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APA style

Note! The current APA Citation Guide and all the examples included in it, reflect the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The guide is scheduled to be updated to reflect the recently published 7th edition later in the year. 

Elements of references

An APA reference consists of four elements. The author, the publication date, the title, and the publication information of the source. There are variations in the presentation of these elements depending on the type of source you are citing.

Click on the collapsible panel to see examples.

   Author

The author is the person(s) or corporate entity responsible for producing a work. The term is used in a broader sense to include editor, compiler, composer, creator, etc. The author is included in citations to give credit to those to whom the work belongs and to help the audience check their credentials.

The table that follows presents author variations depending on the number of authors that have written a source. The information applies to all kinds of sources including books, articles, websites, films, videos, etc.

  • Invert all authors' names. Provide the last name and initials for sources written by up to seven authors.
  • Use an ampersand (&) before the last author in sources by two to seven authors.
  • For eight or more authors, provide the first six authors, then insert three ellipses, and add the last author's name.
  • For group authors provide the full name of the study group, association, government agency, or corporation.
  • When the work has no author, move the title to the author's position before the date.
  • Use commas to separate different authors, as well as to separate last names from initials.
The date on which copies of a creative work like a book, an article, a report, a web source, etc. are officially made available to the public. In citations, publications dates are included to indicate how recent the information is.

A reference always includes a statement about the publication date of the source. The table that follows presents the date variations depending on the source you want to cite in your references.

  • The date is always placed in parentheses except from the case of archival sources. In this case, the estimated date is placed in brackets preceded by abbreviation ca. (i.e., circa: Latin word meaning "around, about").
  • The exact date appears in the form of Year Month Day (e.g., 2018 September 6). Months and seasons are written in full.
  • The date is always followed by a period (.).
A word, phrase, sentence, single character, or sequence of characters that appears on an item, naming the work(s) contained in it. In citations, titles are included for purposes of identification and reference. Titles also indicate how relevant the information is.

A reference always includes the title of the source. The table that follows presents title variations depending on the type of source you want to cite in your references.

  • The first word of a source’s title, subtitle as well as proper nouns are capitalized.
  • Titles of journals, magazines, and newspapers are capitalized.
  • Titles of works such as books, periodicals, reports are italicized.
  • Journal titles are followed by the volume number in italics separated from the journal title with a comma (,).
  • Any additional information for books and reports such as edition, report no., and volume no. should appear in parentheses immediately after the title. The parenthetical information is not italicized.
Publisher information, DOIs, and URLs provide locational information for the sources. In citations, these elements are included to lead the audience to the actual source and check the publisher's credibility.

A reference always includes the publication information of the source. The table that follows presents the publication information variations depending on the source you want to cite in your references.

  • Names of U.S. states and territories are abbreviated. When you cite locations outside of the United States provide the name of the city and country in full (e.g., Washington, DC but Athens, Greece).
  • Provide the publisher name in a brief but comprehensive form. Omit business abbreviations (e.g., Publishers, Co., Inc., Ltd.). Retain the words Books and Press. Finish the publisher element with a period (.).
  • Periodical titles are followed by the volume number. They are both italicized. Provide the issue number only if each issue of the periodical is paginated separately. Provide also the inclusive pages on which the cited material appears.
  • Although DOIs and URLs are concluding elements of citations, they are never followed by a period (.).