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Understanding APA Format
If you’re writing academically, chances are you’ve been tasked with writing a paper that follows APA style. Although there’s a learning curve involved with adhering to APA style, it’s possible to learn the basics so you can turn in your assignments.
What Is APA Style?
APA is the official academic style of the American Psychological Association. This style was created in 1929 when a group of professionals worked together to devise a set of style rules for scientific writing as a means of making these documents easier to read and understand.
If an assignment indicates APA style, you will need to adhere to these style rules. These guidelines ensure that your document is consistent and uniform with elements such as punctuation, headings and subheadings, abbreviations, numbers, tables and figures and citations.
Main Sections of a Document
APA style dictates the format of the main sections of a document.
The title page includes a running head, the author’s name and the school.
The abstract is a succinct summary of the document. APA style dictates that abstracts be no more than 250 words, although some instructors give leeway regarding the length.
The main body of the document is the text of the essay or report. Some reports are divided into separate sections.
Your reference section follows the body. It includes a list of references you cited in your document.
How to Reference APA Style
In-text citations appear within the text, identifying any information you cite. APA format for in-text citations includes the author’s name and the date of the publication.
The reference page always begins on a new page with the title “References” centered at the top. Include all entries in alphabetical order, and each entry’s first line begins at the left margin, and additional lines are indented. Place titles of newspapers, magazines, journals and books in italics, and double-space the reference section.
Double-check that all of your sources appear as both in-text citations and in the reference section.
Use an APA Sample Paper
An APA style example can be helpful if you’re learning this style and trying to apply it to a writing assignment. Many schools and universities maintain resource web pages with APA samples to show students how to follow this style.
More APA Tips
If you’re struggling with creating APA citations and references, use a citation machine to check your work. You simply fill in the citation and click a button, and the tool tells you if you made any errors.
Consider hiring an academic editor to check your work after you finish writing. The editor can find and correct errors to make sure your document adheres to APA.
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In-Text Citations: The Basics
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APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (6 th ed., 2 nd printing).
Note: This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. The equivalent APA 7 page can be found here .
Reference citations in text are covered on pages 169-179 of the Publication Manual. What follows are some general guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay.
Note: On pages 65-66, the Publication Manual suggests that authors of research papers should use the past tense or present perfect tense for signal phrases that occur in the literature review and procedure descriptions (for example, Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found ...). Contexts other than traditionally-structured research writing may permit the simple present tense (for example, Jones (1998) finds ).
APA citation basics
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
In-text citation capitalization, quotes, and italics/underlining
- Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
( Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media .)
- When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born Cyborgs .
- Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo ."
- Italicize the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind ; The Wizard of Oz ; Friends .
- Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds;" "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."
If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.
According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).
Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?
If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.
She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.
Place direct quotations that are 40 words or longer in a free-standing block of typewritten lines and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.
Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)
Summary or paraphrase
If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required).
According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).
APA Citation Guide
APA (American Psychological Association) style is used to cite sources in the field of social sciences. It can be used for research papers in the subjects of social anthropology, sociology, social psychology, political science, and economics.
In this guide, our law essay writing services team will provide you with specific directions on how to organize and properly cite different types of sources in APA format — along with citation examples. This article is a good aid for anyone who wishes to live up to high academic standards, avoid plagiarism, and cite their sources in accordance with the latest APA style rules.
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The following guide is based on the most recent 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological association.
APA Referencing Basics: Reference List
A reference list is a list of all the sources one has used in their essay. Everything in other citation styles, such as the bibliography or works cited page, are simply called a reference list in the APA format. In order to make it easier for a reader to navigate your essay and look for cited sources, there are specific rules to follow to organize it:
- First, the reference page is always the last page in your essay. At the top of the page, place the word “References”. Do not make it bold or underline it. All the text on this page should have the same spacing as the rest of your essay.
- In the reference list, the author's last name goes first and then the first name.
- Each source on the reference page must start on a new line. If the source takes up more than one line, all the lines following the first one must be indented one-half inch from the left.
- If there are multiple works by the same author, they should be listed in chronological order, from earliest to latest.
- On the reference page, the sources should be alphabetized according to the last names of the authors (or the first author, if there are multiple authors for one source).
- Always write out every title in full, and make sure to stick to the punctuation and capitalizations used by the author.
- Titles of longer sources, like books and journals, should be italicized.
APA Referencing Basics: In-Text Citation
- Two authors. In order to do the in-text citation, both authors should be named in parentheses after the thought is finished. Instead of using “and”, use an ampersand to combine the two last names. Then, put a coma and include the year of publication.
Example: (Smith & Jones, 2002)
If you choose to use a signal phrase, you should use “and”, and only put the year of publication in parentheses:
Example: According to Smith and Jones (2002), the circumstances of…
- Three, four or five authors. All of the authors should be listed regardless of whether you choose to do an in-text citation or signal phrase while citing your quote or information. List them all except the last one—using commas. The last one should have a comma AND ampersand in front of it, followed by the year:
Example: (Brooks, Jones, Smith, & Orozco, 2009)
In any follow-up citations throughout the text, instead of listing all of the authors, you should simply include the first name followed by “et al.” and the year:
Example: (Brooks et al., 2009)
- Six or more authors. In this case, you should not list all of the authors in the in-text citation. In parentheses, or in a signal phrase, put the last name of the first author and “et al.”, along with the year. This is the correct way to do an in-text citation for a publication with multiple authors:
Examples: Brooks et al. (2009) suggested… (Brooks et al., 2009)
- No authors. If it appears that some of your sources do not have an author, the in-text citation should be done using the name of the publication. In parentheses, you should include the two first words from the name of the publication in quotation marks, followed by the year. The same goes for a signal phrase in-text citation, but without the use of parentheses:
Example: The research was conducted in a suitable environment (“Deduction Methods”, 1996)
- Citing authors with multiple works from the same year. In the rare case you are citing multiple works by the same author, that also have the same publication date, you should use lower-case letters after the year (a, b, c, etc.)—depending on the order the sources are put in the reference list:
Examples: Findings of this research were outstanding (Brooks, 1972a)… The finding of Brooks’ research (1972a)…
- Citing multiple works in one parentheses. If a statement you created was composed out of several different sources, you need to include all of them in the parentheses of your in-text citation. You should list them alphabetically, the same way they are rendered in the reference list:
Example: (Brooks, 1995; Gandhi, 2004)
- Citing a group or organization . If the author of a publication is not a person, but rather an organization or a group, you should include the full name of the organization, along with the year of publication, in the parentheses of your in-text citation:
Examples: The laws followed by Internal Revenue Service (2002)… The laws followed by this organization (IRS, 2002)…
- Citing a secondary source. In order to cite a source that you have found within another source, you should name your source in the signal phrase. Then, mention the secondary source in parentheses, followed by the phrase “as cited”, the year of publication, and the page number:
Example: Brooks suggested that…(as cited in Smith, 2002, p.459)
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How to Cite Different Source Types
In this section you will discover how to cite different printed and digital sources.
How to Cite a Book in APA Format
- Citing a book in print. Citing a book follows this specific format:
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letters also for subtitles. Location: Publisher.
First, put the last name of the author, followed by a comma, then initial(s). In parentheses, put the year of publication. Next, the title of the book. Italicize the title — although the only capitalized letters are the first letters of the title and subtitle. Then, you should include the location of where the book was published, along with the publisher, separated by a semicolon:
Citation example: Smith, A. J. (2009). Economic in modern life: Guide to success. New York City; Manhattan press.
- Citing an e-book from an e-reader. If your source is a book from an e-reader like a Kindle, the following information has to be included: the author, date of publication in parentheses, title, e-book version, and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number or place where you downloaded the book. This information is used instead of the information about the publisher.
Citation example: Salinger, J. J. (1897). Glass Family [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
- Citing a book found in a database. If the book you are using in your essay comes from a school library database or and online database, you should cite it in the following format: Last name of the author, initial(s), italicized name of the publication, and “retrieved from”, followed by a link to the website. If the book you are using has to be purchased, it is suggested to put “available from”, rather than “retrieved from”.
Citation example: De Puff, E. W. (n.d.). Indian Lifestyle: Traditions and myths. Retrieved from https://digital.library.sdsu.edu/indians.html
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How to Cite a Journal Article in APA Format
- Citing a journal article in print. For a printed article to be cited, the following format should be used: author with initial(s), date of publication in parentheses, title, title of journal (italicized), volume number (italicized), issue number, and page range:
Citation example: Scraton, J. (1993). The eclipse of understanding. The New Yorker Style, 21(4) , 5-13.
- Citing a journal article found online. According to the APA format guide, if the journal article was found online, the following format should be followed: author with initial(s), date of publication in parentheses, title, title of journal (italicized), volume number (italicized), issue number, page range, and DOI.
A DOI, or Digital Object Identifier, is a tool used in the APA format, instead of a URL. URLs tend to change; therefore, the reader is not always able to retrieve a certain online source. DOIs, on the other hand, have a long-lasting link that is unique to a specific article. If a DOI is unavailable, the use of a URL is permitted.
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number (issue number, if available), page range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or https://doi.org/10.0000/0000
Citation example: Brownie, D. (2007). French economics: An annotated bibliography. European Journal of Marketing, 41 , 1245-1283. doi:10.1108/03090560710821161
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How to Reference a Newspaper in APA Format
- Citing a newspaper article in print. According to the APA format guide, an article retrieved from a newspaper in print should be cited as follows: author, year and month of publication, the name of the article, the name of the newspaper (italicized), and pages:
Citation example: Curtis, S. (2005, October 22). Fields grown to thrive. The Country Today , pp. 1A, 2A.
- Citing a newspaper article found online is identical to a printed version, although the home address should be added. APA style format guidelines suggest using the homepage instead of the URL itself:
Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Newspaper . Retrieved from https://www.homeaddress.com/
Example: Galveston, T. (2008, August 6). Psychology newsletter. The New York Times . Retrieved from https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/
How to Reference a Magazine in APA Format
- Citing a magazine article in print. A magazine article in print is required to have the following structure (according to the APA format guide): author, year and month of publication in parentheses, the name of the article, the name of the magazine (italicized), issue number (italicized), and page range:
Citation example: Henry, W. A., (1990, April). Making the grade in today's schools. Time , 135, 28-31.
- Citing a magazine article found online. For a magazine article found online, you need to have the following components, in accordance with the APA format guide: author, year and month of publication in parentheses, the name of the article, the name of the magazine (italicized), issue number (italicized) and page range, followed by the DOI:
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Magazine, issue number , page range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or https://doi.org/10.0000/0000
Citation example: Henry, W. A., (1990, April). Making the grade in today's schools. Time, 135 , 28-31. doi: 10.1108/03090560710821161
How to Cite a Movie/Film in APA Format
- Citing a film / Citing a movie. If a film is one of the sources of your essay, it might be challenging to cite. In order to do so in accordance with the APA format guide, you need to put the following information on the reference page: producer’s name—followed by “producer” in parentheses, director’s name—followed by “director” in parentheses, date of publication in parentheses, title (italicized)-followed by “motion picture” in brackets, country of origin, and finally, studio.
Producer, P. P. (Producer), & Director, D. D. (Director). (Date of publication). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio or distributor.
Citation example: Carroll, G., Giler, D., & Hill, W. (Producers), & Scott, R. (Director). (1979). Alien [Motion Picture]. United States: Twentieth Century Fox.
- Citing a film from YouTube. If you find a YouTube video that looks like a credible academic source, do not hesitate to include it. According to the APA format guide, you should start off with the name of the person who published the video, followed by their nickname or username is brackets, date of publication in parentheses, italicized name of the video and the type of media in brackets, and the URL for it.
Last Name, F.M. [Username]. (Year, Month Date). Title of video [Video File]. Retrieved from URL
Citation example: Apolon, M. [marsolon]. (2011, October 9). The tape 14 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nyGC848/
How to Cite a TV/Radio Broadcast in APA Format
- Citing an episode from TV or a radio show. Citing an episode from a TV or radio show should be done in the following format: writer’s last name and initial(s), followed by (Writer); director’s last name and initial(s), followed by (Director); the year of publication in parentheses; the name of the episode; type of series; producer’s name, followed by (Producer); italicized title; city and state of origin; and studio or distributor’s name:
Writer, W. W. (Writer), & Director, D. D. (Director). (Date of publication). Title of episode [Television series episode]. In P. Producer (Producer), Series title . City, state of origin: Studio or distributor.
Citation example: Dick, L. (Writer), & Yaitanes, G. (Director). (2009). Simple explanation [Television series episode]. In P. Attanasio (Executive producer), House, M.D. . Los Angeles, CA: Fox Broadcasting..
How to Cite a Website in APA Format
- Citing a website article with an author. If you find an article online that is not from a newspaper, magazine, or any kind of periodical, the best way to cite it is as follows (according to the APA format guide): author, date of publication in parentheses, title, format description, and “retrieved from” with the URL:
Author, A. A. & Author B. B. (Date of publication). Title of page [Format description when necessary]. Retrieved from https://www.someaddress.com/full/url/
Citation example: Eco, U. (2015). How to write a thesis [PDF file]. (Farina C. M. & Farina F., Trans.) Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/How_to_write_a_thesis/.../Umberto+Eco-How+to+Write/
- Citing a website article without an author. If the article does not have an author, cite it with the name of the page, date in parentheses or “n.d” for “no date”, and “retrieved from” with the URL:
Citation example: Spotlight Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/about/information/spotlight_resources.html/
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APA In-Text Citations and Sample Essay 7th Edition
This handout focuses on how to format in-text citations in APA.
Proper citation of sources is a two-part process . You must first cite each source in the body of your essay; these citations within the essay are called in-text citations . You MUST cite all quoted, paraphrased, or summarized words, ideas, and facts from sources. Without in-text citations, you are technically in danger of plagiarism, even if you have listed your sources at the end of the essay.
In-text citations point the reader to the sources’ information on the references page. The in-text citation typically includes the author's last name and the year of publication. If you use a direct quote, the page number is also provided.
More information can be found on p. 253 of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Direct quotation with the author named in the text.
Heinze and Lu (2017) stated, “The NFL shifted its responses to institutional change around concussions significantly as the field itself evolved” (p. 509).
Note: The year of publication is listed in parenthesis after the names of the authors, and the page number is listed in parenthesis at the end of the quote.
Direct Quotation without the Author Named in the Text
As the NFL developed as an organization, it “shifted its responses to institutional change around concussions significantly” (Heinze & Lu, 2017, p. 509).
Note: At the end of the quote, the names of the authors, year of publication, and page number are listed in parenthesis.
Paraphrase with 1-2 Authors
As the NFL developed as an organization, its reactions toward concussions also transformed (Heinze & Lu, 2017).
Note: For paraphrases, page numbers are encouraged but not required.
Paraphrase with 3 or More Authors
To work toward solving the issue of violence in prisons begins with determining aspects that might connect with prisoners' violent conduct (Thomson et al., 2019).
Direct Quotation without an Author
The findings were astonishing "in a recent study of parent and adult child relationships" ("Parents and Their Children," 2007, p. 2).
Note: Since the author of the text is not stated, a shortened version of the title is used instead.
When using secondary sources, use the phrase "as cited in" and cite the secondary source on the References page.
In 1936, Keynes said, “governments should run deficits when the economy is slow to avoid unemployment” (as cited in Richardson, 2008, p. 257).
Long (Block) Quotations
When using direct quotations of 40 or more words, indent five spaces from the left margin without using quotation marks. The final period should come before the parenthetical citation.
At Meramec, an English department policy states:
To honor and protect their own work and that of others, all students must give credit to proprietary sources that are used for course work. It is assumed that any information that is not documented is either common knowledge in that field or the original work of that student. (St. Louis Community College, 2001, p. 1)
If citing a specific web document without a page number, include the name of the author, date, title of the section, and paragraph number in parentheses:
In America, “Two out of five deaths among U.S. teens are the result of a motor vehicle crash” (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2004, Overview section, para. 1).
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Learn more about the APA References page by reviewing this handout .
For information on STLCC's academic integrity policy, check out this webpage .
For additional information on APA, check out STLCC's LibGuide on APA .
A sample APA essay is available at this link .
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APA 7th Edition Citation Guide
Order of elements: apa student essays, title page and header, table of contents, body and section headings, references page, video tutorial: formatting essays.
- Paraphrase and Summary
- Bibliographic Citations
- Sources with Multiple Authors
- Sources with No Author, Date, Title or Page Numbers
- Journal Articles
- Magazine and Newspaper Articles
- Reference Articles, Encyclopedia and Dictionary Entries
- Books and eBooks
- Conference Proceedings and Presentations
- Dissertations and Theses
- Films, Video and Audio
- Government Documents, Non-Profit and Corporate Reports
- Images and Advertisements
- Personal Communications (E-mails, Interviews, and etc.)
- Religious Texts
- Social Media
- Statutes, Legal Documents and the Constitution
- Avoiding Plagiarism
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APA formatted student essays typically contain the following elements in the order listed:
Note : Individual instructors may not require that you include all of these elements. If you are unsure of which elements to include in your essay, read your assignment's guidelines or ask your instructor.
1:20 General Formatting and Paper Set-Up
3:23 Title Page
7:11 Writing the Main Text
9:08 Section Headings
12:42 End Matter: References, Footnotes, Tables, Figures, Appendices
15:56 Closing Thoughts
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How to Cite an Essay
Last Updated: February 4, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Diya Chaudhuri, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Diya Chaudhuri holds a PhD in Creative Writing (specializing in Poetry) from Georgia State University. She has over 5 years of experience as a writing tutor and instructor for both the University of Florida and Georgia State University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 536,901 times.
If you're writing a research paper, whether as a student or a professional researcher, you might want to use an essay as a source. You'll typically find essays published in another source, such as an edited book or collection. When you discuss or quote from the essay in your paper, use an in-text citation to relate back to the full entry listed in your list of references at the end of your paper. While the information in the full reference entry is basically the same, the format differs depending on whether you're using the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago citation method.
Template and Examples
- Example: Potter, Harry.
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort."
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort." Great Thoughts from Hogwarts Alumni , by Bathilda Backshot,
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort." Great Thoughts from Hogwarts Alumni , by Bathilda Backshot, Hogwarts Press, 2019,
- Example: Potter, Harry. "My Life with Voldemort." Great Thoughts from Hogwarts Alumni , by Bathilda Backshot, Hogwarts Press, 2019, pp. 22-42.
MLA Works Cited Entry Format:
LastName, FirstName. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection , by FirstName Last Name, Publisher, Year, pp. ##-##.
- For example, you might write: While the stories may seem like great adventures, the students themselves were terribly frightened to confront Voldemort (Potter 28).
- If you include the author's name in the text of your paper, you only need the page number where the referenced material can be found in the parenthetical at the end of your sentence.
- If you have several authors with the same last name, include each author's first initial in your in-text citation to differentiate them.
- For several titles by the same author, include a shortened version of the title after the author's name (if the title isn't mentioned in your text).
- Example: Granger, H.
- Example: Granger, H. (2018).
- Example: Granger, H. (2018). Adventures in time turning.
- Example: Granger, H. (2018). Adventures in time turning. In M. McGonagall (Ed.), Reflections on my time at Hogwarts
- Example: Granger, H. (2018). Adventures in time turning. In M. McGonagall (Ed.), Reflections on my time at Hogwarts (pp. 92-130). Hogwarts Press.
APA Reference List Entry Format:
LastName, I. (Year). Title of essay. In I. LastName (Ed.), Title of larger work (pp. ##-##). Publisher.
- For example, you might write: By using a time turner, a witch or wizard can appear to others as though they are actually in two places at once (Granger, 2018).
- If you use the author's name in the text of your paper, include the parenthetical with the year immediately after the author's name. For example, you might write: Although technically against the rules, Granger (2018) maintains that her use of a time turner was sanctioned by the head of her house.
- Add page numbers if you quote directly from the source. Simply add a comma after the year, then type the page number or page range where the quoted material can be found, using the abbreviation "p." for a single page or "pp." for a range of pages.
- Example: Weasley, Ron.
- Example: Weasley, Ron. "Best Friend to a Hero."
- Example: Weasley, Ron. "Best Friend to a Hero." In Harry Potter: Wizard, Myth, Legend , edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, 80-92.
- Example: Weasley, Ron. "Best Friend to a Hero." In Harry Potter: Wizard, Myth, Legend , edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, 80-92. Ottery St. Catchpole: Quibbler Books, 2018.
' Chicago Bibliography Format:
LastName, FirstName. "Title of Essay." In Title of Book or Essay Collection , edited by FirstName LastName, ##-##. Location: Publisher, Year.
- Example: Ron Weasley, "Best Friend to a Hero," in Harry Potter: Wizard, Myth, Legend , edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, 80-92 (Ottery St. Catchpole: Quibbler Books, 2018).
- After the first footnote, use a shortened footnote format that includes only the author's last name, the title of the essay, and the page number or page range where the referenced material appears.
Tip: If you use the Chicago author-date system for in-text citation, use the same in-text citation method as APA style.
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- ↑ https://style.mla.org/essay-in-authored-textbook/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_books.html
- ↑ https://utica.libguides.com/c.php?g=703243&p=4991646
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
- ↑ https://guides.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/c.php?g=27779&p=170363
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ http://libguides.heidelberg.edu/chicago/book/chapter
- ↑ https://librarybestbets.fairfield.edu/citationguides/chicagonotes-bibliography#CollectionofEssays
- ↑ https://libguides.heidelberg.edu/chicago/book/chapter
About This Article
To cite an essay using MLA format, include the name of the author and the page number of the source you’re citing in the in-text citation. For example, if you’re referencing page 123 from a book by John Smith, you would include “(Smith 123)” at the end of the sentence. Alternatively, include the information as part of the sentence, such as “Rathore and Chauhan determined that Himalayan brown bears eat both plants and animals (6652).” Then, make sure that all your in-text citations match the sources in your Works Cited list. For more advice from our Creative Writing reviewer, including how to cite an essay in APA or Chicago Style, keep reading. Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Apa quick citation guide.
- In-text Citation
- Citing Web Pages and Social Media
- Citing Articles
- Citing Books
- Citing Business Reports
- Other Formats
- APA Style Quiz
Using In-text Citation
Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list.
APA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the year of publication, for example: (Field, 2005). For direct quotations, include the page number as well, for example: (Field, 2005, p. 14). For sources such as websites and e-books that have no page numbers , use a paragraph number, for example: (Field, 2005, para. 1). More information on direct quotation of sources without pagination is given on the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines web page.
Example paragraph with in-text citation
A few researchers in the linguistics field have developed training programs designed to improve native speakers' ability to understand accented speech (Derwing et al., 2002; Thomas, 2004). Their training techniques are based on the research described above indicating that comprehension improves with exposure to non-native speech. Derwing et al. (2002) conducted their training with students preparing to be social workers, but note that other professionals who work with non-native speakers could benefit from a similar program.
Derwing, T. M., Rossiter, M. J., & Munro, M. J. (2002). Teaching native speakers to listen to foreign-accented speech. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development , 23 (4), 245-259.
Thomas, H. K. (2004). Training strategies for improving listeners' comprehension of foreign-accented speech (Doctoral dissertation). University of Colorado, Boulder.
Citing Web Pages In Text
Cite web pages in text as you would any other source, using the author and date if known. Keep in mind that the author may be an organization rather than a person. For sources with no author, use the title in place of an author.
For sources with no date use n.d. (for no date) in place of the year: (Smith, n.d.). For more information on citations for sources with no date or other missing information see the page on missing reference information on the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines web page.
Below are examples of using in-text citation with web pages.
Web page with author:
Heavy social media use can be linked to depression and other mental disorders in teens (Asmelash, 2019).
Asmelash, L. (2019, August 14). Social media use may harm teens' mental health by disrupting positive activities, study says . CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/13/health/social-media-mental-health-trnd/index.html
Web page with organizational author:
More than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression (World Health Organization, 2018).
World Health Organization. (2018, March 22). Depression . https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
Web page with no date:
Establishing regular routines, such as exercise, can help survivors of disasters recover from trauma (American Psychological Association [APA], n.d.).
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Recovering emotionally from disaste r. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recovering-disasters.aspx
In-text references should immediately follow the title, word, or phrase to which they are directly relevant, rather than appearing at the end of long clauses or sentences. In-text references should always precede punctuation marks. Below are examples of using in-text citation.
Author's name in parentheses:
One study found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (Gass & Varonis, 1984).
Author's name part of narrative:
Gass and Varonis (1984) found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic.
Group as author: First citation: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2015) Subsequent citation: (APA, 2015)
Multiple works: (separate each work with semi-colons)
Research shows that listening to a particular accent improves comprehension of accented speech in general (Gass & Varonis, 1984; Krech Thomas, 2004).
Direct quote: (include page number and place quotation marks around the direct quote)
One study found that “the listener's familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (Gass & Varonis, 1984, p. 85).
Gass and Varonis (1984) found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (p. 85).
Note: For direct quotations of more than 40 words , display the quote as an indented block of text without quotation marks and include the authors’ names, year, and page number in parentheses at the end of the quote. For example:
This suggests that familiarity with nonnative speech in general, although it is clearly not as important a variable as topic familiarity, may indeed have some effect. That is, prior experience with nonnative speech, such as that gained by listening to the reading, facilitates comprehension. (Gass & Varonis, 1984, p. 77)
Works by Multiple Authors
APA style has specific rules for citing works by multiple authors. Use the following guidelines to determine how to correctly cite works by multiple authors in text. For more information on citing works by multiple authors see the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines page on in-text citation .
Note: When using multiple authors' names as part of your narrative, rather than in parentheses, always spell out the word and. For multiple authors' names within a parenthetic citation, use &.
One author: (Field, 2005)
Two authors: (Gass & Varonis, 1984)
Three or more authors: (Tremblay et al., 2010)
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APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on August 23, 2022.
The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.
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Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:
- Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
- Double-space all text, including headings.
- Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
- Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
- Include a page number on every page.
Let an expert format your paper
Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:
- Margins, line spacing, and indentation
- Font and headings
- Running head and page numbering
Table of contents
How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.
References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).
Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?
Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.
- Student paper: Word | Google Docs
- Professional paper: Word | Google Docs
In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .
A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .
APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.
Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .
The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.
Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .
For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .
The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).
The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.
Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.
APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.
Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.
The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.
Creating APA Style references
Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .
Formatting the reference page
Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.
Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.
Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).
Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.
Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).
Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.
The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.
Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.
APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:
- Times New Roman (12pt.)
- Arial (11pt.)
- Calibri (11pt.)
- Georgia (11pt.)
The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.
You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .
Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .
Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.
To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.
APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.
Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, August 23). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/
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How to Write an Essay in APA Format
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
What Is APA Format?
Apa essay format basics, steps to a successful essay, frequently asked questions.
If your instructor has asked you to write an APA format essay, it might at first seem like a daunting task, especially if you are accustomed to using another style such as MLA or Chicago. But you can master these rules too.
An essay is one type of paper that can be written in APA format; others include lab reports, experimental reports, and case studies. Before you begin, familiarize yourself with some of the basic guidelines of writing a paper in APA format. Of course, it will also be important to follow any other formatting instructions that are part of your assignment.
Whether you’re taking an introductory or graduate-level psychology class, chances are strong that you will have to write at least one paper during the course of the semester. In almost every case, you will need to write your paper in APA format, the official publication style of the American Psychological Association . It is also used for academic journals.
APA format is used in a range of disciplines including psychology , education, and other social sciences. The format dictates presentation elements of your paper including spacing, margins, and how the content is structured.
Most instructors and publication editors have strict guidelines when it comes to how your format your writing. Not only does adhering to APA format allow readers to know what to expect from your paper, but it also means that your work will not lose critical points over minor formatting errors.
While the formatting requirements for your paper might vary depending upon your instructor's directions, your essay will most likely need to include a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference sections.
Your essay should have a title page in APA format. This title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation. In some instances, your teacher might require additional information such as the course title, instructor name, and the date.
- The title of your paper should be concise and clearly describe what your paper is about.
- Your title can extend to two lines, but it should be no longer than 12 words.
An abstract is a brief summary of your paper that immediately follows the title page. It is not required for student papers, according to APA style. However, your instructor may request one.
If you include an abstract , it should be no more than 100 to 200 words, although this may vary depending upon the instructor requirements.
Your essay should also include a reference list with all of the sources that were cited in your essay,
- The reference section is located at the end of your paper.
- References should be listed alphabetically by the last name of the author.
- References should be double-spaced.
For an APA-style essay, the text will include the actual essay itself: The introduction, body, and conclusion.
- There should be uniform margins of at least one inch at the top, bottom, left, and right sides of your essay.
- The text should be in Times New Roman size 12 font.
- Your paper should be double-spaced.
- Every page should include a page number in the top right corner.
- The first word of each paragraph in your paper should be indented one-half inch.
For professional papers (usually not student papers), every page of the essay also includes a running head at the top left. The running head is a shortened form of the title, often the first few words, and should be no more than 50 characters (including spaces).
In addition to ensuring that you cite your sources properly and present information according to the rules of APA style, there are a number of things you can do to make the writing process a little bit easier.
Choose a Topic
Start by choosing a good topic to write about. Ideally, you want to select a subject that is specific enough to let you fully research and explore the topic, but not so specific that you have a hard time finding sources of information.
If you choose something too specific, you may find yourself with not enough to write about. If you choose something too general, you might find yourself overwhelmed with information.
Research Your Topic
Start doing research as early as possible. Begin by looking at some basic books and articles on your topic to help develop it further. What is the question you are going to answer with your essay? What approach will you take to the topic?
Once you are more familiar with the subject, create a preliminary source list of potential books, articles, essays, and studies that you may end up using in your essay.
Remember, any source used in your essay must be included in your reference section. Conversely, any source listed in your references must be cited somewhere in the body of your paper.
Write Your Rough Draft
With research in hand, you are ready to begin. Some people like to create an outline to organize their argument prior to drafting. You may want to start with a very rough outline, and then add details.
Once you have a detailed outline, the next step is to translate it from notes to complete sentences and paragraphs. Remember, this is a first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect.
As you write your essay, be sure to keep careful track of the sources that you cite.
Review and Revise
After you have prepared a rough draft of your essay, it's time to revise, review, and prepare your final draft. In addition to making sure that your writing is cohesive and supported by your sources, you should also check carefully for typos, grammar errors, and possible formatting mistakes.
How do you write an interview essay in APA format?
When citing information or quotations taken from an interview, APA format requires that you cite the source, how the information was collected, and the date of the interview. They should not be included in the reference section, however, because they are not something that can be located by a reader in any published source or searchable database.
Instead, the information should be cited parenthetically in the main body of the text. For example: “There was an increase in the number of college students who screened positive for depression/anxiety” (R. Heathfield, personal communication, May 9, 2021).
How do you cite an essay in APA format?
If the essay is in a chapter of a book, edited collection, or anthology, APA format states that you should cite the last name, first name, title of essay, title of collection, publisher, year, and page range. For example: Smith, John, "The Light House," A Book of Poems , editing by Peter Roberts, Allworth Press, 2005, pp. 20-25.
How do I write a two-part essay in APA format?
According to APA format, a two-part essay is formatted the same as an essay, however, you'll need to create two title pages.
How do I include a direct quote in an APA format essay?
If you're including a short direct quote in your APA-format essay, you will need to cite the author, year of publication, and page number (p.) or page number span (pp.). Quotations longer than 40 words should omit the quotation marks and be put in the text using block quotation formatting, on its own line and indented 1/2 inch from the left margin.
How do I make a cover page for an essay in APA format?
The cover page or "title page" for an essay in APA format should always include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation as well as the course title, instructor name, and date, if requested by your teacher.
Nagda S. How to write a scientific abstract. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2013;13(3):382-383. doi:10.1007/s13191-013-0299-x
American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.
By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
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Example Essay with APA Referencing
Part of: Academic Referencing
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