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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.

APA

About APA Style

Developed by the American Psychological Association, this style is most widely used for research papers in psychology and social sciences.

Citing a source in this style consists of two parts:

  1. An in-text citation
  2. A reference list entry

See How to Format In-Text CitationsHow to Format the Reference List, and the Examples in the left navigation for details.

How to Format In-Text Citations

For more detailed information see Publication Manual sections 6.11-6.21.

An in-text citation provides your reader with two pieces of information:

  1. The last name(s) of the author(s) from the corresponding reference list entry
  2. The date of the cited information

Standard Formatting of the In-Text Citation

  • Insert the author's last name and the year of publication in the sentence or in parentheses.

    Myrick (2015) examined the guilty pleasures of watching Internet cats.

    Viewing online cats could help to regulate emotions, much like pet therapy in real life (Myrick, 2015).

  • Multiple Authors: join names with & in the parenthetical reference and reference list. Use "and" in sentences.
    • 2 authors: cite both names every time.
    • 3-5 authors: cite all authors the first time and then use the first author's last name and et al. for subsequent references. However, if shortening the authors leads to multiple references with the same author-date form, use as many subsequent names as needed, followed by a comma and et. al, to make it unique.
    • 6 or more authors: use only the first author's last name and et al. for all citations. If shortening the authors leads to multiple references with the same author-date form, use as many subsequent names as needed, followed by a comma and et. al, to make it unique.

    (Hinsch & Sheldon, 2013)... Hinsch and Sheldon (2016) found....

    (Nabi, Finnerty, Domschke, & Hull, 2006) ..... Nabi et al. (2006) demonstrated ....

  • For primary authors with the same last name, include their initials in all text citations, even if the publications are from different years.

    (J. Moher, 2012 )

    (M. Moher & Feigenson, 2013)

  • No Author
    • Check to see if an organization or group authored the content. Use their name in place of a personal author. Use the full name each time if using an abbreviation would not be readily understood by your reader.

      Children with bipolar disorder are treated in similar ways as adults (National Institute of Mental Health, 2015).

    • If there is no organization, use the first few words of the title of the corresponding reference list entry. Put double quotation marks around titles of articles, chapters, and web pages; use italics for book titles, brochures, and reports.

      Polls show that black workers approve of labors unions more than white workers ("Black Workers Matter," 2016).

  • No Date: use n.d. in place of the date.

When to Include Page Numbers

For more detailed information see Publication Manual sections 6.03-6.10.

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.

For direct quotations, 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 occurrence 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 direct quotations from sources without page numbers, use paragraph numbers, if visibly numbered in the document. Otherwise, use the heading name and count the number of paragraphs after the heading to the paragraph containing the quotation.

(Smith, 2016, para. 1)

(Lee 2015, Discussion section, para. 4)

How to Format the Reference List

The reference list provides the full details on the sources you used in the research for your paper.

Each entry should include the following reference components:

  • Author
  • Publication Date
  • Title
  • Publication information

See the examples in the left navigation for the required elements for each type of source. Continue reading below for details on formatting each reference component and ordering the reference list.


Formatting of Reference Components

For more information see: Publication Manual, 6.27, 184.

  • Invert the names of all authors (the last name followed by initials).
  • Keep author names in the order they appear on the document.
  • Put commas between the names.
  • Precede the last author with an ampersand (&).

    Dillard, J. P., & Shen, L.
    Guastello, D., Braun, S., Gutierrez, J., Johnston, K., & Olbinski, B.

  • For groups or institutions as authors, use their full name. Follow the name with a period.

    National Institute of Mental Health.

  • For works with no author, move the title to the author position. Follow the title with a period.

    Black workers matter.

For more information see: Publication Manual, 6.28, 185.

  • Put the year the work was published or produced in parentheses.
    • For magazines, newspapers, and newsletters, give the year and exact date (month, month and day, or season) of publication, separated by a comma.

      (2016, January).
      (2016, March 7).
      (2016, Summer).

    • If the source has no date, put n.d. (meaning no date) in the parentheses.

      (n.d.).

  • End the component with a period.

For more information see: Publication Manual, 6.29, 185-186.

  • Article or chapter title:
    • Capitalize the first word of the title, subtitle, and any proper nouns.
    • Do not enclose in quotation marks or italicize.
    • Finish the component with a period.

      Factors influencing infants’ ability to update object representations in memory.

  • Journal, magazine, or newsletter title:
    • Give the full periodical title (do not use abbreviations).
    • Capitalize major words in the title.
    • Italicize the title.
    • End the component with a comma, unless there is no volume, in which case a period is used.

      Computers in Human Behavior,

  • Books and reports
    • Capitalize the first word of title, subtitle, and any proper nouns.
    • Italicize the title.
    • End the component with a period.

      The media equation: How people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places.

For more information see: Publication Manual, 6.30, 186-187.

  • Journals, magazines, and newsletters
    • Put the volume number after the title.
    • Italicize the volume number.
    • If the journal re-starts its page numbering with each issue, include the issue number in parentheses directly after the volume number with no space in between; do not italicize it.
    • Put the inclusive pages of the article.
    • End with a period.

      Computers in Human Behavior, 52, 168–176.
      Parenting for High Potential, 5(3), 2-4.

  • Books and reports
    • Give publisher's location using the city and state or city and country, if outside the U.S.
      • Use U.S. postal abbreviations for states and territories.
      • For university presses, do not include the state as part of the location if it is in the university's name.
      • If more than one location is listed, use the first or the publisher's home office, if indicated.
    • Put a colon after the location.
    • Give the publisher's name.
      • Omit superfluous terms such as "Publishers," "Inc.," and "Co." that don't help to identify the publisher. Retain the words "Books" and "Press."
      • Spell out the names of associations, companies, and university presses.
      • If the author is the same as the publisher, put "Author" as the publisher.
      • End the component with a period.

        New York, NY: Guilford Press.
        Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
        Washington, DC: Author.


Formatting and Ordering the Reference List

For more information see: Publication Manual, 2.11, 37 and 6.25, 181-183.

  • Start a new page for the reference list.
  • Center the word References on the page.
  • Double space the entries.
  • Use the hanging indent feature of your word processor to indent the second and subsequent lines of the entries.
  • Arrange in alphabetical order by last name of the first author
    • Alphabetize letter by letter, but keep in mind that "nothing precedes something."

      Brown, L. (2016).
      Brownfield, G. (2015).
      Browning, R. (2013).

  • single-author: arrange chronologically (earliest one first)

    Brown, L. (2013).
    Brown, L. (2016).

  • same first author, but different co-authors: come after the single-author entries for the first author and then alphabetically by the last name of the second author (or third or fourth author, if the order of co-authors match exactly).

    Oliver, M. B. (2003).
    Oliver, M. B., Ash, E., & Woolley, J. K. (2013).
    Oliver, M. B., Ash, E, Woolley, J. K., Shade, D. D., & Kim, K. (2014).

  • same authors in the same order: arrange chronologically.

    Feigenson, L., & Carey, S. (2003).
    Feigenson, L., & Carey, S. (2005).

  • same author(s) and same date: arrange alphabetically by title and add lowercase letters a, b, c, immediately after the date in the parentheses.

    Bartsch, A. (2012a). As time ....
    Bartsch, A. (2012b) Emotional gratification...

Alphabetize by first initial.

Moher, J. (2012).
Moher, M., & Feigenson, L. (2013).

 

Alphabetize by the first significant word; do not abbreviate name.

Moher, J. (2012).
National Institute of Mental Health. (2015).
Oliver, M. B. (2003).

 

How do I deal with ___?

  • Check to see if an organization or group authored the content. Use their name in place of a personal author in the in-text citation and reference list. Use the full name each time if using an abbreviation would not be readily understood by your reader.

    Text citation:

    Children with bipolar disorder are treated in similar ways as adults (National Institute of Mental Health, 2015).

    Reference List:

    National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Bipolar disorder in children and teens [Brochure]. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-children-and-teens/qf-15-6380_152267.pdf

  • If there is no organization, use the first few words of the title of the corresponding reference list entry for the in-text citation. Put double quotation marks around titles of articles, chapters, and web pages; use italics for book titles, brochures, and reports.

    Text citation:

    Polls show that black workers approve of labors unions more than white workers ("Black Workers Matter," 2016).

    Reference List:

    Black workers matter. (2016, March 7). The Nation, 302(10), 16, 18.

Use the abbreviation n.d.

Text citation:

American Psychological Association (n.d.) explains that the symptoms of acute stress are often short-term, such as upset stomach.

Reference List:

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Stress: The different kinds of stress. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-kinds.aspx

See APA's Style Blog, which talks about using their generic reference style and combining elements from similar types of references.

(Publication Manual, 6.17)

It is best to use the original source, but if you cannot obtain it or it is in a language you don't read, you may cite it secondarily by including the secondary source in the reference list and mentioning the original work in the text.

Text citation:

Goldman and Goldman's 1988 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.

Examples: Books, Chapters

Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.02, pp. 202-205.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

For e-books, include URL or DOI at the end of the citation.

Examples

Engle, S. (2015). The hungry mind: The origins of curiosity in childhood. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Subrahmanyam, K., & Šmahel, D. (2011). Digital youth: The role of media in development. New York, NY: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-6278-2

Toohey, P. (2011). Boredom: A lively history. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vm449.1

 


Edited Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapters 6.27 and 7.02, pp. 184, 202-205.

Format

Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (Year). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

For e-books, include URL or DOI at the end of the citation.

Example

Cheng, J. T., Tracy, J. L., & Anderson, C. (Eds.). (2014). The psychology of social status. New York, NY: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-0867-7


Chapter in Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapters 6.27 and 7.02, pp. 184, 202-205.

Format
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.

For e-books, include URL or DOI at the end of the citation.

Example

Hane, A. A., & Fox, N. A. (2016). Studying the biology of human attachment. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (3rd edition, pp. 223-241). New York, NY: Guilford Press.


Entry in a Reference Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapters 6.27 and 7.02, pp. 184, 202-205.

Format
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of entry. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of reference work (xx ed., Vol. xx, pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.

For e-books, include URL or DOI at the end of the citation. If there is no author, start the reference with the title of the entry.

Example

Kornell, N. (2013). Discrimination learning: Training methods. In H. Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the mind (pp. 250-252). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference.

Examples: Articles

Journal Article

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.01, pp. 198-202.

Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, vv, pp-pp. doi:xx.xxxx/xxxxxx

The vv after the title of the journal is the volume number; pp is the pages. If no DOI is assigned and you retrieved it online, give the URL of the journal's home page.

Examples

Zaki, S.R. & Kleinschmidt, D. (2014).  Procedural memory effects in categorization: evidence for multiple systems or task complexity? Memory and Cognition, 42, 508-524. doi:10.3758/s13421-013-0375-9

Stroud, C. B. & Sosoo, E. E. & Wilson, S. (2016). Rumination, excessive reassurance seeking and stress generation among early adolescent girls. Journal of Early Adolescence. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0272431616659559. 


Magazine Article

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.01, pp. 198-202.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month). Title of article. Title of Magazine, vv(ii), pp-pp.

The vv after the title of the magazine is the volume number, ii is the issue number, and pp is the pages. If you retrieved it online, include the URL.

Examples

Epley, N., Savitsky, K., & Kachelski, R. A. (1999, Sept./Oct.). What every skeptic should know about subliminal persuasion. Skeptical Inquirer, 23(5), 40-45; 58.

Weir, K. (2016, December). Policing in black & white. Monitor on Psychology, 47(11). Retrieved from https://apa.org/monitor/


Newspaper Article

For more information see: For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.01, pp. 198-202.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Newspaper, pp. xx, xx.

For newspapers, include "p." or "pp." before the page numbers. If the article appears on discontinuous pages, give all page numbers, separated by a comma. If retrieved online, include "Retrieved from" statement and the URL.

Examples

Engel, S., & Sandstrom, M. (2010, July 22). There's only one way to stop a bully [Op-ed]. New York Times, p. A23.

Carey, B. (2014, September 4). Why flunking exams is actually a good thing. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

 

Examples: Web, Blogs, Social Media

Website Content

For more information see: APA Style Blog and Publication Manual, chapter 7.09, pp. 211-212.

Format

Author, A. (Year, Month Day). Title of document [Format description]. Retrieved from http://www.xxx.xxx

"Format description" is only necessary if it is something out of the ordinary, such as a brochure or data file. Italicize the title if the item stands alone (such as a report, brochure, or data set) versus being part of a larger whole (such as a news story). If you are not sure, don't italicize. See APA Style Blog for more information.

Examples

Black, M., & Lee, T. (n.d.). Geography of poverty: A journey through forgotten America. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.com/interactives/geography-of-poverty/index.html

National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Bipolar disorder in children and teens [Brochure]. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-children-and-teens/qf-15-6380_152267.pdf

 


Blog Posts and Comments

For more information see: APA Style Blog and Publication Manual, chapter 7.11, example 76, p. 215.

Format

Author, A. [screen name or given name]. (Year, Month Day). Title. [Content form]. Retrieved from http://xxx.xxx.xxx

Example

Clark, C. (2016, May 19). Cyber psychology part I - why the best memes go viral [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://brainblogger.com/2016/05/19/internet-psychology-part-i-why-the-best-memes-go-viral/

Kertesz, S. G. (2017, March 11). Re: The prescription pain pill epidemic: A conversation with Dr. Anna Lembke [Blog comment]. Retrieved from http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/2017/03/01/the-prescription-pain-pill-epidemic-a-conversation-with-dr-anna-lembke/

 


Social Media

For more information see: APA Style Blog

Format

Author, A. [Social media identity]. (Year, Month Day). Title [Content form]. Retrieved from http://xxx.xxx.xxx

The title can be the name of the page/content or the first 40 words of a posting. If there are no words, provide a short description in brackets.

Example

Obama, B. [POTUS]. (2015, June 26). Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/614435467120001024

Examples: Data Sets and Reports

Data Set

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.08, pp. 201-211.

Format

Rightsholder, A. A. (Year). Title of data set [Data file and codebook]. Retrieved from http://xxx.xxx.xxx

Example

Schmidt, W. (2013). Mathematics teaching in the 21st century [Data file and codebook]. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34430.v1


Report

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.03, p. 205 and Appendix 7.1 References to Legal Materials

Format

Corporate Author/Agency. (Year). Title of report (Report No. xxx). Retrieved from http://xxx.xxx.xxx

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of report (Report No. xxx). Retrieved from Corporate Author/Government Agency Name website: http://xxx.xxx.xxx

Example

Gray, L., & Taie, S. (2015, April). Public school teacher attrition and mobility in the first five years: Results from the first through fifth waves of the 2007-08 beginning teacher longitudinal study: First look (NCES 2015-337). Retrieved from the National Center for Education Statistics website: https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/

Examples: Music, Film, TV, Images

Music Recording

For more information see: APA Style Blog and Publication Manual, chapter 7.07, pp. 209-210.

Format

Songwriter, A. A. (Copyright year). Title of song [Recorded by B. B. Artist]. On Title of Album [Medium of recording]. Location: Label. (Date of recording if different from song copyright date)

If the songwriter and recording artist are the same, skip the "Recorded by" statement.

Example

Gordon, W., Rhoden, S., & Knowles, B. (2016). Sorry [Recorded by Beyoncé]. On Lemonade [Digital download]. Los Angeles, CA: Parkwood Entertainment.


Film

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.07, pp. 209-210.

Format

Producer, A. A. (Producer), & Director, B. B. (Director). (Year). Title of film [Motion picture]. Country of Origin: Studio.

Example

Scott, R. (Producer & Director), & Polk. M. (Producer). (1991). Thelma & Louise [Motion picture]. United States: MGM.


Online Video

For more information see: APA Style Blog: Citing YouTube, APA Style Blog: Citing TED Talks, and Publication Manual, chapter 7.07, pp. 209-210.

Format

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (Year, Month Day). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxx.xxx.xxx

Who you put as the author depends on where you viewed the video. If a person or organization that posted the video is needed to find the exact version you viewed, such as on YouTube, use them as the author.

Examples

Stanford University [Stanford]. (2005, June 12). Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford commencement address [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

Jobs, S. (2005, June). Steve Jobs: How to live before you die [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die


Television

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.07, pp. 209-210.

Format

Writer, A. A. (Writer), & Director, B. B. (Director). (Year). Title of episode [Television series episode]. In C. Executive producer (Executive producer), Title of television show. Location: Television Network.

Example

Averill, M. (Writer), & Silberlin, B. (Director). (2014). Chapter three [Television series episode]. In J. Snyder Urman (Executive producer), Jane the virgin. Burbank, CA: The CW.


Image

For more information see: APA Style Blog

Format

Artist, A. A. (Year of creation). Title of work [Medium]. Location: Museum.

If the image was retrieved online, replace the location information with "Retrieved from" and the URL. If the image comes from a print source, cite that work (no need to include details about the image; just cite the page number in the in-text citation).

Examples

Degas, E. (1874). The dance class [Painting]. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Degas, E. (1874). The dance class [Painting]. 1874. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/438817

Examples: Unpublished/Archival

Interview/Discussions

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 6.20 p. 179.

Personal communication including unpublished interviews and class discussions are cited in the text only because they do not provide recoverable data that readers can access. An example of an in-text citation would be:

(A. F. Falk, personal communication, May 15, 2016).

 


Manuscript/Archival Material

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 7.10, pp. 212-214.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of material. Name of Collection (Call number, Box number, File name or number, etc.). Name of Repository, Location.

If there is no title on the document, include a description of the material in square brackets.

Examples

Cook, D. (1973, March). Black culture-Imamu Baraka. Black Student Union and Afro-American Society Collection (MC218, box 2, folder 56). Williams College Archives and Special Collections, Williamstown, MA.

Crampton, S. (2001, July 10). Interview by C. R. Alberti. [Tape recording]. Oral History Collection. Williams College Archives and Special Collections, Williamstown, MA. 

Tague W. T. (1970, April). [Photograph of Lansing Chapman rink]. Photograph Collection (General) (MC214). Williams College Archives and Special Collections, Williamstown, MA.

 

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.

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