Apa Essay Citation Generator

A Comprehensive Guide to APA Citations and Format

Overview of this Guide:

This page provides you with an overview of APA format. Included is information about referencing, various citation formats with examples for each source type, and other helpful information.

If you’re looking for MLA format, check out Citation Machine’s MLA Guide. Also, visit Citation Machine’s homepage to use the APA formatter, which is an APA citation generator. See more across the site.

Being Responsible While Researching

When you’re writing a research paper or creating a research project, you will probably use another individual’s work to help develop your own assignment. A good researcher or scholar uses another individual’s work in a responsible way. This involves indicating that the work of other individuals is included in your project, which is one way to prevent plagiarism.

Plagiarism? What is it?

The word plagiarism is derived from the latin word, plagiare, which means “to kidnap.” The term has evolved over the years to now mean the act of taking another individual’s work and using it as your own, without acknowledging the original author. Be careful of plagiarism! Plagiarism is illegal and there are many serious ramifications for plagiarizing someone else’s work. Thankfully, plagiarism can be prevented. One way it can be prevented is by including citations in your research project. Want to make these citations quickly and easily? Try Citation Machine’s automatic citation generator, which is found on our homepage.

All about Citations

Citations should be included in research projects, or any added anytime you use another individual’s work in your own assignment. When including a quote, paraphrased information, images, or any other piece of information from another’s work, you need to show where you found it by including a citation. This guide explains how to make citations.

There are two types of APA citations. The first type of citation, which is called in-text, or parenthetical citations, are included when you’re adding information from another individual’s work into your own project. When you add text word-for-word from another source into your project or take information from another source and place it in your own words and writing style (known as paraphrasing), you must make an in-text citation. These citations are short in length and are placed in the main part of your project, directly after the borrowed information.

The other type of citations, which are called reference citations, are found at the end of your research project, usually on the last page. Included on this reference list page are the full citations for any in-text citations found in the body of the project. These citations are listed in alphabetical order, one after the other.

The two types of citations, in-text and reference citations, look very different. In-text citations include three items: the last name(s) of the author, the year the source was published, and the page or location of the information. Reference citations include more information such as the name of the author(s), the year the source was published, the title of the source, and the URL or page range.

Why is it Important to Include Citations?

Including citations in your research projects is a very important component of the research process. When you include citations, you’re being a responsible researcher. You’re showing readers that you were able to find valuable, high-quality information from other sources, place them into your project where appropriate, all while acknowledging the original authors and their work.

Information About APA

Who Created It?

The American Psychological Association is an organization created for individuals in the psychology field. With close to 116,000 members, they provide educational opportunities, funding, guidance, and research information for everything psychology related. They also have numerous high-quality databases, peer-reviewed journals, and books that revolve around mental health.

The American Psychological Association is also credited with creating their own specific citation style, which is a popular way to create citations. This citation format is used by individuals not only in the psychology field, but many other subject areas as well. Education, economics, business, and social sciences also use this citation style quite frequently. Click here for more information.

Why Was This Style Created?

This format was first developed in 1929 in order to form a standardized way for researchers in the science fields to document their sources. Prior to the inception of these standards and guidelines, individuals were recognizing the work of other authors by including bits and pieces of information, in random order. There wasn’t a set way to format citations. You can probably imagine how difficult it was to understand the sources that were used for research projects!

Having a standard format for citing sources allows readers to glance at a citation and easily locate the title, author, year published, and other critical pieces of information needed to understand a source.

Click here to learn more about why the American Psychological Association created this citation style.

The Evolution Of This Style

This citation style is currently in its 6th edition and was released in 2009. In previous versions of APA format, researchers and scholars were required to include the date that an electronic resource was accessed. In addition, names of databases were included, and only the name of the city was included in the publication information.

Now, it is no longer required to include the date of access as well as the name of the database in an APA citation. The full location, including the city AND state (or the city and country if it’s an international publisher) is included in the citation.

In 2013, the American Psychological Association released a revised manual just for electronic resources. This was released due to the increase in the amount of technological advances and resources.

Citations

The Appearance of Citations

There are two types of citations: in-text (or parenthetical citations) and complete reference citations.

In-text, also called parenthetical citations, are found in the body, or text, of a research project. They’re included after a direct quote or paraphrase. See the next section below to learn more about how to format and include in-text citations in your project.

Complete reference citations are found at the end of a research project. These reference citations are longer and include all of the information needed to locate the source yourself. Full citations for all of the in-text citations are found here.

The format for citations varies, but some use this general format:

Author’s Last name, First initial. (Date published). Title. Retrieved from URL

Researchers and scholars must look up the proper citation format for the source that they’re attempting to cite. Books have a certain format, websites have a different format, periodicals have a different format, and so on. Scroll down to find the proper format for the source you’re citing.

If you would like to cite your sources automatically, Citation Machine is a citation generator that will make the citation process much easier for you.

In-Text & Parenthetical Citations

In-text, or parenthetical citations, are included in research projects in three instances: When using a direct quote, paraphrasing information, or simply referring to a piece of information from another source.

Quite often, researchers and scholars use a small amount of text, word for word, from another source and include it in their own research projects. This is done for many reasons. Sometimes, another author’s words are so eloquently written that there isn’t a better way to rephrase it yourself. Other times, the author’s words can help prove a point or establish an understanding for something in your research project. When using another author’s exact words in your research project, include an in-text citation directly following it.

In addition to using the exact words from another source and placing them into your project, in-text citations are also added anytime you paraphrase information. Paraphrasing is when you take information from another source and rephrase it, in your own words.

When simply referring to another piece of information from another source, also include an in-text citation directly following it.

In-text citations are found after a direct quote, paraphrased information, or reference. They are formatted like this:

Exact text, paraphrased information, or reference (Author’s Last Name, Year published, page number or paragraph number*)

*Only include the page or paragraph number when using a direct quote or paraphrase. This information is included in order to help the reader locate the exact portion of text themselves. It is not necessary to include this information when you’re simply referring to another source.

Here’s are some examples of in-text citations:

“Well, you’re about to enter the land of the free and the brave. And I don’t know how you got that stamp on your passport. The priest must know someone” (Tóibín, 2009, p. 52).

and

Student teachers who use technology in their lessons tend to continue using technology tools throughout their teaching careers (Kent & Giles, 2017).

If including the author’s name in the sentence, only include the year in the in-text citation.

Example:

According to a study done by Kent and Giles (2017), student teachers who use technology in their lessons tend to continue using technology tools throughout their teaching careers.

The full references, or citations, for these sources can be found on the last part of a research project, titled the “Reference List.”

While this guide’s intent is to help you understand and develop citations on your own, there are many citation tools available on Citation Machine. Head to our homepage to learn more.

Click here to learn more about crediting work.

Reference List Citation Components

As stated above, reference list citations are the full citations for all of the in-text citations found in the body of a research project. These full citations are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names. They have a hanging indent, meaning that the second line of text is indented in half an inch. See examples below to see what a hanging indent looks like.

The format for citations varies based on the source type, but some citations use this general format:

Author’s Last name, First initial. (Date published). Title. Retrieved from URL

Learn more about each component of the reference citation and how to format it in the sections that follow.

Author’s Names

The names of authors are written in reverse order. Include the initials for the first and middle names. End this information with a period.

Last name, F. M.

Angelou, M.

Doyle, A. C.

Two or More Authors

When two or more authors work together on a source, write them in the order in which they appear on the source, using this format:

Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., & Last name, F. M.

Kent, A. G., & Giles, R. M. Thorpe, A., Lukes, R., Bever, D. J, & He, Y.

If there are 8 or more authors listed on a source, only include the first 6 authors, add three ellipses, and then add the last author’s name.

Roberts, A., Johnson, M. C., Klein, J., Cheng, E. V., Sherman, A., Levin, K. K. , ...Lopez, G. S.

If you plan on using a free APA citation tool, such as Citation Machine, the names of the authors will format properly for you.

Publication Information

Directly after the author’s name is the date the source was published. Include the full date for newspapers, the month and year for magazine articles, and only the year for journals and all other sources. If no date is found on the source, include the initials, n.d. for “no date.”

Newspaper:

Narducci, M. (2017, May 19). City renames part of 11th Street Ed Snider Way to honor Flyers founder. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved from http://www.philly.com/

If using Citation Machine, our citation generator will add the correct format for you automatically.

Titles

When writing out titles for books, articles, chapters, or other nonperiodical sources, only capitalize the first word of the title and the first word of the subtitle. Names of people, places, organizations, and other proper nouns also have the first letter capitalized.

For books and reports, italicize the title in the citation.

Examples:

Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Roots: The saga of an American family.

For articles and chapters in APA referencing, do not italicize the title.

Examples:

Wake up the nation: Public libraries, policy making, and political discourse.

For newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, and other periodicals, capitalize the first letter in each word and italicize the title.

Example:

The Seattle Times.

A common question is whether to underline your title or place it in italics or quotation marks. In this citation style, titles are never underlined or placed in quotation marks. They are either placed in italics or not. Here’s a good general rule: When a source sits alone and is not part of a larger whole, place the title in italics. If the source does not sit alone and is part of a larger whole, do not place it in italics.

Books, movies, journals, and television shows are placed in italics since they stand alone. Songs on an album, episodes of television shows, chapters in books, and articles in journals are not placed in italics since they are smaller pieces of larger wholes.

Citation Machine’s citation generator will format the title in your citations automatically.

Additional Information about the Title

If you feel it would be helpful to include additional information about the source type, include this information in brackets immediately following the title. Use a brief descriptive term and capitalize the first letter.

Example:

Kennedy, K., & Molen, G. R. (Producers), & Spielberg, S. (Director). (1993). Jurassic Park [Motion picture]. USA: Universal.

Besides [Motion picture], other common notations include:

  • [Audio podcast]
  • [Brochure]
  • [Letter to the editor]
  • [Television series episode]
  • [Tweet]
  • [Facebook page]
  • [Blog post]
  • [Lecture notes]
  • [PowerPoint presentation]
  • [Video file]

If you are using Citation Machine, additional information about the title is automatically added for you.

Information About the Publication

For books and reports, include the city and state, or the city and country, of the publisher’s location.

  • Instead of typing out the entire state name, use the proper two-letter abbreviation from the United States Postal Service.
  • Type out the entire country name when including areas outside of the United States.

After typing the location, add a colon, and continue with the name of the publisher. It is not necessary to include the entire name of the publisher. It is acceptable to use a brief, intelligible form. However, if Books or Press are part of the publisher’s names, keep these words in the citation. Other common terms, such as Inc., Co., Publishers, and others can be omitted.

For newspapers, journals, magazines, and other periodicals, include the volume and issue number after the title. The volume number is listed first, by itself, in italics. The issue number is in parentheses immediately after it, not italicized.

Example:

Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Hictour, V., & Georgas, T. (2016). A study on the role of computers in adult education. Educational Research and Reviews, 11(9), 907-923. http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/ERR2016.2688

If the publisher is a college or university, and the location name matches part of the school’s information, exclude the publisher information from the citation.

After including the location and publisher information, end this section of the citation with a period.

Examples:

London, England: Pearson.

New York, NY: Perseus Books.

Electronic Source Information:

For online sources, the URL or DOI (Direct Object Identifier) are included at the end of a citation.

DOI numbers are often created by publishers for journal articles and other periodical sources. They were created in response to the problem of broken or outdated links and URLs. When a journal article is assigned a DOI number, it is static, and will never change. Because of its permanent characteristic, DOIs are the preferred type of electronic information to include in APA citations. When a DOI number is not available, include the source’s URL.

For DOIs, include the number in this format:

http://dx.doi.org/xxxx

For URLs, type them in this format:

Retrieved from http://

Other information about electronic sources:

  • If the URL is longer than a line, break it up before a punctuation mark.
  • Do not place a period at the end of the citation.
  • It is not necessary to include retrieval dates, unless the source changes often over time (like in a Wikipedia article).
  • It is not necessary to include the names of databases

If using Citation Machine to develop your citation, the online publication information will be automatically replaced by the DOI. Citation Machine will properly cite your online sources for you.

Click here for more information about the basics of APA.

Citation Examples for Sources

Books:

Print Books with One Author:

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

Example:

Dickens, C. (1942). Great expectations. New York, NY: Dodd, Mead.

Print Books with Two or More Authors:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial., Last name, First initial. Middle initial., & Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date). Title. Location: Publisher.

Examples:

Goldin, C. D., & Katz, L. F. (2008). The race between education and technology. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Matthews, G., Smith, Y., & Knowles, G. (2009). Disaster management in archives, libraries and museums. Farnham, England: Ashgate.

Chapters in Books:

When citing a chapter in an edited book, use the following format:

Structure for Chapters in Edited Books in Print:

Last name of chapter author, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Chapter title. In First initial. Middle initial. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Book Title (pp. xx-xx). Publishing City, State: Publisher.

Example for Chapters in Edited Books in Print:

De Abreu, B.S. (2001). The role of media literacy education within social networking and the library. In D. E. Agosto & J. Abbas (Eds.), Teens, libraries, and social networking (pp. 39-48). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Structure for Chapters in Edited Books, found Online:

Last name of chapter author, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Chapter title. In First initial. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Book title [E-reader version, if used] (pp. xx-xx). doi:10.xxxx/xxxxxx or Retrieved from http://xxxx

Example for Chapters in Edited Books, found Online:

Lobo, R. F. (2003). Introduction to the structural chemistry of zeolites. In S. Auerbach, K. Carrado, & P. Dutta (Eds.), Handbook of zeolite science and technology (pp. 65-89). Retrieved from https://books.google.com

If you’re still unsure about how to cite a chapter in a book, use Citation Machine’s free citation generator to help you. Your citations will automatically format properly for you.

E-Books Found on a Website:

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work [E-reader version]. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx or Retrieved from http://xxxx

Example:

Auster, P. (2007). The Brooklyn follies [Nook version]. Retrieved from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

E-Books found on a Database:

Reminder:

  • Only the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns in the title should be capitalized.
  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is basically a number that links a source to its location on the Internet. This number isn’t always provided, but if it is, it’s very important to include it in your citation.

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx or Retrieved from http://xxxx

Example:

Baloh, P., & Burke, M. E. (2007). Attaining organizational innovations. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-72804-9_30

To cite your e-books automatically, use the “Book” form on Citation Machine, click “Manual entry mode,” and click the “E-book” tab. Citation Machine formats your citation properly following APA bibliography guidelines.

Journal articles in Print:

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume(Issue), page range.

Example:

Gleditsch, N. P., Pinker, S., Thayer, B. A., Levy, J. S., & Thompson, W. R. (2013). The forum: The decline of war. International Studies Review, 15(3), 396-419.

Journal Articles Online:

  • If your source is found online, but there is no DOI provided, you can include the URL instead.
  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is basically a number that links a source to its location on the Internet. This number isn’t always provided, but if it is, you should include it in your citation rather than including a URL.
  • Unlike previous editions, the 6th edition does not require including a retrieval date or date accessed for online sources. A retrieval date is only necessary if the source is likely to change (ex. Wikipedia).

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume(Issue), page range. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx

Example:

Sahin, N. T., Pinker, S., Cash, S. S., Schomer, D., & Halgren, E. (2009). Sequential processing of lexical, grammatical, and phonological information within Broca’s area. Science, 326(5951), 445-449. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sicence.1174481

If you need additional help citing your journal articles, our APA reference generator will cite your sources automatically for you.

Newspaper Articles in Print:

Structure:

Author's Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Day Published). Title of article. Title of Newspaper, page range.

Example:

Frost, L. (2006, September 14). First passengers ride monster jet. The Salt Lake Tribune, p. A2.

Page numbers: If the article is only one page long, use ‘p.’ For any articles longer than one page, use ‘pp.’

  • If an article appears on non-sequential pages, separate each page number with a comma.
  • Example: pp. D4, D5, D7-D8

Newspaper Articles found Online:

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of article. Title of Newspaper. Retrieved from newspaper homepage URL

Example:

Whiteside, K. (2004, August 31). College athletes want cut of action. USA Today. Retrieved http://www.usatoday.com

Magazine Articles in Print:

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Published). Title of article. Title of Magazine, Volume(Issue), page range.

Example:

Quammen, D. (2008, December). The man who wasn’t Darwin. National Geographic Magazine, 214(6), 106.

Websites:

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of webpage. Retrieved from URL

Example of an APA format website:

Austerlitz, S. (2015, March 3). How long can a spinoff like ‘Better Call Saul’ last? Retrieved from http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-long-can-a-spinoff-like-better-call-saul-last/

Blogs:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month, Date of blog post). Title of blog post [Blog post]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

McClintock Miller, S. (2014, January 28). EasyBib joins the Rainbow Loom project as we dive into research with the third graders [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com

On Citation Machine’s form for blogs, you have the option to choose from standard, audio, and video blogs. Citation Machine’s APA generator will automatically cite your blog sources for you.

TV and Radio Broadcasts

Structure:

Writer Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Writer), & Director Last Name, First initial. (Director). (Year aired). Title of episode [Television or Radio series episode]. In First initial. Producer’s Last name (Executive producer), TV or Radio series name. City, State of original channel: Channel.

Example:

Lin, K. (Writer), & Coles, J. D. (Director). (2014). Chapter 18 [Television series episode]. In Bays, C. (Executive producer), House of cards. Washington, D.C.: Netflix.

If using Citation Machine’s citation generator, television and radio broadcasts use the same form.

Films

Structure:

Producer Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Producer), & Director Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Director). (Year Released). Title of film [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio.

Example:

Kurtz, G. (Producer), & Kershner, I. (Director). (1980). The emperor strikes back [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox.

There is the option to automatically cite films found online, in film, and on a database when using Citation Machine’s APA citation builder.

Interviews

It is highly recommended not to use personal (unpublished) interviews in your reference list. Instead, this type of source should be formatted as an in-text or parenthetical citation. Here is an example of an in-text citation for a personal interview:

Structure: (Interviewee First initial., Last Name, personal communication, Date Interviewed)

Example: (D. Halsey, personal communication, December 12, 2011)

Published Interviews should be cited accordingly if they appear as journal articles, newspaper articles, television programs, radio programs, or films.

If your instructor requires a citation in the reference list, use the following structure:

Structure:

Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. of Individual being interviewed (Year, Month Day Interviewed). Interview by F. I. Last name [Format of interview].

Example:

Halsey, D. (2011, December 12). Interview by S. L. Ferguson [In-person].

If you are planning on using Citation Machine, a note is displayed above the form stating that personal interviews are not typically cited in text.

Songs & Musical Recordings found Online

*Note: If the name of the songwriter is the same as the name of the recording artist, leave out the bracketed information located after the name of the song.

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. of Songwriter. (Year created). Song title [Recorded by First initial. Middle initial. Last name of the performer’s name or the name of the band]. On Album Title [Medium]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Hedfors, A., Ingrosso, S., & Angello, S. (2012). Greyhound [Recorded by Swedish House Mafia]. On Until Now [Audio file]. Retrieved from https://open.spotify.com/track/0VffaI2jwQknRrxpECYHsF

If using Citation Machine, choose the form titled, “Music/Audio,” to automatically cite your songs and musical recordings. Our APA citation maker is free and easy to use.

Doctoral Dissertations found on a Database:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Title of dissertation or thesis (Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Name of database. (Accession or Order No. xxxxxxx).

Example:

English, L. S. (2014). The influences of community college library characteristics on institutional graduation rates: A national study (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from American Doctoral Dissertations. (37CDD15DF659E63F).

If using Citation Machine, there is a form for dissertations that will automatically cite this source type for you.

Audio Podcasts:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Producer). (Year, Month Day). Title of podcast [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Goodwin, G. (Producer). (2016, February 11). History extra [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.historyextra.com/podcasts

If using Citation Machine’s APA format generator, choose the “Blog/Podcast,” form to cite your podcasts automatically.

YouTube Videos:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. [YouTube username]. (Year, Month Day of posting). Title of YouTube video [Video file]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Damien, M. [Marcelo Damien]. (2014, April 10). Tiesto @ Ultra Buenos Aires 2014 (full set) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/mr4TDnR0ScM

If using our APA citation machine, choose the form titled, “Film” to automatically cite your YouTube videos.

Looking for a source type that is not on this guide? Here is another useful link to follow.

Annotated Bibliographies:

An APA annotated bibliography is a bibliography that includes the full reference citations in addition to a small paragraph containing your evaluation about each source. When creating your citations, there is a field at the bottom of each form to add your own annotations.

Title Pages:

Looking to create an APA format title page? Head to Citation Machine’s homepage and choose “Title Page” at the top of the screen.

Click here for further reading on the style.


Find out more about the apa format

BibMe’s Free APA Format Guide & Generator

What is APA?

APA stands for the American Psychological Association, which is an organization that focuses on psychology. They are responsible for creating this specific citation style. The APA is not associated with this guide, but all of the information here provides guidance to using their style.

What is APA Citing?

This citation style is used by many scholars and researchers in the behavioral and social sciences, not just psychology. There are other citation formats and styles such as MLA and Chicago, but this one is most popular in the science fields.

Following the same standard format for citations allows readers to understand the types of sources used in a project and also understand their components.

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is currently in its 6th edition. It outlines proper ways to organize and structure a research paper, explains grammar guidelines, and how to properly cite sources. This webpage, created solely by BibMe to help students and researchers, focuses on how to create APA citations*. For more information, please consult the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed.).

We cite sources for many reasons. One reason is to give credit to the authors of the work you used to help you with your own research. When you use another person’s information to help you with your project, it is important to acknowledge that individual or group. This is one way to prevent plagiarism. Another reason why we create citations is to provide a standard way for others to understand and possibly explore the sources we used. To learn more about citations, check out this page on crediting work. Also, read up on how to be careful of plagiarism.

What does it look like?

There are two types of citations. In-text citations are found in the body of the project and are used when adding a direct quote or paraphrase into your work. Reference citations are found in the reference list, which is at the end of the assignment and includes the full citations of all sources used in a project.

Depending on the types of sources you used for your project, the structure for each citation may look different. There is a certain format, or structure, for books, a different one for journal articles, a different one for websites, and so on. Scroll down to find the appropriate citation structure for your sources.

Even though the structure varies across different sources, see below for a full explanation of in-text citations and reference citations.

To learn more about APA referencing, including the American Psychological Association's blog, formatting questions, & referencing explanations, click on this link for further reading on the style. To learn more about BibMe, see the section below titled, “Using BibMe to Create Citations for your Reference List or APA Bibliography.”

Citing Basics

In-Text Citations Overview:

When using a direct quote or paraphrasing information from a source, include an in-text citation in the body of your project, immediately following it.

In-text citations may look something like this:

"Direct quote" or paraphrase (Author’s last name, Year, page number).

See the section below titled, “In-Text or Parenthetical Citations,” for a full explanation and instructions.

Full Citations Overview

Each source used to help with the gathering of information for your project is listed as a full citation in the reference list, which is usually the last part of a project.

The structure for each citation is based on the type of source used. Scroll down to see examples of some common source formats.

Most citations include the following pieces of information, commonly in this order:

Author’s Last name, First Initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of source. Retrieved from URL

To determine the exact format for your full citations, scroll down to the section titled, “Common Examples.”

If you’re looking for an easy way to create your citations, use BibMe’s free APA citation machine, which automatically formats your citations quickly and easily.

Citation Components

How to Structure Authors

Authors are displayed in reverse order: Last name, First initial. Middle initial. End this information with a period.

Example:

Kirschenbaum, M. A.

In an APA citation, include all authors shown on a source. If using BibMe’s APA citation builder, click “Add another contributor” to add additional author names. Our free citation creator will format the authors in the order in which you add them.

If your reference list has multiple authors with the same last name and initials, include their first name in brackets.

Example:

Brooks, G. [Geraldine]. (2005). March. New York, NY: Viking.

Brooks, G. [Gwendolyn]. (1949). Annie Allen. New York, NY: Harper & Brothers.

When no author is listed, exclude the author information and start the citation with the title followed by the year in parentheses.

Editors:

When citing an entire edited book, place the names of editors in the author position and follow it with Ed. or Eds. in parentheses. See below for examples of citing edited books in their entirety and also chapters in edited books.

How to Structure Publication Dates:

Place the date that the source was published in parentheses after the name of the author. For periodicals, include the month and day as well. If no date is available, place n.d. in parentheses, which stands for no date.

How to Structure the Title:

For book titles: Only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title and the same for the subtitle. Capitalize the first letter for any proper nouns as well. Place this information in italics. End it with a period.

Example:

Gone with the wind.

For articles and chapter titles: Only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title and the same for the subtitle. Capitalize the first letter for any proper nouns as well. Do not italicize the title or place it in quotation marks. End it with a period.

Example:

The correlation between school libraries and test scores: A complete overview.

For magazine, journal, and newspaper titles: Write the title in capitalization form, with each important word starting with a capital letter.

Example:

The Boston Globe

If you believe that it will help the reader to understand the type of source, such as a brochure, lecture notes, or an audio podcast, place a description in brackets directly after the title. Only capitalize the first letter.

Example:

New World Punx. (2014, February 15). A state of trance 650 [Audio file]. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/newworldpunx/asot650utrecht

How to Structure Publication Information

For books and sources that are not periodicals, give the city and state (or city and country if outside of the U.S.) for the place of publication. Abbreviate the state name using the two-letter abbreviation. Place a colon after the location.

Example:

Philadelphia, PA:

Rotterdam, Netherlands:

For journals, magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals, place the volume number after the title. Italicize this information. Place the issue number in parentheses and do not italicize it. Afterwards, include page numbers.

Example:

Journal of Education for Library and Information Science,57(1), 79-82.

If you’re citing a newspaper article, include p. or pp. before the page numbers.

How to Structure the Publisher:

The names of publishers are not necessary to include for newspapers, magazines, journals, and other periodicals.

For books and other sources: It is not necessary to type out the name of the publisher exactly as it is shown on the source. Use a brief, but understandable form of the publisher’s name. Exclude the terms publishers, company, and incorporated. Include Books and Press if it is part of the publisher’s name. End this information with a period.

Example:

Little Brown and Company would be placed in the citation as: Little Brown.

Oxford University Press would be placed in the citation as: Oxford University Press.

How to Structure Online sources

For sources found online:

  • include the URL at the end of the citation
  • format it as: Retrieved from URL
  • do not place a period after the URL

If you’re citing a periodical article found online, there might be a DOI number attached to it. This stands for Direct Object Identifier. A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a unique string of numbers and letters assigned by a registration agency. The DOI is used to identify and provide a permanent link to its location on the internet. The DOI is assigned when an article is published and made electronically. If your article does indeed have a DOI number, use this instead of the URL as the DOI number is static and never changes. If the source you’re citing has a DOI number, after the publication information add a period and then http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx. The x’s indicate where you should put the DOI number. Do not place a period after the DOI number. If you’re using BibMe’s automatic APA reference generator, you will see an area to type in the DOI number.

Example:

Lobo, F. (2017, February 23). Sony just launched the world’s fastest SD card. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2017/02/23/sony-sf-g-fastest-sd-card/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#ErZKV8blqOqO

Chadwell, F.A., Fisher, D.M. (2016). Creating open textbooks: A unique partnership between Oregon State University libraries and press and Open Oregon State. Open Praxis,8(2), 123-130. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.2.290

Citations and Examples

Citations for Print Books

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of book. Location of publisher: Publisher.

Example:

Finney, J. (1970). Time and again. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Looking for an APA formatter? Don’t forget that BibMe’s APA citation generator creates citations quickly and easily.

Notes: When citing a book, keep in mind:

  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title and any subtitles, as well as the first letter of any proper nouns.
  • The full title of the book, including any subtitles, should be stated and italicized.

Citing an E-book from an E-reader

E-book is short for “electronic book.” It is a digital version of a book that can be read on a computer, e-reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.), or other electronic devices.

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of work [E-reader version]. http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx or Retrieved from URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx is used when a source has a DOI number. If the e-book you’re citing has a DOI number, use it in the citation. DOIs are preferred over URLs.

Example:

Eggers, D. (2008). The circle [Kindle version]. Retrieved from www.amazon.com

Citing an E-book found in a Database and Online

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of work [E-reader version]. http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx OR Retrieved from URL

When citing an online book or e-book, keep in mind:

  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is an assigned number that helps link content to its location on the Internet. It is therefore important, if one is provided, to use it when creating a citation. In place of the x’s in the doi format, place the 10 digit DOI number.
  • Notice that for e-books, publication information is excluded from the citation.

Example:

Sayre, R. K., Devercelli, A. E., Neuman, M. J., & Wodon, Q. (2015). Investment in early childhood development: Review of the world bank’s recent experience. https://doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-0403-8

Citations for Chapters in Edited Books

Chapter author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of chapter. In F. M. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of book (p. x or pp. x-x). Location: Publisher. http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx or Retrieved from URL

Example:

Longacre, W. A., & Ayres, J. E. (1968). Archeological lessons from an Apache wickiup. In S. R. Binford & L. R. Binford (Eds.), Archeology in cultural systems (pp. 151-160). Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=vROM3JrrRa0C&lpg=PP1&dq=archeology&pg=PR9#v=onepage&q=archeology&f=false

Citations for Edited Books

Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (Year published). Title of edited book. Location: Publisher.

Example:

Gupta, R. (Ed.). (2003). Remote sensing geology. Germany: Springer-Verlag.

Citations for Websites

Citing a general website article with an author:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day published). Title of article or page. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Simmons, B. (2015, January 9). The tale of two Flaccos. Retrieved from http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-tale-of-two-flaccos/

Citing a general website article without an author:

Article title. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Retrieved from URL

Example:

Teen posed as doctor at West Palm Beach hospital: Police. (2015, January 16). Retrieved from http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Teen-Posed-as-Doctor-at-West-Palm-Beach-Hospital-Police-288810831.html

Citations for Journal Articles found in Print:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Article title. Periodical Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.

Example:

Nevin, A. (1990). The changing of teacher education special education. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children,13(3-4), 147-148.

Citations for Journal Articles found Online

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range. http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx OR Retrieved from URL

Example:

Spreer, P., & Rauschnabel, P. A. (2016). Selling with technology: Understanding the resistance to mobile sales assistant use in retailing. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 36(3), 240-263. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08853134.2016.1208100

Notes: When creating your online journal article citation, keep in mind:

  • This citation style does NOT require you to include the date of access/retrieval date or database information for electronic sources.
  • You can use the URL of the journal homepage if there is no DOI assigned and the reference was retrieved online.
  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is an assigned number that helps link content to its location on the Internet. It is therefore important, if one is provided, to use it when creating a citation. All DOI numbers begin with a 10 and are separated by a slash. Don’t forget, BibMe’s free APA generator, which is an APA citation maker, is simple to use!

Citations for a Newspaper Article in Print

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, pp. xx-xx.

Example:

Rosenberg, G. (1997, March 31). Electronic discovery proves an effective legal weapon. The New York Times, p. D5.

Notes: When creating your newspaper citation, keep in mind:

  • Begin page numbers with p. (for a single page) or pp. (for multiple pages).
  • Even if the article appears on non-consecutive pages, include all page numbers, and use a comma to separate them. Example: pp. C2, C5, C7-C9.

Citations for Newspapers found Online

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Title of article. Title of Newspaper. Retrieved from URL of newspaper’s homepage

Example:

Rosenberg, G. (1997, March 31). Electronic discovery proves an effective legal weapon. The New York Times, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Notes: When citing a newspaper, keep in mind:

  • This style does NOT require you to include the date of access for electronic sources. If you discovered a newspaper article via an online database, that information is NOT required for the citation either.
  • Multiple lines: If the URL runs onto a second line, only break URL before punctuation (except for http://).

Citations for Magazines

Citing a magazine article in print:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Month of publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume(Issue), page range.

Example:

Tumulty, K. (2006, April). Should they stay or should they go? Time, 167(15), 3-40.

Notes: When citing a magazine, keep in mind:

  • You can find the volume number with the other publication information of the magazine.
  • You can typically find page numbers at the bottom corners of a magazine article.
  • If you cannot locate an issue number, simply don’t include it in the citation.

Citing a magazine article found online:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Month of publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume(Issue). Retrieved from URL

Example:

Tumulty, K. (2006, April). Should they stay or should they go? Time, 167(15). Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1179361,00.html

Notes: When creating an online magazine citation, keep in mind:

*The volume and issue number aren’t always on the same page as the article. Check out the other parts of the website before leaving it out of the citation.

Citations for Films

Producer’s Last name, F. M. (Producer), & Director’s Last name, F. M. (Director). (Release Year). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Country of Origin: Studio.

Example:

Bender, L. (Producer), & Tarantino, Q. (Director). (1994). Pulp fiction [Motion picture]. United States: Miramax.

Citations for Films & Videos from YouTube

Person who posted the video’s Last name, F. M. [User name]. (Year, Month Day of posting). Title of YouTube video [Video file]. Retrieved from URL

If the name of the individual who posted the YouTube video is not available, begin the citation with the user name and do not place this information in brackets.

Smith, R. [Rick Smith] (2013, September 20). Favre to Moss! [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOP_L6hBjn8

Citations for Photographs

Citing a photograph found in a publication or museum:

Photographer’s Last name, F. M. (Photographer). (Year, Month Day of Publication). Title of photograph [Photograph]. City, State of Publication or Museum: Publisher/Museum.

Example:

Roege, W. J. (Photographer). (1938). St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue from 50th St to 51st Street [Photograph]. New York, NY: New York Historical Society.

Citing a photograph retrieved online:

Photographer, A. (Photographer). (Year, Month Day of Publication). Title of photograph [Digital image]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Ferraro, A. (Photographer). (2014, April 28). Liberty enlightening the world [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/afer92/14278571753/in/set-72157644617030616

Citations for TV/Radio Broadcasts

Writer, F. M. (Writer), & Director, F. M. (Director). (Year of Airing). Episode title [Television series episode]. In F. M. Executive Producer’s Last name (Executive Producer), TV series name. City, State of original channel: Channel.

Kand, K. (Writer), & Fryman, P. (Director). (2006). Slap bet [Television series episode]. In C. Bays (Executive Producer), How I met your mother, Los Angeles, CA: CBS.

TV/Radio Broadcasts found Online:

Writer, F. M. (Writer), & Director, F. M. (Director). (Year of Airing). Episode title [Television series episode]. In F. M. Executive Producer’s Last name (Executive Producer), TV series name. Retrieved from URL

Kand, K. (Writer), & Fryman, P. (Director). (2006). Slap bet [Television series episode]. In C. Bays (Executive Producer), How I met your mother. Retrieved from https://www.hulu.com/watch/1134858#i0,p30,d0

Note: When citing a TV show or episode, keep in mind:

*IMDB is a great resource for finding the information needed for your citation (Director, Writer, Executive Producer, etc.) This information can also be found in the opening and closing credits of the show.

Citations for Interviews:

A personal interview should NOT be included in a reference list. They are not considered recoverable data (they cannot be found by a researcher). You should reference personal interviews as in-text citations instead.

Example:

(J. Doe, personal communication, December 12, 2004)

Citations for Encyclopedia Entries

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Publication Year). Entry title. In F. M. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of encyclopedia (pp. xx-xx). City, State abbreviation or Country: Publisher.

Example:

Kammen, C., & Wilson, A. H. (2012). Monuments. Encyclopedia of local history. (pp. 363-364). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

How to Reference a Lecture

This style of reference would be used if you were citing a set of notes from a lecture (e.g. PowerPoint or Google slides provided by your instructor).

Citing online lecture notes or presentation slides:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Publication year). Name or title of lecture [Lectures notes or PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Saito, T. (2012). Technology and me: A personal timeline of educational technology [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/Bclari25/educational-technology-ppt

Tip: If you want to cite information from your own personal notes from a lecture, this is considered personal communication. It is considered personal communication since the lecture notes may not be available online for others outside of the class to access. Refer to it only in the body of your essay or project. You can follow the style guide for personal communication available in the Interview section.

In-Text and Parenthetical Citations

What is an In-Text Citation or Parenthetical Citation?

The purpose of in-text and parenthetical citations is to give the reader a brief idea as to where you found your information, while they’re in the middle of reading or viewing your project. You may include direct quotes in the body of your project, which are word-for-word quotes from another source. Or, you may include a piece of information that you paraphrased in your own words. These are called parenthetical citations. Both direct quotes and paraphrased information include an in-text citation directly following it. You also need to include the full citation for the source in the reference list, which is usually the last item in a project.

In-Text Citations for Direct Quotes

The in-text citation is found immediately following the direct quote. It should include the page number or section information to help the reader locate the quote themselves.

Example:

Buck needed to adjust rather quickly upon his arrival in Canada. He states, “no lazy, sun-kissed life was this, with nothing to do but loaf and be bored. Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment’s safety” (London, 1903, p. 25).

In-Text Citations for Paraphrased Information:

When taking an idea from another source and placing it in your own words, it is not necessary to include the page number, but you can add it if the source is large and you want to direct readers right to the information.

Example:

At the time, papyrus was used to create paper, but it was only grown and available in mass quantities in Egypt. This posed a problem for the Greeks and Romans, but they managed to have it exported to their civilizations. Papyrus thus remained the material of choice for paper creation (Casson, 2001).

How to Format In-Text and Parenthetical Citations

After a direct quote or paraphrase, place in parentheses the last name of the author, add a comma, and then the year the source was published. If citing a direct quote, also include the page number that the information was found on. Close the parentheses and add a period afterwards.

If the author’s name is included in the text of your project, omit their name from the in-text citation and only include the other identifying pieces of information.

Example:

Smith states that, “the Museum Effect is concerned with how individuals look at a work of art, but only in the context of looking at that work along with a number of other works” (2014, p. 82).

If your source has two authors, always include both names in each in-text citation.

If your source has three, four, or five authors, include all names in the first in-text citation along with the date. In the following in-text citations, only include the first author’s name and follow it with et al.

Example:

1st in-text citation: (Gilley, Johnson, & Witchell, 2015)

2nd and any other subsequent citations: (Gilley, et al. 2015)

If your source has six or more authors, only include the first author’s name in the first citation and follow it with et al. Include the year the source was published and the page numbers (if it is a direct quote).

1st in-text citation: (Jasper, et al., 2017)

2nd and any other subsequent citations: (Jasper, et al., 2017)

If your source was written by a company, organization, government agency, or other type of group, include the group’s name in full in the first in text citation. In any in-text citations following it, it is acceptable to shorten the group name to something that is simple and understandable.

Example:

1st citation: (American Eagle Outfitters, 2017)

2nd and subsequent citations: (American Eagle, 2017)

Check out this page to learn more about parenthetical citations. Also, BibMe creates your parenthetical citations quickly and easily. Towards the end of creating a full reference citation, you’ll see the option to create a parenthetical citation in the APA format generator.

Your Reference List

The listing of all sources used in your project are found in the reference list, which is usually the last page or part of a project. Included in this reference list are all of the sources you used to gather research and other information.

It is not necessary to include personal communications in the reference list, such as personal emails or letters. These specific sources only need in-text citations, which are found in the body of your project.

All citations, or references, are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

If you have two sources by the same author, place them in order by the year of publication.

Example:

Thompson, H. S. (1971). Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: A savage journey to the heart of the American dream. New York, NY: Random House.

Thompson, H. S. (1998). The rum diary. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

If there are multiple sources with the same author AND same publication date, place them in alphabetical order by the title.

Example:

Dr. Seuss. (1958). The cat in the hat comes back. New York, NY: Random House.

Dr. Seuss. (1958). Yertle the turtle. New York, NY: Random House.

If a source does not have an author, place the source in alphabetical order by the first main word of the title.

Need help creating the citations in your APA reference list? BibMe creates your citations by entering a keyword, URL, title, or other identifying information.

How to Format Your Paper in APA:

Need to create APA format papers? Follow these guidelines:

In an APA style paper, the font used throughout your document should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font size. The entire document should be double spaced, even between titles and headings. Margins should be 1 inch around the entire document and indent every new paragraph using the tab button on your keyboard.

Place the pages in the following order:

  1. Title page (An APA format title page should include a title, running head, author line, institution line, and author’s note). (Page 1)
  2. Abstract page (page 2)
  3. Text or body of research paper (start on page 3)
  4. Reference List
  5. Page for tables (if necessary)
  6. Page for figures (if necessary)
  7. Appendices page (if necessary)

Page numbers: The title page counts as page 1. Number the pages afterwards using Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4…).

What is a running head?

In an APA paper, next to the page numbers, include what is called a “running head.” The running head is a simplified version of the title of your paper. Place the running head in the top left corner of your project and place it in capital letters.

On the title page only, include the phrase: Running head

Title page example:

  • Running head: QUALITY LIBRARY PROGRAMS

For the rest of the paper or project, do not use the term, Running head.

Example of subsequent pages:

Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and many other word processing programs allow you to set up page numbers and a repeated running head. Use these tools to make this addition easier for you!

If you’re looking for an APA sample paper, check out the other resources found on BibMe.

Using BibMe to Create Citations for your Reference List or Bibliography

Looking to cite your sources quickly and easily? BibMe can help you generate your citations; simply enter a title, ISBN, URL, or other identifying information.

See more across the site here and if you’d like to cite your sources in MLA format, check out BibMe’s MLA page. Other citation styles are available as well.

Background Information and History of APA:

The American Psychological Association was founded in 1892 at Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts. APA style format was developed in 1929 by scholars from a number of different scientific fields and backgrounds. Their overall goal was to develop a standard way to document scientific writing and research.

Since its inception, the Style Manual has been updated numerous times and it is now in its 6th edition. The 6th edition was released in 2010. In 2012, APA published an addition to their 6th edition manual, which was a guide for creating citations for electronic resources.

Today, there are close to 118,000 members. There is an annual convention, numerous databases, and journal publications. Some of their more popular resources include the database, PsycINFO, and the publications, Journal of Applied Psychology and Health Psychology.

*Disclaimer: The American Psychological Association was not involved in the making of this guide.

Helpful Tips for Your Citation

 

Our citation guides provide detailed information about all types of sources in MLA, APA, Chicago and Turabian styles.

 

If required by your instructor, you can add annotations to your citations. Just select Add Annotation while finalizing your citation. You can always edit a citation as well.

 

Remember to evaluate your sources for accuracy and credibility. Questionable sources could result in a poor grade!

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