Using APA Style 7 th Edition


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Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Using APA Style – 7



The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association,7th edition (2020), commonly referred to as APA style, is used by authors in psychology, social sciences, and other disciplines in preparing manuscripts for publication, student papers, theses, and dissertations. Adhering to a

particular style helps authors communicate ideas to readers in a clear and organized manner. Properly giving credit to the work of others is not only ethical, but it allows readers to critically evaluate your work and trace ideas back to the original sources.

Reference list examples start on page 6 of this document. (a few are borrowed from the APA Style website.)

Links below go to brief explanations and examples on APA’s style webpage. Consult the manual for more extensive information and additional examples.

The publication manual offers detailed guidance on the topics below.

• Ethics and standards in scholarly writing – scientific accuracy, protecting rights and safety of research participants and subjects, and protecting intellectual property rights

• Paper elements and formatting – presents guidelines and examples for order of pages, title page setup, recommended fonts, page header, line spacing, margins, paragraph alignment and indentation, headings, sample papers (student and professional), and accessibility of APA style. • Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS) – guidelines for reporting methods and results

according to a study’s research design including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research

• Writing style and grammar – guidelines on anthropomorphism, local comparisons, verb tense, active and passive voice, first-person pronouns, and singular “they”

• Bias-free language – guidelines for writing about people without bias including general

principles for reducing bias, historical context, age, disability, gender, participation in research, racial and ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic stats, and intersectionality.

• Mechanics of style -- punctuation, spelling and hyphenation, capitalization, numbers, italics and quotation marks, abbreviations, and lists.

• Tables and figures – guidelines including sample tables and sample figures • Paraphrases and quotations

• In-Text citations -- works credited in the text

• References – basic principles of works credited in the reference list, elements of a reference list entry, missing reference information, DOIs and URLs, reference lists vs bibliographies, and reference examples


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Quotations, In-Text Citations, and Reference lists

The sections below offer guidance and examples for the most commonly encountered situations requiring you to cite the work of others.

General Guidance on Citing Sources in Your Paper

Six Steps to Proper Citation – an infographic that summarizes the general process of giving attribution, or credit, to the work and ideas of others.

• In most instances, giving appropriate credit requires a citation for all ideas, findings, results, or other information that is not your own.

• You do not need to cite information or ideas that are common knowledge.

• When referring to an entire website, journal, magazine, newspaper, common software or apps you do not need an in-text citation or entry in the reference list.

• Try to access and cite the final published version, known as the version of record, for documents with multiple digital drafts or versions.

• Every work cited in-text must correspond to an entry in the reference list with the exception of personal communications (letters, memos, interviews, phone conversations, emails, and discussion group messages) which are cited in-text only.

• When citing works that are not accessible by the general public (report on an intranet, email, interview, phone conversation, or recorded lecture posted to a course management system), cite them as a personal communication in-text only – do not list them in the reference list. • If you intend to reprint or modify a table, figure, or image; or to reprint a long quotation or test

questions from a copyrighted measurement instrument or scale, you may need permission to do so from the copyright holder and must provide a copyright attribution.


Quotations – guidelines and formatting examples.

• Quotes with less than 40 words -- Use quotation marks around the quoted text.

• Quotes with more than 40 words – Display in a freestanding block by starting a new line, indent 0.5 inches from the left margin, indent the first line of each paragraph an extra 0.5 inches (if more than one paragraph), double space entire quotation, and do not use quotes.

• In both cases, cite the source immediately after the quote using author’s surname, publication year, and page number: (author, year, p. #).

In-Text Citations

In-Text Citations – general guidance and examples.

In-Text Citation Checklist – use these guidelines and examples to check your formatting of in-text citations after completing your paper.

• In-text citations follow the author-date method: (author’s surname, publication year). o Use an ampersand between two authors: (Russo & Clark, 2020)


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

o Use the Latin et al (“and others”) with three or more authors: (Ozu et al., 2014) • Separate citations for multiple works with a semicolon: (author, year; author, year)

• For narrative citations, enclose the publication year in parentheses after the author’s surname: author (publication year).

• For narrative citations, when citing the same source multiple times within the same paragraph, use the year the first time it is cited, then omit the year each time after that.


o In a recent study of reaction times (Walker, 2000) … o Walker (2000) compared reaction times …

o Pepperberg and Funk (1990) found that …

o Several studies (Balda, 1980; Kamil, 1988; Pepperberg & Funk, 1990) show similar … • To differentiate between sources with the same author and date, add an “a”, “b”, etc. after the

date: (Clark & Ozu, 2015a) and (Clark & Ozu, 2015b)

• For quotes, include the page number: (Garcia-Marquez, 2009, p. 4)

• For works with unknown authors, substitute the title for the author position. • For works with no date, substitute “n.d.”: (Wong, n.d.)

• To cite a specific part of a source (such as page, paragraph, section, table, figure, chapter or forward of a book, time stamp for a video or audio source, or slide number for a PowerPoint presentation), include information about the specific part: (Khalil, 2018, Table 1) or (Jefferson, 2015, Chapter 7)

• Personal communications (letters, memos, interviews, phone conversations, emails, and discussion group messages) are cited in-text only -- not in the reference list; provide as exact a date as possible: (R. A. Smith, personal communication, May 10, 2009) or R. A. Smith (personal communication, May 10, 2009)

Reference List – Order & Formatting of Entries

• Use the section label References in bold and centered at the top of a new page – not “Works Cited” or “Bibliography.”

• Use the paragraph formatting function of your software program to apply a hanging indent to all references - first line of each reference is flush left; the rest are indented 0.5 inches - instead of tabbing over for each line.

• Double space within and between references.

• Alphabetize reference entries by the work’s first author surname; then by first and middle initials when there are two or more references with the same surname.

• Alphabetize group authors (organization, association) by first significant word in the name. • References used in a meta-analysis should be marked with an asterisk in the reference list, but it

is up to the author whether to cite these works in the text.

Reference Elements & Formatting

Creating an APA Style Reference List Guide – general guidance for determining the reference group, category, and type into which a work fits and then formatting the elements such as author, title, source, and DOI or URL.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Determining which format to use

• It doesn’t matter how a work is accessed (print or online) - references will generally include the same elements: author, date, title, source, and DOI (if there is one).

• To decide on the format to follow when creating a reference entry, first determine the group, category, and type.

• Groups include textual works, online media, audiovisual media, and data sets.

o Textual works categories (accessed in print or online): periodicals, books and reference works, edited book chapters and reference work entries, reports and gray literature, conference presentations and proceedings, dissertations and theses, and unpublished and informally published works.

! Periodical types: journal, magazine, and newspaper article; blog post and comments.

! Reports and gray literature types: government agency, technical, research, and annual report; brochure, code of ethics, grant, issue brief, policy brief, press release, fact sheet, ISO standard, and white paper.

o Online media categories: social media, webpage, and website.

o Audiovisual categories: artwork, clip art, film and television, musical score, PowerPoint slides, lecture notes, radio broadcast, transcript, TED Talk, and YouTube video.

o Data set categories: data set and toolbox. Author or editor element

• If a work’s author is unknown or cannot be determined, check for a group author, otherwise move the title to the author position. Do not use Anonymous unless the work is signed as such. • For works with one author, list the author surname, comma, first initial, period, space, and

middle initial, period – do not spell out first and middle names. Separate multiple authors with a comma and use an ampersand between the last two authors.

• For works with two to 20 authors, list all surnames and initials, and use an ampersand between works with two authors or between the last two in a list of up to 20 authors.

• For works with 21 or more authors, list the first 19 surnames and initials, then an ellipsis (but no ampersand) followed by the final author surname and initials.

• For edited works, move the editor name to the author position followed by (Ed.) or (Eds.) • For works with many layers of government agencies listed as authors, use the most specific

agency as the author and list the parent agency in the source field.

• Differentiate references having exactly the same author(s) and same year, by adding a lower-case letter after the year: 2020a, 2020b.

Date element

• Date refers to a work’s date of publication and can take the form of (year), (year, month), year, season), (year, month, day), or range of dates; enclose in parentheses followed by a period. • Most references will use the year only, such as books and journal articles, but use more specific

dates for works published more frequently such as year, month and day for newspaper articles and blog posts.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

• For webpages or websites, use the “last updated” date if it applies to content you are citing; copyright dates in the footer may not indicate when the content was created or updated. • If you cannot determine the date treat as having no date: (n.d.).

• Use the final publication date for online works that have both advance and final publication dates.

• Do not use a retrieval date unless the work is designed to change over time (wikis, blogs). Title element

• Italicize titles of works that stand alone (books, journals, reports, webpages) and use sentence case (capitalize first word of the title, first word of subtitle, and proper names only) followed by a period.

• Use sentence case, but do not italicize the title of works that are part of a greater whole (journal articles, book chapters).

• For reports and gray literature, the title is comprised of a Title of report, Title of report (Report No. 123), or Title of gray literature [Description]. Not all reports will have a report number, but it should appear after the Title using the agency’s terminology (“Project No.”, “NIH Publication No.”, or “Issue Brief No.”).

• Gray literature should list the Title followed by the type in brackets such as [Policy Brief]. Source element

• Source information for journal, magazine, and newsletter articles include title of the journal, newsletter, or magazine; followed by a comma, space, volume number, no space, issue number in parentheses (if available), comma, space, and page range, followed by a period.

• Italicize the journal, magazine, and newsletter titles and use title case (capitalize all significant words); also italicize the volume number.

• Source information for books should include city, comma, space, two-letter state abbreviation, colon, space, publisher, followed by a period.

• When citing a chapter in and edited book, follow the chapter title with a period, space, type the word “In”, space, initials and surnames of the editors (not inverted), space, (Ed.) or (Eds.), comma, space, title of the edited book in italics and sentence case, space, chapter page number range preceded by “pp.” and enclosed in parentheses, period, space, city, comma, space, two letter state abbreviation, colon, space, publisher, period.

DOI or URL element

• DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a document. The DOI never changes (unlike some URLs) and is usually found on the 1st page of a document (print and electronic).

• Use the current preferred DOI format:

• When citing works that used an older DOI format, standardize to the current preferred format. • Copy and paste the DOI or URL directly from the browser to your paper; do not add line breaks

manually, but it is acceptable for word-processing programs to automatically add a break or move the hyperlink to its own line.

• Do not include the words “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from.” • Do not add a period after the DOI or URL in a reference.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

• Use the DOI if a work has both a DOI and URL. • For online works without a DOI, use the URL.

• If citing an article accessed in an academic research database, and it has no DOI, do not use the URL provided by the database – cite it as you would a print article.

• DOIs can be blue and underlined (word-processing default for hyperlinks) or plain text that is not underlined.

Reference List Examples

Common Reference Examples Guide – examples of most common reference types such as journal article, magazine, newspaper, book, blog post, report, video, preprint, tweet, and webpage.

Reference Examples – detailed instructions and examples for formatting print (textual works), online media, audiovisual media, and data sets.

Textual Works

Works that are part of a greater whole:

Journal article, volume number, no issue number, two to twenty authors, DOI

Conner, S., Bloomfield, J., LeBoutillier, J. C., Thompson, R. F., Petit, T. L., & Weeks, A. C. (2009). Eyeblink conditioning lead to fewer synapses in the rabbit cerebellar cortex. Behavioral Neuroscience, 123, 856-862.

Magazine article, volume & issue number, no DOI

Wier, K. (2020, September). What did distance learning accomplish? Monitor on Psychology, 40(8).

Newsletter article, no DOI

Kirlin, M. W. (2020, Summer). WSASP ethical guidance for standardized assessment during COVID-19 school closure. Newsletter of the Washington State Association of School Psychologists, 41(3), pp. 6-7.

Newspaper article, month & day, no DOI


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Branch, J. & Plumer, B. (2020, September 22). Climate disruption is now locked in. The next moves will be crucial. The New York Times.

Blog post, month & day, no DOI

Gray-Grant, D. (2020, August 25). How to make researching less painful. Publication Coach.

Works that stand on their own:

Authored book, DOI

Catalano, A. J. & Marino, M. A. (2020). Measurements in evaluating science education: A compendium of instruments, scales, and tests. New York, NY: Routledge.

Edited book, DOI

Kardes, F. R., Herr, P. M., & Schwartz, N. (Eds.). (2019). Handbook of research methods in consumer psychology. New York, NY: Routledge.

Chapter in edited book, no chapter DOI

Rocklage, M. D. & Rucker, D. D. (2019). Text analysis in consumer research: An overview and tutorial. In F. R. Kardes, P. M. Herr, & N. Schwartz (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in consumer psychology (pp. 385-402). Routledge.

Wikipedia entry

Genome project. (2020, September 20). In Wikipedia.

Dictionary entry

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Just-world hypothesis. In APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved January 18, 2020, from


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Government agency report, report number, parent agency, no DOI

National Cancer Institute. (2018). Facing forward: Life after cancer treatment (NIH Publication No. 18-2424). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Issue brief, report number, no DOI

Lichtenstein, J. (2003). Profile of veteran business owners: More young veterans appear to be starting businesses (Issue Brief No. 1). U.S. Small business Administration, Office of Advocacy.,%20Veteran%20Business%20Owne rs.pdf

Policy brief, no report number, no DOI

Harwell, M. (2018). Don’t expect too much: The limited usefulness of common SES measures and a prescription for change [Policy brief]. National Education Policy Center.

Press release, no DOI

American Psychological Association. (2020, June 22). Study: Loneliness did not appear to increase during COVID-19 pandemic [Press release].

Conference presentation, no DOI

Fowler, G. A., & Stamm, K. (2019, August 8-11). Exploring skills, traits, and competencies psychologists use in the workforce [Symposium presentation]. American Psychological Association, 2019 Convention, Chicago, IL, United States.

Dissertation from a database

Chenelle, L. W. (2020). The effects of a pediatric weight management program on self-esteem in children with obesity (Publication No. 28093170) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Hartford]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Dissertation from a university repository, no DOI

Peck, T. (2015). Factor structure among possible correlates of skill at mindfulness meditation [Doctoral dissertation, The University of Arizona]. UA Campus Repository.

Document from ERIC database

Shillo, R., Hoernle, N., & Gal, K. (2019). Detecting creativity in an open ended geometry environment (ED599199). ERIC.

Preprint article, DOI

Pezzoli, P., Antfolk, J., Hatoum, A. S., & Santtila, P. (2018). Genetic vulnerability to experiencing child maltreatment. PsyArXiv.

Audiovisual Media

Clip art/stock image

Denali National Park and Preserve. (2013). Lava [Photograph]. Flickr. * If the image says that no attribution is required, do not create a reference entry or in-text citation.

Film or video

Farrelly, P. (Director). (2018). Green book [Film]. Participant Media; DreamWorks Pictures;

Reliance Entertainment; Innisfree Pictures; Cinetic Media; Alibaba Pictures.

TV series episode

Johnson, S., Robinson, S., Simms, P. (Writers), & Newacheck, K. (Director). (2020, June 10). Nouveau theatre des vampires (Season 2, Episode 10) [TV series episode]. In Clement, J., Waititi, T., Simms, P., Rudin, S., Basch, G., Bush, E., & Robinson, S. (Executive producers). What we do in the shadows. FXP; Two Canoes Pictures.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez


Florell, D., Garutto, J., Pearrow, M. (Panelists). (n.d.). Legal and ethical considerations for remote school psychological services [Webinar]. National Association of School Psychologists.

YouTube video

asapSCIENCE. (2012, December 12). The science of productivity [Video]. YouTube.

Song or track

Mr. Probz. (2014). Waves [Song]. On Prayer. Left Lane; Ultra; Epic.

Radio broadcast

Mottram, L. (2020, January 8). Hazard reduction burning is not a panacea to brushfire risk: Expert [Radio broadcast]. ABC.,-expert-says/11853280

Podcast episode

Britt, M. A. (Writer & Producer). (2019, October 17). Conspiracy theories – Why so easy to believe? (No. 335) [Audio podcast episode]. In The Psych Files Podcast.


WebFX Team. (2020, March 9). Psychology of color [Infographic]. WebFX.

PowerPoint, freely accessible to all

Jones, J. (2016, March 23). Guided reading: Making the most of it [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare.

TED Talk

Cuddy, A. (2012, June). Your body language may shape who you are [Video]. TED Conferences.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez


Mottram, L. (2020, January 8). Hazard reduction burning is not a panacea to brushfire risk: Expert [Radio broadcast transcript]. ABC.,-expert-says/11853280

Online Media


Do not create refences or in-text citations for whole websites; provide the name of the website in your paper and place the URL in parentheses. Narrative example: We created a survey using Qualtrics (

Webpage on a website

Giovanetti, F. (2019, November 16). Why we are so obsessed with personality types. Medium.

Webage with retrieval date

U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). U.S. and world population clock. U.S. Department of Commerce. Retrieved January 9, 2020, from

Tweet, Instagram, TikTok

The New York Times [@nytimes]. (2020, September 26). Climate disruption cannot be reversed. The next moves will be crucial [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

Data Sets

O’Donohue, W. (2017). Content analysis of undergraduate psychology textbooks (ICPSR 21600; Version V1) [Data set]. ICPSR.


Last updated: September 28, 2020 Diana Ramirez

Additional APA Style Resources

• Transitions Quick Guide – offers suggested words and phrases for specific types of transitions, such as: to explain in a different way, to illustrate, to emphasize a point/finding, to present your own idea/argument, to show cause/consequence, to show contrast, to show additional

examples, to summarize/conclude, to show a sequence of events, and to relate to hypotheses. • Discussion Phrases Quick Guide – provides suggested wording and phrases to use in your

discussion section such as: summarizing your study results, discussing your research results, linking your finding to previous research, study limitations, study implications, directions for future research, and closing statement or paragraph.

• Abbreviations Quick Guide – guidelines and examples for abbreviations of terms, phrases, units of measurement, time, and Latin words.

• Number and Statistics Quick Guide – guidelines and examples for using numerals or words, commas, plurals, decimals, and statistics.

• Avoiding word and idea plagiarism – common mistakes and guidance for proper use of direct quotes, paraphrasing, and in-text citations.





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