APA Style, 6th Edition

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What is American Psychological Association (APA) style?

  • APA style is a set of rules for how you credit sources by writing citations and references. 
  • The rules change depending on the type/format of a source (e.g. an article with two authors or a web page with no date).

What are citations and references?

Crediting sources is key to avoiding plagiarism. In APA style, there are two ways you must credit sources:

  1. In the text of the paper when a source is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized (in-text citations)
  2. In an alphabetical list at the end of the paper (references)

An in-text citation and reference provide information about a source such as author and publication year; like a street address, they help a reader locate the source in its original form. Below is an example of an excerpt from an assignment with in-text citations and a list of references:

General Guidelines for APA Style References & In-Text Citations

APA style requires you to list all the sources you've used on the last page of an assignment. These are called references. A reference typically has four parts that answers these four questions:

The information for each part will depend on the format (e.g. print book, ebook, website etc.) of the source. A period and a space are placed between each part of a reference.

Below are general guidelines that apply to all or most formats. For complete reference rules, choose a format from the sidebar on the left.

(1) Document Formatting
(2) Who created it - Author(s) & Editor(s)
(3) When was it published - Date
(4) What is it called - Titles
(5) Where can it be found - Location

In-text citation rules vary according to the amount of author(s) of the work. For full details, go to the In-Text Citation page of this guide. 

Several details stay the same regardless of the number of authors:

  • All citations should have three elements in the following order:
  • author(s)
  • publication year
  • page number, paragraph number, or heading
  • Use “p.” to cite one page and “pp.” to cite more than one page: e.g. (p. 10)
  • If there are no page numbers, count the paragraphs and use the abbreviation "para.": e.g. (para. 3) OR use a heading within the text in quotation marks: e.g. "Conclusion"
  • Place citations in the text in one of 3 ways:

You are allowed, but not required, to use the title of a source in your writing:

  • For books, films, reports, and other full-length titles, use italics and capitalize all long words:
  • Polley's film, Away From Her, is about Alzheimer's disease.
  • Faith and spirituality are themes explored in Martel's novel, Life of Pi.
  • For articles, web pages, and other sources that are part of a larger publication or source, use quotation marks and capitalize all long words:
  • In their article, "Prevalence and Causes of Urban Homelessness Among Indigenous Peoples: A Three-Country Scoping Review," Anderson and Collins (2014) analyzed multiple research studies from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 
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