When you list your sources in an APA paper, the third part of an entry is usually the title. Here we review the basic rules for citing titles in your reference list.

Rules for Titles


Typically only the first word of a title is capitalized:

Postprandial mood swings in adults who eat their lunch before 11 o’clock.

Exceptions are proper names and the first word of a subtitle:

Studies in obsessive compulsive disorder: The case of the Oxford comma.

As you can tell, you don’t need to use quotation marks for titles.


Use italics for titles of longer works (e.g., books) and for the names of periodicals:

Social hierarchy and towel whipping during the middle school years. (book)

Journal of Interracial Dating (periodical)

Additional Information

If your source contains extra information that relates to your title (edition, number, etc.), you can add it in parentheses:

Famous Freudian slips: The complete anals (Vols. 1-11).

Frequency of calf muscle spasms in left handed adolescent swimmers (Publication No. Gr8-WRK-U2).

Description of the Source

Sometimes it may be helpful to add a brief description of the source. This is especially the case for unusual sources:

Colonel Brandon’s flannel waistcoat [DVD]

Here is a list of these kinds of descriptions:




[Data file]


[Lecture notes]

[Letter to the editor]



[Special issue]

[Special section]

[Supplemental material]



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