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APA Style Guide 7th Edition

A guide to using the 7th Edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) Style.

What is APA?

What is APA Style and why would you use it? 

APA Style was developed by the American Psychological Association. The standard citation style guidebook for the fields of psychology, business, education, health science, public service, and social science is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, 2019. It is commonly referred to as "The APA Manual."

Two types of citations are included in most research papers: citations within the text of the document and a list of reference citations at the end of the paper.

  • In-Text Citations: The APA Manual uses the author-date citation system for in-text citations.
  • Reference Citations: The sources you use in your work are included as a separate list at the end of the paper.  The APA Manual suggests using the title, References, for the list.

APA Style

About APA 7th ed.

This guide is a quick introduction to the American Psychological Association (APA) Style 7th Edition for references and citations.

Be sure to consult the APA Style website for detailed standards and procedures. 

Resources below are from the APA Style Website:

Video: Introduction to Citation Styles APA 7th Edition

This 3:00 minute video gives an overview of APA 7th edition style:

In-text Citations

When you reference another source, use an in-text citation in the body of your paper. 

Basic Format:

(Author's Last Name(s) or Organization, Year).

I'm using...

If you're quoting the exact words of someone else, introduce the quote with an in-text citation in parentheses. Any sentence punctuation goes after the closing parenthesis.

  • According to Brown (2019), "Direct quote" (p. 1021).
  • Brown (2019) found that "Direct quote" (p. 1021).
  • [Some other introduction] "Direct quote" (Brown, 2019, p. 1021).

If you're directly quoting more than 40 words, use a blockquote. Block quotes don't need quotation marks. Instead, indent the text 1/2" as a visual cue that you are citing. The in-text citation in parentheses goes after the punctuation of the quote.

Shavers (2007) study found the following:

While research studies have established that socioeconomic status influences disease incidence, severity and access to healthcare, there has been relatively less study of the specific manner in which low SES influences receipt of quality care and consequent morbidity and mortality among patients with similar disease characteristics, particularly among those who have gained access to the healthcare system. (p. 1021)

Tip: Use direct quotes sparingly! Focus on summarizing the findings from multiple research studies. In the sciences and social sciences, only use the exact phrasing or argument of an individual when necessary.

Paraphrasing or summarizing the main findings or takeaways from a research article is the preferred method of citing sources in an APA paper. Always include the last name of the author(s) and the year of the article, so your reader can find the full citation in the reference list.

According to Shavers (2007), limitations of studying socioeconomic status in research on health disparities include difficulties in collecting data on socioeconomic status and the complications of classifying women, children, and employment status.

I'm citing...

You only need the author's last name and the year.

(Abrams, 2018)

Connect both authors' last names with & (ampersand) and include the year.

(Wegener & Petty, 1994)

If there are 3 or more authors use et al., which means "and others."

(Harris et al., 2018)

First time with an abbreviation:

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2019)

Then all subsequent citations: (CDC, 2019)

References

Include the complete citation at the end of your paper in a references section.

References are organized by the author's last name in alphabetic (A-Z) order. Use a hanging indent to separate each list item.

Basic Format:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date). Title of the work. Source where you can retrieve the work. URL or DOI if available

I'm citing a...

  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initial as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name. Read more from the APA Style website if there are 21 or more authors.
  2. (Year).
  3. Title of the article. Note: For works that are part of a greater whole (e.g. articles, chapter), use sentence case. Only the first word of the title and subtitle and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. Title of the Journal, Note: Italicize and capitalize each word in the journal.
  5. Volume Note: Italicize the journal volume. If there is no issue, include a comma before the page range.
  6. (Issue), Note: If there is a issue number in addition to a volume number, include it in parentheses.
  7. Page range.
  8. DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Read more about DOIs from the APA Style wesbite.
Ashing‐Giwa, K. T., Padilla, G., Tejero, J., Kraemer, J., Wright, K., Coscarelli, A., Clayton, S., Williams, I., & Hills, D. (2004). Understanding the breast cancer experience of women: A qualitative study of African American, Asian American, Latina and Caucasian cancer survivors. Psycho‐Oncology, 13(6), 408-428. https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.750
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: You do not need to abbreviate the month.
  3. Title of the article. Note: For works that are part of a greater whole (e.g. articles, chapter), use sentence case. Only the first word of the title and subtitle and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. Title of the Newspaper or Publication. Note: Italicize and capitalize each word in the publication.
  5. URL
Kennedy, M. (2018, October 15). To prevent wildfires, PG&E pre-emptively cuts power to thousands in California. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2018/10/15/657468903/to-prevent-wildfires-pg-e-preemptively-cuts-power-to-thousands-in-california
Books (Print or Online)
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
  2. (Year).
  3. Title of the book. Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, reports), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
  4. (Edition). Note: If there is an edition or volume, include it in parentheses and use abbreviations of ed. or vol.
  5. Publisher. Note: You do not need to include the publisher location or databases where you retrieved it.
Schmidt, N. A., & Brown, J. M. (2017). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.
  1. Author(s). Note: List each chapter author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. Use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
  2. (Year).
  3. Title of the chapter. Note: For works that are part of a greater whole (e.g. articles, chapter), use sentence case. Only the first word of the title and subtitle and proper nouns are capitalized.
  4. In Editor(s), Note: List each editor's last name and initials as A. A. Editor, B. B. Editor, & C. C. Editors, include (Ed.) or (Eds.) in parentheses, and end with a comma.
  5. Title of the book Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, reports), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
  6. (pp.xx-xx).
  7. Publisher. Note: You do not need to include the publisher location or databases where you retrieved it.
McCormack, B., McCance, T., & Maben, J. (2013). Outcome evaluation in the development of person-centred practice. In B. McCormack, K. Manley, & A. Titchen (Eds.), Practice development in nursing and healthcare (pp. 190-211). John Wiley & Sons.
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. If there is no author, spell out the name of the organization or site.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: Provide as specific a date as is available, but may be only the year. If there is no date use (n.d.).
  3. Title of page or section. Note: Italicize the title of the page.
  4. Source. Note: Usually the official name of the website. If the source would be the same as the author, you can omit the source to avoid repetition.
  5. URL
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, August 22). Preventing HPV-associated cancers. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/prevention.htm/
  1. Author(s). Note: List each author's last name and initials as Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. If there is no author, spell out the name of the organization that published the report.
  2. (Year, Month Date). Note: Provide as specific a date as is available.
  3. Title of the report or document. Note: For works that stand alone (e.g. books, reports), italicize the title. Only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
  4. Source. Includes the names of parent agencies or other organizations not listed in the group author name here.
  5. URL
Los Angeles County Deptartment of Public Health. (2017, January). Key indicators of health by service planning area. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha/

Formatting Your APA Paper: Student or Professional?

What does an example APA paper look like? 

This version of APA includes differences between the formatting of student and professional papers. Listed below are examples of both. 

Note: APA 7th edition states that student papers do not require a 'Running Head.'

Definition: A running head is a short title that appears at the top of every page of your paper in the page header area.

Some instructors may still require a 'running head' on your paper. Read assignment instructions carefully for this point.

Sample Annotated Student Paper in APA Style:

Other Sample Papers from APA Style: 

Creating a Hanging Indent - Videos and Instructions

Do not use the space bar or tabs to line up citations in your document! Use a 'Hanging Indent'.

A hanging indent is required for your citations (Works Cited or References pages) when you use MLA or APA style citations.

For more explanations of these methods, please see the videos in the playlist below or click on the tabs above for step-by-step instructions.

Google Docs.

In Google Docs you will need to use the 'ruler' to set up your page for a hanging indent. Here is what that looks like:

Create a hanging indent in Google Docs: Show ruler; Select all citations; Click and drag triangle to half inch; Click and drag rectangle back to left margin

Steps to creating a hanging indent in Google Docs:

  1. Make sure to 'Show Ruler'.
  2. Select all citations.
  3. Click and drag the triangle to the half inch (0.50) mark.
  4. Click and drag the rectangle back to the left margin (0.00).

Microsoft Word.

In Microsoft Word you may also use the 'ruler' OR (easier) use the paragraph tab to format the indentation and line spacing:

Hanging Indent using MS Word

Steps to creating a hanging indent in Microsoft Word:

  1. Select all citations.
  2. Click open 'Paragraph Settings' Menu.
  3. Select 'Special' in the Indentation Section.
    1. Choose 'Hanging.'
  4. Line Spacing is 'Double.'
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