APA is more than just citation and referencing! It's a whole style of writing designed to refer to people in research with dignity and respect and present research results in a standard style so that others can easily evaluate your work and replicate it.
This guide is a quick introduction to the American Psychological Association (APA) Style for references and citations. Be sure to consult the Publication Manual of the APA or the APA Style website for detailed standards and procedures.
When you reference another source use an in-text citation in the body of your paper.
(Author's Last Name(s) or Organization, Year).
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 publication, 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.
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.
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)
Toro 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.
In-text citations differ depending on the number of authors listed for a work, and if there is a group author.
I'm citing a work with...
You only need the author's last name comma year in parentheses.
Connect both authors' last names with & (ampersand) comma and the year.
(Wegener & Petty, 1994)
If there are 3 or more authors use et al., which means "and others," comma and the year.
(Harris et al., 2018)
First time with an abbreviation:
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2019)
Then all subsequent citations: (CDC, 2019)
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 an hanging indent to separate each list item.
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...
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
Rogers, O. (2021, July 9). Why naming race is necessary to undo racism. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/who-am-i-who-are-we/202107/why-naming-race-is-necessary-undo-racism
Schmidt, N. A., & Brown, J. M. (2017). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.
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.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Preventing HPV-associated cancers. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/basic_info/prevention.htm/
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. (2017, January). Key indicators of health by service planning area. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha/
Valentin, E. R. (2019, Summer). Narcissism predicted by Snapchat selfie sharing, filter usage, and editing [Master's thesis, California State University Dominguez Hills]. CSU ScholarWorks. https://scholarworks.calstate.edu/concern/theses/3197xm925?locale=en
Check out more examples for citing dissertations and theses on the APA Style site.
Citing a letter, photograph, text document, graphic material, or ephemera? Consult the Gerth Archives APA Citation Guide for Archival Materials.
APA Style offers sample student and professional papers, including a free annotated student sample paper.
1. Highlight the citaiton with your cursor.
2. Right click.
3. Select Paragraph.
4. Under Indentation, select Special and Hanging.
Microsoft Word and Google Docs have a Format Painter tool that will copy and apply basic formatting to any text!
1. Highlight the formatting you want to apply.
2. Select Format Painter.
3. Highlight the text you want to change.
Note: If using the Format Painter on the Reference List, you'll need to go back and add italics.
This guide was created by Tessa Withorn and Carolyn Caffrey at CSUDH Library and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.