Digital Object Identifiers

Introduction

A DOI, or digital object identifier, is an alpha-numeric string that is associated with a particular publication. It is similar to a URL (a uniform resource locator), the web link you see in your browser’s address bar. However, a DOI is more stable and will remain permanently attached to a publication.

The APA guidelines suggest that if a source has a DOI, you should include it in the citation, even if you did not access the source online.

Current Guidelines

The American Psychological Association follows the guidelines for DOIs provided by Crossref, the organization that helps publishers create consistent citation linking. A proper DOI should be in the following format (the letter being a variable number or letter):

https://doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx

Let’s take a closer look at the component parts of a DOI:

Note that every DOI will include the number 10 at the start of the prefix. The next number is at least four digits long and is associated with the registrant, a particular publisher or organization. The suffix consists of any number of letters and numbers.

When citing an online source with a DOI, add it at the end of your citation:

Wittles, Q. (2011). Freud and the art of doodling. Art and Psychology, 19, 22-33. https://doi.org/10.1091/1598300983

Make the link clickable if your writing is published online. Also, make sure you don’t add a period afterwards, as that may mess up the link.

How to Find a DOI

Most often you will find the DOI at the beginning of the article (look on the first page, above the title or in the header and footer).

If you’re using an academic database, you will also often find the DOI listed in the information for the article. In some cases, it may not be formatted correctly:

In this example, you would need to edit the link to get rid of “dx” and the library extension (“ezproxy.aec.talonline.ca”):

Before: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.aec.talonline.ca/10.1037/cpp0000189

After: http://doi.org/10.1037/cpp0000189

Note that normally we would use https instead of http.

Older Methods

In the past, DOIs were sometimes formatted differently:

http://dx.doi.org/10.9987/75098acg334

doi:10.9987/75098acg334

If you are citing the same DOI today, you’ll want to use the current format:

https://doi.org/10.9987/75098acg334

Conclusion

If you’re doubtful about the usefulness of DOIs, just take a DOI (not one from this article–they’re mostly made up) and copy it in your browser’s address bar (then press Enter). Alternatively, you can go directly to the DOI resolver at https://www.doi.org/. Knowing the DOI allows you to easily find the text it belongs to.


For more information about DOIs, please consult pp. 298-300 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Periodicals

Introduction

A periodical is a magazine or journal that comes out in regular installments. This page provides a number of examples of how to cite a periodical article. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, try match the closest example or consult the official APA manual.

Basic Format

The basic format for articles is as follows:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (year of publication). Title of the article. Periodical Title, volume number(issue number), page range, doi.

Here is what that looks like in practice:

Rush, N. M., Quick, C. F., & Scamper, A. (2016). The handwriting of psychology students analyzed through the notation of the ampersand in final exams. The Psychic Calligraphist, 22(1), 1-18, https://doi.org/10.1241/1487.983cbb

Notes:

  • Provide initials for first names.
  • Whenever you cite more than one author, use an ampersand before the final name.
  • Don’t capitalize key words in your title. Only the first word and proper nouns need capitalization.
  • Use italics for the periodical title and volume.
  • Provide the issue number only if each issue starts pagination from page 1.
  • For more information about DOIs, check out our separate page and consult the examples below.
  • Depending on the citation, some details may be altered or omitted.

Variants

Article in Print

An article in print does not need a DOI number:

Kappa, A. B., Middlington, E. & Mooney, P. R. (2016). The non-uniformity of heterogeneous co-ed frat houses. Social Architectonics, 12, 99-108.

Article with DOI

When you add a DOI, make sure you omit the final period.

Wittles, Q. (2011). Freud and the art of doodling. Art and Psychology, 19, 22-33. https://doi.org/10.1091/1598300983

Article with URL

Plump, T. T., & Carrot, C. V. (2012). Quarterly sales of hamburgers and hotdogs in Hamburg and Frankfurt. Journal of Fast Food Economics, 9(3), 88-93. http://ufv.lib/us/12.9.3/sales

More Than Twenty Authors

When citing a source with more than twenty authors, delete every name after nineteenth and before the final one. Use three spaced periods to indicate the omission:

Seacrest, B. T., Reynolds, A. T., Etheridge, L., Cruise, T., Merkel, A., Bergkamp, N., Colon, S., Semi-Colon, B., Comma, N., Dash, Z., Potato, M., Waffle, C., Chocolate, K., Kamp, U., Fifteener, V. Jones, E, Watson, T. Chupkra, M., Klosur, I.,  . . . Ratzinger, W. (2015). Coping with the fears of brain freezes and melting ice-cream. Childlike Psychology, 5(2), 144-89. https://doi.org/10.8733/0988434.56.777

Article In Press

Whipper, T. X., & Knuckleboner, P. C. (in press). Some differences between the British and the Scottish clammy handshake. Journal of Body Language.

Magazine Article

If you’re citing a popular magazine (rather than an academic periodical), you may want to give the month and/or day of publication:

Slinky, B. (2014, May 3). The elephant in the room, or how to tranquilize an unusually obese man. Popular Anesthetist, 108(4), 33-35.

For magazines published online, add a URL.

Newspaper Article

For newspaper articles, provide the day and month, and, where appropriate, cite page numbers by the section of the paper:

Hendrix, K. (2001, November 2). Sociology professor wears pajamas to class. Blue River Gazette, B1, B7-B8.

In this example, the article can be found in section B.

For online newspapers, just replace the section with the URL of the article:

Hendrix, K. (2001, November 2). Sociology professor wears pajamas to class. Blue River Gazette.  https://www.brgazette.com/2001/11/02/sociology-professor-wears-pajamas-to-class

Special Issue or Section

Sometimes a periodical is devoted entirely to a single issue or topic. If you would like to cite the issue as a whole, provide the names of the editors followed by the title of the issue and the designation “special issue”:

Crabby, M., & Grumby, Z. (Eds.). (2011). The anxiety of influence: Why the fear of plagiarism haunts academics [Special Issue]. Journal of Insipidity, 24(1).

If you’re citing just a section of the journal, change the description of the title and add page numbers:

Florist, F., Grist, M. J., & Groanwold, A. B. (Eds.). (2007). Animation and imagination: The dynamics of visualization in early childhood education [Special section]. Studies in Indoctrination, 88, 59-102.


For more information about citing periodicals, please see pp. 316-21 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Books

Introduction

This page will teach you how to cite longer works such as books and reference works, as well as the chapters or entries in them.

Books

Basic Format

Here’s the default format for citing a book:

Author, A. A. (year of publication). Title (translator or editor). Publisher. DOI or URL

And here’s what that might look like in practice:

Youngblood, A. (1999). Addicted to Facebook and fake news: Studies in gerontology (F. Finch, Ed.). We The North Press. https://doi.org/10.4888/3893274

Whitman, W. (2016). An introduction to urinal etiquette. Pissoir Digital. https://doi.org/10.8248/357709ggg0

You can vary the format by replacing the author with an editor or a group. Leave out the DOI or URL if the book doesn’t have one:

Putin, V. (Ed.) (2017). The fate of the pierogi in Russian controlled Ukraine. Black Sea Press.

Now that you know the general format, check out the variations below for other examples.

Audiobook

You only need to indicate that your source is an audio book if that version is different in some way from the regular text (e.g., it is abridged):

Carbuncle, R. D. (2015). How to fake a fake smile (H. Glow, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Colgate Audio. https://www.colgatepubs.com/html.fake/url

Ebook

Here’s how to cite an electronic book that lacks a DOI:

Nibali, B. (2002). A brief history of the little black dress. https://www.blackhistory.org/sartorial/little-black-dress/an335other592fake.url/

Multi-volume Work with Multiple Editors

The following entry includes two editors, an edition, and a specific volume:

Sharp, B., & Klunk, H. (Eds.). (2009). Famous Freudian slips: The complete anals (2nd ed., Vol. 3). Parapraxis Press.

Edition with Author and Editor

Templeton, R. (2009). The destructive work habits of slobs (T. V. Time, Ed.; 2nd ed.). Billabong University Press.

Republished Work

Idler, A., Freude, S., & Dung, C. (1999). Hope I don’t fall in love with you: Problems with patient-therapist transference (B. Stricter, Ed. & Trans.). Golden Gate Press. (Original work published 1928)

Providing the original date of publication is also important for editions of classic works of literature (e.g., Plato, Shakespeare, etc.).

Translated Book

Grettirsdottir, L. (2002). A brief introduction to Icelandic humour (T. Smith, Trans.). Oxbridge University Press.

If the title is in a foreign language, you can add an English translation in square brackets behind it.

Chapters and Entries

Basic Format

Here is the basic format for citing a specific section of a book:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (year of publication). Title of chapter or entry. In A. Editor, & B. Editor (Eds.), Book Title (pp. xx-xx). Publisher. DOI or URL

And this is what that looks like in practice:

Prune, B., & Bucket, C. J. (2017). Are splash parks a waste of water? In N. Green, & B. B. Gun (Eds.), Climate change and urban planning (pp. 14-19). Solar Press. https://doi.org/10.8338/322209gg3

Now that you know the basic format, let’s look at a few sample variations.

Book Chapter, Reprinted from a Journal Article

Cork, V. (2005). The pedagogy of surprise. In B. P. MacDonald, & E. Sorenson (Eds.), Teaching with Emotion (pp. 89-102). Big Hat Press. (Reprinted from “The pedagogy of surprise,” 2001, Journal of Sentimentality, 4[3], 66-81, https://doi.org/10.1118/323212ff3)

Note that here the issue number of the article is placed in square brackets rather than parentheses.

Online Reference Work

Online works will typically lack page numbers:

Norton, F. (2010). Trauma. In H. Ypnosis (Ed.), The Gobsmack Encyclopedia of Psychology. https://gobsmack.encycl.org/terms/trauma/

Other information that may be missing includes the author, editor, and date:

Adhocracy. (n.d.). In Dictionary of economic jargon. Retrieved January 11, 2019, from https://www.doej.com/business/adhocracy/

When the entry lacks a date, you can provide a retrieval date instead.


For more information about citing books and sections of books, please see pp. 321-29 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Meetings and Presentations

Introduction

When scholars want to share their ideas, they deliver talks, present posters, and discuss their results. This page will help you cite the different types of presentations, using the APA style guide (7th ed.).

Meetings and Presentations

Conference Paper, Poster, Session

If you’re citing a speech, poster, or conference session, use the following format:

Presenter, A. A., & Presenter, B. B. (Year, month and days). Title [Type of Contribution]. Conference Name, Location. DOI or URl.

In practice, we get something like this:

Flokstra, Z., & Flintwitch, I. (2002, September 7-9). The benefits of spool knitting in environmental science classrooms [Poster presentation]. Knitting Scientists Society Congress, Chicago, IL, United States. http://www.kssc.org/congress

Zizek, B. (2011, June 5). Teaching architecture with Lego [Paper presentation]. Annual Conference of the International Lego Pedagogy Group, Boston, MA, United States.

To cite an entire session, just list the contributors as the author and write “Conference sesssion” in square brackets after the title.

Symposium

A symposium is meeting where a number of scholars come together to discuss a particular topic. If they’re polite, they’ll let the chair keep them from droning on too long. You can cite all the contributors or single out specific individuals.

Here’s the basic format:

Contributor, A. A., & Contributor, B. B. (Year, month and days). Title of contribution. In C. C. Chairperson (Chair), Symposium title [Symposium]. Conference Name, Location. DOI or URL

And here’s an example:

Kushner, X., Spicer, K., & Scarface, B. K. (2017, January 19). The economic effect of the Magnitsky Act. In M. Kardashian (Chair), Conference on Russian-American Relations [Symposium]. Itinerant Economists Society Conference, Thredbo, Australia. https://doi.org.10.7444/4738928347f

Proceedings

When select conference presentations are published, they are often bundled together as one document (called the conference proceedings). When you cite a presentation included in such a publication, follow the regular rules for citing an entry or chapter in a book:

Dalek, S., & Whu, Y. (2017). The crazy physics of the EmDrive thruster. In B. S. Gallblather (Ed.), The Future of Interstellar Travel (pp. 35-42). Backwater Press. https://doi.org/10.5166/na35666sa-00


For more information about citing meetings and presentations, please see pp. 332-33 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Theses

Basic Format

Let’s start with the default option for citing an unpublished thesis or dissertation:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of dissertation or thesis [Unpublished doctoral thesis or master’s thesis]. Institution.

Here’s what that looks like in practice:

Nyet, D. (2005). Procrastination and dissertation completion times at three Ontario universities (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Toronto.

Variants

Dissertation or Thesis in a Database

Fleming, C. T. (1998). Valentine’s Day and the Macedonian horticultural industry (Publication No. 483294) [Master’s thesis, Saints Cyril and Methodius University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Dissertation From the Web

When you’re not using a database, you may want to include a URL and/or archive name:

Obvius, C. (2014). The psychology of common sense (Doctoral dissertation, Donair University). Donair Institutional Repository. https://www.donair.edu/rep/157/thesis/


For more information about citing dissertations, please see pp. 333-34 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Data Sets and Software

Introduction

If you’re using a data set or a specialized kind of software or measurement tool, you should cite it in your reference list.

Of course you don’t have to cite common types of software such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop, nor do you have to account for the use of universal programming languages (e.g., Java).

Data Set

Here is the basic format:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of data set (Version number) [Data set]. Publisher or Source. DOI or URL.

Notes:

  • You can leave out the version number.
  • If the information is still being updated, you can provide a retrieval date and URL (e.g., Retrieved May 7, 2017, from URL).
  • You can change the description in square brackets (e.g., Data set, Unpublished raw data, etc.).
  • Italicize the names of data sets.

Here are some examples:

Brazilian Department of Soccer Statistics. (2007). Goal scoring efficiency of forwards in a state of post-carnival inebriation, 1999-2004 [Data set]. Retrieved July 8, 2019, from https://brasiliasoccerfoundation.org/mental-health/datasets/ 

Cramp, I. E. (2008). Catholic prayer benches and arthritis rates [Data set]. Pews Research Society. https://doi.org/10.4888/DLKFJ9932

Vanspronsen, T. (2001). [Unpublished raw data on impostor syndrome at the administrative level]. University of Zenith.

For links to important data sets and repositories, check out this APA page.

Software

Let’s start with the basic format:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work (Version number) [Computer software]. Publisher or app store. URL

Notes:

  • You can leave out the version number.
  • You can change the description in square brackets (e.g., Computer software, Mobile app, Equipment, etc.).
  • Italicize the title.

Here are two examples:

Alert, A. B. (2015). HyperAware Optimizer (Version 3.2) [Computer software]. Caffeine Logistics. https://www.caflogistics.com/

Innocuous Developers. Fun time-wasting game (Version 1.9) [Mobile app]. App Store. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pernicious-data-collecting-applications/fun-game/19993


For more information, please consult pp. 337-41 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Audio Visual Sources

Films and Videos

Benedict, E., & Scramble, T. (Directors). (1962). Breakfast epiphany [Film]. Singular Productions.

Vilnius, R. (Director). (2015). Unboxing the latest antidepressants from Senegal [Film; two-disc speical ed. on Blu-ray]. Lithuanian Lithium Association. https://www.liliass.org/antidepressants/

Youtube Videos

Manning, C. [Styledog]. (2011, December 5). How to cite videos in APA [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCXdpfE7y8Y

Podcasts

Jones, A. (Host), & Jones, B. (Executive Producer). (2017-2018). Planet sunny [Audio Podcast]. Smile Productions. https://itunes.apple.com/podcasts/planet-sunny

Podcast Episode

Radcliffe, N. (Host). (2015, September 15). The one that got away (No. 23) [Audio podcast episode]. In Lab Rats. https://labratsradio.com/

Television Series

Willburg, C., & Flincher, D. (Executive producers). (2011-17). Thirteen unlucky teens [TV series].  Rooibos TV.

Television Episode

Ornery, F. (Writer), & Flincher, D. (Director). (2017, May 5). Matilda’s cat [TV series episode]. In C. Willburg (Executive producer), Thirteen unlucky teens. Rooibos TV.

Music Album

Brundage, K. (2015). Waking up beside you [Album]. Bottled Angst Records.

Single Song

Brundage, K. (2015). What’s that tattoo? [Song]. On Waking up beside you [CD]. Bottled Angst Records.

Photograph

Clefbom, C. (2015). Apple tree in the backyard [Photograph]. Clefbom Museum.


For more information about citing audio-visual sources, please see pp. 341-47 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Hanging Indentation

Introduction

A number of citation styles require the use of hanging indentation for citing sources at the end of a research paper or book. Here’s the quick explanation of how to add hanging indentation in MS Word.

What It Looks Like

Hanging indentation means that for every entry in your final bibliography, you indent each line after the first one tab space. Here’s an example of an MLA Works Cited Page with hanging indentation:

Now, you can of course just press Tab for every entry, but that’s laborious and MS Word will likely mess up your spacing if you go that route. There’s a much quicker way to achieve hanging indentation …

How To Add Hanging Indentation

Adding hanging indentation in MS Word is super easy. Just highlight your text and press Ctrl + T. That’s it!

Alternatively, you can take a more circuitous route and go to Home > Paragraph (click the little symbol to the right) > Special > Hanging Indentation.

If you take the latter route, you will be able to adjust the spacing options at the same time. For more details, check out the video above.

Social Media and Websites

Social Media

The basic format for citing social media is as follows:

Author, A. A. (Year, Month and day). Title [Description of audiovisuals]. Site name. URL

Note that the title is typically the wording of the social media post (up to 20 words). If the post does not include any audiovisuals or links, just leave out the description in square brackets.

Twitter

When citing a tweet, be sure to add [Tweet] after the title and description:

Grump, D. [@BGrumpy99]. (2019, December 24]. Will probably be disappointed with my Christmas presents (again). 🙁 #ChristmasSucks [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/BGrumpy99/status/1938798317498374

You can omit the description of audiovisuals in square brackets, or else provide a different wording (e.g., Link attached).

You can also cite a Twitter profile. In this case, provide a retrieval date, since the content may change:

Grump, D. [@BGrumpy99]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved January 22, 2020, from https://twitter.com/BGrumpy99

You may replace “Tweets” with other parts of the Twitter profile (e.g., lists, moments, topics).

Post on Facebook, Tumblr, etc.

Here’s an example of a Facebook post:

Sophie and Sebastian. (2019, September 14). Excited to share another fun children’s story [Image and link attached] [Status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SophieandSebastian/posts/32345666

You can tailor this for other social media posts. Change the descriptions in brackets to suit your needs. For example, for Instagram you would might write [Photographs] instead of [Status update].

To cite a Facebook page, make sure you indicate the specific page title (home, photos, etc.):

Russia Hoax Conspiracy Society. (n.d.). Photos [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved August 2, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/russiahoax

You’ll note that this reference has a lot in common with the Twitter profile citation above.

Emojis

Try to retain emojis if possible. If you are unable to create the same emoji, you can describe it in square brackets:

🙂

[grinning face]

For a list of emojis, see the Unicode website.

Forum Post

Cassidy, B. (2017, December 5). So I am writing a paper on the psychology of train robbers and I wonder if any of you could [Online forum post]. Reddit. https://wwww.reddit.com/robberyforum/trains_comments

Notice that even though the post keeps going, we’ve cut it off after 20 words.

Webpages

Let’s start with the basic format:

Author, A. A. (Year, Month and day). Title. Site. URL

Here is an example of a webpage:

Bauer, A. (2017, August 21). My view of the eclipse. Andy’s Science Blog. https://www.andysscienceblog.com/eclipse

If you’re interacting with multiple pages from the same website, you’ll have to cite each one separately.

If you want to cite an entire website, don’t do so in the reference list. Just mention the website in your text and provide the URL in parentheses.

If the author and the site title are the same, omit the latter. If the page is likely to change over time, provide a retrieval date:

Geese Unlimited. (n.d.). Why ducks are overrated (the latest stats). Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https:/www/geeseunlimited.com/ducks


For more information, please consult pp. 348-52 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

APA In-Text Citation: Basic Rules

Introduction

When you cite your sources in the text of your essay (what is commonly called in-text citation), you normally need to give just enough information so your reader can easily find the source in your final list of references. As with MLA style, citations are included in the text and not in the footnotes, though you are of course allowed to add footnotes for clarification and extra information.

There are a few sources that can be cited only in the text, and not in the reference list:

  • Personal communications that are not easily accessible
  • General references to websites, journals, apps, etc.
  • Quotations from research participants
  • Epigraphs

Core Principles

APA in-text citations focus on the author and the date of publication. If you’re quoting (rather than paraphrasing) you should also add the page number.

Here are a few sample in-text citations using the same source:

Jones (2017) argues that children who are unable to blow bubbles with their bubble gum are more likely to experience bouts of depression during adolescence.

In 2017, Jones argued that children who are unable to blow bubbles with their bubble gum are more likely to experience bouts of depression during adolescence.

Children who are unable to blow bubbles with their bubble gum are more likely to experience bouts of depression during adolescence (Jones, 2017).

For children unable to blow bubbles with their bubble gum, the results can be tragic: “Around 16% suffer from depression in their teenage years” (Jones, 2017, p. 44).

The first two examples are called narrative citations because they are part of the sentence itself. The last two examples are parenthetical citations: they enclose all the information in a final set of parentheses.

If you’re familiar with a different method of citation, watch out for the following features of APA style:

  • Authors are cited by last name only, though in the final list of references, initials may also be given.
  • All elements within parentheses are separated by commas.
  • Page numbers are introduced with a “p.” or “pp.”
  • Suffixes (e.g., Jr.) are omitted.

You will also note that APA essays frequently engage with the overall argument of a source, rather than some small detail or snippet. That is why often only the author and date are given, and no page number is provided. However, page numbers are important for direct quotations and can be helpful when paraphrasing a specific passage in a longer work.

The Ampersand

When citing works with multiple authors, you should join the names with “and” in the text of your essay, and with an ampersand (&) in parentheses:

Urchin, Urnwood, Unction, and Creep (2007)

(Urchin, Urnwood, Unction, & Creep 2007)

No Date of Publication

Should it happen that your source lacks a date or has not been published yet, then you can add “n.d” or “in press”:

(Crikey, n.d.)

(Flaky, in press)

Repeated Citations

When you use the same source multiple times in the same paragraph, you don’t necessarily need to cite it in every sentence. For example, when paraphrasing a source, make sure it is cited in the first sentence. Subsequently, when naming the source in the course of a sentence (as opposed to in parentheses), you can omit the date. If you introduce a different source or start a new paragraph, you’ll have to cite your original source in full again:

Fleaburg (2005) argued that giving more expensive roses on Valentine’s Day provided a greater happiness quotient than during the rest of the year. Part of the reason appears to be that the added cost is a marker of investment in the relationship. However, Fleaburg points out that once the cost reaches a certain threshold (typically around three times the normal price), the emotional returns start to dwindle, and may even be reversed should the parties be struggling financially or be of Dutch heritage. Similar research by Tillbury (2009) and Muffin (2018) confirms these findings. Nevertheless, it has been pointed out that more research needs to be done to take into account the effect of Costco wholesale flower prices (Fleaburg, 2005).

Numbers of Authors

One Author

When citing a single author, drop any suffixes (e.g., Jr.), and provide both the author’s name and the date:

Obermaus (2016) determined that psychotic taxi drivers are less likely to cause accidents.

Psychotic taxi drivers are less likely to cause accidents (Obermaus, 2016).

As mentioned above, if you’ve mentioned the author’s name outside of parentheses, then you can omit the date the next time you mention the name outside of parentheses (and in the same paragraph):

Obermaus (2016) determined that psychotic taxi drivers are less likely to cause accidents. Still, Obermaus also found that psychotic taxi drivers are more prone to road rage during traffic jams.

However, if you are citing multiple sources, or if the name is in parentheses, then make sure you provide both the name and the date in your next citation. This rule also applies if you’re citing more than one author.

Two Authors

For a single work by two authors, provide both names in every citation:

Frock and Flinck (1999) found that among some of the Bogo tribes, ritualized courtships consisted of elaborate handstands and cartwheels.

Among some of the Bogo tribes, ritualized courtships consisted of elaborate handstands and cartwheels (Frock & Flinck, 1999).

Note the use of the ampersand when names are joined in parentheses.

Three or More Authors

Anytime you’re citing a source by three or more authors, list just the first name followed by the Latin abbreviation et al. (and others):

Pointdexter et al. (2011) found …

(Pointdexter et al., 2011)

Notice that the abbreviation is not italicized.

If the shortened citation and date are the same as for another publication (that shares a similar group of authors), cite as many authors as necessary to distinguish the two sources. For instance, let’s say you want to shorten the following lists of authors:

(Smiley, Gaylord, Sanguin, & Giggles, 2009)

(Smiley, Stephens, Smith, & Stitch, 2009)

You would shorten as follows:

(Smiley, Gaylord, et al., 2009)

(Smiley, Stephens, et al., 2009)

If the last author is the only one that’s different, then just write out all the names.

Groups

Some sources are authored by groups (e.g., associations, societies, institutions). Spell them out fully the first time. If you intend to shorten them later, add the abbreviation in the parentheses:

The Pathological Liars Study Group (PLSG, 2010) found that …

(Pathological Liars Study Group [PLSG], 2010)

Notice the use of square brackets in the second example to avoid confusion between different sets of parentheses. After the first citation, you can provide just the abbreviated form:

The PLSG (2010) argued …

Group names should be spelled out fully in your reference list.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned the author-date system, check out also our other page on in-text citation, which covers some more unusual types of citations. 


For more information about APA in-text citation, see chapter 8 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Reviews

Introduction

Need to cite a review of a book or film? This page will teach you how, using the APA guidelines (7th ed.)

Citing Reviews

Basic Format

The default format for reviews involves a book review published in a journal:

Reviewer, A. A. (Date of the review’s publication). Review Title [Review of the book Title, by A. A. Author]. Periodical, volume(issue), pages. DOI or URL

Here’s an example:

Rutgers, A. (2010, December 22). I may be Greek, but I’m not narcissistic. [Review of the book The Psychological Make-up of Six European Nations, by E. Pratt]. Psychobabble Magazine, 66(1), 22-23. https://doi.org/10.1919/aff12098855

If the review is of a different medium than a book, change “Review of the book” to whatever description is appropriate (e.g., “Review of the film”). The same goes for the author of the material under review. For example, you might replace the author of the book (E. Pratt in our example) with the director (e.g., “by B. Alonso, Dir.).

Variant

As an example of the changes you can make to the basic format, here is a film review published in a newspaper:

Cringeworthy, E. (2014). Nowhere Close. [Review of the film The Bridge to Somewhere, by F. Synopsis, Dir.]. The Millenial Times  https://www.mtimes.com/38fJ2


For more information about citing reviews, please see pp. 234-35 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

APA In-Text Citation: Additional Rules

Introduction

We have covered the basics of in-text citation elsewhere. This page details some unusual cases and exceptions.

Additional Rules

Same Last Name

If you’re citing authors who share a last name, provide the first author’s initials in each citation:

The problem has been discussed by B. Frank (1992) and I. M. Frank (2008).

Bush, Goldstein, & Frank (1995) argue …

Notice that in the second example Frank is not the first author listed, so there is no need to add initials. The reader can check the reference list to find out which Frank is meant.

If two co-authors share a last name, then you don’t have to use initials:

(Jones & Jones, 2020)

No Author

If a source has no author, provide a short version of the title (or whatever else is the first information in the reference list):

(“Wimpy Kids,” 2005)

(Gender Euphoria, 2011)

If the title lacks italics in the reference list, then place it between quotation marks. Capitalize important words in the title.

In the rare instance where a work is actually signed “Anonymous,” you can use that as the name:

(Anonymous, 2015)

Multiple Works

If you’re citing multiple works in the course of a sentence (and not in the final parentheses), then you can use any order you want:

Wiener (2012), Mayer (2009), and Franks (2001) all argued that the name Hotdog Syndrome might sound catchy, but would never pass muster as an official diagnosis.

By contrast, when citing multiple works in final parentheses, organize them alphabetically by the name of the first contributor. Use semi-colons to separate the sources:

The size of a handbag contributes less to social status than the colour and materials (Johansen, 2009; Prude & Clasp, 2012).

If an item is in press, list it last:

(Vogelsang, 2010; Beard, in press)

When citing multiple works by the same author(s), give only the date for each item after the first:

(Jones, 2001, 2008, 2014; Peters, 2009)

If two or more dates are the same, use letters (a, b, c…) to distinguish them:

(Young, 2005a, 2005b; Zielinski, 2003)

Finally, if you want to emphasize one of your sources, you can place it first and introduce the other sources with a phrase such as see also:

(Ker, 2015; see also Bragg, 2016; Loreman et al., 2007)

In this example, Ker’s study is given priority (breaking the rule about alphabetization), and the other sources are treated as of secondary importance.

Multiple Dates of Publication

Sometimes you might want to provide two dates of publication. This is useful for reprints, translations, and so on. Separate the dates with a slash:

(Pavlov, 1933/2009)

Adler (1929/2015)

Second Hand Information

If one of your sources cites another source, one that you cannot access yourself, then you can use the phrase “as cited in”:

Her last will and testament stated that “the black sheep will get nothing” (as cited in Smith, 2005).

The ascent of Mount Sinister took four weeks and claimed the lives of two mountaineers (Sharp, 1999, as cited in Fillmore, 2011).

Use this method only when you can’t look up the original source yourself.

Citing a Part of Source

Quotations are generally cited by page number, but there are other ways cite a specific section of a source. These include tables, paragraphs, chapters, theatrical references, Bible verses, and much more:

(Gibbet, 2008, pp. 23-24)

(Karpati, 2001, Table 3.1)

(Felicity, 2003, paras. 5-6)

(Bronsman, 1962, Chapter 5)

(Newly Revised Still Standard Bible, 2019, Rom. 4:1)

(Shakespeare, 1623/2009, 2.4.12-14)

(Fillmore, 2018, “Methodology” section, para. 2)

When citing a heading or section of a longer work, you can abbreviate the title.

In all such citations, the words page(s) and paragraph(s) are abbreviated, and most other descriptive words are capitalized (though not section).

Personal Communication

Any personal communication that is not accessible to your readers (i.e., is not recoverable) should be cited as follows:

E. G. Sand (personal communication, May 3, 2017)

(B. Sandwich, personal communication, December 22, 2014)

Make sure you provide the person’s initials and give the date in full. This is important because personal communication is not included in the final reference list.

Personal communication can include emails, letters, lectures, text messages, conversations, and so forth. Such sources are only cited in the text of your essay, and not in the reference list.

Citations in Parentheses

If some text in parentheses includes a citation, don’t use an extra set of parentheses to set it off:

Incorrect: (see Angstfreund (2008), Chapter 5, for a detailed discussion)

Correct: (see Angstfreund, 2008, Chapter 5, for a detailed discussion)

In such cases, commas will do.


For more information about APA in-text citation, please see chapter 8 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Formatting the Reference List

Introduction

The final bibliography in an APA paper is called a reference list. The reference list includes only those sources that have been cited in the text and that support the argument. Background studies and works of general interest are not included.

In addition, sources cited in the reference list should be recoverable. The reader should be able to locate and access them. For that reason, personal documents (e.g., emails, letters) that are not publicly accessible should be cited only in the body of your essay, and not in the reference list.

On this page we cover basic formatting rules, how to alphabetize entries, and some common abbreviations you can use when citing your sources.

Basic Formatting

Start your reference list on a separate page.

Write “References” (centered and bold) and then list your sources in alphabetical order. Double space all text and use hanging indentation to organize entries:

An image showing a sample APA reference list with two entries

Alphabetizing Entries

Entries are generally organized alphabetically, by surname:

Allworth, A.

Basketcase, B.

Clause, S.

However, here are some special cases to watch out for …

Nothing Precedes Something

The APA manual explains that in alphabetizing, “nothing precedes something” (303). Take the following names:

Crutch, X. A.

Crutchfield, B. P.

Crutchy, C. N.

In this example, all three surnames start with “Crutch,” but after that the first surname has “nothing” (ignoring the initials) and so it comes first.

Same Author

1. If you’re citing multiple works by the same author, organize them by year of publication:

Duncecap, C. V. (n.d.)

Duncecap, C. V. (2015).

Duncecap, C. V. (2017).

The same rule applies for citing multiple authors:

Billups, C., & Barkley, C. (2014).

Billups, C., & Barkley, C. (2016).

2. If the author and the year are both the same, alphabetize by title and add a letter behind each date:

Whitecraft, B. (2017a). A brief history of briefs.

Whitecraft, B. (2017b). The sociology of underwear.

Articles (a, an, the) are ignored for the purpose of alphabetizing.

3. If the same author has published individually and with others, always place the individual publication first:

Bittern, S. (2012).

Bittern, S., & Scotch, T. (2002).

This assumes, of course, that both entries start with the same surname.

No Author

Use the name “Anonymous” only if that’s how the work is signed. Otherwise, if the author’s name is missing, alphabetize by title (ignoring The, An, A).

Group Names

Spell out group names, and alphabetize accordingly:

Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mafia Research Division. (2015).

Sicilian Mob Studies Association. (2014).

Society for the Study of Godfathers. (2011).

Notice that a subdivision (e.g., Mafia Research Division) is mentioned after its parent body. However, you can often leave out the parent body (here the Federal Bureau of Investigation) and cite it later in the entry as the publisher.

If the title page of your source lists both individual authors and a group name, then provide the individual names for the author and save the group name for later in the entry.

Abbreviations

Finally, here are some abbreviations you can use in your reference list:

ed. (edition)

Rev. ed. (revised edition)

2nd ed. (second edition, etc.)

Ed. (Editor)

Eds. (Editors)

p. (page)

pp. (pages)

Vol. (Volume)

Vols. (Volumes)

No. (Number)

n.d. (no date)

Pt. (Part)

Suppl. (Supplement)

Trans. (Translator or Translators)


For more information about how to format and organize your reference list, please see chapter 9 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Introduction

Introduction

The final bibliography in an APA paper is called a reference list. The reference list includes only those sources that have been cited in the text and that support the argument. Background studies and works of general interest are not included.

In addition, sources cited in the reference list should be recoverable. The reader should be able to locate and access them. For that reason, personal documents (e.g., emails, letters) that are not publicly accessible should be cited only in the body of your essay, and not in the reference list.

Component Parts

Every entry in the reference list has four parts:

Author | Year of Publication | Title | Source

Each section usually ends with a period. However, don’t put any punctuation after a URL or DOI. Otherwise the link might not work.

Check out the rest of our APA guide to learn more about each individual element.

Authors and Editors

Introduction

The author can be anything from a single person to a group or organization. There are many types of authors. Examples include a speaker at a TED talk, the editor of a book, a singer, the writer of an article, or someone who comments on a web page.

This page explains how to cite authors and editors as part of your APA reference list.

Authors

Inverted Names

Most of the time you’ll first want to give an author’s surname, followed by initials:

Jones, A. B. (2001).

If the first name is hyphenated (e.g., Mary-Jo), use both a period and a hyphen (e.g., M.-J.). In general, remove titles (e.g., Dean, President, etc.), but do add suffixes (e.g., Jr.).

Ampersand

If you’re citing two or more authors, join the last two names together with an ampersand (&):

Jones, A. B., Smith, C. D., & Axelrod, D. T. (2009).

When using an ampersand between two group names, don’t add a comma:

Fun in the Sun Conference & The Hawaiian Epicurean Society.

However, do provide commas with three or more group authors.

Twenty-One or More Authors

When citing a source with 21 or more authors, delete every name after the 19th and before the final one. Use three spaced periods to indicate the omission:

Seacrest, B. T., Reynolds, A. T., Etheridge, L., Cruise, T., Merkel, A., Bergkamp, N., Cornflake, X., Bobbejaan, I., Watson, E., Ampersand, N., Doubletake, C. B., Corny, W., Snowflake, Y., Naughty, T., Funfner, P., Zijlstra, K., Allegro, U., Andante, E., Presto, J. . . . Ratzinger, W. (2015).

Same Name

If authors share the same last name and initial(s), you can add the full first name in brackets:

Williams, B. [Brent]. (1999).

Williams, B. [Bryan]. (2004).

Be sure also to spell out each initial in the text of your essay (e.g., Brent Williams, 1999).

Group Author

Don’t abbreviate the names of group authors:

Peruvian Pavlovians Society. (2009).

Hawaiian Littoral Study Group. (2011).

If you list the group name as author, don’t include it again later in the source section of the entry.

No Author

If a source has no author, place the title first:

Dit is niet een echte titel. (2006).

Only if the work is clearly signed “Anonymous” can you use this designation as the author.

Editors

Editor as Author

When citing one or more editors in the author position, invert the names and add (Ed.). or (Eds.).

Brown, A. T. (Ed.). (2011).

Strand, J. S., & Johnson, C. N. (Eds.). (2016).

Editor and Author

If the source has an author, and the editor’s name comes later in the entry, don’t invert the editor’s name:

Templeton, R. (2009). The destructive work habits of slobs (T. V. Time, Ed.; 2nd ed.). Billabong University Press.

Entry in Edited Volume

If the source is a chapter or entry in an edited volume, use the word In before the editor’s name:

Prune, B., & Bucket, C. J. (2017). Are splash parks a waste of water? In N. Green, & B. B. Gun (Eds.), Climate change and urban planning (pp. 14-19). Spain: Solar.


For more information about how to format the author element, please see chapter 9 (especially pp. 285-89) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Publication Date

Introduction

If you have questions about how to cite the date of a publication following the APA guidelines (7th ed.), please consult the examples below.

Variants

Year of Publication

The default option is to give the year of publication.

Crabby, M., & Grumby, Z. (Eds.). (2011). The anxiety of influence: Why the fear of plagiarism haunts academics. Journal of Insipidity, 24(1), 99-111.

Note the final period after the parentheses.

Month and Day

For frequent publications such as magazines and newspapers, you can give the year, month, and day (if known):

Slinky, B. (2014, May 7). The elephant in the room, or how to tranquilize people with unusually large egos. Popular Anesthetist, 108(4), 33-35.

In some cases you may instead provide the season:

(2015, Spring)

No Date

Use the abbreviation “n.d.” to indicate if a source does not have a date:

Smith, A. (n.d.). Adhocracy. In Dictionary of economic jargon. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from https://www.doej.com/business/adhocracy/

Estimated date

Prenderwick, E. (ca. 1972). Peruvian Pavlovians Society constitution. In T. Droolbug (Ed.), Papers of the Peruvian Pavlovians Society (pp. 23-33). University of Lima Press.

Multiple Years

Multi-volume publications are often published over a longer time period. Provide the first and last date of publication:

Sharp, B. (Ed.). (1999-2009). Famous Freudian slips: The complete anals (Vols. 1-11). Lima, Peru: Parapraxis Press.

In Press

If a work has accepted for publication but has not been officially published, write “in press”:

Blunt, R., Bumbles, T. T., & Wink, M. S. (in press). Can emojis adequately capture the emotional states of adolescents? Digital Communication Trends.

In such cases it is likely that there is no URL or DOI to provide.

If a work is still in progress, or has been submitted but not yet accepted, then don’t provide a description for the date. Simply list the year when the work was created.

 


For more information about citing the date of publication, please see pp. 289-91 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

Titles

Introduction

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

Capitalization

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.

Italics

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

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

Journal of Interracial Dating (periodical)

Don’t use italics when a work is part of a longer work (as with an article published in a 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).

Frank conversations with Frank (3rd ed., Vol. 2).

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

No Title

If your source lacks a title, you can substitute a description in square brackets:

[Photograph of latrinalia at Leicester train station].

For comments and social media posts that lack a title, it is customary to provide the first 20 words of the text.

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]

Capitalize only the first word in square brackets. Here are some sample descriptions:

[Abstract]

[Audiobook]

[CD]

[Conference session]

[DVD]

[Data set]

[Database record]

[Unpublished doctoral dissertation]

[Symposium]

[TV series]

[Song]

[Audio podcast]

[Mobile App]

[Comment on the article, “Five ways to rejuvenate your relationship”]

For more information about citing titles, please see pp. 291-93 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Edition (7th ed.).

Publication Information

Introduction

The last part of a citation is the publication information. What information you provide depends on the type of source and what’s available. Here we review the most common options.

Print Sources

Periodicals

For journal articles, provide the periodical title, the volume, the issue number (if available), and the page range:

Kappa, A. B., Middlington, E. & Mooney, P. R. (2016). The non-uniformity of heterogeneous co-ed frat houses. Social Architectonics, 12(4), 99-108.

Here are a few tips:

  • Periodical titles are capitalized using title case.
  • You don’t need to abbreviate periodical titles (unless they already were in your source).
  • The volume number is italicized. The issue number goes in parentheses and is followed by a comma.
  • The page range shows the first and last page number. If the page numbers are discontinuous, use a comma (e.g., 22-33, 58-62).

Books

For books and reports, you no longer have to provide the city of publication. Only the publisher needs to be listed:

Youngblood, A. (1999). Addicted to Facebook and fake news: Studies in gerontology. We The North Press.

Note the following:

  • You can shorten the publisher’s name by corporate abbreviations such as Ltd, and Inc. You should, however, retain Books and Press.
  • If the author and the publisher are the same, leave out the publisher.

Electronic Sources

DOI

For online sources, it’s customary to add a link that allows the reader to retrieve the source.

The default link is a DOI, or Digital Object Identifier:

Rush, N. M., Quick, C. F., & Scamper, A. (2016). The handwriting of psychology students analyzed through the notation of the ampersand in final exams. The Psychic Calligraphist, 22(1), 1-18, https://doi.org/10.1241/1487.983cbb

Please see our page on DOIs for a more detailed explanation of how to cite a DOI correctly.

URL

If no DOI is available, you can provide a URL:

Carbuncle, R. D. (2015, February 2). How to fake a fake smile. The Chicago Tribunal. https://www.chicagotribunal.com/fake-url

You do not have to add “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” before the URL.

Before you hand in your essay, double check that any hyperlinks still work.


For more information about citing publication information, please read pp. 293-301 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).