How to cite sources in APA format?
Published byat February 6th, 2022 , Revised On February 22, 2022
APA is one of the most adopted referencing styles that are used among social science and humanities researchers. This article presents the most important and common citation guidelines from the APA 7th Edition Publication Manual (2020).
APA In-text Citations
The Basic Rules of Citation
In-text citation is a concise form of the reference that you used in your work. It provides sufficient background to clearly identify the source in the reference list. In APA, the in-text citation includes, author’s last name along with the publication year, for example, (Johns, 2020). This is also known as Author date-system.
Now, if you want to cite any particular part of the source, the citation should also include a page number or date/time, for example, (Johns, 2020, p. 199).
Parenthetical Vs. Narrative Citation
It is important to know the difference between these two forms of citations.
In parenthetical citation the author’s name and the date of publication should be written within parentheses, for example, (Johns, 2020).
Whereas, in Narrative citation, the author’s name should be a part of sentence rather than written in parentheses, for example, Johns (2016) wrote that every person is fighting a battle within himself.
Multiple Authors and Corporate Authors
There is a slight difference in the citation format when citing a source with multiple authors/organisations.
|Type of Author||Parenthetical Citation||Narrative Citation|
|One Author||(Johns, 2020)||Johns (2020)|
|Two Authors||(Johns & Robert, 2020)||Johns and Robert (2020)|
|Three or More Authors||(Johns et al., 2020)||Johns et al. (2020)|
|Organisation||(Solutions, 2020)||Solutions (2020)|
The below steps will guide you how to cite a source with missing date of publication or locator,
|Missing Info||What needs to do||Parenthetical Citation|
|Author||Add the source title.||(Source title, 2020)|
|Date||Use “n.d.” for “missing date”||(Johns, n.d.)|
|Page Number||Use an alternative locator or
skip the page number.
|(Johns, 2020, Chapter 13) or
APA references usually consist of basic information about the author, the date of publication, the title of the paper, and the source. Sometimes, depending on the type of source used, you may need to provide some additional information.
Some of the Referencing Examples are:
Reference Entry: Johns, R. (2020). The citation manual for students. A quick guide. Wiley
In text Citation
Parenthetical: (Johns, 2020)
Narrative: Johns (2020)
Reference Entry: Ruxton, C. (2016). Tea: Hydration and other health benefits. Primary Health Care, 26(8), 34-42. https://doi.org/10.7748/phc.2016.e1162
Parenthetical: (Ruxton, 2008)
Narrative: Ruxton (2008)
Reference Entry: Johnson, A. (2018, May 24). “It doesn’t need to be this way”: The promise of specialized early intervention in psychosis services. IEPA. https://iepa.org.au/network-news/it-doesnt-need-to-be-this-way-the-promise-of-specialised-early-intervention-in-psychosis-services/
Parenthetical: (Johnson, 2018)
Narrative: Johnson (2018)
When some incomplete sources are found, use the below steps to adjust the references;
|Missing Info||What to do||Reference format|
|Author||Use the exact source title.||Title. (Date). Source.|
|Date||Use “n.d.” for “Missing date”.||Author. (n.d.). Title. Source.|
|Title||Enclose in square brackets.||Author. (Date). [Description]. Source.|
APA Reference Page Formatting
The reference page consists of all the sources that you have used in your paper. The reference pages fall right under the main body of the paper just before the appendix. Put a bold and centered heading “References” at the first line of the page. Then start putting all references in alphabetical order. The references page should follow the below guidelines;
- Double spacing between references.
- Hanging indent of ½ inch.
- Font: Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11.
- Put page number at the right header.
If there is no author name, but the source clearly links to a specific website, report, or organization, then use the name of the website or organization as the author to cite the work published by them.
The “et al.” means “and others”. It is used to cite a source with three or more authors. This in-text citation format includes (First author’s last name, et.al., 2018)