American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers, usually in science and social science courses.
This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) that was published in 2010.
The APA style manual, 6th edition
In academic research, we need to have a bibliography or a reference list to show others what resources we used. These both have multiple citations, with all the sources you used or refered to.
A citation has information about a resource that you are using. The information included in a citation typically includes:
Below are a couple of examples to help identify parts of a citation.
Print resource (book):
Electronic resource (web site article):
The References list should be double-spaced. Each entry should be formatted with a hanging indent (p.180).
References cited in text must appear in the References list and vice versa. The only exceptions to this rule are personal communications and classical works; they are cited in text only and are not included in the References list (p.174).
Use only the initial(s) of the author’s given name, not the full name (p.184).
If the References list includes 2 or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order with the earliest first (p. 182).
If the author’s name is unavailable, use the first few words of the title of the article, book or Web source, including the appropriate capitalization and italics formatting (pp.176-177). E.g. (Scientists Say, 2000).
Arrange References entries in one alphabetical sequence by the surname of the first author or by title or first word if there is no author (pp.181-183). Ignore the words A, An, and The when alphabetizing by title.
In titles and subtitles of articles, chapters, and books, capitalize only the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns, except in parenthetical (in text) citations (p.185).
Italicize book titles, journal titles, and volume numbers. Do NOT italicize issue numbers.
If a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is listed on either a print or an electronic source it is included in the reference (pp.188-192). A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that is used to identify a certain source (typically journal articles). It is often found on the first page of an article. Example: doi:10.1080/14622200410001676305
When the References entry includes a URL that must be divided between two lines, break it before a slash or dash or at another logical division point (p.192).
For a helpful list of some of the abbreviations used in References (such as Vols. for Volumes) check out page 180 of the APA Manual.
Many abbreviations are used in APA style. Below are the most common abbreviations:
|n.d.||no date of publication|
|Vol.||volume (only use when citing reference works, like encyclopedia articles)|
|p.||single page number (only use when citing print resources)|
|pp.||multiple page numbers (only use when citing print resources)|
|doi||digital object identifier (only use when citing journal articles)|
In 2009, APA published a new manual of style.
Some of the major changes include:
To learn more about the changes made in the new edition, check out the "What's New" section on the official APA Website.
You may also want to check out the APA blog to learn more about the corrections made to the new APA manual (6th ed.). The blog also contains helpful information on such topics as using DOIs and citing specific sources.
Examples of APA list of references, courtesy of Seneca, Purdue, University of Maryland libraries.
If you are new to using APA style, you may want to check out the following tutorial for new users, located on the APA website.