more authors:

Zingone, F., Bartalini, C., Siniscalchi, M., Ruotolo, M., Bucci, C., Morra, I., . . . Ciacci, C. (2017). Alterations in diets of patients with nonceliac gluten sensitivity compared with healthy individuals. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: The Official Clinical Practice Journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 15(1), 63-68.e2. doi:S1542-3565(16)30560-2

In-Text Citations

For in-text citations for articles, the standard format is:

(Author, date, p. #)

For any of the three in-text citation components you name in the text, you can leave those out of the final parenthetical portion. For example: As Driessnack (2009) points out, that’s a very important thing (p. 191).


Examples based on the references above:

(Driessnack, 2009, p. 191)

(Marshall & Brockman, 2016, p. 65)

(Richards, Caldwell, & Go, 2015, p. 1153)

(Zingone et al., 2017, p. 66)

Notes about in-text citations

For 3-5 authors, you only need to include all author names in the first in-text citation. After that, you can use the first author’s last name followed by et al. For example, the Richards article would be (Richards, Caldwell, & Go, 2015, p. 1153) the first time, and (Richards et al., 2015, p. 1153) from then on.

For 6 or more authors, just use the first author’s last name followed by et al. every time you reference the work.

If there’s no author listed, use the first word or two of the title instead. A book title would be italicized – Harry Potter – while an article, chapter, or web site would be in quotation marks – “Leaky Cauldron” – instead. Remember that your punctuation always goes inside the quotation marks!

Further resources about citing sources

What's a DOI? It's the Digital Object Identifier, a unique ID for each article. It's designed to make it as easy to locate an article online as it is to find a book by ISBN or a person by their Social Security Number.

Citing Web Sites & Other Online Sources

Basic Format

The basic format for a web source/web site reference is:

Author, A. A. (date). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved from http://URL

*Don't forget to use hanging indent!


Johnson, A. A. (2007). Deconstructing the Deathly Hallows. Retrieved from

Anxiety. (2016). Retrieved from

Ask a Librarian. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Notes about web references

If you need to include a specific date, rather than just a year, format your date as: (Year, Month Date). Include a retrieval date only if the source may change over time. Format it as: Retrieved Month Date, Year, from http://URL

Format description is not necessary for common formats like web sites and pdfs. You should use it for less ordinary online sources, like blog posts or social media statuses

Sometimes information is missing from a web site. If the author is missing, start the citation with the title. If the date is missing, use n.d. (which stands for no date).

In-Text Citations

For web sources, use the same rules as for journal articles, if possible. For unknown dates, use n.d. just as you do in your reference. If the page has a lot of text, but no page numbers, use the abbreviation para. (which stands for paragraph).


Examples based on the references above:

(Johnson, 2007, para. 2)

(“Anxiety,” 2016)

("Ask a Librarian," n.d.)

Further resources about citing sources