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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Welcome

Citing in APA: The Basics

New to citing? Check out the short playlist of videos to learn why you need to cite, how to cite in APA, and how to create in-text and reference list citations.

What is APA?

APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of formatting and documentation rules for research published in the Social Sciences and Business. Papers submitted for publication in professional journals follow a slightly different set of rules than student papers do. The information in this guide pertains to student papers.

APA formatting rules tell us how different elements of a research paper should appear on the page. APA documentation rules tell us how to credit the sources we use in our work using a combination of in-text citations and a Reference list. 

In APA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted, or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite a source in two places:

  1. In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation (sometimes called a parenthetical reference) for any ideas or data you’ve paraphrased (stated in your own words) or quoted directly using “quotation marks.”

  2. In the Reference list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.

Commonly Used Terms

Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

DOI (doi): Some electronic content, such as online journal articles, is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI or doi). An item can be tracked down online using its doi.

In-Text Citation: A brief note in your paper or essay, provided at the point where you use information from a source, to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Reference List.

Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism: Taking the ideas or words of another person and presenting them as your own without a citation.

Quoting: Copying words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations appear in quotation marks and are followed by a citation that includes the page number of the source from which you copied the words.

Reference: Details about a cited source.

Reference List: Contains complete details of ALL the sources cited in a text or essay. 

Retrieval Date: Used only for websites where content is likely to change over time (e.g., Wikis), the retrieval date refers to the date you last visited the website.

Source: Anything you use in your research and cite in your paper. There are many kinds of sources (all of which have their own citation formats), including entire books, individual book chapters, eBooks, periodicals (i.e., magazines, newspapers, journals), articles/essays, websites, films, poems, songs, Tweets, YouTube videos, TED Talks, TV shows, advertisements, etc.

What's New in the 7th Edition of APA?

Below is a summary of the major changes in the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual.

Essay Format:

  • Font - While you still can use Times New Roman 12, you are free to use other fonts. Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans 10, and Georgia 11 are all acceptable.
  • Headers - No running headers are required for student papers.
  • Tables and Figures - There is a standardized format for both tables and figures.

Style, Grammar, Usage:

  • Singular "they" required in two situations: when used by a known person as their personal pronoun or when the gender of a singular person is not known.
  • Use only one space after a sentence-ending period.

Citation Style:

  • Developed the "Four Elements of a Reference" (Author, Date, Title, Source) to help writers to create references for source types not explicitly examined in the APA Publication Manual
  • Three or more authors can be abbreviated to First author, et al. on the first citation
  • Up to twenty authors are spelled out in the Reference list
  • Publisher location is not required for books
  • eBook platform, format, or device is not required for eBooks
  • Library database names are generally not required
  • Hyperlinks: 
    • No "doi:" prefix; simply include the doi
    • All hyperlinks retain the https://
    • Links can be "live" in blue with underline or black without underlining

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This citation guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). The contents are accurate to the best of our knowledge.

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