A Comprehensive Guide to APA Citations and Format

Overview of this guide:

This page provides you with an overview of APA format. Included is information about referencing, various citation formats with examples for each source type, and other helpful information.

If you’re looking for MLA format, check out the Citation Machine MLA Guide. Also, visit the Citation Machine homepage to use the APA formatter, which is an APA citation generator, and to see more styles.

Being responsible while researching

When you’re writing a research paper or creating a research project, you will probably use another individual’s work to help develop your own assignment. A good researcher or scholar uses another individual’s work in a responsible way. This involves indicating that the work of other individuals is included in your project, which is one way to prevent plagiarism.

Plagiarism? What is it?

The word plagiarism is derived from the latin word, plagiare, which means “to kidnap.” The term has evolved over the years to now mean the act of taking another individual’s work and using it as your own, without acknowledging the original author. Plagiarism can be illegal and there can be serious ramifications for plagiarizing someone else’s work. Thankfully, plagiarism can be prevented. One way it can be prevented is by including citations and references in your research project. Want to make them quickly and easily? Try the Citation Machine citation generator, which is found on our homepage.

All about citations & references

Citations and references should be included anytime you use another individual’s work in your own assignment. When including a quote, paraphrased information, images, or any other piece of information from another’s work, you need to show where you found it by including a citation and a reference. This guide explains how to make them.

Before we continue, it should be noted that, in terms of APA style, many teachers and professors sometimes misuse the terms citations and references. Many times, they use the terms as if they’re synonymous. Citations and references, according to APA, do not mean the same thing. A citation is in the body of a project and a reference is on the last page. In other styles, the terms mean the same thing and can be used synonymously. APA style format is different, which often causes confusion.

Now that you understand the difference between an APA format citation and reference, let’s continue. Citations, which are called in-text citations, are included when you’re adding information from another individual’s work into your own project. When you add text word-for-word from another source into your project, or take information from another source and place it in your own words and writing style (known as paraphrasing), you create an in-text citation. These citations are short in length and are placed in the main part of your project, directly after the borrowed information.

References are found at the end of your research project, usually on the last page. Included on this reference list page is the full information for any in-text citations found in the body of the project. These references are listed in alphabetical order, one after the other.

An APA in-text citation includes only three items: the last name(s) of the author, the year the source was published, and sometimes the page or location of the information. References include more information such as the name of the author(s), the year the source was published, the full title of the source, and the URL or page range.

Why is it important to include citations & references

Including APA citations and references in your research projects is a very important component of the research process. When you include citations, you’re being a responsible researcher. You’re showing readers that you were able to find valuable, high-quality information from other sources, place them into your project where appropriate, all while acknowledging the original authors and their work.

Common ways students and scholars accidentally plagiarize

Believe it or not, there are instances when students and scholars attempt to include in-text and full references in the appropriate places, but still accidentally plagiarize. Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:

Mistake #1 - Misquoting sources: If you plan to use a direct quote, make sure you copy it exactly as is. Sure, you can use part of the full quote or sentence, but if you decide to put quotation marks around any words, those words should match exactly what was found in the original source.

Here’s a line from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”

Here’s an acceptable option:

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves,” stated de Saint-Exupéry (1943, p. 3).

Here’s a misquote:

“Grown-ups barely ever understand anything by themselves,” stated de Saint-Exupéry (1943, p. 3).

Notice the slight change in the words. The incorrect option is an instance of accidental plagiarism.

Mistake #2 - Problems with paraphrasing: When we paraphrase, we restate information using our own words and writing style. It’s not acceptable to substitute words from the original source with synonyms.

Let’s use the same sentence from The Little Prince.

A correct paraphrase could be:

de Saint-Exupéry (1943) shares various ways adults frustrate children. One of the biggest being that kids have to explain everything. It’s too bad adults are unable to comprehend anything on their own (p. 3).

An incorrect paraphrase would be:

de Saint-Exupéry (1943) shares that adults never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for kids to be always and forever clarifying things to them (p.3).

Notice how close the incorrect paraphrase is from the original. This is an instance of accidental plagiarism.

Make sure you quote and paraphrase properly in order to prevent accidental plagiarism.

Information About APA

Who created it?

The American Psychological Association is an organization created for individuals in the psychology field. With close to 116,000 members, they provide educational opportunities, funding, guidance, and research information for everything psychology related. They also have numerous high-quality databases, peer-reviewed journals, and books that revolve around mental health.

The American Psychological Association is also credited with creating their own specific citation and reference style. Today, this format is used by individuals not only in the psychology field, but many other subject areas as well. Education, economics, business, and social sciences also use APA style quite frequently. Click here for more information. This guide covers general information about the style, but is not affiliated with the American Psychological Association.

Why was this style created?

This format was first developed in 1929 in order to form a standardized way for researchers in science fields to document their sources. Prior to the inception of these standards and guidelines, individuals were recognizing the work of other authors by including bits and pieces of information, in random order. There wasn’t a set way to format citations and references. You can probably imagine how difficult it was to understand the sources that were used for research projects!

Having a standard format for citing sources allows readers to glance at a citation or APA reference and easily locate the title, author, year published, and other critical pieces of information needed to understand a source.

The evolution of this style

APA style is currently in its 6th edition, which was released in 2009. In previous versions of APA format, researchers and scholars were required to include the date that an electronic resource was accessed. In addition, names of databases were included, and only the name of the city was included in the publication information.

Now, it is no longer required to include the date of access as well as the name of the database in an APA citation or reference. The full location, including the city AND state (or the city and country if it’s an international publisher) is included instead.

In 2013, the APA released a revised manual just for electronic resources. This was released due to the increase in the amount of technological advances and resources.

Citations & References

The appearance of citations & references

The format for citations varies, but most use this general format:

Author’s Last name, First initial. (Date published). Title. Retrieved from URL

Researchers and scholars must look up the proper format for the source that they’re attempting to cite. Books have a certain format, websites have a different format, periodicals have a different format, and so on. Scroll down to find the proper format for the source you’re citing or referencing.

If you would like help citing your sources, CitationMachine.com has a citation generator that will help make the APA citation process much easier for you.

In-text Citations

An APA in-text citation is included in research projects in three instances: When using a direct quote, paraphrasing information, or simply referring to a piece of information from another source.

Quite often, researchers and scholars use a small amount of text, word for word, from another source and include it in their own research projects. This is done for many reasons. Sometimes, another author’s words are so eloquently written that there isn’t a better way to rephrase it yourself. Other times, the author’s words can help prove a point or establish an understanding for something in your research project. When using another author’s exact words in your research project, include an APA in-text citation directly following it.

In addition to using the exact words from another source and placing them into your project, these citations are also added anytime you paraphrase information. Paraphrasing is when you take information from another source and rephrase it, in your own words.

When simply referring to another piece of information from another source, also include a citation directly following it.

Citations in the text are found near a direct quote, paraphrased information, or reference. To see examples of some narrative/parenthetical citations in action, look at the image above, under “All About Citations & References.”

Note: *Only include the page or paragraph number when using a direct quote or paraphrase. This information is included in order to help the reader locate the exact portion of text themselves. It is unnecessary to include this information when you’re simply referring to another source.

Here are some examples of APA in-text citations:

“Well, you’re about to enter the land of the free and the brave. And I don’t know how you got that stamp on your passport. The priest must know someone” (Tóibín, 2009, p. 52).

and

Student teachers who use technology in their lessons tend to continue using technology tools throughout their teaching careers (Kent & Giles, 2017).

If including the author’s name in the sentence, place the year in the parentheses directly next to his or her name. Add the page number at the end, unless it’s a source without any pages or paragraph numbers.

In-text citation APA example:

According to a study done by Kent and Giles (2017), student teachers who use technology in their lessons tend to continue using technology tools throughout their teaching careers.

The full references, or citations, for these sources can be found on the last part of a research project, titled the “References.”

Here’s how to create in-text citations for specific amounts of authors:

APA citation with no author

When the source lacks an author’s name, place the title, year, and page number (if available) in the text. The title should be in italics if it sits alone (such as a movie, brochure, or report). If the source is part of a whole (as many web pages and articles are), place the title in quotation marks without italics.

Title of Source (Year) or “Title of Source” (Year)

OR

(Title of Source, Year) or (“Title of Source,” Year)

One author

Last name of Author (Year)...(page number).

OR

(Last name of Author, Year, page number).

Two authors

Place the authors in the order they appear on the source. Only use the ampersand in the parenthetical citations. Use ‘and’ to separate the author names if they’re in the text of the sentence.

Last name of Author 1 and Last name of Author 2 (Year)....(page number).

OR

(Last name of Author 1 & Last name of Author 2, Year, page number).

Three, four, or five authors

Place the authors in the order they appear on the source. Include all names in the first APA citation.

First in-text citation APA:

Last name Author 1, Last name Author 2, Last name Author 3, Last name Author 4, and Last name Author 5 (Year)...(page number).

OR

(Last name Author 1, Last name Author 2, Last name Author 3, Last name Author 4, Last name Author 5, Year, page number).

For any additional citations in your paper, only include the first author’s last name and et al.

(Last name Author 1 et al., Year, page number)

OR

Last name Author 1 et al. (Year)...(page number).

Six or more authors

Only include the first listed author’s name in the first and any subsequent citations. Follow it with et al.

(Last name Author 1 et al., Year, page number)

OR

Last name of Author 1 et al. (Year)...(page).

What do you do when you want to cite multiple works by an author, and the sources all written in the same year?

Include the letters ‘a’ ‘b’ ‘c’ and so on after the year in the citation.

(Jackson, 2013a)

OR

Jackson (2013a)

Writers can even lump dates together.

Example: Jackson often studied mammals while in Africa (2013a, 2013b).

On the APA reference page, include the same letters in the full references.

Groups and organizations

Write out the full name of the group or organization in the first citation and place the abbreviation next to it in brackets. If the group or organization is cited again, only include the abbreviation. If it doesn’t have an abbreviation associated with it, write out the entire organization’s name each and every time.

Example:

First APA citation for an organization with an abbreviation: (World Health Organization [WHO], Year) OR World Health Organization (WHO, Year)

Any other APA citations in the text for an organization with an abbreviation: (WHO, Year) OR WHO (Year)

Example:

All citations in the text for an organization without an abbreviation: (Citation Machine, Year) or Citation Machine (Year)

Reminder: there are many citation tools available on CitationMachine.com. Head to our homepage to learn more, check out our APA citation website, and cite your sources easily! The most useful resource on our website? Our APA citation generator, which doesn’t just create full references, it’s also an APA in-text citation website! It’ll do both for you!

Click here to learn more about crediting work.

Reference list citation components

References display the full information for all the citations found in the body of a research project.

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to the references:

  • All references sit together on their own page, which is usually the final page of a paper.
  • Title the page ‘References’
  • Place ‘References’ in the center of the page. Keep the title in the same font and size as the references. Do not italicize, underline, place the title in quotation marks, or increase the font size.
  • The entire page is double spaced.
  • All references are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the reference, which is usually the author’s last name. If the source lacks an author, alphabetize the source by the title (ignore A, An, or The)
  • All references have a hanging indent, meaning that the second line of text is indented in half an inch. See examples throughout this guide.
  • Remember, each and every citation in the text of the paper MUST have a full reference displayed in the reference list. The citations in the text provide the reader with a quick glimpse about the sources used, but the references in the reference list provide the reader with all the information needed to seek out the source themselves.

Learn more about each component of the reference citation and how to format it in the sections that follow. See an APA sample paper reference list at the end of this entire section.

Author’s names

The names of authors are written in reverse order. Include the initials for the first and middle names. End this information with a period.

Last name, F. M.

Angelou, M.

Doyle, A. C.

Two or More Authors

When two or more authors work together on a source, write them in the order in which they appear on the source, using this format:

Last name, F. M., & Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., & Last name, F. M.

Kent, A. G., & Giles, R. M. Thorpe, A., Lukes, R., Bever, D. J, & He, Y.

If there are 8 or more authors listed on a source, only include the first 6 authors, add three ellipses, and then add the last author’s name.

Roberts, A., Johnson, M. C., Klein, J., Cheng, E. V., Sherman, A., Levin, K. K. , ...Lopez, G. S.

If you plan on using a free APA citation tool, like the one at CitationMachine.com, the names of the authors will format properly for you.

No authors

If the source lacks an author, place the title in the first position in the reference. When the source’s title begins with a number (Such as 101 Dalmatians), place the reference alphabetically as if the number was spelled out. 101 Dalmatians would be placed in the spot where ‘One hundred’ would go, but keep the numbers in their place.

Additionally, if the title begins with the words ‘A’, ‘An,’ or ‘The,’ ignore these words and place the title alphabetically according to the next word.

See the “Titles” section below for more information on formatting the title of sources.

Corporate/Organization authors

On an APA reference page, corporate authors are always written out in full. In the text of your paper, you may have some abbreviations (such as UN for United Nations), but in the full references, always include the full names of the corporation or organization.

Example:

United Nations. (2019). Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis. Retrieved from https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1031981

Publication information

Directly after the author’s name is the date the source was published. Include the full date for newspapers, the month and year for magazine articles, and only the year for journals and all other sources. If no date is found on the source, include the initials, n.d. for “no date.”

Newspaper:

Narducci, M. (2017, May 19). City renames part of 11th Street Ed Snider Way to honor Flyers founder. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved from http://www.philly.com/

If using our APA Citation Machine, our citation generator will add the correct format for you automatically.

Titles

When writing out titles for books, articles, chapters, or other non-periodical sources, only capitalize the first word of the title and the first word of the subtitle. Names of people, places, organizations, and other proper nouns also have the first letter capitalized. For books and reports, italicize the title in the APA citation.

Examples:

Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Roots: The saga of an American family.

For articles and chapters in APA referencing, do not italicize the title.

Examples:

Wake up the nation: Public libraries, policy making, and political discourse.

For newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, and other periodicals, capitalize the first letter in each word and italicize the title.

Example:

The Seattle Times.

A common question is whether to underline your title or place it in italics or quotation marks in the reference list. Here’s a good general rule: When a source sits alone and is not part of a larger whole, place the title in italics. If the source does not sit alone and is part of a larger whole, do not place it in italics.

Books, movies, journals, and television shows are placed in italics since they stand alone. Songs on an album, episodes of television shows, chapters in books, and articles in journals are not placed in italics since they are smaller pieces of larger wholes.

The Citation Machine citation generator will format the title in your citations automatically.

Additional information about the title

If you feel it would be helpful to include additional information about the source type, include a descriptive noun or two in brackets immediately following the title. Capitalize the first letter.

Example:

Kennedy, K., & Molen, G. R. (Producers), & Spielberg, S. (Director). (1993). Jurassic Park [Motion picture]. USA: Universal.

Besides [Motion picture], other common notations include:

  • [Audio podcast]
  • [Brochure]
  • [Letter to the editor]
  • [Television series episode]
  • [Tweet]
  • [Facebook page]
  • [Blog post]
  • [Lecture notes]
  • [PowerPoint presentation]
  • [Video file]

If you are using Citation Machine citing tools, additional information about the title is automatically added for you.

Information about the publication

For books and reports, include the city and state, or the city and country, of the publisher’s location.

  • Use the proper two-letter state abbreviation from the United States Postal Service.
  • Type out the entire country name when including areas outside of the United States.

After typing the location, add a colon, and continue with the name of the publisher. It is not necessary to include the entire name of the publisher. It is acceptable to use a brief, intelligible form. However, if Books or Press are part of the publisher’s names, keep these words in the reference. Other common terms, such as Inc., Co., Publishers, and others can be omitted.

For newspapers, journals, magazines, and other periodicals, include the volume and issue number after the title. The volume number is listed first, by itself, in italics. The issue number is in parentheses immediately after it, not italicized.

Example:

Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Hictour, V., & Georgas, T. (2016). A study on the role of computers in adult education. Educational Research and Reviews, 11(9), 907-923. http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/ERR2016.2688

If the publisher is a college or university, and the location name matches part of the school’s information, exclude the publisher information from the APA format citation.

After including the location and publisher information, end this section with a period.

Examples:

London, England: Pearson.

New York, NY: Perseus Books.

Electronic source information:

For online sources, the URL or DOI (Direct Object Identifier) are included at the end of an APA citation.

DOI numbers are often created by publishers for journal articles and other periodical sources. They were created in response to the problem of broken or outdated links and URLs. When a journal article is assigned a DOI number, it is static and will never change. Because of its permanent characteristic, DOIs are the preferred type of electronic information to include in APA citations. When a DOI number is not available, include the source’s URL.

For DOIs, include the number in this format:

http://dx.doi.org/xxxx

For URLs, type them in this format:

Retrieved from http://

Other information about electronic sources:

  • If the URL is longer than a line, break it up before a punctuation mark.
  • Do not place a period at the end of the citation.
  • It is unnecessary to include retrieval dates, unless the source changes often over time (like in a Wikipedia article).
  • It is not necessary to include the names of databases

If using the Citation Machine APA citation website autocite features, the online publication information will be automatically replaced by the DOI. The Citation Machine APA template will properly cite your online sources for you.

Sample - Reference Page APA:

Make sure you run your completed paper through the Citation Machine Plus smart proofreader, which scans for grammar, spelling, and plagiarism. Whether it’s an adjective, verb, or pronoun out-of-place, our technology helps edits your paper for you!

Citation Examples for Sources

Books:

Print books with one author:

APA citation format:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

Example:

Dickens, C. (1942). Great expectations. New York, NY: Dodd, Mead.

Print books with two or more authors:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial., Last name, First initial. Middle initial., & Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date). Title. Location: Publisher.

Examples:

Goldin, C. D., & Katz, L. F. (2008). The race between education and technology. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Matthews, G., Smith, Y., & Knowles, G. (2009). Disaster management in archives, libraries and museums. Farnham, England: Ashgate.

Chapters in edited books:

When citing a chapter in an edited book, use the following format:

Structure for chapters in edited books in print:

Last name of chapter author, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Chapter title. In First initial. Middle initial. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Book Title (pp. xx-xx). Publishing City, State: Publisher.

Example:

De Abreu, B.S. (2001). The role of media literacy education within social networking and the library. In D. E. Agosto & J. Abbas (Eds.), Teens, libraries, and social networking (pp. 39-48). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Structure for chapters in edited books, found online:

Last name of chapter author, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Chapter title. In First initial. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Book title [E-reader version, if used] (pp. xx-xx). doi:10.xxxx/xxxxxx or Retrieved from http://xxxx

Example:

Lobo, R. F. (2003). Introduction to the structural chemistry of zeolites. In S. Auerbach, K. Carrado, & P. Dutta (Eds.), Handbook of zeolite science and technology (pp. 65-89). Retrieved from https://books.google.com

If you’re still unsure about how to cite a chapter in a book, use Citation Machine’s free citation generator to help you. Your citations will automatically format properly for you.

E-books found on a website:

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work [E-reader version]. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx or Retrieved from http://xxxx

Example:

Auster, P. (2007). The Brooklyn follies [Nook version]. Retrieved from http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

E-Books found on a database:

Reminder:

  • In APA, Only the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns in the title should be capitalized.
  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is basically a number that links a source to its location on the Internet. This number isn’t always provided, but if it is, it’s very important to include it in your citation.

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx or Retrieved from http://xxxx

Example:

Baloh, P., & Burke, M. E. (2007). Attaining organizational innovations. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-72804-9_30

To cite your ebooks automatically, use the “Book” form at CitationMachine.com, click “Manual entry mode,” and click the “E-book” tab. Everything will be properly formatted following APA bibliography guidelines.

Journal articles in print:

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume(Issue), page range.

Example:

Gleditsch, N. P., Pinker, S., Thayer, B. A., Levy, J. S., & Thompson, W. R. (2013). The forum: The decline of war. International Studies Review, 15(3), 396-419.

Journal articles online:

  • If your source is found online, but there is no DOI provided, you can include the URL instead.
  • A DOI (digital object identifier) is basically a number that links a source to its location on the Internet. This number isn’t always provided, but if it is, you should include it in your citation rather than including a URL.
  • Unlike previous editions, APA 6th edition does not require including a retrieval date or date accessed for online sources. A retrieval date is only necessary if the source is likely to change (ex. Wikipedia).

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume(Issue), page range. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx

Example:

Sahin, N. T., Pinker, S., Cash, S. S., Schomer, D., & Halgren, E. (2009). Sequential processing of lexical, grammatical, and phonological information within Broca’s area. Science, 326(5951), 445-449. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sicence.1174481

If you need additional help, the Citation Machine APA reference generator will cite your sources automatically for you.

Newspaper articles in print:

Structure:

Author's Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Day Published). Title of article. Title of Newspaper, page range.

Example:

Frost, L. (2006, September 14). First passengers ride monster jet. The Salt Lake Tribune, p. A2.

Page numbers: If the article is only one page long, use ‘p.’ For any articles longer than one page, use ‘pp.’

  • If an article appears on non-sequential pages, separate each page number with a comma.
  • Example: pp. D4, D5, D7-D8

Newspaper articles found online:

Structure:

Author Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of article. Title of Newspaper. Retrieved from newspaper homepage URL

Example:

Whiteside, K. (2004, August 31). College athletes want cut of action. USA Today. Retrieved http://www.usatoday.com

Magazine articles in print:

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Published). Title of article. Title of Magazine, Volume(Issue), page range.

Example:

Quammen, D. (2008, December). The man who wasn’t Darwin. National Geographic Magazine, 214(6), 106.

Magazine articles found online:

  • Magazine references include the full date, rather than just the year.
  • If the issue begins on page 1, do not include the issue number in parentheses. Only include the volume number.

Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Published). Title of article. Title of Magazine, Volume(Issue). Retrieved from URL

Example:

Pelz, W. (2018, Winter). A basket of dreams for different times. Fleurieu Living Magazine. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/fleurieu-living/docs/flmwinter2018/a/126958

Websites:

If you’re wondering how to cite a website in APA, use the structure below.

APA citation for website - Structure:

Author Last Name, First initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of webpage. Retrieved from URL

Example of an APA format website:

Austerlitz, S. (2015, March 3). How long can a spinoff like ‘Better Call Saul’ last? Retrieved from http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-long-can-a-spinoff-like-better-call-saul-last/

Keep in mind that not all information found on a website follows the structure above. If you’re looking at a video on YouTube, refer to the ‘YouTube Video’ section. If you’re citing a newspaper article found online, refer to ‘Newspapers Found Online’ section. An APA website citation is strictly for web pages that do not fit better with one of the other categories on this page.

Blogs:

APA format:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month, Date of blog post). Title of blog post [Blog post]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

McClintock Miller, S. (2014, January 28). EasyBib joins the Rainbow Loom project as we dive into research with the third graders [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com

On the Citation Machine.com form for blogs, you have the option to choose from standard, audio, and video blogs. The Citation Machine.com APA generator will automatically cite blogs for you.

Images found online:

APA citation format:

Creator’s Last name. F. M. (Year published). Title of image [Format]. Retrieved from URL

In the brackets, describe the type of image to help the reader better understand the source. Was it a [Painting], [Photograph], [Sculpture], or [Drawing]? Believe it or not, even a [Meme] can be used in research projects!

Example:

Chang, H. (2019). Young dancers perform the Blossoming Flowers Chinese Folk Dance during the 2019 Colorado Chinese New Year celebration at Citypoint Church in Denver [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.denverpost.com/2019/02/05/chinese-new-year-celebration-photos/

TV and radio broadcasts:

Structure:

Writer Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Writer), & Director Last Name, First initial. (Director). (Year aired). Title of episode [Television or Radio series episode]. In First initial. Producer’s Last name (Executive producer), TV or Radio series name. City, State of original channel: Channel.

Example:

Lin, K. (Writer), & Coles, J. D. (Director). (2014). Chapter 18 [Television series episode]. In Bays, C. (Executive producer), House of cards. Washington, D.C.: Netflix.

If using the Citation Machine citation generator, television and radio broadcasts use the same form.

Films:

Structure:

Producer Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Producer), & Director Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Director). (Year Released). Title of film [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio.

Example:

Kurtz, G. (Producer), & Kershner, I. (Director). (1980). The emperor strikes back [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox.

There is the option to automatically cite films found online, in film, and on a database when using the Citation Machine APA citation builder.

Interviews

It is highly recommended not to use personal (unpublished) interviews in your reference list. Instead, this type of source should be formatted as an in-text citation.

In-text citation APA example:

Structure: (Interviewee First initial., Last Name, personal communication, Date Interviewed)

Example: (D. Halsey, personal communication, December 12, 2011)

Published Interviews should be cited accordingly if they appear as journal articles, newspaper articles, television programs, radio programs, or films.

If your instructor requires an APA style citation in the reference list, use the following structure:

Structure:

Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. of Individual being interviewed (Year, Month Day Interviewed). Interview by F. I. Last name [Format of interview].

Example:

Halsey, D. (2011, December 12). Interview by S. L. Ferguson [In-person].

If you are planning on using Citation Machine, a note is displayed above the form stating that personal interviews are not typically cited in text.

Songs & musical recordings found online

*Note: If the name of the songwriter is the same as the name of the recording artist, leave out the bracketed information located after the name of the song.

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. of Songwriter. (Year created). Song title [Recorded by First initial. Middle initial. Last name of the performer’s name or the name of the band]. On Album Title [Medium]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Hedfors, A., Ingrosso, S., & Angello, S. (2012). Greyhound [Recorded by Swedish House Mafia]. On Until Now [Audio file]. Retrieved from https://open.spotify.com/track/0VffaI2jwQknRrxpECYHsF

If using the APA Citation Machine, choose the form titled, “Music/Audio,” to automatically cite your songs and musical recordings. Our APA citation maker is free and easy to use.

Doctoral dissertations & Master’s theses found on a database:

APA format:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Title of dissertation or thesis (Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Name of database. (Accession or Order No. xxxxxxx).

Example:

English, L. S. (2014). The influences of community college library characteristics on institutional graduation rates: A national study (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from American Doctoral Dissertations. (37CDD15DF659E63F).

If you found the dissertation or thesis on a website, instead of a database, include the URL at the end of the reference. Do not include the name of the website and the accession or order number.

Example:

Oba, M. (2015). Adsorption selectivity of cations in constrained environments (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from https://opencommons.uconn.edu/gs_theses/781/

The Citation Machine form for dissertations and theses that will automatically cite this source type for you.

Audio podcasts:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Producer). (Year, Month Day). Title of podcast [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Goodwin, G. (Producer). (2016, February 11). History extra [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.historyextra.com/podcasts

If using the Citation Machine APA format generator, choose the “Blog/Podcast,” form to cite your podcasts automatically.

YouTube videos:

Structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. [YouTube username]. (Year, Month Day of posting). Title of YouTube video [Video file]. Retrieved from URL

APA format example:

Damien, M. [Marcelo Damien]. (2014, April 10). Tiesto @ Ultra Buenos Aires 2014 (full set) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/mr4TDnR0ScM

If using the Citation Machine APA citation machine, choose the form titled, “Film” to automatically cite your YouTube videos.

Looking for a source type that is not on this guide? Here is another useful link to follow.

Social media:

Facebook posts:

Structure:

Facebook user’s Last name, F. M. (Year, Monday Day of Post). Full text of Facebook post [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Gomez, S. (2018, May 18). I am at a complete loss for words watching yet another school shooting. This time in my home state of Texas. Congress continues to do absolutely nothing and it’s infuriating. My thoughts are with the families of Santa Fe who were supposed to be looking forward to summer break with their loved ones. Please reach out to Everytown for Gun Safety to see what you can do to help be a part of this movement that needs to get even louder [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Selena/

Twitter posts:

Structure:

Account holder’s Last name, F. M. [Twitter Handle]. (Year, Month Day of Post). Full text of tweet [Tweet]. Retrieved from URL

If the account holder’s real name is unknown, only include the Twitter handle at the beginning of the reference, without any brackets.

Example:

Edelman, J. [Edelman11]. (2018, April 26). Nine years ago today my life changed forever. New England took a chance on a long shot and I’ve worked relentlessly ever since to prove that it was the right decision. Good luck to all the 2018 prospects. #Tbt #NFLDraft [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Edelman11/status/989652345922473985

Instagram posts:

APA citation format:

Account holder’s Last name, F. M. [@Instagram handle]. (Year, Month Day). Caption [Instagram photo]. Retrieved from URL

Example:

Portman, N. [@natalieportman]. (2019, January 5). Many of my best experiences last year were getting to listen to and learn from so many incredible people through Time’s Up. But we’ve only just begun. Here’s to continued meaningful change in 2019. @timesupnow #timesup [Instagram photo]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BsRD-FBB8HI/?utmsource=igwebcopylink

If this guide hasn’t helped solve all of your referencing questions, or if you’re still feeling the need to type “how to cite a website APA” into Google, then check out our APA citation generator on CitationMachine.com, which can build your references for you!

Annotated bibliographies:

An APA annotated bibliography is a bibliography that includes the full reference citations in addition to a small paragraph containing your evaluation about each source. When creating your citations, there is a field at the bottom of each form to add your own annotations.

These types of projects look different depending on the style you’re using. Use the link at the top of the page to access resources related to the Modern Language Association’s style. Here’s information related to Chicago citation style.

Page formatting

Need help with the design and formatting of your paper? Look no further! This section provides the ins and outs of properly displaying the information in your APA essay.

  • Font = The preference is Times New Roman, 12-point size. Your professor may allow you to choose a different font that is easy to read, such as Arial.
  • Indents = Every paragraph should start with an indent.
  • Margins = 1 inch around the entire document
  • Spacing = Double space everything!

Arrange your pages in this order:

  • Page 1 - APA Title Page (see below for information on the title page)
  • Page 2 - Abstract (If your professor requests one)
  • Page 3 - First page of text
  • References begin on their own page. Include the list of references on the page after the text.
  • Tables
  • Figures

Keep in mind that the order above is the recommendation for papers being submitted for peer review. If you’re writing a paper for a class, your professor may be more lenient about the requirements. Also, if you’re submitting your paper for a specific journal, check the requirements on the journal’s website. Each journal has different rules and procedures.

Just a little nudge to remind you about the Citation Machine Plus smart proofreader. Whether it’s a conjunction or interjection out of place, a misspelled word, or an out of place citation, we’ll offer suggestions for improvement! Don’t forget to check out our APA citation maker while you’re at it!

Running heads

The running head displays the title of the paper and the page number. This header is found on every page of the paper or essay, even on the title page (sometimes called an APA cover page) and reference list.

The first page of the APA style paper, the title page, has a different running head than the other pages. On the APA title page only, the running head begins with ‘Running head:’ It’s followed by the full title, all in capital letters. Across from the running head, along the right margin, is the page number.

  • Use the header feature in your word processor. Both Google Docs and Word have these features available.
  • Use Times New Roman font
  • Keep the font at 12-pt. size

Here’s an example:

Only show the term, Running head, on the very first page. For all other pages in the project, only include the title in capital letters.

Title Pages:

A title page, sometimes called an APA cover page, graces the cover of an essay or paper. An APA title page should include the following things:

  1. The running head
  2. The page number, which is page 1
  3. The title of your project
    • The title should be under 12 words in length
    • The title should be a direct explanation of the focus of the paper. Do not include any unnecessary descriptors such as “An Analysis of…” or “A Study of…”
  4. Names of the authors
    • Exclude any labels such as Mr., Ms., Dr, PhD...
  5. The name of the school or institution

Follow the directions for the running head and page number in the section above. Below the running head, a few lines beneath, and centered in the middle of the page, should be the title. The next line below is the author’s name(s), followed by the name of the school or institution.

Your teacher may request other information, such as the class name and course number, or your contact information.

All components on this page should be written in Times New Roman, 12-pt. font. In addition, the title should be written without any underlines, bold font, or italics. Also, capitalize the first letter in most words. Double space the title, names, and name of school or institution.

Example - Title Page APA:

If you’re submitting your paper to a journal for publication, check the journal’s website for exact requirements. Each journal is different and some may request a different type of APA format cover page.

Looking to create an APA format title page? Head to CitationMachine.com’s homepage and choose “Title Page” at the top of the screen.

Tables

If your paper includes a lot of numerical information or data, you may want to consider placing it into a table, rather than typing it all out. A simple, organized table filled with numerical data is often easier for readers to digest and comprehend than tons of paragraphs filled with numbers.

If you’d like to include a table in your paper, here are a few key pieces of information to keep in mind:

  • Each table sits on its own page, in the back of the paper after the APA reference page.
  • The table first mentioned in the text should be titled ‘Table 1.’ The next table mentioned in the text is ‘Table 2,’ and so on.

  • Even though each table is numbered, also create a title for each that describes the information it contains. Capitalize all important words in the title.
  • Do not use any vertical lines, only horizontal to break up information and headings.
  • Single spacing is acceptable to use in tables. If you prefer double spacing your information, that is okay too.
  • Do not include extra information or “fluff.” Keep it simple!
  • Do not include the same exact information in the paper. Only include the complete information in one area—the table or the text.
  • All tables must be referenced in the text. It is unacceptable to throw a table into the back of the paper without first providing a brief summary or explanation of its relevance.

If you’re still typing into Google “how to cite a website APA” among other related questions and keywords, click here for further reading on the style.

When you’re through with your writing, toss your entire paper into the Citation Machine Plus plagiarism checker, which will scan your paper for grammar edits and give you up to 20 suggestions cards for free! Worry less about a determiner, preposition, or adverb out of place and focus on your research!


Find out more about the apa format