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How To Cite Apa


How To Cite Apa

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How To Cite Apa

How To Cite Apa

How to Cite Using APA Style in Standard American English


The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a widely used citation style in the social sciences, education, and other disciplines. It provides a consistent and standardized way to cite sources in research papers, articles, and other academic works. Adhering to APA citation guidelines helps ensure the accuracy, credibility, and accessibility of your research.

Basic Principles of APA Citation

APA style emphasizes the following principles:

  • Accuracy: Citations must be complete and accurate to allow readers to easily locate the original sources.
  • Consistency: All citations should follow the same format throughout the paper.
  • Clarity: Citations should be easy to read and understand.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations provide brief references to sources within the text of your paper. They signal to readers that you have borrowed information from an outside source. In APA style, in-text citations consist of the author’s last name and the year of publication, enclosed in parentheses.

  • Single author: (Author, Year)
  • Two authors: (Author1 & Author2, Year)
  • Three or more authors: (Author1 et al., Year)

Example: In a study by Smith (2023), it was found that…

Reference List

The reference list, also known as the bibliography, provides full details of the sources cited in the paper. It is typically placed at the end of the paper and begins on a new page. The reference list is organized alphabetically by the author’s last name.

Formatting the Reference List

  • Hanging Indent: The first line of each entry is left-aligned, while subsequent lines are indented.
  • Double Spacing: All entries are double-spaced.
  • Font: Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, in 12-point size.

Reference List Entries

The format of a reference list entry varies depending on the type of source.


  • Author’s last name, first initial. (Year). Title of book. City of publication: Publisher.
  • Example: Brown, J. (2021). The psychology of language. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Journal Article

  • Author’s last name, first initial. (Year). Title of article. Journal Title, Volume (Issue), Pages.
  • Example: Smith, A. (2023). The role of empathy in social interaction. Journal of Social Psychology, 54 (4), 526-542.


  • Author’s last name, first initial. (Year). Title of article. Retrieved from website URL
  • Example: Jones, B. (2022). How to write an APA paper. Retrieved from

Formatting for Standard American English

When citing sources in Standard American English, follow these guidelines:

  • Capitalization: Capitalize the first word of the title and all major words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs).
  • Italics: Italicize the titles of complete works, such as books, journals, and websites.
  • Numbers: Use Arabic numerals for page numbers, volume numbers, and issue numbers.
  • Punctuation: Use a period between the author’s name and the year of publication, and a colon before the issue number in journal articles.

Common Citation Scenarios

Citing a Direct Quote

  • Include the page number in parentheses after the citation.
  • Example: (Smith, 2023, p. 528)

Citing a Paraphrase or Summary

  • Omit the page number.
  • Example: (Smith, 2023)

Citing Multiple Sources in an In-Text Citation

  • List the sources in chronological order, separated by semicolons.
  • Example: (Brown, 2021; Smith, 2023)

Citing Multiple Authors in a Reference List Entry

  • Use an ampersand (&) between the last two authors.
  • Example: Johnson, A., Smith, B., & Brown, C. (2022).

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: When should I use in-text citations?
A: Whenever you include information from an outside source in your paper.

Q: What is the purpose of the reference list?
A: To provide complete details of the sources cited in the paper, allowing readers to locate and access them.

Q: How do I format the first line of a reference list entry?
A: The first line is left-aligned, while subsequent lines are indented.

Q: What is the correct way to cite a journal article in APA style?
A: [Author’s last name, first initial.] (Year). [Title of article.] [Journal Title], [Volume] ([Issue]), [Pages].

Q: How do I cite a direct quote in APA style?
A: Include the page number in parentheses after the citation: (Author, Year, p. Page Number).