Citing Your Sources: APA (7th)

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 7th

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 Chapter 8 of the Publication Manual.

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 or more authors: include the name of the first author only and "et al." (even for the first instance). If shortening the authors leads to multiple references with the same author-date form, use as many subsequent names as needed to make it unique.

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

    (Nabi et al., 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 8.23-8.36.

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, there are several possible approaches:

  • provide a heading or section name
  • give an abbreviated heading or section name, using quotation marks to indicate it has been abbreviated
  • provide a paragraph number (manually count the paragraphs if not they are not numbered)
  • provide a heading or section name in combination with a paragraph number

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, Watch for Symptoms section)

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, "What is the Difference" section)

(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
  • Date
  • Title
  • Source

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, 9.7-9.12.

  • 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, even when there are only two authors.
  • Precede the last author with an ampersand (&).

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

  • For multiple authors include all names for two to 20 authors. For 21 or more, give the first 19 names, follow by an ellipsis and the final author's name (do not include an ampersand).
  • 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, 9.13-9.16.

  • 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, 9.18-9.22.

  • 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.

  • Books, reports, webpages, and websites
    • 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, 9.23-9.42.

See the examples linked in the left navigation.


Formatting and Ordering the Reference List

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.43-9.52.

  • Start a new page for the reference list.
  • Center the word "References" in bold at the top of 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; n.d. precedes dates)

    Brown, L. (n.d.)
    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 (ignoring "A," "An," and "The") 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).

Alphabetize by the first significant word in the title. For numbers, alphabetize as though they were written out.

Black workers matter. (2016, March 7)
Moher, J. (2012).
Oliver, M. B. (2003).
The 100 Best Black Movies of the 21st Century. (n.d.).

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]. 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. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-kinds.aspx

Do not use the copyright date found in the footer of the website. Use the "last updated" date on the page you are citing. If there no indication of when the page was published/updated, use n.d. (no date).

If you are citing a source that is designed to change or is continually updated and does not provide access to archived versions, use n.d. and include the retrieval date before the URL.

American Psychological Association. (n.d.) Stress. In APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://dictionary.apa.org/

If there is no example of the type of source you want to cite, create a citation using the four basic elements:

  1. author: Who is responsible for this work?
  2. date: When was this work published?
  3. title: What is this work called?
  4. source: Where can I retrieve this work?

 

For more information, see APA's Elements of Reference List Entries.

(Publication Manual, 8.6)

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. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0663.93.2.288

Examples: Books, Chapters

Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.29 and 10.2.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Publisher Name. DOI or URL

  • Write the publisher name as shown on the work on the copyright page. Do not include designations of business structure (e.g., Inc., Ltd., etc.).
  • If the work is published by an imprint or division, use that name as the publisher.
  • If author and publisher are the same, omit the publisher name from the reference.
  • If there are multiple publishers listed, include all of them, separated by semicolons
  • Include the DOI at the end of the citation, even if you used the print.
Examples

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

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


Edited Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.29 and 10.2, examples 23-26.

Format

Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (Year). Title of work. Publisher Name. DOI or URL

If the book has a DOI, include it at the end of the citation, even if you used the print.

Example

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


Chapter in Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.28 and 10.3.

Format
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (xx ed., Vol. xx, pp. xx–xx). Publisher Name. DOI or URL
  • If the work has multiple editions or volumes, include them as listed above; if not, skip those elements.
  • Include DOI or URL, if available.
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). Guilford Press.


Entry in a Reference Book

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.28 and 10.3.

Format
Author, A. A. (Year). Title of entry. In E. E. Editor (Ed.), Title of reference work (xx ed., Vol. xx, pp. xxx–xxx). Publisher. DOI or URL
  • If there is no author, start the reference with the title of the entry.
  • Include edition, volume, and DOI or URL, if applicable.
Example

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

Examples: Articles

Journal Article

For more information see: Publication Manual, chapter 9.25, 9.30, and 10.1.

Format

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

  • The vv is the volume number, ii is the issue number, and pp is the pages.
  • Reproduce the journal title as shown on the work; do not abbreviate it.
  • Italicize the journal number. Put the issue number immediately after the volume without a space and enclosed in parentheses.
  • For articles with article numbers instead of page numbers, replace the page numbers with the word "Article" and the number.
  • If retrieved from a library database, do not include its name or article URL.
  • If a DOI is not listed, search metadata at Crossref. If you don't find one, skip it.
Examples

Zaki, S.R. & Kleinschmidt, D. (2014).  Procedural memory effects in categorization: evidence for multiple systems or task complexity? Memory and Cognition, 42(3), 508–524. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-013-0375-9

Starr, L. R., Stroud, C. B., Shaw, Z. A., & Vrshek-Schallhorn, S. (2020). Stress sensitization to depression following childhood adversity: Moderation by HPA axis and serotonergic multilocus profile scores. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420000474

Shook, N. J., Fitzgerald, H. N., Boggs, S. T., Ford, C. G., Hopkins, P. D., & Silva, N. M. (2020). Sexism, racism, and nationalism: Factors associated with the 2016 US presidential election results? PLOS ONE, 15(3), Article e0229432.


Magazine Article

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.25, 9.30, and 10.1, example 15.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month). Title of article. Magazine Title, vv(ii), pp.–pp. DOI or URL.

  • The vv is the volume number, ii is the issue number, and pp is the pages.
  • If there is no volume and issue, follow the magazine title with a period and include the URL.
  • If retrieved from a library database, do not include its name or article 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). https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/12/cover-policing


Newspaper Article

For more information see: Publication Manual, 9.25, 9.30, and 10.1, example 16.

Format

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

  • 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 the URL.
  • If retrieved from a library database, do not include its name or article URL.
Examples

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

Carey, B. (2014, September 4). Why flunking exams is actually a good thing. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/magazine/why-flunking-exams-is-actually-a-good-thing.html

 

Examples: Web, Blogs, Social Media

Webpage

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.16, 9.13, 9.15, 9.16.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of page. Site Name. URL

  • Use the webpage format only if there is no other reference type category that fits the work (e.g., journal article, online newspaper, blog, etc.)
  • Include the retrieval date if the page is designed to change over time and is not archived, following this format: Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://xxx.xxx.xxx
  • If the author and site name are the same, omit the site name.
Examples

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). CDC COVID data tracker. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/

 


Blog Post

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.1, example 17 and 9.8.

Format

Author, A. A. [username]. (Year, Month Day). Title. Blog Title. URL

  • If the author's username and real name are known, provide the real name, followed by the username in square brackets. Otherwise, use the username (without brackets).
Example

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


Social Media

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.15 and 9.8.

Format

Author, A. A. [@username]. (Year, Month Day). Title. [Type of content]. Social Media Site Name. URL

  • The title is the first 20 words of a posting. If there are no words, provide a short description in brackets.
Example

Obama, B. [@POTUS44]. (2015, June 26). Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/614435467120001024

Examples: Data Sets and Reports

Data Set

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.9.

Format

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of data set  (Version x.x) [Type of material]. Publisher Name. DOI or URL

If the author is the same as the publisher, omit the publisher name.

Example

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


Report

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.4

Format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month day). Title of report (Report No. xxx). Publisher Name. DOI or URL.

If the author is the same as the publisher, omit the publisher name.

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). National Center for Education Statistics. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015337.pdf

Examples: Music, Film, TV, Images

Song

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.13 and pp. 341-342.

Format

Recording Artist, A. A. (Year). Title of song [Song]. On Title of Album. Recording Label.

  • For classical works, give the composer as the author and note the recording artist or group in square brackets after the title. Use the publication date of the recording you used, but provide the year of the original composition in parentheses at the end of the reference. The in-text citation includes both dates, for example, Bach (1721/2010).
  • If there are multiple recording labels, separate with a semicolon.
Example

Beyoncé. (2016). Sorry [Song]. On Lemonade. Parkwood; Columbia.

 


Film

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.12.

Format

Director, D. D. (Director). (Year). Title of film [Film]. Production Studio.

Example

Coogler, R. (Director). (2018). Black panther [Film]. Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Pictures.


Online Video

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.12

Format

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (Year, Month Day). Title of video [Video]. Streaming Site. URL

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 that user account as the author.

Examples

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

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


Television Series Episode

For more information see: Publication Manual, 10.12.

Format

Writer, W. W. (Writer), & Director, D. D. (Director). (Year, Month Day). Title of episode (Season x, Episode x) [TV episode]. In E. E. Executive Producer (Executive Producer), Title of television series. Production Company.

Example

Averill, M. (Writer), & Silberlin, B. (Director). (2014, October 27). Chapter three (Season 1, Episode 3) [TV series episode]. In J. Snyder Urman, B. Silverman, G. Pearl, & J. Granier (Executive Producers), Jane the virgin. Poppy Productions; RCTV; Electus; CBS Television Studios; Warner Bros. Television.


Image

For more information see: Publication Manual,10.14

Format

Artist, A. A. (Year of creation). Title of work [Type of Work]. Museum, Museum Location. 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).
  • For infographics, maps, photographs, and PowerPoint slides, replace Museum and Museum Location with the name of the site where the image was retrieved.
  • If the work does not have a title, describe it in square brackets.

 

Examples

Lawrence, J. (1940-1941). They also made it very difficult for migrants leaving the South. They often went to railroad stations and arrested the Negroes wholesale, which in turn made them miss their train: The migration series [Painting]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, United States. https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78540

Examples: Unpublished/Archival

Interview/Discussion

For more information see: Publication Manual, 8.8 and 8.8

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:

(M. S. Mandel, personal communication, May 15, 2020).

 


Manuscript/Archival Material

For more information see: APA Style, Archival Documents and Collections

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, United States.

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

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

 

Need More Info?

What Needs to be Cited?

  • Exact wording taken from any source, including freely available websites
  • Paraphrases of passages
  • Summaries of another person's work
  • 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.