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APA Citation Guide

This is a simple guide to citing sources using APA style, adapted from Robin Turner's From Brainstorm to Bibliography If you want more detailed information, take a look at APA Formatting and Style Guideat Purdue University.

Citations in Your Paper (In-text Citation)

If you are using APA format, the minimum information you need is the author's surname, the year of publication and the page number(s) (except for Internet sources, which do not usually have page numbers, though you may be required to give paragraph or section numbers instead). If the author's name does not occur in the sentence, put it in parentheses with the date and page, e.g.,

A similar view is that “government mounts a continual war against sovereignty” (Rousseau, 1988, p. 137).

Short quotations should be included in the body of your text, and are often part of another sentence e.g.,

As Taylor (1982, p. 167) points out, “Communities are necessarily small, and ‘universal community’ impossible.”

According to Rousseau (1988, p. 137), “government mounts a continual war against sovereignty.”

Note that each quotation includes a citation, giving information about the work the quotation comes from.

Notice the punctuation; there is a comma after the author, and the full stop comes after the citation, not before. If you refer to more than one page, use “pp.” instead of “p.”.

You may also want to refer to a work as a whole, e.g.,

Kant and the Platypus (1997) presents Umberto Eco's views on the problems of categorisation.

You can, of course, refer to more than one work in the same citation, e.g.,

Teenagers who spend a lot of time texting may suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (Fischer et al. 2002; Jones, 1999; Zwiegler & Lindbaum, 2007).

Note that the sources are separated by a semi-colon and are in alphabetical order.

Sometimes you may want to quote something that is already a quotation in your source. If you do this, cite both the original source (if the author gives it) and the source you actually took it from, joining them with “in”.

As the Science Fiction author William Gibson puts it, writing is “a crazy, sloppy process with thousands of false starts and painful backtrackings” (MacNair, 1989, p. 23, in Olson, 1992, p. 5).

Don't forget to put both references as separate items in your References page.

Citations at the End of Your Paper (References Page)

General Points

In APA you should cite all the sources that you refer to (and no others) on a separate page at the end of the paper.


Surname, Initials. (year). Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher.

Smith, A.I. (1997). Ghosts in the Machine: Artificial intelligence in film. New York: Critical Press.

A variation which is becoming more popular is to give the author's full name rather than just initials (e.g., “Smith, Alfred Ian”). Some variants of APA don't require a full stop after the date.

Chapters or essays in books

Surname, Initials. (year). Title of chapter. In Editor's Name (ed.) Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher.

Obscurant, G. (1972). Phrase Structure in Nepali Counterfactuals: a preliminary survey. In David J. Plough and Leslie Threwitt (ed.) Developments in Post-Generative Linguistics. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Note that name(s) of the editor(s) are written as they appear in the book, not in Surname, Initials format.

Articles in academic journals

Surname, Initials. (year). Title of article. Name of Journal [Volume number:] Issue number. pages.

Kugelschreiber, E. (1989). Is celibacy inherited?: a longitudinal survey. Sociobiology Review 3:12 201–235.

Note: you do not normally need to write “p.” or “pp.” for pages in journals.

Articles in newspapers and magazines

These follow the same format as for journals, except that the full date is given, and there is normally no volume or issue number.

Surname, Initials. (year month day). Title of article. Name of Newspaper. page(s).

Worsetorn, P. (1989 May 1). Labour's Lunatic Fringe. The Daily Torygraph. p. 12.

With some newspaper articles there is no author named. In this case, treat it the same; just leave out the author e.g.,

Elvis Found on Mars! (1995, April 1). National Speculator. p. 3.

Film and video

Surname, Initials (Producer), & Surname, Initials (Director). (year) Name of Film. Place of production: Company.

Bates, N. (Producer) & Kruger, F. (Director). (1988). Night of the Teenage Vampires. Boston, Mass.: Gore Films.

Internet Sources

For web pages, the following format is recommended.

Surname, Initials (year month day) Title of page. Name of Website. Retrieved month day, year from URL.

Cracker, A. (2003 October 31). How to break into Windows Vista systems. H4x0rz World. Retrieved from

Much of the time you won't be able to find all of this information, so just put in as much as you can, e.g.,

Why I hate Gates. (n.d.) Linuxfan. Retrieved from

For messages to discussion forums etc., you can use the following format:

Surname, Initials (year month day) Subject. Message to URL.

Smith, W. (1999 April 1) Re: Gnomes of Zurich. Message to

Sources with more than one author

If there are two authors, separate them with "&"; if there are three to six authors, put them in a comma-separated list with "&" before the final author, e.g. Brown, C.F., Fleishmann, D., Pringle, F.S., & Zweigler, P.T.

(note that there is a comma before the "&"). If there are more than six authors (it happens!), give the first six, separated by commas, then write "et al." )(short for et alia, which is Latin for "and others").

If the publication comes from an organisation, just treat the name of the organisation like the name of the author, e.g.

Ministry of Administrative Affairs Social Networking Task Group (2009). Mortality Rates From Twitter Addiction: a digest of meta-analyses. London: Ministry of Administrative Affairs.































































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