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Format Your Paper & Cite Your Sources

  • APA Style, 7th Edition
  • Citing Sources
  • Avoid Plagiarism
  • MLA Style (8th/9th ed.)

APA Tutorial

Formatting your paper, headings organize your paper (2.27), video tutorials, reference list format (9.43).

  • Elements of a Reference

Reference Examples (Chapter 10)

Dois and urls (9.34-9.36), in-text citations.

  • In-Text Citations Format
  • In-Text Citations for Specific Source Types

NoodleTools

  • Chicago Style
  • Harvard Style
  • Other Styles
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  • How to Create an Attribution

What is APA Style?

Cover Art

APA style was created by social and behavioral scientists to standardize scientific writing. APA style is most often used in:

  • psychology,
  • social sciences (sociology, business), and

If you're taking courses in any of these areas, be prepared to use APA style.

For in-depth guidance on using this citation style, refer to Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th ed. We have several copies available at the MJC Library at the call number  BF 76.7 .P83 2020 .

APA Style, 7th ed.

In October 2019, the American Psychological Association made radical changes its style, especially with regard to the format and citation rules for students writing academic papers. Use this guide to learn how to format and cite your papers using APA Style, 7th edition.

You can start by viewing the  video tutorial .

For help on all aspects of formatting your paper in APA Style, see   The Essentials  page on the APA Style website.

  • sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, or
  • serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX)
  • There are exceptions for the  title page ,  tables ,  figures ,  footnotes , and  displayed equations .
  • Margins :  Use 1-in. margins on every side of the page.
  • Align the text of an APA Style  paper to the left margin . Leave the right margin uneven, or “ragged.”
  • Do not use full justification for student papers.
  • Do not insert hyphens (manual breaks) in words at the end of line. However, it is acceptable if your word-processing program automatically inserts breaks in long hyperlinks (such as in a DOI or URL in a reference list entry).
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph of text 0.5 in . from the left margin. Use the tab key or the automatic paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program to achieve the indentation (the default setting is likely already 0.5 in.). Do not use the space bar to create indentation. 
  • There are exceptions for the  title page ,  section labels ,  abstract ,  block quotations ,  headings ,  tables and figures ,  reference list , and  appendices .

Paper Elements

Student papers generally include, at a minimum: 

  • Title Page (2.3)
  • Text (2.11)
  • References  (2.12)

Student papers may include additional elements such as tables and figures depending on the assignment. So, please check with your teacher!

Student papers generally  DO NOT  include the following unless your teacher specifically requests it:

  • Running head
  • Author note

For complete information on the  order of pages , see the APA Style website.

Number your pages consecutively starting with page 1. Each section begins on a new page. Put the pages in the following order:

  • Page 1: Title page
  • Page 2: Abstract (if your teacher requires an abstract)
  • Page 3: Text 
  • References begin on a new page after the last page of text
  • Footnotes begin on a new page after the references (if your teacher requires footnotes)
  • Tables begin each on a new page after the footnotes (if your teacher requires tables) 
  • Figures begin on a new page after the tables (if your teacher requires figures)
  • Appendices begin on a new page after the tables and/or figures (if your teacher requires appendices)

Sample Papers With Built-In Instructions

To see what your paper should look like, check out these sample papers with built-in instructions.

APA Style uses five (5) levels of headings to help you organize your paper and allow your audience to identify its key points easily. Levels of headings establish the hierarchy of your sections just like you did in your paper outline.

APA tells us to use "only the number of headings necessary to differentiate distinct section in your paper." Therefore, the number of heading levels you create depends on the length and complexity of your paper.

See the chart below for instructions on formatting your headings:

Levels of Headings

Use Word to Format Your Paper:

Use Google Docs to Format Your Paper:

Placement:  The reference list  appears at the end of the paper, on its own page(s). If your research paper ends on page 8, your References begin on page 9.

Heading:  Place the section label References  in bold at the top of the page, centered.

Arrangement:  Alphabetize entries by author's last name. If source has no named author, alphabetize by the title, ignoring A, An, or The. (9.44-9.48)

Spacing:  Like the rest of the APA paper, the reference list is double-spaced throughout. Be sure NOT to add extra spaces between citations.

Indentation:  To make citations easier to scan, add a  hanging indent  of 0.5 in. to any citation that runs more than one line. Use the paragraph-formatting function of your word processing program to create your hanging indent.  

See Sample References Page (from APA Sample Student Paper):

Sample References page

Elements of Reference List Entries: (Chapter 9)

Where to find reference information for a journal article

References generally have four elements, each of which has a corresponding question for you to answer:

  • Author:   Who is responsible for this work? (9.7-9.12)
  • Date:   When was this work published? (9.13-9.17)
  • Title:   What is this work called? (9.18-9.22)
  • Source:   Where can I retrieve this work? (9.23-9.37)

By using these four elements and answering these four questions, you should be able to create a citation for any type of source.

For complete information on all of these elements, checkout the APA Style website.

This infographic shows the first page of a journal article. The locations of the reference elements are highlighted with different colors and callouts, and the same colors are used in the reference list entry to show how the entry corresponds to the source.

To create your references, you'll simple look for these elements in your source and put them together in your reference list entry.

American Psychological Association.  Example of where to find reference information for a journal article  [Infographic]. APA Style Center. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/basic-principles

Below you'll find two printable handouts showing APA citation examples. The first is an abbreviated list created by MJC Librarians. The second, which is more comprehensive, is from the APA Style website. Feel free to print these for your convenience or use the links to reference examples below:

  • APA Citation Examples Created by MJC Librarians for you.
  • Common References Examples (APA Handout) Printable handout from the American Psychological Association.
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Edited Book Chapter
  • Webpage on a Website

Classroom or Intranet Sources

  • Classroom Course Pack Materials
  • How to Cite ChatGPT
  • Dictionary Entry
  • Government Report
  • Legal References (Laws & Cases)
  • TED Talk References
  • Religious Works
  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Archival Documents and Collections

You can view the entire Reference Examples website below and view a helpful guide to finding useful APA style topics easily:

  • APA Style: Reference Examples
  • Navigating the not-so-hidden treasures of the APA Style website
  • Missing Reference Information

Sometimes you won't be able to find all the elements required for your reference. In that case, see the  instructions in Table 9.1 of the APA style manual in section 9.4 or the APA Style website below:

  • Direct Quotation of Material Without Page Numbers

The DOI or URL is the final component of a reference list entry. Because so much scholarship is available and/or retrieved online, most reference list entries end with either a DOI or a URL.

  • A  DOI  is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies content and provides a persistent link to its location on the internet. DOIs can be found in database records and the reference lists of published works.
  • A  URL  specifies the location of digital information on the internet and can be found in the address bar of your internet browser. URLs in references should link directly to the cited work when possible.

When to Include DOIs and URLs:

  • Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless of whether you used the online version or the print version.
  • If an online work has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI.
  • For works without DOIs from websites (not including academic research databases), provide a URL in the reference (as long as the URL will work for readers).
  • For works without DOIs from most academic research databases, do not include a URL or database information in the reference because these works are widely available. The reference should be the same as the reference for a print version of the work.
  • For works from databases that publish original, proprietary material available only in that database (such as the UpToDate database) or for works of limited circulation in databases (such as monographs in the ERIC database), include the name of the database or archive and the URL of the work. If the URL requires a login or is session-specific (meaning it will not resolve for readers), provide the URL of the database or archive home page or login page instead of the URL for the work. (See APA Section 9.30 for more information). 
  • If the URL is no longer working or no longer provides readers access to the content you intend to cite, try to find an archived version using the Internet Archive , then use the archived URL. If there is no archived URL, do not use that resource.

Format of DOIs and URLs:

Your DOI should look like this: 

https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040251

Follow these guidelines from the APA Style website.

APA Style uses the  author–date citation system , in which a brief in-text citation points your reader to the full reference list entry at the end of your paper. The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. This method enables your reader to locate the corresponding entry in the alphabetical reference list at the end of your paper.

Each work you cite  must  appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) except for the following (See APA, 8.4):

  • Personal communications (8.9)
  • General mentions of entire websites, whole periodicals (8.22), and common software and apps (10.10) in the text do not require a citation or reference list entry.
  • The source of an epigraph does not usually appear in the reference list (8.35)
  • Quotations from your research participants do not need citations or reference list entries (8.36)
  • References included in a statistical meta-analysis, which are marked with an asterisk in the reference list, may be cited in the text (or not) at the author’s discretion. This exception is relevant only to authors who are conducting a meta-analysis (9.52).

Formatting Your In-Text Citations

Parenthetical and Narrative Citations: ( See APA Section  8.11)

In APA style you use the author-date citation system for citing references within your paper. You incorporate these references using either a  parenthetical   or a  narrative  style.

Parenthetical Citations

  • In parenthetical citations, the author name and publication date appear in parentheses, separated by a comma. (Jones, 2018)
  • A parenthetical citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.
  • When the parenthetical citation is at the end of the sentence, put the period or other end punctuation after the closing parenthesis.
  • If there is no author, use the first few words of the reference list entry, usually the "Title" of the source: ("Autism," 2008) See APA 8.14
  • When quoting, always provide the author, year, and specific page citation or paragraph number for nonpaginated materials in the text (Santa Barbara, 2010, p. 243).  See APA 8.13
  • For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation: Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty, 2012).

Narrative Citations 

In narrative citations, the author name or title of your source appears within your text and the publication date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name. 

  • Santa Barbara (2010) noted a decline in the approval of disciplinary spanking of 26 percentage points from 1968 to 1994.

In-Text Citation Checklist

  • In-Text Citation Checklist Use this useful checklist from the American Psychological Association to ensure that you've created your in-text citations correctly.

In-Text Citations for Specific Types of Sources

Quotations from Research Participants

Personal Communications

Secondary Sources  

Use NoodleTools to Cite Your Sources  

NoodleTools can help you create your references and your in-text citations.

  • NoodleTools Express No sign in required . When you need one or two quick citations in MLA, APA, or Chicago style, simply generate them in NoodleTools Express then copy and paste what you need into your document. Note: Citations are not saved and cannot be exported to a word processor using NoodleTools Express.
  • NoodleTools (Login Full Database) This link opens in a new window Create and organize your research notes, share and collaborate on research projects, compose and error check citations, and complete your list of works cited in MLA, APA, or Chicago style using the full version of NoodleTools. You'll need to Create a Personal ID and password the first time you use NoodleTools.

See How to Use NoodleTools Express to Create a Citation in APA Format

Additional NoodleTools Help

  • NoodleTools Help Desk Look up questions and answers on the NoodleTools Web site
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  • Last Updated: May 1, 2024 2:04 PM
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Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 and CC BY-NC 4.0 Licenses .

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  • APA Referencing (7th Ed.) Quick Guide | In-text Citations & References

APA Referencing (7th Ed.) Quick Guide | In-text Citations & References

Published on 18 January 2021 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on 17 January 2024.

APA 7th edition publication manual

This citation guide outlines the most important citation guidelines from the 7th edition APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the older APA 6th edition , MLA Style , and Chicago Style .

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text.

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

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Table of contents

Apa in-text citations, apa references, formatting the apa reference page, free lecture slides.

In-text citations are brief references in the running text that direct readers to the reference entry at the end of the paper. You include them every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s ideas or words.

An APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system). If you’re citing a specific part of a source, you should also include a locator such as a page number or timestamp. For example: (Smith, 2020, p. 170) .

Parenthetical vs. narrative citation

The in-text citation can take two forms: parenthetical and narrative. Both types are generated automatically when citing a source with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator.

  • Parenthetical citation: According to new research … (Smith, 2020) .
  • Narrative citation: Smith (2020) notes that …

Multiple authors and corporate authors

The in-text citation changes slightly when a source has multiple authors or an organization as an author. Pay attention to punctuation and the use of the ampersand (&) symbol.

Missing information

When the author, publication date or locator is unknown, take the steps outlined below.

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

how to cite an essay in apa format

Correct my document today

APA references generally include information about the author , publication date , title , and source . Depending on the type of source, you may have to include extra information that helps your reader locate the source.

Reference examples

Citing a source starts with choosing the correct reference format. Use Scribbr’s Citation Example Generator to learn more about the format for the most common source types. Pay close attention to punctuation, capitalization, and italicization.

Generate APA citations for free

It is not uncommon for certain information to be unknown or missing, especially with sources found online. In these cases, the reference is slightly adjusted.

APA Reference Page (7th edition)

On the first line of the page, write the section label “References” (in bold and centred). On the second line, start listing your references in alphabetical order .

Apply these formatting guidelines to the APA reference page:

  • Double spacing (within and between references)
  • Hanging indent of ½ inch
  • Legible font (e.g. Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11)
  • Page number in the top-right header

Which sources to include

On the reference page, you only include sources that you have cited in the text (with an in-text citation ). You should not include references to personal communications that your reader can’t access (e.g. emails, phone conversations or private online material).

Are you a teacher or professor looking to introduce your students to APA Style? Download our free introductory lecture slides, available for Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Open Google Slides Download PowerPoint

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2024, January 17). APA Referencing (7th Ed.) Quick Guide | In-text Citations & References. Scribbr. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/referencing/apa-style/

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How to Write an Essay in APA Format

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

how to cite an essay in apa format

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

how to cite an essay in apa format

What Is APA Format?

Apa essay format basics.

  • Steps to Follow

Frequently Asked Questions

If your instructor has asked you to write an APA format essay, it might at first seem like a daunting task, especially if you are accustomed to using another style such as MLA or Chicago. But you can master the rules of APA essay format, too.

An essay is one type of paper that can be written in APA format; others include lab reports, experimental reports, and case studies. Before you begin, familiarize yourself with some of the basic guidelines for writing a paper in APA format. Of course, it will also be important to follow any other formatting instructions that are part of your assignment.

How do you write an essay in APA format? The basic elements you need to include are:

  • A title page
  • An abstract
  • An introduction, main body, and conclusion
  • A reference section
  • Proper APA formatting with regard to margins, layout, spacing, titles, and indentations

This article discusses how to write an essay in APA format, including the basic steps you should follow and tips for how to get started.

Whether you’re taking an introductory or graduate-level psychology class, chances are strong that you will have to write at least one paper during the course of the semester. In almost every case, you will need to write your paper in APA format, the official publication style of the American Psychological Association . It is also used for academic journals.

Such rules are generally the same whether you are writing a high school essay, college essay, or professional essay for publication.

APA format is used in a range of disciplines including psychology , education, and other social sciences. The format dictates presentation elements of your paper including spacing, margins, and how the content is structured.

Most instructors and publication editors have strict guidelines when it comes to how your format your writing. Not only does adhering to APA format allow readers to know what to expect from your paper, but it also means that your work will not lose critical points over minor formatting errors. 

While the formatting requirements for your paper might vary depending on your instructor's directions, writing APA essay format means you will most likely need to include a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference sections.

Your APA format essay should have a title page . This title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and your school affiliation. In some instances, your teacher might require additional information such as the course title, instructor name, and the date.

  • The title of your paper should be concise and clearly describe what your paper is about.
  • Your title can extend to two lines, but it should be no longer than 12 words.

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper that immediately follows the title page. It is not required for student papers, according to APA style. However, your instructor may request one.

If you include an abstract , it should be no more than 100 to 200 words, although this may vary depending upon the instructor requirements.

Your essay should also include a reference list with all of the sources that were cited in your essay,

  • The reference section is located at the end of your paper.
  • References should be listed alphabetically by the last name of the author.
  • References should be double-spaced.
  • Any source that is cited in your paper should be included in your reference section.

When writing in APA essay format, the text will include the actual essay itself: The introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • There should be uniform margins of at least one inch at the top, bottom, left, and right sides of your essay.
  • The text should be in Times New Roman size 12 font or another serif typeface that is easily readable.
  • Your paper should be double-spaced.
  • Every page should include a page number in the top right corner.
  • The first word of each paragraph in your paper should be indented one-half inch.

For professional papers (usually not student papers), every page of the essay also includes a running head at the top left. The running head is a shortened form of the title, often the first few words, and should be no more than 50 characters (including spaces).

Steps to a Successful APA Format Essay

In addition to ensuring that you cite your sources properly and present information according to the rules of APA style, there are a number of things you can do to make the writing process a little bit easier.

Choose a Topic

Start by choosing a good topic to write about. Ideally, you want to select a subject that is specific enough to let you fully research and explore the topic, but not so specific that you have a hard time finding sources of information.

If you choose something too specific, you may find yourself with not enough to write about. If you choose something too general, you might find yourself overwhelmed with information.

Research Your Topic

Start doing research as early as possible. Begin by looking at some basic books and articles on your topic to help develop it further. What is the question you are going to answer with your essay? What approach will you take to the topic?

Once you are more familiar with the subject, create a preliminary source list of potential books, articles, essays, and studies that you may end up using in your essay.

Remember, any source used in your essay must be included in your reference section. Conversely, any source listed in your references must be cited somewhere in the body of your paper.

Write Your Rough Draft

With research in hand, you are ready to begin. Some people like to create an outline to organize their argument prior to drafting. You may want to start with a very rough outline, and then add details.

Once you have a detailed outline, the next step is to translate it from notes to complete sentences and paragraphs. Remember, this is a first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect.

As you write your paper in APA essay format, be sure to keep careful track of the sources that you cite.

How do you start an APA paper? Your paper should begin with an introduction that includes a thesis statement that presents your main ideas, points, or arguments. Your introduction should start on the third page of your paper (after the title page and abstract). The title of your paper should be centered, bolded, and typed in title case at the top of the page.

Review and Revise

After you have prepared a rough draft of your essay, it's time to revise, review, and prepare your final draft. In addition to making sure that your writing is cohesive and supported by your sources, you should also check carefully for typos, grammar errors, and possible formatting mistakes.

When citing information or quotations taken from an interview, APA format requires that you cite the source, how the information was collected, and the date of the interview. They should not be included in the reference section, however, because they are not something that can be located by a reader in any published source or searchable database.

Instead, the information should be cited parenthetically in the main body of the text. For example: “There was an increase in the number of college students who screened positive for depression/anxiety” (R. Heathfield, personal communication, May 9, 2021).

If the essay is in a chapter of a book, edited collection, or anthology, APA format states that you should cite the last name, first name, title of essay, title of collection, publisher, year, and page range. For example: Smith, John, "The Light House," A Book of Poems , editing by Peter Roberts, Allworth Press, 2005, pp. 20-25.

According to APA format, a two-part essay is formatted the same as an essay, however, you'll need to create two title pages.

If you're including a short direct quote in your APA-format essay, you will need to cite the author, year of publication, and page number (p.) or page number span (pp.). Quotations longer than 40 words should omit the quotation marks and be put in the text using block quotation formatting, on its own line and indented 1/2 inch from the left margin.

The cover page or "title page" in APA essay format should always include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation as well as the course title, instructor name, and date, if requested by your teacher.

Nagda S.  How to write a scientific abstract.   J Indian Prosthodont Soc.  2013;13(3):382-383. doi:10.1007/s13191-013-0299-x

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Spring 2024 - ENGL 101 Capstone Project - Prof. Stewart

  • Your Assignment
  • Finding Sources Using OneSearch
  • Finding Sources Using Databases
  • Statistics and Data
  • Finding Sources on the Open Web
  • Evaluating Sources on the Open Web
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Citing in MLA 9th Style
  • Citing in APA 7th Style
  • Getting Help @ the Library

How to Cite A Source in APA 7 Style

  • Cite A Book in APA 7 (Purdue Owl)
  • Cite A Scholarly Article in APA 7 (Purdue Owl)
  • Cite A Website in APA 7 (Purdue Owl)
  • Create In-Text Citations in APA 7 (Purdue Owl)
  • Cite An Interview, Conference Presentation in APA 7 (Purdue Owl)

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Updated: video tutorials on apa 7th. ed..

UPDATED: APA Basics and Sample Student Papers

This American Psychological Association tutorial introduces students to APA Style, including formatting papers, citing sources, and references.

For student papers, the first page of an APA style paper is the title page. This should include in order:

  • Title of paper, capitalized. For example: Branching Paths: A Novel Teacher Evaluation Model for Faculty Development
  • Author's name and institution or school
  • Course number and name. For example: ENGL 105
  • Instructor name. For example: Dr./Instructor James Khachikian
  • Assignment due date. For example: December 12, 2021

After the title page, APA style student papers include the abstract. An abstract is the summary of the paper and the main ideas presented. The abstract page should be numbered and have the same running header. The page should have the Abstract, in bold font centered on the page . The abstract text should be in an accessible font like 12-point Times News Roman . It should be followed by Keywords, italicized . The keywords should be the main ideas from your paper.

HEADERS 

APA style papers must use specific formatting for headers. Each level of headers must be followed as outlined below.

Chart from the APA Headings website .

  • UPDATED: Sample Student Paper in APA Format This sample paper is from the official APA website. This is an updated version per the 7th edition of the APA Manual.
  • UPDATED: Sample Annotated Student Paper in APA Format This sample paper is from the official APA website. This is an updated version per the 7th edition of the APA Manual.

UPDATED: GCC Library's Guide to APA Style

This 2-page guide has been updated and is also available in print in the Library. There is now only one guide that replaces the older guides. A separate guide for print and electronic resources is no longer needed. 

  • UPDATED: APA Style for Reference List: A Brief Guide This guide was last updated Fall 22

UPDATED: APA Style Guide from OWL Purdue & Other Resources

From Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL)

  • UPDATED: APA Style, 7th edition
  • Citing AI/ChatGPT Note: APA reccommends the use of AI for students and researchers to create text and to facilitate their research, not to write the full text of their paper or manuscript.

UPDATED: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition

This manual is the authority on the APA Style. The GCC Library has 2 copies of this book. One is available for checkout. The other is located at the Research Help Desk (cannot be checked out, but always available for use in the Library. Ask for it at the Research Help Desk).

how to cite an essay in apa format

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How to Format an APA Reference Page

In APA, the “Works Cited” page is referred to as a “Reference List” or “Reference Page.” “Bibliography” also may be used interchangeably, even though there are some differences between the two.

If you are at the point in your article or research paper where you are looking up APA bibliography format, then congratulations! That means you’re almost done.

In this guide, you will learn how to successfully finish a paper by creating a properly formatted APA bibliography. More specifically, you will learn how to create a reference page . The guidelines presented here come from the 7 th edition of the APA’s Publication Manual .

A note on APA reference page style: In this guide, “bibliography” and “references” may be used interchangeably, even though there are some differences between the two. The most important thing is to use the label “References” when writing your paper since APA style recommends including a reference page.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Difference between an APA bibliography and a reference page

What about annotated bibliographies, understanding apa reference page format, apa reference page formatting: alphabetizing by surname, q: what should not be on an apa reference page.

The difference between a bibliography and a reference page is a matter of scope. A bibliography usually includes all materials and sources that were used to write the paper. A reference page, on the other hand, only includes entries for works that were specifically cited in the text of the paper.

There are some cases in which a professor or journal might request an annotated bibliography . An annotated bibliography is basically a reference page that includes your comments and insights on each source.

An annotated bibliography can be a document all on its own, or part of a bigger document. That means creating an annotated bibliography by itself could be an assignment, or you may have to include one as part of your research paper, journal submission, or other project.

If you do need to add an APA annotated bibliography , it goes after the reference page on its own page, inside the appendices.

A properly formatted APA reference page begins on a new page, after the end of the text. It comes before any figures, tables, maps, or appendices. It’s double-spaced and features what’s called a hanging indent , where the first line of each reference is not indented, and the second line of each reference is indented 0.5 inches. The reference page is also labeled with a bold, center-justified, and capitalized “References.”

To summarize, the reference page should be:

  • Placed on its own page, after the text but before any tables, figures, or appendices.
  • In the same font as the rest of the paper.
  • Double-spaced the whole way through (including individual references).
  • Formatted with hanging indents (each line after the first line of every entry indented 0.5 inches).
  • Labeled with a bold, center-justified, and capitalized “References.”

Note: You can use the paragraph function of your word processing program to apply the hanging indent.

Q: What font am I supposed to use for the reference page or bibliography?

The APA reference page/bibliography should be in the same font as the rest of your paper. However, APA Style does not actually call for one specific font. According to Section 2.19 of the Publication Manual , the main requirement is to choose a font that is readable and accessible to all users. Some of the recommended font options for APA style include:

  • Sans serif fonts: Calibri (11pt), Arial (11pt), or Lucida (10pt).
  • Serif fonts: Times New Roman (12pt), Georgia (11pt), or Normal/Computer Modern (10pt).

Q: What are the margins supposed to be for the reference page or bibliography?

Aside from the 0.5 inch hanging indent on the second line of each reference entry, you do not need to modify the margins of the reference page or bibliography. These should be the same as the rest of your paper, which according to APA is 1-inch margins on all sides of the page. This is the default margin setting for most computer word processors, so you probably won’t have to change anything.

Q: What information goes into an APA style reference page or bibliography?

An APA style reference page should include full citations for all the sources that were cited in your paper. This includes sources that were summarized, paraphrased, and directly quoted. Essentially, if you included an in-text citation in your paper, that source should also appear in your reference list. The reference list is organized in alphabetical order by author.

The formatting for reference list citations varies depending on the kind of source and the available information. But for most sources, your reference list entry will include the following:

  • The last name(s) and initials of the author(s).
  • The date the source was published (shown in parentheses).
  • The title of the source in sentence case. The title should be in italics if the source stands on its own (like a book, webpage, or movie).
  • The name of the periodical, database, or website if the source is an article from a magazine, journal, newspaper, etc. Names of periodicals are usually italicized; names of databases and websites usually are not.
  • The publisher of the source and/or the URL where the source can be found.

Here are a few templates and examples for how common sources should be formatted in an APA style reference list. If your source is not found here, there is also a guide highlighting different APA citation examples .

Citing a Book

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year of publication). Title of work . Publisher.

James, Henry. (2009). The ambassadors . Serenity Publishers.

Citing a Journal

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date published). Article title. Journal Name , Volume(Issue), page number(s). https://doi.org/ or URL (if available)

Jacoby, W. G. (1994). Public attitudes toward government spending. American Journal of Political Science , 38(2), 336-361. https://doi.org/10.2307/2111407

Citing a Website

Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. Author’s middle initial. (Year, Month Date published). Article title or page title . Site Name. URL

Limer, E. (2013, October 1). Heck yes! The first free wireless plan is finally here . Gizmodo. https://gizmodo.com/heck-yes-the-first-free-wireless-plan-is-finally-here

Next, let’s take a look at a real example of a properly formatted APA reference page to see how these pieces come together.

APA reference page example

Creating an APA reference page is actually a lot easier than creating a bibliography with other style guides. In fact, as long as you are aware of the formatting rules, the reference page practically writes itself as you go.

Below is an example reference page that follows the guidelines detailed above. EasyBib also has a guide featuring a complete APA style sample paper , including the reference page.

apa example student reference page

All APA citations included in the reference page should be ordered alphabetically, using the first word of the reference entry. In most cases, this is the author’s surname (or the surname of the author listed first, when dealing with citations for sources with multiple authors ). However, there are times when a reference entry might begin with a different element.

Creating an alphabetized reference page or bibliography might seem like a simple task. But when you start dealing with multiple authors and similar last names, it can actually get a little tricky. Fortunately, there are a few basic rules that can keep you on track.

The “nothing precedes something” rule

When the surnames of two or more authors begin with the same letters, the “nothing precedes something” rule is how to figure it out. Here is an example of how it works.

Imagine your reference page includes the authors Berg, M.S. and Bergman, H.D. The first four letters of each author are the same. The fifth letters are M and H respectively. Since H comes before M in the alphabet, you might assume that Bergman, H.D. should be listed first.

APA Style requires that “nothing precede something,” which means that Berg will appear before Bergman. Similarly, a James would automatically appear before a Jameson, and a Michaels before a Michaelson.

Disregard spaces and punctuation marks

If a surname has a hyphen, apostrophe, or other punctuation mark, it can be ignored for alphabetization purposes. Similarly, anything that appears inside of parentheses or brackets should be disregarded.

Ordering multiple works by the same author

It is not uncommon for a research paper to reference multiple books by the same author. If you have more than one reference entry by the same person, then the entries should be listed chronologically by year of publication.

If a reference entry has no year of publication available, then it should precede any entries that do have a date. Here’s an example of a properly alphabetized order for multiple entries from the same author:

Guzman, M.B. (n.d.).

Guzman, M.B. (2016).

Guzman, M.B. (2017).

Guzman, M.B. (2019).

Guzman, M.B. (in press).

“In press” papers do not yet have a year of publication associated with them. All “in press” sources are listed last, like the one shown above.

Ordering works with the same author and same date

If the same author has multiple entries with the same year of publication, you need to differentiate them with lowercase letters. Otherwise, the in-text citations in your paper will correspond to more than one reference page entry.

Same author and same year of publication

Here’s a look at how to use lowercase letters to differentiate between entries with the same author and same year of publication:

Guzman, M.B. (2020a).

Guzman, M.B. (2020b).

Guzman, M.B. (2020c).

These lowercase letters are assigned to make the in-text citations more specific. However, it does not change the fact that their year of publication is the same. If no month or day is available for any of the sources, then they should be ordered alphabetically using the title of the work.

When alphabetizing by title, ignore the words “A,” “An,”,and “The” if they’re the first word of the title.

Same author and same year of publication, with more specific dates

If more specific dates are provided, such as a month or day, then it becomes possible to order these entries chronologically.

Guzman, M.B. (2020b, April 2).

Guzman, M.B. (2020c, October 15).

Ordering authors with the same surname but different initials

Authors who share the same surname but have different first or middle names can be alphabetized by their first initial or second initial.

Guzman, R.L. (2015).

Ordering works with no listed author, or an anonymous author

If you have reference entries with no listed author, the first thing to double-check is whether or not there was a group author instead. Group authors can be businesses, task forces, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, etc.

If there is no individual author listed, then have another look at the source. If it is published on a government agency website, for instance, there is a good chance that the agency was the author of the work, and should be listed as such in the reference entry. You can read more about how to handle group authors in Section 9.11 of the Publication Manual .

What if the work is actually authored by “Anonymous”?

If the work you’re referencing actually has the word “Anonymous” listed as the author, then you can list it as the author and alphabetize it as if it were a real name. But this is only if the work is actually signed “Anonymous.”

What if there is no listed author and it’s definitely not a group author?

If you have confirmed that there is no individual or group author for the work, then you can use the work’s title as the author element in the reference entry. In any case where you’re using the work’s title to alphabetize, you should skip the words “A,” “An,” and “The.”

An APA reference page should not contain any of the following:

  • The content of your paper (the reference page should start on its own page after the end of your paper).
  • Entries for works for further reading or background information or entries for an epigraph from a famous person (the reference page should only include works that are referenced or quoted in your paper as part of your argument).
  • Entries for personal communications such as emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. (since the reader would not be able to access them).
  • Entries for whole websites, periodicals, etc. (If needed, the names of these can be mentioned within the body of your paper instead.)
  • Entries for quotations from research participants (since they are part of your original research, they do not need to be included).

Published October 28, 2020.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Multiple Authors
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Parenthetical Citations
  • Reference Page
  • Sample Paper
  • APA 7 Updates
  • View APA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all APA Examples

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The following rules will help you identify when to use DOIs and when to use URLs in references:

  • Use a DOI wherever available, be it a print version or online version.
  • For a print publication that does not have a DOI, do not add a DOI or URL (even if a URL is available).
  • For an online publication, if both a DOI and URL are given, include only the DOI.
  • For online publications that only have a URL (and no DOI), follow the below recommendations:
  • Add a URL in the reference list entry for publications from websites (other than databases). Double check that the URL will work for readers.
  • For publications from most academic research databases, which are easily accessible, do not include a URL or database information in the reference. In this case, the reference will be the same as the print version.
  • For publications from databases that publish limited/proprietary work that would only be available in that database, include the database name and the URL. If the URL would require a login, include the URL for the database home page or login page instead of the URL for the work.
  • If a URL will not work for the reader or is no longer accessible, follow the guidance for citing works with no source.

To format your APA references list, follow these recommendations:

  • Begin the references on a new page. This page should be placed at the end of the paper.
  • All sides of the paper should have a 1-inch margin.
  • Set the heading as “References” in bold text and center it.
  • Arrange the reference entries alphabetically according to the first item within the entries (usually the author surname or title).
  •  Add a hanging indent of 0.5 inches (i.e., indent any line after the first line of a reference list entry).

See above for a visual example of a reference page and additional examples.

Special Cases

Multiple entries with the same author(s) are arranged by publication year. Entries with no dates first, then in chronological order. If the year published is also the same, a letter is added to the year and the entries are arranged alphabetically (after arrangement by year).

  • Robin, M. T. (n.d.)
  • Robin, M. T. (1987)
  • Robin, M. T. (1989a)
  • Robin, M. T. (1989b)

Single-author source and multi-author source that share one author. One-author entries are listed first even if the multi-author entries were published earlier.

  • Dave, S. P., Jr. (2006)
  • Dave, S. P., Jr., & Glyn, T. L. (2005)

For references with multiple authors that have the same first author but different subsequent authors, alphabetize the entries by the last name of the second author (or third if the first two authors are the same).

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how to cite an essay in apa format

The APA format is a widely used style for writing academic papers, developed by the American Psychological Association. It provides guidelines for formatting documents , citing sources, and structuring content. APA format is commonly used in the social sciences, education, and psychology. Key features include in-text citations , a reference list, and specific rules for headings, margins, and font. It ensures clarity and uniformity in scholarly writing.

What is APA Format?

APA format is a writing style and format for academic documents such as scholarly journal articles and books. It is commonly used for citing sources within the field of social sciences. The APA guidelines include specifics on structure, formatting, in-text citations, and references, ensuring a uniform presentation and citation style.

APA Format Examples

Book citation.

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year.
  • Example: Smith, John. The Art of Writing . Penguin Books, 2020.

Journal Article Citation

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol. number, no. number, Year, pages.
  • Example : Doe, Jane. “Exploring Modern Literature.” Journal of Contemporary Writing , vol. 5, no. 2, 2019, pp. 34-56.

Website Citation

  • Format : Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date Published, URL. Accessed Date.
  • Example: Brown, Lisa. “Climate Change Facts.” Environment Today , Green Earth, 22 Apr. 2020, www.environmenttoday.org/climate-change-facts . Accessed 18 May 2024.

Edited Book

  • Format: Editor’s Last Name, First Name, editor. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year.
  • Example: Lee, Susan, editor. Art in the 21st Century . Creative Press, 2018.

Book Chapter Citation

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Chapter.” Title of Book, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, pages.
  • Example: Adams, Michael. “Modern Art Techniques.” Art in the 21st Century , edited by Susan Lee, Creative Press, 2018, pp. 45-67.

Conference Paper

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Paper.” Title of Conference Proceedings, edited by Editor’s First Name Last Name, Publisher, Year, pages.
  • Example: Johnson, Emily. “Advances in Renewable Energy.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Renewable Energy , edited by Mark Green, Energy Press, 2022, pp. 123-134.

Dissertation/Thesis

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Dissertation/Thesis.” Degree, Institution, Year.
  • Example: Miller, Sarah. “The Impact of Climate Change on Coastal Erosion.” PhD dissertation, University of California, 2021.

Newspaper Article

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper , Date, pages.
  • Example: Johnson, Mark. “New Tech Innovations.” The Daily Times , 15 Mar. 2021, p. A1.

Magazine Article

  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Magazine , Date, pages.
  • Example: Taylor, Jessica. “The Future of Space Travel.” Science Monthly , June 2020, pp. 56-63.
  • Format: Author’s Last Name, First Name or Username. “Title of Post.” Title of Blog, Blog Network/Publisher, Date Posted, URL. Accessed Date.
  • Example: Green, Sarah. “How to Plant a Garden.” Gardening Tips , Green Earth Network, 10 June 2021, www.greenearthnetwork.org/gardening-tips/how-to-plant-a-garden . Accessed 18 May 2024.

When to use APA Format

APA format is primarily used in academic writing within the social sciences. Here are specific instances when APA format should be used:

  • Psychology Papers : Research articles, literature reviews, and case studies.
  • Education Research : Studies on educational methods, learning theories, and classroom practices.
  • Social Sciences : Sociology, anthropology, and political science papers.
  • Business : Articles on management, marketing, and organizational behavior.
  • Nursing and Health Sciences : Research on patient care, health policies, and medical studies.
  • Criminology : Papers on criminal behavior, justice system studies, and forensic psychology.
  • Communications : Studies on media, journalism, and communication theories.

Why Use APA Format?

  • Consistency : Ensures uniformity in citation and formatting across documents.
  • Credibility : Proper citations give credit to original authors, enhancing the paper’s credibility.
  • Clarity : Structured format helps readers follow the argument and locate sources.
  • Professionalism : Presents work in a polished and scholarly manner.

General APA Format Guidelines

When writing a paper in APA format, adhering to specific guidelines ensures clarity, consistency, and professionalism. Here are the key components:

1. General Document Guidelines

  • Font : Use a readable font such as 12-pt Times New Roman, 11-pt Arial, or 11-pt Calibri.
  • Margins : Set 1-inch margins on all sides of the document.
  • Line Spacing : Double-space all text, including the abstract, body, and references.
  • Indentation : Indent the first line of every paragraph by 0.5 inches.

2. Title Page

  • Title : Centered, bold, and in title case (capitalize major words).
  • Author’s Name : Centered, below the title.
  • Institutional Affiliation : Centered, below the author’s name.
  • Course Number and Name : Centered, below the institutional affiliation.
  • Instructor’s Name : Centered, below the course number and name.
  • Due Date : Centered, below the instructor’s name.

3. Abstract

  • Start on a new page.
  • Center the word “Abstract” (bold) at the top.
  • Write a concise summary of the key points of your paper (150-250 words).
  • Do not indent the first line of the abstract.

4. Main Body

  • Level 1: Centered, bold, title case (e.g., “Methods”).
  • Level 2: Left-aligned, bold, title case (e.g., “Participants”).
  • Level 3: Left-aligned, bold, italic, title case.
  • Level 4: Indented, bold, title case, ends with a period.
  • Level 5: Indented, bold, italic, title case, ends with a period.
  • In-Text Citations : Use the author-date method (e.g., Smith, 2020). For direct quotes, include the page number (e.g., Smith, 2020, p. 23).

5. References Page

  • Center the word “References” (bold) at the top.
  • Use a hanging indent for each reference (first line flush left, subsequent lines indented 0.5 inches).
  • List all sources alphabetically by the author’s last name.

6. Running Head and Page Numbers

  • Include a running head on every page (a shortened version of the title, all in uppercase) aligned to the left.
  • Page numbers aligned to the right.

Full Sample Paper in APA Format:

Running Head and Title Page

Running head: UNDERSTANDING PSYCHOLOGY 1 Understanding Psychology: A Guide for Students John A. Smith University of Academic Studies PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology Professor Jane Doe May 15, 2024
This paper explores the fundamental principles of psychology, examining key theories and research findings in the field. It discusses cognitive development, behavioral analysis, and the impact of social media on mental health. The aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of psychology’s role in everyday life and its applications in various professional contexts. Future research directions and practical implications are also considered. Keywords: psychology, cognitive development, behavioral analysis, mental health
Understanding Psychology: A Guide for Students Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including cognitive development, behavioral analysis, and mental health. This paper aims to provide an overview of these key areas and their implications for everyday life. Cognitive Development Cognitive development refers to the progression of thinking, problem-solving, and information processing abilities. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is one of the most influential theories in this field. Piaget proposed that children progress through four stages of cognitive development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational (Smith, 2020). Behavioral Analysis Behavioral analysis focuses on the study of observable behaviors and the environmental factors that influence them. B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning theory is a cornerstone of behavioral analysis. According to Skinner, behavior is shaped by positive and negative reinforcements (Johnson, 2019). Understanding these principles can help in modifying behaviors in various settings, including education and therapy. The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health The rise of social media has significant implications for mental health. Studies have shown that excessive use of social media can lead to issues such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Johnson (2019) found that individuals who spend more than three hours per day on social media are more likely to experience mental health problems. Future Directions and Practical Implications Future research should explore the long-term effects of social media on mental health and develop interventions to mitigate negative impacts. Practical applications of psychological principles can improve educational practices, enhance workplace productivity, and promote overall well-being. Conclusion In summary, psychology provides valuable insights into human behavior and mental processes. By understanding cognitive development, behavioral analysis, and the impact of social media on mental health, we can apply psychological principles to enhance various aspects of life. Continued research and practical applications will further advance the field and its contributions to society.

References Page

References Brown, R. (2018). Cognitive development in children. In M. Green (Ed.), Child Psychology Today (pp. 45-67). Educational Press. Doe, J. (2021, March 15). How to study effectively. Learning Hub. https://www.learninghub.com/study-tips Johnson, L. M. (2019). The impact of social media on mental health. Journal of Social Research, 45(2), 123-134. Smith, J. A. (2020). Understanding psychology: A guide for students. Academic Press. Taylor, K. R. (2016). The effects of sleep on academic performance (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (UMI No. 1234567)

APA Format Title Page

The title page in APA format should include the title of the paper, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, course number and name, instructor’s name, and the due date. Here’s how to set it up:

Detailed Guidelines for Each Element:

  • Include a shortened version of your paper’s title (no more than 50 characters, including spaces).
  • Align it to the left margin.
  • Precede it with the words “Running head:” (for student papers, “Running head:” is omitted).
  • Insert the page number in the header, aligned to the right margin.
  • Place the title three to four lines down from the top of the page.
  • Center the title.
  • Use bold font.
  • Capitalize major words (Title Case).
  • Centered, below the title.
  • Include your full name (first name, middle initial(s), and last name).
  • Centered, below the author’s name.
  • Name of the institution where the work was conducted.
  • Centered, below the institutional affiliation.
  • Include the course number and full course name.
  • Centered, below the course number and name.
  • Include the full name of the instructor.
  • Centered, below the instructor’s name.
  • Format the date as Month Day, Year (e.g., May 15, 2024).

Visual Layout:

Apa format abstract.

An abstract in APA format provides a concise summary of the key points of your research paper. It should include the main topic, research questions, methods, results, and conclusions. The abstract is typically 150-250 words long and is placed on a separate page immediately after the title page.

Guidelines for the Abstract:

  • Center the word “Abstract” at the top of the page. Use bold font.
  • Begin the abstract text on the next line, without indentation.
  • Write a single paragraph in block format (i.e., do not indent the first line).
  • Summarize the main topic, research questions, methods, results, and conclusions of your paper.
  • After the abstract, you can include a list of keywords to help others find your work in databases.
  • Indent and italicize the word “Keywords:” followed by a list of keywords separated by commas.

Example of an APA Format Abstract:

Abstract This paper explores the fundamental principles of psychology, examining key theories and research findings in the field. It discusses cognitive development, behavioral analysis, and the impact of social media on mental health. The aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of psychology’s role in everyday life and its applications in various professional contexts. Future research directions and practical implications are also considered. Keywords: psychology, cognitive development, behavioral analysis, mental health

Tables in APA Format

Tables in APA format are used to present quantitative data, making it easier for readers to understand complex information at a glance. Here are the key guidelines for creating tables in APA format:

General Guidelines:

  • Label and Title : Place the table label (e.g., “Table 1”) above the table, in bold, and flush left. Below the label, provide a brief but descriptive title in italics and title case.
  • Table Number : Each table should have a unique number, assigned in the order they are first mentioned in the text.
  • Headings : Include clear, concise headings for each column, including a heading for the first column (stub column).
  • Body : Present the data in the body of the table in a clear and organized manner.
  • Notes : Provide notes below the table as needed, including explanations of abbreviations, symbols, and any additional information necessary to understand the table.

Formatting:

  • Font : Use the same font as the rest of your paper (e.g., 12-pt Times New Roman).
  • Spacing : Tables can be single- or double-spaced, but consistency throughout the document is key.
  • Borders : Only horizontal lines should be used to separate information and clarify the structure.

Example Table:

Below is an example of how to format a table in APA style.

Note. N = Number of participants.

Reference Pages in APA Format

The references page in APA format provides a detailed list of all the sources cited in your paper. It is placed at the end of your document and should follow specific guidelines to ensure consistency and proper citation. Here’s a comprehensive guide:

  • Title : Center the word “References” at the top of the page. Use bold font.
  • Spacing : Double-space all entries.
  • Alphabetical Order : List references alphabetically by the author’s last name.
  • Hanging Indent : Use a hanging indent for each reference (the first line is flush left, and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches).

Example References Page:

References Brown, R. (2018). Cognitive development in children. In M. Green (Ed.), Child Psychology Today (pp. 45-67). Educational Press. Clark, D. (2020, November 5). Innovations in technology. Tech World, 15(4), 58-62. Davis, P. K. (Ed.). (2020). Modern theories of learning. Knowledge Press. Doe, J. (2021, March 15). How to study effectively. Learning Hub. https://www.learninghub.com/study-tips Green, M. (2018, June 10). The rise of online education. The Daily Times, pp. A1, A4. Johnson, L. M. (2019). The impact of social media on mental health. Journal of Social Research, 45(2), 123-134. Lee, S. T. (2017, April). Advances in behavioral science. In G. H. Collins (Chair), Annual Conference on Behavioral Research. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the National Behavioral Association, Chicago, IL. Nelson, B. (2021, January 10). How to manage time effectively. Time Management Blog. https://www.timemanagementblog.com/effective-tips Smith, J. A. (2020). Understanding psychology: A guide for students. Academic Press. Taylor, K. R. (2016). The effects of sleep on academic performance (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (UMI No. 1234567)

APA format in-text citation

In-text citations in APA format are used to give credit to the sources you use within the body of your paper. They are brief references that direct readers to the full citation in your reference list. Here’s a guide on how to format in-text citations in APA style:

  • Author-Date Method : APA uses the author-date method for in-text citations.
  • Parenthetical Citation : Includes the author’s last name and the year of publication, separated by a comma.
  • Narrative Citation : Includes the author’s name in the text and the year of publication in parentheses.
  • Page Number for Direct Quotes : When quoting directly, include the page number(s).
  • Parenthetical : (Smith, 2020)
  • Narrative : Smith (2020)
  • Two Authors
  • Parenthetical : (Johnson & Lee, 2019)
  • Narrative : Johnson and Lee (2019)
  • Three or More Authors
  • Parenthetical : (Brown et al., 2018)
  • Narrative : Brown et al. (2018)
  • Direct Quote
  • Parenthetical : (Doe, 2021, p. 15)
  • Narrative : Doe (2021) stated, “…” (p. 15).
  • Organization as Author
  • Parenthetical : (American Psychological Association, 2020)
  • Narrative : American Psychological Association (2020)

APA Format Example in Research

Below is an example of how to format a research paper using APA guidelines. This includes the title page, abstract, in-text citations, and references.

Running head: EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON MENTAL HEALTH 1

Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

University of Example

This study examines the relationship between social media usage and mental health among adolescents. Using a sample of 500 high school students, the study found a significant correlation between high social media use and increased levels of anxiety and depression. The implications of these findings suggest the need for awareness and interventions to mitigate the negative impacts of social media on young people’s mental health.

Keywords: social media, mental health, adolescents, anxiety, depression

Introduction

Social media has become an integral part of modern life, particularly among adolescents. While it offers numerous benefits, such as connecting with peers and accessing information, concerns have arisen regarding its impact on mental health. This study aims to explore the effects of social media usage on mental health among high school students.

Participants

The study involved 500 high school students aged 14-18 from various schools in the metropolitan area.

Participants completed an online survey assessing their social media usage and mental health status. The survey included questions about the frequency and duration of social media use, as well as standardized measures of anxiety and depression.

The analysis revealed a significant positive correlation between high social media usage and increased levels of anxiety (r = .45, p < .01) and depression (r = .50, p < .01).

The findings indicate that excessive social media use is associated with negative mental health outcomes among adolescents. These results underscore the need for interventions aimed at reducing the adverse effects of social media on young people’s well-being.

In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of addressing the mental health implications of social media use among adolescents. Further research is needed to develop effective strategies for mitigating these negative impacts.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association.

Chou, H. T. G., & Edge, N. (2012). “They are happier and having better lives than I am”: The impact of using Facebook on perceptions of others’ lives. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), 117-121. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2011.0324

Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2018). Associations between screen time and lower psychological well-being among children and adolescents: Evidence from a population-based study. Preventive Medicine Reports, 12, 271-283. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.10.003

What is APA format?

APA format is a style guide used for academic writing in the social sciences, providing guidelines for formatting, in-text citations, and references.

How do you cite a book in APA format?

Include the author’s name, year of publication, title in italics, and publisher: Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work . Publisher.

How do you format in-text citations in APA?

Use the author-date method: (Author’s Last Name, Year). For direct quotes, include the page number: (Author’s Last Name, Year, p. Page Number).

How is the references page formatted?

The references page is double-spaced, with entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, using a hanging indent for each reference.

What font and size are recommended in APA?

Use a readable font such as 12-pt Times New Roman, 11-pt Arial, or 11-pt Calibri.

How do you format a title page in APA?

Include the title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, course number and name, instructor’s name, and due date, centered and double-spaced.

How do you cite a journal article in APA format?

Include the author’s name, year, title of the article, title of the journal in italics, volume number, issue number, and page range: Author, A. A. (Year). Title. Journal Name, Volume (Issue), pages.

How do you format an abstract in APA?

Center the word “Abstract” (bold) at the top. Write a 150-250 word summary without indentation, and include keywords at the end.

How do you cite a website in APA format?

Include the author, date, title of the web page, website name, and URL: Author, A. A. (Year, Month Date). Title of web page. Website Name . URL

How are headings formatted in APA?

Use a five-level heading structure: Level 1: Centered, bold; Level 2: Left-aligned, bold; Level 3: Left-aligned, bold, italic; Level 4: Indented, bold, ends with a period; Level 5: Indented, bold, italic, ends with a period.

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Home » Home » Crafting an Essay in APA Style: A Comprehensive Guide

Crafting an Essay in APA Style: A Comprehensive Guide

By Space Coast Daily  //  May 22, 2024

how to cite an essay in apa format

In the realm of academic writing, mastering various styles of organization and formatting is imperative for achieving excellence. Each style brings its own unique characteristics, demanding meticulous attention to detail.

Through this guide, students will gain a deep understanding of how to effectively navigate the intricacies of writing in APA format, ensuring originality and adherence to scholarly standards.

Deciphering APA Format for Essays

The American Psychological Association (APA) introduced its distinctive style for formatting articles and academic papers, laying out its foundations in the seminal Publication Manual first published in 1929. Since then, the APA standards have evolved, culminating in the current 7th edition, which serves as the definitive guide for disciplines ranging from Psychology to Education and beyond. APA style has become ubiquitous, particularly in medical journals, educational literature, and related fields, reflecting its broad applicability and influence.

Navigating the Nuances of APA Format

The 7th edition of APA standards offers comprehensive guidance on various facets of academic writing, including:

  • Margin and spacing protocols
  • Structural organization of content
  • Implementation of author-date citation
  • Compilation of a meticulously curated reference list

Embracing the Essence of APA Style

Mastering APA format entails adhering to a set of rigorous guidelines, such as utilizing Times New Roman as the standard font, maintaining uniform one-inch margins or larger, and ensuring consistent double-spacing throughout the document. Moreover, punctilious attention to punctuation rules is paramount, necessitating continuous reference to the latest edition of the APA Manual for accurate formatting.

Demystifying APA Outline Format

A standard APA essay encompasses a multifaceted structure, comprising essential components such as:

  • Concluding remarks

While each element is indispensable, their content may vary depending on the subject matter, disciplinary norms, or institutional requirements, thereby fostering a dynamic and adaptable approach to academic writing.

Essential Elements of the Cover Page

The cover page serves as the gateway to the essay, encapsulating vital information including the page header, title, author’s name, and institutional affiliation. Adhering to departmental guidelines and referencing sample cover pages, if available, is instrumental in ensuring compliance with requisite standards.

Optimizing Page Header Formatting

The page header, restricted to 50 characters including spaces, should be meticulously aligned, with the page number elegantly positioned on the right-hand side of each page, thereby imbuing the document with a sense of coherence and professionalism.

Harnessing the Power of Headings and Subheadings

Headings serve as navigational signposts, facilitating the seamless segmentation of content and enhancing readability. APA essay headings are categorized into five distinct levels, each characterized by specific formatting guidelines delineated in the APA instructions, thereby fostering clarity and coherence in scholarly discourse.

Unveiling the Significance of the Abstract

The abstract constitutes a concise synopsis of the essay, encapsulating its core tenets, research methodology, and key findings within a succinct word limit, typically comprising approximately 200 words or 10% of the total word count, thereby providing readers with a succinct yet comprehensive overview of the paper’s central themes and contributions to scholarship.

Structuring the Essay Body for Optimal Impact

Adhering to APA guidelines for body paragraphs entails meticulous attention to detail, encompassing proper indentation, section headers, and pagination, thereby fostering coherence and clarity in scholarly discourse. Moreover, adherence to prescribed formatting conventions ensures that the essay exudes professionalism and rigor, thereby enhancing its credibility and scholarly appeal.

Navigating the Terrain of Tables and Figures

Tables and figures serve as invaluable aids in elucidating complex concepts and enhancing comprehension, provided they are seamlessly integrated into the text and imbued with substantive relevance. Accordingly, tables and figures should be formatted with precision and clarity, with clear numbering, titles, and relevance to the overarching narrative, thereby enhancing the essay’s efficacy as a vehicle for scholarly communication and knowledge dissemination.

Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Writing in APA Format

To optimize the efficacy and impact of the essay, consider the following tips:

  • Familiarize yourself with the latest edition of the APA Manual or relevant guidelines.
  • Craft a meticulously detailed cover page that adheres to prescribed formatting standards.
  • Employ hierarchical headings to delineate the structure of the essay and enhance readability.
  • Integrate quotations judiciously, adhering to APA formatting guidelines and ensuring seamless integration into the broader narrative.
  • Compile the reference list meticulously, adhering to standard conventions and arranging sources alphabetically by authors’ last names.
  • Proofread the entire document rigorously, correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting to ensure maximal clarity and professionalism.
  • Seek feedback from peers or mentors to identify and address any weaknesses in the content or structure of the essay, thereby fostering continuous improvement and refinement in scholarly discourse.

By embracing these strategies and guidelines, writers can navigate the intricacies of APA format with confidence and precision, thereby enhancing the efficacy and impact of their scholarly contributions. For additional support and guidance, consider utilizing resources such as Aithor, our college essay generator , to streamline the writing process and optimize scholarly output.

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APA Sample Paper

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Note:  This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style  can be found here .

Media Files: APA Sample Student Paper  ,  APA Sample Professional Paper

This resource is enhanced by Acrobat PDF files. Download the free Acrobat Reader

Note: The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition specifies different formatting conventions for student  and  professional  papers (i.e., papers written for credit in a course and papers intended for scholarly publication). These differences mostly extend to the title page and running head. Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper.

However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in  student style and one in  professional  style.

Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples. Those authored by [AF] denote explanations of formatting and [AWC] denote directions for writing and citing in APA 7. 

APA 7 Student Paper:

Apa 7 professional paper:.

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🤔 What is a Harvard Referencing Generator?

A Harvard Referencing Generator is a tool that automatically generates formatted academic references in the Harvard style.

It takes in relevant details about a source -- usually critical information like author names, article titles, publish dates, and URLs -- and adds the correct punctuation and formatting required by the Harvard referencing style.

The generated references can be copied into a reference list or bibliography, and then collectively appended to the end of an academic assignment. This is the standard way to give credit to sources used in the main body of an assignment.

👩‍🎓 Who uses a Harvard Referencing Generator?

Harvard is the main referencing style at colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is also very popular in other English-speaking countries such as South Africa, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. University-level students in these countries are most likely to use a Harvard generator to aid them with their undergraduate assignments (and often post-graduate too).

🙌 Why should I use a Harvard Referencing Generator?

A Harvard Referencing Generator solves two problems:

  • It provides a way to organise and keep track of the sources referenced in the content of an academic paper.
  • It ensures that references are formatted correctly -- inline with the Harvard referencing style -- and it does so considerably faster than writing them out manually.

A well-formatted and broad bibliography can account for up to 20% of the total grade for an undergraduate-level project, and using a generator tool can contribute significantly towards earning them.

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's Harvard Referencing Generator?

Here's how to use our reference generator:

  • If citing a book, website, journal, or video: enter the URL or title into the search bar at the top of the page and press the search button.
  • Choose the most relevant results from the list of search results.
  • Our generator will automatically locate the source details and format them in the correct Harvard format. You can make further changes if required.
  • Then either copy the formatted reference directly into your reference list by clicking the 'copy' button, or save it to your MyBib account for later.

MyBib supports the following for Harvard style:

🍏 What other versions of Harvard referencing exist?

There isn't "one true way" to do Harvard referencing, and many universities have their own slightly different guidelines for the style. Our generator can adapt to handle the following list of different Harvard styles:

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Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

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how to cite an essay in apa format

How to Cite the Bible in APA

Adam Stone

Table of Contents

The Bible is a collection of religious books frequently used to reference different types of academic papers. Biblical references are mandatory when carrying out research or composing theology papers. You can use the guidelines of the APA 7 th edition to cite the Bible, which includes citing translated versions, online sources, and also printed editions. 

This article provides great insights on how to cite the Bible in APA 7 th edition. Learn the basic rules for citing the Bible in APA and get inspiration from the examples we provide.

How to Cite the Bible in APA 7th Edition

Citing the Bible in APA is similar to citing a book. However, there are some specific rules you must follow when citing Bible texts. It is imperative to note that the Bible is considered a collection of books without an author. Thus, you should cite the Bible texts and references according to the specific version that was used. The Bible version acts as the title of your citation. Also, ensure you add the precise text location, whether you intend to use it as a paraphrase, quote or summary. 

Keep in mind that the Bible has primary and secondary sources; the printed Bible version is considered the primary version, while others are secondary. As stated above, citations depend on the Bible version in question. So, let us review APA Bible citation s for different versions. 

Printed Bible Version

If you want to cite a printed version, ensure you write the name of the Bible version in italics, followed by the particular book, chapter, and verse(s) you want to cite. 

In-text citation: “ I am the bread of life” (King James Version, 2011, John 6.35).

Reference list: King James Version. (2011). Christian Publishers. (Original Year of Publication)

Translated Bible Version 

In this case, you must include the translator’s name after the Bible version in the reference list. Then, include the year of publication and the publisher’s name. 

Reference list: New International Version (Translator B.K. Smith, Trans. (2009). Christian Publishers.

Online Source

You can also cite a Bible on a website or any other online source by adding the URL. 

In-text citation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (New International Version, 1973/2011, Proverbs 3:4-6).

Reference list: Bible Version . Year of publication. Publisher/Website Name. URL (Original Work Published Year)

New International Version. (2011). Biblica. (URL). 1973

APA Bible Citation : Biblical Abbreviations

Mastering how to cite the Bible in APA format is simple if you understand the rules. Below are essential rules for in-text bible citations:

  • Add the name of the Bible version or translation you are citing. 
  • Include an abbreviated Bible title.
  • Write the abbreviated title in italics. 
  • Use a colon to separate the chapter from the verse. 

In-text citation: “I am the bread of life” ( King James Version, 2011, John 6:35).

Paraphrase: According to the King James Version, Jesus declared that he is the bread of life (John 6:35).

Original Publication Dates

When you want to cite a traditional Bible version, you will reference the modern reprint instead of the original version. The first date in the citation represents the year of reprint, while the original year of publication will be at the end of the reference list. 

In contrast, the order is reversed for in-text citations. The original year of publication is cited first, then the year of the reprint, with a slash separating the dates. 

Here are examples of the in-text citation and reference list structures:

Suppose you want to quote or paraphrase a specific excerpt from a verse. In that case, you should include the Bible version, year(s) (ensure you add the original year of publication, include a slash, and the year of the publication of the version you are using), chapter, and verse. 

“Let the little children come to me” (New International Version, 1973/2011, Mark 10:14).

(Bible Version name, Year, Name of Chapter: Verse)

  • Reference List

Bible Version. (Year). Publisher. (Original Publication year)

New International Version (2011). Christian Publishers. (1973)

Learning how to quote the Bible in APA can be challenging, but with practice and understanding the rules, you will become a pro. 

If you need further assistance, talk to us and experience a fulfilling academic journey. 

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  1. How to Cite in APA Format (7th edition)

    On the first line of the page, write the section label "References" (in bold and centered). On the second line, start listing your references in alphabetical order. Apply these formatting guidelines to the APA reference page: Double spacing (within and between references) Hanging indent of ½ inch.

  2. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    Basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper Author/Authors Rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors that apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.)

  3. In-Text Citations: The Basics

    When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

  4. The Complete Guide to APA Format in 2020

    There are several steps you must take to prepare a new document for APA style before you start writing your paper: Make sure the paper size is 8.5" x 11" (known as 'Letter' in most word processors). Set the margin size to 1" on all sides (2.54cm). Change the line spacing to double-spaced. Add page numbers to the top-right corner of every page.

  5. General Format

    General APA Guidelines. Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides. Include a page header (also known as the "running head") at the top of every page. For a professional paper, this includes your paper title and the page number. For a student paper, this only includes the ...

  6. APA Style, 7th Edition

    Formatting Your In-Text Citations. Parenthetical and Narrative Citations: (See APA Section 8.11) In APA style you use the author-date citation system for citing references within your paper. You incorporate these references using either a parenthetical or a narrative style. Parenthetical Citations

  7. APA Referencing (7th Ed.) Quick Guide

    APA in-text citations The basics. In-text citations are brief references in the running text that direct readers to the reference entry at the end of the paper. You include them every time you quote or paraphrase someone else's ideas or words.. An APA in-text citation consists of the author's last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system).

  8. How to Cite Sources in APA Citation Format

    How to Cite an Edited Book in APA Format. This reference format is very similar to the book format apart from one extra inclusion: (Ed(s)). The basic format is as follows: Edited book example: Williams, S.T. (Ed.). (2015). Referencing: A guide to citation rules (3rd ed.). New York, NY: My Publisher . How to Cite a Chapter in an Edited Book in ...

  9. Basic principles of citation

    The following are guidelines to follow when writing in-text citations: Ensure that the spelling of author names and the publication dates in reference list entries match those in the corresponding in-text citations. Cite only works that you have read and ideas that you have incorporated into your writing. The works you cite may provide key ...

  10. APA Format: Everything You Need to Know Here

    Read through our example essay in APA format, found in section D, to see how we've reduced bias and labels. Spelling in APA Format. ... For more information on APA citation format, check out this page on the topic: APA parenthetical citation and APA in-text citation. There is also more information in the official manual in chapter 8.

  11. A step-by-step guide for creating and formatting APA Style student papers

    This article walks through the formatting steps needed to create an APA Style student paper, starting with a basic setup that applies to the entire paper (margins, font, line spacing, paragraph alignment and indentation, and page headers). It then covers formatting for the major sections of a student paper: the title page, the text, tables and ...

  12. PDF Student Paper Setup Guide, APA Style 7th Edition

    7th Edition. Student Paper Setup Guide. This guide will help you set up an APA Style student paper. The basic setup directions apply to the entire paper. Annotated diagrams illustrate how to set up the major sections of a student paper: the title page or cover page, the text, tables and figures, and the reference list. Basic Setup.

  13. APA Essay Format: How to Write a Successful APA Essay

    If the essay is in a chapter of a book, edited collection, or anthology, APA format states that you should cite the last name, first name, title of essay, title of collection, publisher, year, and page range. For example: Smith, John, "The Light House," A Book of Poems, editing by Peter Roberts, Allworth Press, 2005, pp. 20-25.

  14. How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in APA

    Citing a published dissertation or thesis from a database. If a thesis or dissertation has been published and is found on a database, then follow the structure below. It's similar to the format for an unpublished dissertation/thesis, but with a few differences: Structure: Author's last name, F. M. (Year published).

  15. Quotations

    If the quotation precedes the narrative citation, put the page number or location information after the year and a comma. If the citation appears at the end of a sentence, put the end punctuation after the closing parenthesis for the citation. If the quotation includes citations, see Section 8.32 of the Publication Manual.

  16. Citing in APA 7th Style

    This American Psychological Association tutorial introduces students to APA Style, including formatting papers, citing sources, and references. TITLE PAGE. For student papers, the first page of an APA style paper is the title page. This should include in order: Title of paper, capitalized.

  17. How to Cite a Website in APA Style

    Revised on January 17, 2024. APA website citations usually include the author, the publication date, the title of the page or article, the website name, and the URL. If there is no author, start the citation with the title of the article. If the page is likely to change over time, add a retrieval date. If you are citing an online version of a ...

  18. APA Reference Page: How to Format Works Cited

    3.6. ( 160) In APA, the "Works Cited" page is referred to as a "Reference List" or "Reference Page." "Bibliography" also may be used interchangeably, even though there are some differences between the two. If you are at the point in your article or research paper where you are looking up APA bibliography format, then ...

  19. APA Journal Citation: 7 Types, In-Text Rules, & Examples

    Here are some specifics of the APA citation format for a journal article: Write the title of the article in the sentence case (capitalize only the first word and proper nouns). Write the title of the journal in the title case and mention the volume number after adding a comma. Don't italicize the comma between the journal title and volume ...

  20. APA Format

    The APA format is a widely used style for writing academic papers, developed by the American Psychological Association. It provides guidelines for formatting documents, citing sources, and structuring content.APA format is commonly used in the social sciences, education, and psychology. Key features include in-text citations, a reference list, and specific rules for headings, margins, and font.

  21. Paper format

    To format a paper in APA Style, writers can typically use the default settings and automatic formatting tools of their word-processing program or make only minor adjustments. The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create ...

  22. Crafting an Essay in APA Style: A Comprehensive Guide

    To optimize the efficacy and impact of the essay, consider the following tips: Familiarize yourself with the latest edition of the APA Manual or relevant guidelines. Craft a meticulously detailed ...

  23. APA Sample Paper

    Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper. However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in student style and one in professional style. Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples.

  24. Free Harvard Referencing Generator [Updated for 2024]

    A Harvard Referencing Generator is a tool that automatically generates formatted academic references in the Harvard style. It takes in relevant details about a source -- usually critical information like author names, article titles, publish dates, and URLs -- and adds the correct punctuation and formatting required by the Harvard referencing ...

  25. Sample papers

    These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types. Students may write the same types of papers as professional authors (e.g., quantitative studies, literature reviews) or other types of papers for course assignments (e.g., reaction or response papers, discussion posts), dissertations, and theses.

  26. Ace Your Graduation Speech with Aithor

    What is an MLA Style Essay? An MLA format essay is a piece of writing created in accordance with the MLA Style Handbook. This guide was developed by the Modern Language Association, the leading profe... May 6, 2024 How to Write an Essay in APA Format. There are a few styles of organizing and formatting material in an academic essay.

  27. How to Cite a Website

    Citing a website in MLA Style. An MLA Works Cited entry for a webpage lists the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the site (in italics), the date of publication, and the URL. The in-text citation usually just lists the author's name. For a long page, you may specify a (shortened) section heading to ...

  28. How to Cite the Bible in APA style

    Add the name of the Bible version or translation you are citing. Include an abbreviated Bible title. Write the abbreviated title in italics. Use a colon to separate the chapter from the verse. Example: In-text citation: "I am the bread of life" (King James Version, 2011, John 6:35).