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APA Citation & Style Guide

Guidance for citing sources in APA style.

Formatting Basics

APA has a few formatting guidelines for the reference list.

  • The reference list should start on a separate page at the end of your paper.
  • Use one-inch margins and continue the header from the rest of your paper.
  • Title the page References, centered at the top (no bold, italics, quotation marks, etc.).
  • References should be in a hanging indent format, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented, like this:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Etiam at porttitor massa. In non cursus lectus. Fusce eget risus vitae tellus venenatis vestibulum a sed tellus.

  • Double-space the entire list.
  • Alphabetize the list by each source's first author’s last name. If there is no author, start with the first significant word in the title.
  • In titles, capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle, and proper nouns.

URLs

URLs (uniform resource locators) provide the location for a source on the Internet. However, URLs can often change, which causes problems for references because we're trying to send our readers to a specific location.

DOIs

That location problem is where DOIs come in. DOI stands for digital object identifier. DOIs provide static, permanent online locations for sources. They're also noticeably shorter than most URLs, which is handy!

If you can't find the DOI on either the article or the database record page, you can look it up on CrossRef.org's Guest Query form. Scroll down to the bottom and type in the first author's last name and the title of the article.

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Examples - References

BOOKS, including eBOOKS & REFERENCE BOOKS

The basic format is:

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Publication Year). Title of book: Subtitle of book. City, State_abbreviation: Publisher.*

* Don't include the parts of publishers' names that are not required to locate the publisher. For example: Publishers, Co., or Inc. However, keep the words Books and Press.

Specific Examples:

Multiple Authors
Beck, C. J. A., & Sales, B. D. (2001). Family mediation: Facts, myths, and future prospects. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Edited Book
Gibbs, J. T., & Huang, L. N. (Eds.). (1991). Children of color: Psychological interventions with minority youth. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
Massaro, D. W. (1992). Broadening the domain of the fuzzy logical model of perception. In H.L. Pick Jr., P. van den Broek, & D. C. Knill (Eds.), Cognition: Conceptual and methodological issues (pp.51-84). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Entry in an Encyclopedia
Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The new encyclopaedia Britannica (Vol. 26, pp. 501-508). Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Electronic Book
Arno, S. F., & Allison-Bunnell, S. (2002). Flames in our forest: Disaster or renewal? Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
Electronic Version of Print Book with DOI
Schiraldi, G. R. (2001). Post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth [Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi:10.1036/0071393722
Dissertation or Thesis, Retrieved from a Database
Laxdal, L. S. (2009). A narrative blind eye: Visual disability representation within the Brothers Grimm folk tales (Master's thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database. (MR82087)
Dissertation or Thesis, Retrieved from the Web
Bruckman, A. S. (1997). MOOSE Crossing: Construction, community, and learning in a networked virtual world for kids (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Retrieved from http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/thesis/

ARTICLES (JOURNAL, MAGAZINE, & NEWSPAPER)

The basic format is:

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Publication Date). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Title of Periodical, vol#(iss#), page-range. doi:1234/567890

Notes & Exceptions:

  • Include a DOI if it's provided—for both print and electronic articles.
    • For electronic articles, if no DOI is available, use the periodical's homepage URL instead.
    • For print articles, if no DOI is available, leave that section blank. (End with the page range.)
  • If you provide the URL, state it as Retrieved from http://www.URL.com. You don't need to provide a retrieval date.
    [See the box to the left—"URL vs DOI"—for additional information about URLs and DOIs.]
  • Only provide an issue number if each issue's pagination starts at page 1.
    To find out if the pagination continues from issue to issue, check the page numbers. High page numbers indicate continuous pagination. If you're still not sure, go to the journal's homepage and look up the issues in that volume. Find the page numbers for the first article in each issue. If they're continuous, you don't need to provide the issue number. If they all start with page 1, you need to provide the issue number.
  • Journal articles only need the year.
  • Magazine, newspaper, and newsletter articles require the year and the exact date (month or month and day).
  • The only articles that have p. in front of the page numbers are newspaper articles.

Specific Examples:

Journal Article, Continous Pagination, with DOI
Sangster, A., & Scataglinibelghitar, G. (2010). Luca Pacioli: The father of accounting education. Accounting Education, 19, 423-238. doi:10.1080/09639284.2010.501955
Journal Article, Paginated by Issue, with DOI
Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 45(2), 10-36. doi:10.1037/1061-4087.45.2.10
Magazine Article, Online
Lev, B. (2011, November). How to win investors over. Harvard Business Review, 89, 52-62. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/
Newspaper Article, Online
Rapaport, M. (2013, March 8). Loan-loss rule spat drags on. The Wall Street Journal, p. C2. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/

ONLINE SOURCES

The basic format is:

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Publication Date). Title of source [Description of format, if it's not just a plain webpage]. Retrieved from http://www.URL.com

Note: APA citation is about the source, not the location of the source. While these are examples of some specific online sources, most online sources will actually fall under other categories: articles, eBooks, reports, etc. Be sure to look up the guidelines for those source types.

Specific Examples:

Webpage

Note that a webpage is a small part of a larger website. Just as chapter and article titles aren't in italics, webpage titles aren't in italics, either.

Concordia University. (n.d.). Concordia's history. Retrieved from http://www.cu-portland.edu/about/history
Website

If you refer to a website in general, but not a specific part of that website, APA states that you can simply use an in-text citation with the website's name and URL. Here's an example:

The American Library Association's Great Websites for Kids (http://gws.ala.org/) recommends websites that are relevant for children up to 14 years of age.
Blog Post
Stefanie. (2013, January 24). Asking the right question: How can the reader find the source? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/01/asking-the-right-question-how-can-the-reader-find-the-source.html
Discussion Board Post
Mehmood, Z. (2012, March 9). VPN service -- Quick poll [Online forum post]. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/discuss/discussion-groups-related-educause-programs/security-discussion-group/vpn-service-quick-poll
Tweet
Concordia University [cu_portland]. (2014, August 26). Hope all our students have a great first day! #cupdx #firstdayofschool [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/cu_portland/status/504294095229956096
Facebook Post
Concordia University Portland. (2014, August 20). Freshman, transfers, parents - curious of what the schedule is for Orientation weekend? Find it here: http://bit.ly/1oSPdWU #cupdxwow [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/cu.portland/posts/10152341354810017

MEDIA (AUDIO/VISUAL) MATERIALS

The basic formats are:

Producer_Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Producer), & Director_Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Director). (Year of release). Title of film [Description of format]. Country of origin: Studio or Distributor.

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. [Screen name]. (Publication Date). Title of media [Description of format]. Retrieved from http://www.URL.com

Artist_Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Year). Title of image/artwork [Description of format]. City, State_abbreviation: Organization or Agency.

Writer_Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Copyright Year). Title of song [Recorded by First_initial. Middle_initial. Last_name if different from writer]. On Title of album [Description of format]. City, State_abbreviation: Label. (Date of recording if different from song copyright date).

Specific Examples:

Motion Picture, as Viewed in a Theater
Cohen, J., Healy, J., & Meledandri, C. (Producers), & Coffin, P., & Renaud, C. (Directors). (2010). Despicable me [Motion Picture]. United States: Universal Studios.
Video, DVD
Baker, M. G., Lazer, D., Lucas, G., & Rattray, E. (Producers), & Henson, J. (Director). (2004). Labyrinth: Collector's edition [DVD]. United States: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.
YouTube or Social Media Video
Concordia Portland. (2014, February 6). Concordia's 3 to PhD initiative [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/hTOpTQWTSmI?
Audio Podcast
Stanish, D., Ensign, E., Thomas, L. M., & Roberts, T. R. (2014, July 16). Verity! Episode 46 - Communication breakdown [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://veritypodcast.wordpress.com/
Artwork
Pissarro, C. (1900). Place du Carrousel, Paris [Painting]. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.
Artwork/Image, Digital
Wyeth, A. [ca. 1951]. Roaring reef [Digital image]. Retrieved from http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=33040
Music Recording
Bareilles, S., & Antonoff, J. (2013). Brave [Recorded by S. Bareilles]. On The blessed unrest [CD]. New York, NY: Epic Records.

TECHNICAL AND RESEARCH REPORTS

The basic format is:

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Year). Title of report: Subtitle of report (Report No. 123). City, State_abbreviation: Publisher.

Additional Notes:

  • Format references for reports similarly to how you format references for books.
  • If the report has a number (report number, contract number, etc.), include it in parentheses after the title and before the period, but not in italics. If the report doesn't have a number, leave that notation out of the reference.
  • If you access a report online, provide a retrieval statement instead of a location and publisher. Include the name of the publisher in the retrieval statement, unless the publisher is the same as the author. For example:
    • Publisher separate from author: Retrieved from University of Michigan, Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement website: http://www.ciera.org/etc.
    • Publisher is the author: Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/etc.

Specific Examples:

Corporate Author, Government Report, No Report Number
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). The association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf
Corporate Author, Government Report, Report Number
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research. (2011). Palliative care: The relief you need when you're experiencing the symptoms of serious illness (NIH Publication No. 11-6415). Retrieved from http://www.ninr.nih.gov/sites/www.ninr.nih.gov/files/palliative-care-brochure.pdf
Authored Report from Institutional Archive
Paris, S. G., Paris, A. H., & Carpenter, R. D. (2001). Effective practices for assessing young readers (CIERA Report 3-013). Retrieved from University of Michigan, Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement website: http://www.ciera.org/library/reports/inquiry-3/3-013/3-013.pdf

COURSE MATERIALS

The basic format is:

not applicablenot applicableThe APA manual focuses on writing and style conventions for professional publications, not academic papers. However, we can use the APA's general rules to interpret how to cite course materials. It all comes down to how you retrieve the source.

Additional Notes:

  • Keep in mind that the reference list is designed to provide access to retrievable sources. In many cases, the information you receive in class can't be retrieved any other way. Because of that, many course materials are cited as personal communications.
  • A personal communication is cited in text only. Provide the initial(s) and last name of the person, the exact date, and the phrase "personal communication." Here are two examples:
J. Doe (personal communication, August 28, 2014) discussed the use of interactive technology in the classroom at Smith Elementary School.
Educating children via interactive technology engages multiple learning styles (J. Doe, personal communication, August 28, 2014).
 

Specific Examples:

Lectures (Live)
A live lecture can't be retrieved by anyone after the fact. Because of that, class lectures should be cited as personal communications. (See the examples above.)
Course Packs

Previously Published

If the material in the course pack was previously published (a chapter from a book, an article from a journal), cite the source as you would its original version. (See the tabs for books and articles.)

Original or Unattributed

If the material in the course pack was not previously published, cite the source as a compilation. Here's an example:

Schmoe, J. (2014). Ten steps to succeed in college. In A. B. Carroll (Comp.), Selected readings in college preparation (pp. 5-8). Portland, OR: Concordia University.
Class Notes
Class notes can't be retrieved by most readers. (You may share your notes with a friend or group in the class, but for the most part, no one else will see them.) Because class notes can't be retrieved, they should be cited as personal communications. (See the examples above.)
PowerPoint or Other Files

Viewed Live

PowerPoint files or other materials shared live in a class are just like live lectures—they can't be retrieved by anyone after the fact. Because of that, they should be cited as personal communications. (See the examples above.)

Posted Online

If your professor posts PowerPoint or other files online (on a website, etc.), cite them as you would any other online source: provide the author, date, title, and retrieval location.

Schmoe, J. (2014, August 28). Study strategies before an exam. Retrieved from http://www.somesite.edu
Documents Uploaded to Blackboard

Previously Published

If the material uploaded to Blackboard was previously published (a chapter from a book, an article from a journal), cite the source as you would its original version. (See the tabs for books and articles.) Do not provide the URL to Blackboard.

Original or Unattributed

If the material uploaded to Blackboard is original (lecture notes) or unattributed (doesn't give full source information), then cite as much as you can that falls into the who, when, what, where format: author, date, title, and source.

  • In this case, it's usually okay to provide the URL to the source's location in Blackboard. This is especially true if the paper/project is only for class.
  • However, if people outside your class will be reading your paper/project, such a URL won't work, and you'll need to cite the source as a personal communication (see above).
Schmoe, J. (2014, August 28). College preparation 101: Syllabus. Retrieved from http://cup.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-000-dt-content-rid-0000_0/courses/Course_Name/Syllabus.htm

CONFERENCE, MEETING, & SYMPOSIUM MATERIALS

The basic formats are:

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Year, Month). Title of paper or poster. Paper/Poster presented at the meeting of Organization, City, State_abbreviation.

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Year, Month). Title of session. In First_initial. Middle_initial. Last_name (Chair), Title of symposium. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Organization, City, State_abbreviation.

Last_name, First_initial. Middle_initial. (Year). Title of proceedings article. Title of Published Conference Proceedings, vol#, page#s. doi:1234/567890

Additional Notes:

  • Unpublished paper or poster sessions should follow the first example above
  • Unpublished symposia or meeting sessions should follow the second example above.
  • Published conference proceedings in book format should follow other book references (see tab).
  • Published conference proceedings that are published in a regular series follow the article format (see tab). See also the third example above.

Specific Examples:

Conference/Symposium Session
Daley, S. (2012, October). Flipping with iPads: The centerpiece of a new pedagogy? In Teaching, learning and technology conference. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Oregon Academic Technology Society, Portland, OR.
Conference Poster Session, Abstract Retrieved Online
Harbort, B. (2012, June). Using formative assessment to improve depth and precision of student understanding in technical coursework. Poster session presented at the Fourth Annual Polytechnic Summit, Marietta, GA. Abstract retrieved from http://polytechnicsummit.org/ps2012-program.pdf
Conference Proceeding Article
Hilburn, T. B., Squires, A., & Madachy, R. (2012). A model for educating systems engineers. 2012 IEEE International Systems Conference (SysCon 2012), 14-18. doi:10.1109/SysCon.2012.6189459

INTERVIEWS

The basic formats are:

First_initial. Middle_initial. Last_name (personal communication, Date) discussed . . .

Blah blah blah . . . First_initial. Middle_initial. Last_name, personal communication, Date).

Additional Notes:

  • Keep in mind that the reference list is designed to provide access to retrievable sources. Because of that, interviews are cited as personal communications.
  • A personal communication is cited in text only. Provide the initial(s) and last name of the person, the exact date, and the phrase "personal communication."

Specific Examples:

Personal Communication, Option 1
J. Doe (personal communication, August 28, 2014) discussed the use of interactive technology in the classroom at Smith Elementary School.
Personal Communication, Option 2 Educating children via interactive technology engages multiple learning styles (J. Doe, personal communication, August 28, 2014).

LEGAL MATERIALS

The basic formats are:

These are basic examples for citing legal materials; for more information, see the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed., 2010), which is the source for APA legal citation style.

Common Abbreviations

Cong.
H.R.
S.
Reg.
Res.
F.

U.S. Congress
House of Representatives
Senate
Regulation
Resolution
Federal Reporter

F.2d
F.3d
F. Supp.
U.S.C.
Cong. Rec.
Fed. Reg.

Federal Reporter, Second Series
Federal Reporter, Third Series
Federal Supplement
United States Code
Congressional Record
Federal Register

Specific Examples:

Court Decisions & Materials
Brief
Reply brief of petitioners Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher, Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 244 (2003) (no. 02-516). Retrieved from http://supreme.findlaw.com/supreme_court/briefs/02-516/02-516-mer-pet-rep.html
Gratz v. Bollinger (2003)   or   (Gratz v. Bollinger, 2003)
Case
Wienhorst v. Stonebraker, 356 F. Supp. 1078 (E.D. Wis. 1988).
Wienhorst v. Stonebraker (1988)   or   (Wienhorst v. Stonebraker, 1988)
Appealed Case, Affirmed Decision
Hoeferkamp v. Bischoff, 471 F. Supp. 211 (D. Kan. 1988). aff’d, 727 F.2d 777 (9th Cir. 1992).
Hoeferkamp v. Bischoff (1988/1992)   or   (Hoeferkamp v. Bischoff, 1988/1992)
Unreported Decision
McDougall v. Riggs, No. 88-2109 (3rd Cir. March 8, 1949).
  • To cite a particular page of a slip opinion (opinion that is not published in a case reporter but is separately printed), use the form slip op. at [page number].
Unreported Decision, Located in a Database
Dougherty v. Royal Zenith Corp., No. 88-8666, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10807, at *2 (E.D. Pa. July 31, 1991).
  • Precede screen page numbers, if assigned, with an asterisk (*).
  • Precede paragraph numbers, if assigned, with a paragraph symbol (¶).
Statutes
Enacted Statute
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. § 6319 (2011).
No Child Left Behind Act (2001)   or   No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
  • U.S.C.A. stands for United States Code Annotated, the unofficial version of the United States Code.
  • Use the most current version of the statute, unless you are citing a specific version of the statute for historical reasons.
Enacted Statute, Specific Provision
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Qualifications for Teachers and Professionals, 20 U.S.C. § 6319 (2011).
No Child Left Behind Act: Qualifications for Teachers and Professionals (2011)   or   (No Child Left Behind Act: Qualifications for Teachers and Professionals, 2011)
  • If you have quotations from several provisions in the act, you may need to provide citations with the specific subheadings.
  • You only need the subheadings if you have several references to the same statute.
Information in a Statute
General definition of homeless individual. (2014). 42 U.S.C. § 11302. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title42-section11302&num=0&edition=prelim
Legislative Materials
Federal Testimony
Stem cell research: The pros and cons of cloning: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Bioethics, of the House Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, 110th Cong. 35 (2000) (testimony of Carey Hunt).
Stem Cell Research (2000)   or   (Stem Cell Research, 2000)
Unenacted Federal Bills and Resolutions
Small Farm Reimbursement Act of 2000, H.R. 2063, 102d Cong. (2000).
  • The version in the House of Representatives has H.R. and the bill number.
House Bill 2063 (2000)   or   (H.R. 2063, 2000)
Small Farm Reimbursement Act of 2000, S. 452, 102d Cong. (2000).
  • The version of the bill in the Senate has S. and the bill number.
Senate Bill 452 (2000)   or   (S. 452, 2000)
Enacted Federal Resolutions
S. Res. 167, 110th Cong., 127 Cong. Rec. 3432 (2004) (enacted).
  • Note that enacted bills and joint resolutions are laws and should be cited as statutes.
  • Enacted simple or concurrent resolutions should follow the format above.
Senate Resolution 167 (2004)   or   (S. Res. 167, 2004)
U.S. Constitution
  • When citing something from the U.S. Constitution, begin with U.S. Const., followed by the article, amendment, section, and/or clause numbers as relevant.
  • The terms article, amendment, section, and clause are always abbreviated art., amend., §, and cl., respectively.
  • Preamble is abbreviated pmbl.
  • Use Roman numerals (I, II, III) for article and amendment numbers.
  • Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) for section and clause numbers.
Referred to in Passing
Students are to use the U.S. Constitution when completing their assignments.
  • References to the U.S. Constitution that are made in passing do not need to be cited in the reference list.
References to Parts Currently Still in Use
U.S. Const. art. I, § 3.
  • For the parts of the U.S. Constitution that are currently in force, the Bluebook states to not include a date.
When the United States of America was founded, a procedure for adding new states was devised (U.S. Const. art. I, § 3).
References to Parts No Longer Used
U.S. Const. amend. XVIII (repealed 1933).
  • The Bluebook says to include the year in parentheses if you are referring to a part of the Constitution that has been repealed or amended.
Prohibition is the period in U.S. history when the sale of liquor was made illegal (U.S. Const. amend. XVIII, repealed 1933).
Constitutional Amendment
U.S. Const. amend. XIX.
  • For the parts of the U.S. Constitution that are currently in force, the Bluebook states to not include a date.
The constitution was not amended until 1920 to give women the vote (U.S. Const. amend. XIX).
Patents
Smith, I. M. (1988). U.S. Patent No. 123,445. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Include the inventor or inventors to whom the patent is issued and the official source from which the patent information can be retrieved.
U.S. Patent No. 123,445 (1988)   or   (U.S. Patent No. 123,445, 1988)
Administrative and Executive Materials
Federal Regulation
FDA Prescription Drug Advertising Rule, 21 C.F.R. § 202.1 (2006).
FDA Prescription Drug Advertising Rule (2006)   or   (FDA Prescription Drug Advertising Rule, 2006)
Federal Small Business Regulations for Acquisitions by the National Parks Administration, 55 Fed. Reg. 66,343 (proposed Jan. 11, 2004) (to be codified at 66 C.F.R. pt. 1).
Federal Small Business Regulations for Acquisitions by the National Parks Administration (2004)   or   (Federal Small Business Regulations for Acquisitions by the National Parks Administration, 2004)
Executive Order
Exec. Order No. 11,609, 3 C.F.R. 586 (1971-1975), reprinted as amended in 3 U.S.C. 301 app. at 404-07 (1994).
Executive Order No. 11,609 (1994)   or   (Executive Order No. 11,609, 1994)
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