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Citing Your Sources: APA

The Williams Honor System requires you to properly acknowledge sources you have used in course assignments. This guide provides basic information on how to cite sources and examples for formatting citations in common citation styles.


Old APA Guide

A new and improved APA style page is coming soon.
In the meantime, the content from the old guide is below.

APA Citation Style Guide, 6th ed.

Developed by the American Psychological Association, this style is widely used in the sciences and social sciences.

This guide provides examples of the most commonly cited types of sources used by Williams College students. For additional examples and explanations, consult the print manual at Sawyer or Schow Reference (call number: BF76.7 P83 2010). See also APA Style Blog.

Each citation consists of two parts: the in text citation, which provides brief identifying information within the text, and the reference list (list     of sources used) which provides full bibliographic information.

How to Format: In Text Citations | Reference Lists

How to Format In Text Citations

(For more detailed information see Publication Manual Chapter 6, pp 174-179)

APA Style gives prominence to the date of a publication. In-text citations use the author's last name and the date, separated by a comma, as a brief reference in the text of the article to refer the reader to complete information in the reference list.

(Austin, 1998)

If the author's name is mentioned in the narrative, then only the date need be given:

Austin (1998) compared institutional support

Two authors. Always use both names every time they are referred to in the text. Use the ampersand (&) to connect the names in the parentheses, but spell out "and" in the running text.

(Parker & Mokhesi-Parker, 1998)

Parker and Mokhesi-Parker (1998) in examining institutional design and function …

Three to five authors. Cite all the authors in text the first time a reference occurs; in subsequent citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al.

First reference:

(Parker, Mokhesi-Parker, AuthorC, AuthorD & AuthorE, 1998)

Subsequent references:

(Parker et al.)

Six or more authors. Cite in text only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year for the first and subsequent citations.

(Parker et al., 1998)

Group or corporate authors. Use the name of the body in the citation:

(World Bank, 1998)

Unknown author. Use the first few words of the title as the reference in the text (capitalize all words in title):

("Structuring Lawmaking", 2002)

Author is listed as "Anonymous". Use it as if it were the author's name.

(Anonymous, 2003)

When paraphrasing, APA style does not require page numbers in the in-text citation. However, authors are encouraged to include page numbers if it will help the reader locate the relevant information in longer texts. Consult with your professor regarding the need for page numbers for paraphrased information.

If the reference is to an exact quotation, the author, year and page number must be included. The page number can be given in parentheses at the end of the exact quotation or incorporated into the in-text citation.

Newman (1994) concluded "sibling conflict is so common that its occurence is taken for granted" (p. 123).

Such findings have prompted one researcher to conclude, “Sibling conflict is so common that its occurrence is taken for granted” (Newman, 1994, p. 123).

For exact quotations from sources without page numbers, use paragraph numbers, if available. If the paragraphs are not numbered, but there are headings, use the heading name and count the number of paragraphs after the heading to the paragraph containing the quotation. (Publication Manual, Chapter 6.05, p. 171)

(Smith, 2003, para. 1)

(Greene, 2003, Discussion, para. 4)

For citations taken from secondary sources, include the secondary source in the reference list and mention the original work in the text.

Text citation:

Goldman and Goldman's study (as cited in Linebarger, 2001) found ....

Reference List:

Linebarger, D. L. (2001). Learning to read from television: The effects of using captions and narration. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(2), 288-298.

How to Format Reference Lists

Books | Articles | Media | Web/Online | Government Information | Unpublished

(Publication Manual, Chapter 7.02)

Single author

Austin, J. H. (1998). Zen and the brain: Toward an understanding of meditation and consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Multiple authors

Calarco, M., & Atterton, P. (2009). Animal philosophy: Essential readings in continental thought. New York, NY: Continuum.

Edited Book

Ickes, W. (Ed.). (1998). Empathic accuracy. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Group or corporate author

World Bank. (2004). Gender and development in the Middle East and North Africa: Women in the public sphere. Washington, DC: Author.

Chapter or essay in book

Herrmann, R. K. (2002). Linking theory to evidence in international relations. In W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse, & B. A. Simmons (Eds.), Handbook of international relations (pp. 119-136). London, England: Sage.

Article from a reference book

Chen, J. Q. (2003). Intelligence: Multiple intelligences. In J. Guthrie (Ed.), Encyclopedia of education (pp. 1198-1201). New York, NY: Macmillan.

If there are no page numbers, the entry title is sufficient. For an entry in a reference work with no author, place the entry title in the author position. (Publication Manual, Chapter 7.02)

(Publication Manual, Chapter 7.01)

A new element to journal article citations with the 6th edition of the Publication Manual is the addition of the DOI (digital object identifier), which provides a persistent way of accessing digital information. See DOI System for a detailed explanation and to resolve a DOI name. If the DOI is not provided in the online database, online journal, or article, try CrossRef's free DOI look-up. Note: not all articles have DOIs. Do not include a period at the end of the citation as it may be interpreted as part of the DOI.

Article in a journal (one author)

Oware, M. (2009). A "Man's Woman"? Contradictory messages in the songs of female rappers, 1992-2000. Journal of Black Studies, 39(5), 786-802. doi:10.1177/0021934707302454

Article in a journal (up to seven authors)

Ko, C. H., Yen, J. Y., Liua, S. C., Huanga, C. F., & Yen, C. F. (2009). The associations between aggressive behaviors and internet addiction and online activities in adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 6, 598-605. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.11.011

Article in a journal (more than seven authors)

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M., Jeitner, C., Burke, S., Stamm, T., Snigaroff, R., ... Weston, J. (2007). Mercury levels and potential risk from subsistence foods from the Aleutians. Science of The Total Environment, 384, 93-105. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.05.004

When authors number eight or more, include the first six names, then three ellipses, and then the last author's name. (Publication Manual, Chapter 7.01.2)

Article in a journal (advanced publication)

Levskaya, A., Weiner, O. D., Lim, W. A., & Voigt, C. A. (2009). Spatiotemporal control of cell signalling using a light-switchable protein interaction. Nature. Advance online publication. doi:10.1038/nature08446

Online-only supplemental material for articles

Chandler, D. (2009). Liquids: Condensed, disordered, and sometimes complex. [Supplemental material]. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America, 106, 15111–15112. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908029106

If no author is given, move the title and bracketed description to the author position. (Publication Manual, Chapter 7.01.15)

Article in a popular magazine

Henry, W. A., III (1990, April 9). Beyond the melting pot. Time, 135(4), 28-31.


Article in a newspaper

Young, J. (2003, February 14). Prozac campus: More students seek counseling and take psychiatric medication. The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A37-38.

If the article was found through the newspaper's website, include "Retrieved from" and the URL of the home page. (Publication Manual, 7.01.11)

(Publication Manual, Chapter 7.07)

Music Score

No example given in APA Publication Manual for music score.

Sound Recording

Desmond, P. (1959). Take five [recorded by Dave Brubeck Quartet]. On Time out [CD] New York, N.Y.: Columbia. (1987)

Use the original copyright date after the author/composer's name. If the date of the recording is different from the copyright date, place it after the name of the recording label, as above. (Publication Manual, 7.07)

Video Recording
LaVoo, G., & Brown, E. T. (Producers), & Cardozo, P. (Director). (2003). Real womem have curves [DVD]. United States: HBO Video.



Daniels, G. (Writer) & Kwapis, K. (Director). (2006). Gay witch hunt [Television series episode]. In G. Daniels (Executive producer), The office. Los Angeles, CA: National Broadcasting Company.

(Publication Manual, Chapter 7, pp 198-215)

Note: Different web browsers break the text in different places of a URL. In a printed work, if the URL needs to be broken at the end of a line, the break should be made after a colon or a double slash; before a single slash, a tilde, a period, a comma, a hyphen, an underline, a question mark, a number sign, or a percent symbol; or before or after an equals sign or an ampersand. (CMS 14.2)

Web page

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). 2009 H1N1 Flu ("Swine Flu") and You. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm

Blog Post

McAdoo, T. (2009, September 10). Use of First Person in APA Style [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://blog.apastyle.org/.

In blog posts, authors may adopt a screen name. Use that screen name as the author if that is the name under which that person posts messages.

Online Video
BirdTricks. (2008, April 27). Tips for training a parrot to talk [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89dZNPPYOdk


A screen name is used for the author name in this example.

Data Sets

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. (2007). Eurobarometer 68.1: The European parliament and media usage, September-November 2007 [Data file and code book]. Retrieved from http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/access/index.jsp

Government Information
(Publication Manual, Chapter 7.03, p. 205 and Appendix 7.1 References to Legal Materials)

See Citing Government Documents
[automated fill-in form from Arizona State University Library]

(Publication Manual Chapter 7.09)


In APA Style, personal communications are not considered verifiable or recoverable; they should be cited in the text only and not included in the reference list. (Publication Manual, chapter 6.20)

in text example: (H.C. Payne, personal communication, May 22, 1998)

Need More Info?

What Needs to be Cited?

  • Exact wording taken from any source, including freely available websites
  • Paraphrases of passages
  • Indebtedness to another person for an idea
  • Use of another student's work
  • Use of your own previous work

You do not need to cite common knowledge.