APA Style Guide


The following examples are based on the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. You can find copies of the Publication Manual in the library's reference and circulating collections, call number BF76.7 .P83 2010.

Key Changes in the 6th edition

DOI: Digital Object Identifier

The DOI provides a persistent link to journal articles. It can often be found on the title page of the article or in the citation information given in databases. You can find the article on the publisher's page for that journal by searching the DOI on http://dx.doi.org/.

Retrieval dates

APA no longer requires retrieval dates for electronic sources unless the source material may change over time (for example, wikis).

Reference List: Basic rules

  • All recoverable sources cited in the text of the paper must have an entry in the References list; conversely, each source in the Reference list must appear in the paper.
  • Center the title References at the top of a new page.
  • Double space throughout your paper, including your reference list.
  • Start the first line of each entry at the left margin, and use a hanging indent of 1/2 inch for subsequent lines within an entry. [In MS Word, use Paragraph>Special> Hanging]
  • Use italics for titles of books and journals. Remember to carry the italics through the punctuation following the title (and volume number for journals).
  • Two or more works by the same author(s) are listed by year of publication, oldest to most recent. For works published in the same year by the same author(s), alphabetize by title (excluding a, an, and the) and place a letter (a,b,c...) immediately after the date.
  • If no author is given, list and alphabetize by the first word of the title, excluding articles (a, an, and the).
  • Capitalize only the first word and any proper names in the title or subtitle of a book or article. A subtitle usually follows a period or colon.
  • Capitalize all major words in titles of journals.
  • End each citation with a period, except for entries ending with a DOI or URL.
  • For electronic citations, do not insert a hyphen if you need to break the URL across lines; instead, break the URL before a slash or period.


Magazine article (Print source)

Stix, G. (2009, October). Turbocharging the brain. Scientific American, 301(4), 46-55.


Magazine article (Online)

DeAngelis, T. (2009, November). Understanding terrorism. Monitor on Psychology, 40(10). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor

Newspaper article (Print source)

Angier, N. (2009, October 27). A molecule of motivation, dopamine excels at its task. New York Times, pp. D1, D3.

Newspaper article (editorial), retrieved online, no author given

Toward saner, more effective prison sentences [Editorial]. (2015, October 3). New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Journal article with DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Steinberg, L., & Scott, E. S. (2003). Less guilty by reason of adolescence: Developmental immaturity, diminished responsibility, and the juvenile death penalty. American Psychologist581009-1018. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.58.12.1009

  • Alternative forms for DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.58.12.1009 or doi:10.1037/0003-066X.58.12.1009
  • Do not precede either form with "Retrieved from"

Journal article, more than 7 authors, DOI included

Roisman, G. I., Susman, E., Barnett-Walker, K., Booth-LaForce, C., Owen, M. T., Belsky, J., . . . Steinberg, L. (2009). Early family and child-care antecedents of awakening cortisol levels in adolescence. Child Development80907-920. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01305.x

  • Note: List first 6 authors . . . last author. For 7 authors, list all 7 authors.
  • Cite in your paper: (First author et al., date). If there is more than one entry on your reference list that starts with the same author, you need to report as many authors as needed before using "et al." to clearly point your reader to the correct citation.

Journal article without DOI, retrieved online

Czerkawski, B. C. (2014). Designing deeper learning experiences for online instruction. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 13(2), 29-40. Retrieved from http://www.ncolr.org /issues/jiol

  • Note: If you retrieved the article online and no DOI was given, use the URL of the journal's homepage in your retrieval statement. You may need to use an Internet search engine to locate the journal title homepage. Do not report the name of the database.

Book, two authors

Ricciardelli, L. A., & Yager, Z. (2016). Adolescence and body image: From development to preventing dissatisfaction. New York, NY: Routledge.

Book, corporate  author, author as publisher

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Chapter in an edited book

Ash, P. (2016). School shootings and mental illness. In L. H. Gold & R. I. Simon (Eds.), Gun violence and mental illness (pp. 105-26).  Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.


Entry in a multivolume reference work

Fridell, L. A. (2007). Racial profiling. In J. R. Greene (Ed.), The encyclopedia of police science (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 1099-1105). New York, NY: Routledge.

Entry in dictionary or encyclopedia, no author given

Mind-body problem. (2015). In G. R. VandenBos (Ed.), APA dictionary of psychology (2nd ed., p. 654). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Entry in dictionary or encyclopedia, no author given (Online)

Nihilism. (2010). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nihilism


Purnell, L. D. (2014). Guide to culturally competent health care (3rd ed.). Retrieved from www.ebscohost.com/ebooks

Corporate author, government report (Online)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The health consequences of smoking —50 years of progress: A report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov /library/reports/50-years-of-progress/

Authored report, from nongovernmental organization (Online)

American Psychological Association. (2013). Gun violence: Prediction, prevention, and policy. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/gun-violence-prevention.aspx


Stacey, R. (Producer), & Huffman, B. (Director). (2005). Welcome to Warren: Inmates and guards on life in prison [DVD]. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities and Sciences.

Personal communication (personal interview, email, etc.)

Personal communications are only cited in the text of your paper, since they do not provide recoverable data.

J. Q. Public (personal communication, January 10, 2010)

or      (J. Q. Public, personal communication, January 10, 2010)

Parenthetical Documentation

A writer must document all information and ideas taken from others, whether quoting or paraphrasing that source. Use parentheses to mark reference citations within the text of a paper. Author(s) and date are used for paraphrased information. For direct quotations, add page numbers. When a work has no author, use the first few words of the title. Put quotation marks around the title of an article or chapter, and italicize the title of a periodical or book.

For short quotations (fewer than 40 words), enclose the quotation with double quotation marks, and place the author(s), the year of publication, and the page number of the quoted text in parentheses immediately at the end of your quote, preceding the closing punctuation.

For example, "James and Mary invented the formula after a great deal of study" (Thatcher, 1925, p. 23).

Or, Thatcher (1925) wrote "James and Mary invented the formula after a great deal of study" (p. 23).

For long quotations (40 or more words), place the quotation in a block, indented five spaces from the left margin. Do not use quotation marks. The parenthetical documentation follows the closing punctuation. Use double spacing, as in the rest of your paper.

As Baumrind stated:

The authoritative model of discipline is characterized by use of firm control contingently applied and justified by rational explanation of consistently enforced rules. Authoritative parents endorse the judicious use of aversive consequences, which may include spanking, but in the context of a warm, engaged rational parent-child relationship. (1996, p. 412)

More information on APA Style


K. Pitcher
March 16, 2011; rev. September 22, 2017; rev. March 13, 2019

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