APA Style


The American Psychological Association referencing style (or APA as it is more commonly known) is used across a variety of disciplines. The sixth and latest edition was published in 2010.

This handout is based on the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). For all rules and requirements of APA citations, please consult the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

APA requires that information be cited in 2 different ways—within the text and in a reference list at the end of the paper. The reference list should be on a new page, double spaced, and use the hanging indent method (all lines after the first one are indented). It begins with a title page with a running header.


APA uses the author-date method of citation. The last name of the author and the date of publication are inserted in the text in the appropriate place.

When referencing or summarizing a source, provide the author and year. When quoting or summarizing a particular passage, include the specific page or paragraph number, as well.

When quoting in your paper, if a direct quote is less than 40 words, incorporate it into your text and use quotation marks. If a direct quote is more than 40 words, make the quotation a free-standing indented block of text and DO NOT use quotation marks.

  1. One work by one author:

  1. In one developmental study (Smith, 1990), children learned… OR

  2. In the study by Smith (1990), primary school children… OR

  3. In 1990, Smith’s study of primary school children…

Works by multiple authors:

When a work has 2 authors cite both names every time you reference the work in the text. When a work has three to five authors cite all the author names the first time the reference occurs and then subsequently include only the first author followed by et al. For example:

First citation: Masserton, Slonowski, and Slowinski (1989) state that…

Subsequent citations: Masserton et al. (1989) state that…

For 6 or more authors, cite only the name of the first author followed by et al. and the year.

Works by no identified author:

When a resource has no named author, cite the first few words of the reference entry (usually the title). Use double quotation marks around the title of an article, chapter, or Web page. Italicize the title of a periodical, book, brochure, or report. For example:

The site seemed to indicate support for homeopathic drugs (“Medical Miracles,” 2009).

The brochure argues for homeschooling (Education Reform, 2007).

Treat reference to legal materials such as court cases, statutes, and legislation like works with no author.

Two or more works in the same parenthetical citation:

Citations of two or more works in the same parentheses should be listed in the order they appear in the reference list (i.e., alphabetically, then chronologically).

Several studies (Jones & Powell, 1993; Peterson, 1995, 1998; Smith, 1990) suggest that…

Specific parts of a source

Always give the page number for quotations or to indicate information from a specific table, chart, chapter, graph, or page. The word page is abbreviated but not chapter. For example:

The painting was assumed to be by Matisse (Powell, 1989, Chapter 6), but later analysis showed it to be a forgery (Murphy, 1999, p. 85).

If, as in the instance of online material, the source has neither visible paragraph nor page numbers, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following it. This allows the reader to locate the text in the source. For example:

The patient wrote that she was unimpressed by the doctor’s bedside manner (Smith, 2006, Hospital Experiences section, para. 2).

  1. Chapter of a Book:

Bergquist, J. M. (1992). German Americans. In J. D. Buenker& L. A. Ratner (Eds.),

Multiculturalism in the United States: A comparative guide to acculturation and

ethnicity(pp. 53-76). New York, NY: Greenwood.

  1. Journal Article with DOI:

Paivio, A. (1975). Perceptual comparisons through the mind’s eye.Memory & Cognition, 3, 635-647. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Journal Article without DOI (when DOI is not available):

Becker, L. J., & Seligman, C. (1981). Welcome to the energy crisis. Journal of Social Issues, 37(2), 1-7.

Hamfi, A. G. (1981). The funny nature of dogs.E-journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38

-48. Retrieved from http://ojs.lib.swin.edu.au/index.php/fdo

  1. Online Newspaper Articles:

Becker, E. (2001, August 27). Prairie farmers reap conservation’s rewards. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

  1. Encyclopedia Articles:

Brislin, R. W. (1984). Cross-cultural psychology.In R. J. Corsini (Ed.), Encyclopedia of psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 319-327). New York, NY: Wiley.

Developmental genetics.(2005). In Cambridge encyclopedia of child development. Retrieved from http://0www.credoreference.com.library.muhlenberg.edu:80/entry/cupchilddev/developmental_genetics

  1. Technical and Research Reports (often with corporate authors)

Hershey Foods Corporation. (2001, March 15). 2001 Annual Report.Retrieved from


  1. Book Reviews:

Dent-Read, C., &Zukow-Goldring, P. (2001). Is modeling knowing? [Review of the book

Models of cognitive development, by K. Richardson].American Journal of Psychology, 114, 126-133.

NOTE: For articles that have a DOI, see Journal Article with DOI example.

  1. Data Sets:

Simmons Market Research Bureau.(2000). Simmons national consumer survey [Data file].

New York, NY: Author.

  1. Blog post:

Lincoln, D. S. (2009, January 23). The likeness and sameness of the ones in the middle.

[Web log post]. Retrieved from


Website with no author or date of publication:

Census data revisited. (n.d.). Retrieved March 9, 2009, from Harvard, Psychology of

Population website, http://harvard.edu/data/index.php

Do not include retrieval dates unless the source material may change over time. If no DOI has been assigned to the content, provide the homepage URL.


In general, references should contain the author name, publication date, title, and publication information. Include the issue number if the journal is paginated by issue.

For information obtained electronically or online include the DOI:

DOI – a unique alphanumeric string assigned to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the internet. The DOI is typically located on the first page of the electronic journal article near the copyright notice. When a DOI is used in your citation, no other retrieval information is needed. Use this format for the DOI in references.

If no DOI has been assigned to the content, provide the home page URL of the journal or of the book or report publisher. Do not insert a hyphen if you need to break a URL across lines; do not add a period after a URL, to prevent the impression that the period is part of the URL.

In general, it is not necessary to include database information. Do not include retrieval dates unless the source material has changed over time.

  1. Book:

Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (1979).The guide to everything and then some more stuff.

New York, NY: Macmillan.

Gregory, G., & Parry, T. (2006).Designing brain-compatible learning (3rd ed.). Thousand

Oaks, CA: Corwin.

  1. Reprint from Another Source:

  1. Citation in the text:

(Newton, 1998/1999).

  1. Reference List Citation:

Newton, W. (1999). Return to Mars. In C. Mari (Ed.), Space Exploration (pp. 32-

41). New York, NY: H.W. Wilson. (Reprinted from National Geographic,

pp. 2-26, August 1998).

  1. In this example of a reprinted book review, the author of the book is named first, followed by the editor of the reprinting source, then the reviewer. In your parenthetical citation, it is necessary to name the author of the book, while the reviewer is named to distinguish from other reviews of this book.