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How to Cite a Research Paper in APA

Last Updated: October 19, 2022 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 160,136 times. Learn more...

If you’re citing a research article or paper in APA style, you’ll need to use a specific citation format that varies depending on the source. Assess whether your source is an article or report published in an academic journal or book, or whether it is an unpublished research paper, such as a print-only thesis or dissertation. Either way, your in-text citations will need to include information about the author (if available) and the date when your source was published or written.

Sample Citations

how to cite apa style research paper

Writing an In-Text Citation

Step 1 Name the author and the publication date in-text before a quote.

  • For example, you may write, “Gardener (2008) notes, ‘There are several factors to consider about lobsters’ (p. 199).”

Step 2 Include the author’s last name in the citation if you don’t list it in-text.

  • For example, you may write, “‘There are several factors to consider about lobsters’ (Gardner, 2008, p. 199).” Or, “The paper claims, ‘The fallen angel trope is common in religious and non-religious texts’ (Meek & Hill, 2015, p.13-14).”
  • For articles with 3-5 authors, write out the names of all the authors the first time you cite the source. For example: (Hammett, Wooster, Smith, & Charles, 1928). In subsequent citations, write only the first author’s name, followed by et al.: (Hammett et al., 1928).
  • If there are 6 or more authors for the paper, include the last name of the first author listed and then write "et al." to indicate that there are more than 5 authors.
  • For example, you may write, "'This is a quote' (Minaj et al., 1997, p. 45)."

Step 3 Write the name of the organization if there is no author.

  • For example, you may write, “‘The risk of cervical cancer in women is rising’ (American Cancer Society, 2012, p. 2).”

Step 4 Use 1-4 words from the title in quotation marks if there is no author or organization.

  • For example, you may write, “‘Shakespeare may have been a woman’ (“Radical English Literature,” 2004, p. 45).” Or, “The paper notes, ‘There is a boom in Virgin Mary imagery’ (“Art History in Italy,” 2011, p. 32).”

Step 5 Include the year of publication for the paper.

  • For example, you may write, “‘There are several factors to consider about lobsters’ (Gardner, 2008, p. 199).” Or, “The paper claims, ‘The fallen angel trope is common in religious and non-religious texts’ (“Iconography in Italian Frescos,” 2015, p.13-14).”

Step 6 Use “n.d.”

  • For example, you may write, “‘There are several factors to consider about lobsters’ (Gardner, 2008, p. 199).” Or, “The paper claims, ‘The fallen angel trope is common in religious and non-religious texts’ (“Iconography in Italian Frescos,” 2015, p.145-146).”

Step 8 Use “para.”

  • For example, you may write, “‘The effects of food deprivation are long-term’ (Mett, 2005, para. 18).”

Creating a Reference List Citation for a Published Source

  • Material on websites is also considered “published,” even if it’s not peer-reviewed or associated with a formal publishing company.
  • While academic dissertations or theses that are print-only are considered unpublished, these types of documents are considered published if they’re included in an online database (such as ProQuest) or incorporated into an institutional repository.

Step 2 Note the author of the paper by last name and first 2 initials.

  • For example, you may write, “Gardner, L. M.” Or, “Meek, P. Q., Kendrick, L. H., & Hill, R. W.”
  • If there is no author, you can list the name of the organization that published the research paper. For example, you may write, “American Cancer Society” or “The Reading Room.”
  • Formally published documents that don’t list an author or that have a corporate author are typically reports or white papers .

Step 3 Include the year the paper was published in parentheses, followed by a period.

  • For example, you may write, “Gardner, L. M. (2008).” Or, “American Cancer Society. (2015).”

Step 4 List the title of the paper.

  • For example, you may write, “Gardner, L. M. (2008). Crustaceans: Research and data.” Or, “American Cancer Society. (2015). Cervical cancer rates in women ages 20-45.”

Step 5 Note the title of the publication in which the paper appears.

  • For example, for a journal article, you may write, “Gardner, L. M. (2008). Crustaceans: Research and data. Modern Journal of Malacostracan Research, 25, 150-305.”
  • For a book chapter, you could write: “Wooster, B. W. (1937). A comparative study of modern Dutch cow creamers. In T. E. Travers (Ed.), A Detailed History of Tea Serviceware (pp. 127-155). London: Wimble Press."

Step 6 Include the website where you retrieved the paper if it is web-based.

  • For example, you may write, “Kotb, M. A., Kamal, A. M., Aldossary, N. M., & Bedewi, M. A. (2019). Effect of vitamin D replacement on depression in multiple sclerosis patients. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 29, 111-117. Retrieved from PubMed, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30708308.
  • If you’re citing a paper or article that was published online but did not come from an academic journal or database, provide information about the author (if known), the date of publication (if available), and the website where you found the article. For example: “Hill, M. (n.d.). Egypt in the Ptolemaic Period. Retrieved from https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/ptol/hd_ptol.htm”

Citing Unpublished Sources in Your Reference List

Step 1 Determine that your source is unpublished.

  • Print-only dissertations or theses.
  • Articles or book chapters that are in press or have been recently prepared or submitted for publication.
  • Papers that have been rejected for publication or were never intended for publication (such as student research papers or unpublished conference papers).

Step 2 Indicate the status of papers that are in the process of publication.

  • If the paper is currently being prepared for publication, include the author’s name, the year when the current draft was completed, and the title of the article in italics, followed by “Manuscript in preparation.” For example: Wooster, B. W. (1932). What the well-dressed man is wearing. Manuscript in preparation.
  • If the paper has been submitted for publication, format the citation the same way as if it were in preparation, but instead follow the title with “Manuscript submitted for publication.” For example: Wooster, B. W. (1932). What the well-dressed man is wearing. Manuscript submitted for publication.
  • If the paper has been accepted for publication but is not yet published, replace the date with “in press.” Do not italicize the paper title, but do include the title of the periodical or book in which it will be published and italicize that. For example: Wooster, B. W. (in press). What the well-dressed man is wearing. Milady’s Boudoir.

Step 3 Note the status of papers that were never intended for publication.

  • If the paper was written for a conference but never published, your citation should look like this: Riker, W. T. (2019, March). Traditional methods for the preparation of spiny lobe-fish. Paper presented at the 325th Annual Intergalactic Culinary Conference, San Francisco, CA.
  • For an unpublished paper written by a student for a class, include details about the institution where the paper was written. For example: Crusher, B. H. (2019). A typology of Cardassian skin diseases. Unpublished manuscript, Department of External Medicine, Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, CA.

Step 4 Clarify the status of unpublished dissertations and theses.

  • For example, you may write, “Pendlebottom, R. H. (2011). Iconography in Italian Frescos (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). New York University, New York, United States.”

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • If you want certain information to stand out in the research paper, then you can consider using a block quote. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to cite apa style research paper

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Cite the WHO in APA

  • ↑ https://libraryguides.vu.edu.au/apa-referencing/7JournalArticles
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_author_authors.html
  • ↑ https://bowvalleycollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=714519&p=5093747
  • ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
  • ↑ https://libguides.southernct.edu/c.php?g=7125&p=34582#1951239
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_electronic_sources.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_articles_in_periodicals.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_books.html
  • ↑ https://morlingcollege.libguides.com/apareferencing/unpublished-or-informally-published-work
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_apa_faqs.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_other_print_sources.html

About This Article

wikiHow Staff

To cite a research paper in-text in APA, name the author in the text to introduce the quote and put the publication date for the text in parentheses. At the end of your quote, put the page number in parentheses. If you don’t mention the author in your prose, include them in the citation. Start the citation, which should come at the end of the quote, by listing the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page number. Make sure to put all of this information in parentheses. If there’s no author, use the name of the organization that published the paper or the first few words from the title. To learn how to cite published and unpublished sources in your reference list, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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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
  • Annotated Bibliographies
  • 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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  • Next: Chicago Style >>
  • Last Updated: May 1, 2024 2:04 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.mjc.edu/citeyoursources

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 and CC BY-NC 4.0 Licenses .

APA Style 7th Edition: Citing Your Sources

Apa 7th edition, what is the purpose, quick links.

  • In Text Quick View
  • Block Quotes
  • Books & eBooks
  • Thesis/Dissertation
  • Audiovisual
  • Conference Presentations
  • Social Media
  • Legal References
  • Reports and Gray Literature
  • Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
  • Additional Resources
  • Reference Page

APA Publications in the Library

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This guide pertains to the 7th edition of the APA Manual.

This guide is designed to support the citation and reference needs of USC students, staff, and faculty.  The 7th edition of the manual does make distinctions between formatting certain components for academic use over publication.  This guide will distinguish student/academic formatting where applicable. 

This guide is designed as a "quick" reference to common APA citation, reference and formatting criteria.  When in doubt, we encourage users to consult with the APA publication manual or APA website for further clarification as the authority on formatting.

Attribution for guide: Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed).  https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

What is the purpose of citations?

Citations help readers locate your sources. They help to continue the scholarly conversation. To learn more about how citations can help you avoid plagiarism, view this interactive tutorial: 

USC Library Lessons: Avoiding Plagiarism through Citations

When considering citations and references for your papers, you can ask yourself, "could someone find this information in the future?"

A client's personal file would not need a citation because your reader cannot go find that information again.  Census statistics would require a citation because your reader could go locate that information again.

APA requires FOUR ELEMENTS of every citation:

  • Who- Author of content
  • When- Date content was published
  • What- Title of content
  • Where- Publication information. This can be the website you got it from or the journal or book's publication information.

If any of the elements listed above are unavailable, check out "Missing Reference Information" from APA for more information.

USC login required

  • APA Style Website As part of our Style and Grammar Guidelines, we explain the basics of paper format, grammar, punctuation, in-text citations, references, bias-free language, and more. Much of what you used to find on the sixth edition blog, you can now find on the APA Style website.
  • Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper by Robert V. Labaree Last Updated May 15, 2024 675233 views this year
  • Owl Purdue 7th Edition Style Guide and Formatting Writing guide from Owl Purdue covering the 7th edition of the APA Manual
  • Quick Reference Guide Quick guide on how to identify components to configure a reference for Journal article, book, and chapter from an edited book.
  • Annotated Sample Student Paper Sample student paper with formatting annotations.
  • Sample student paper
  • Annotated Sample Professional Paper Sample professional paper with formatting annotations
  • Sample professional paper
  • USC Libraries APA Style Quick Guide
  • Next: In Text Citations >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 22, 2024 9:37 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/APA7th

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APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction

  • Introduction
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine/Newspaper Articles
  • Books & Ebooks
  • Government & Legal Documents
  • Biblical Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Films/Videos/TV Shows
  • How to Cite: Other
  • Additional Help

Who Should Use APA Style?

APA style is used by social science disciplines such as communication studies, economics, education, psychology, and sociology; it is also used by business and nursing.

What is APA Style?

APA style, created by the American Psychological Association, is a set of rules for formatting manuscripts, including research papers.

In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  • In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation .
  • In the References list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
  • APA 7th ed. Sample Paper
  • APA Style Paper template (Microsoft Word)
  • APA 7th. ed. Journal Article Reference Checklist
  • APA 7th. ed. Student Paper Checklist

APA Style Guide (7th Edition)

how to cite apa style research paper

Four Elements of a Reference

A reference generally has these four elements: author, date, title, and source. Each element answers a question and is listed in your citation in the following order:

  • author : Who is responsible for this work?
  • date : When was this work published?
  • title : What is the work called?
  • source : Where can I retrieve this work?

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APA Citation Style, 7th edition: APA

General Style Guidelines

  • One Author or Editor
  • Two Authors or Editors
  • Three to Five Authors or Editors
  • Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
  • Article in a Reference Book
  • Edition other than the First
  • Translation
  • Government Publication
  • Journal Article with 1 Author
  • Journal Article with 2 Authors
  • Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
  • Journal Article 21 or more Authors
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Basic Web Page
  • Web page from a University site
  • Web Page with No Author
  • Entry in a Reference Work
  • Government Document
  • Film and Television
  • Youtube Video
  • Audio Podcast
  • Electronic Image
  • Twitter/Instagram
  • Lecture/PPT
  • Conferences
  • Secondary Sources
  • Citation Support
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Formatting Your Paper

Helpful Tip!

How do I cite an article I found using an iPhone, Android, or computer-based app? It doesn't matter on what device you read the article, but providing the reader a direct path to the " original " source of the material.

Remember - the "app" is not the source of the article - the "journal" is your source. Cite it as you would any journal article.  

APA's Official Resources

  • APA - A Complete Resource for Writing and Publishing in the Social and Behavioral Sciences The official online APA publication.
  • APA tutorial
  • APA website
  • APA Style and Grammar Guidelines
  • Digital Object Identifier (DOI) website
  • Official APA blog Provides clarification and corrections related to information in the APA manual.
  • Sample APA Papers From the official APA website.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

What is a DOI? A DOI ( digital object identifier ) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the internet. 

NOTE: It is regarded as the most important part of the citation because it will accurately direct users to the specific article.

Think of it as a "digital fingerprint" or an article's DNA!

The rules for DOIs have been updated in the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. They should be included as URLs, rather than just the alphanumeric string.

Correct:  

  • http://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
  • http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-12-114

Incorrect:     

  • doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
  • Retrieved from http://doi:10.1186/1471-2288-12-114
  • FREE DOI Look-up (Cross-Ref)
  • DOI System: FAQ
  • Looking up a DOI
  • DOI Flowchart

Getting Started!

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American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers in science, medical, public health, health sciences and nursing as well as the social science.

 The purpose of documentation is to:

  • Identify ( cite ) other people’s ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.
  • Indicate the authors or sources of these in a References list at the end of your paper.

This guide is based on the APA Manual (7th ed.) that was published in 2020. 

The following sections provide you with information and examples that will help you to cite the sources that you come across during your research. 

Journal/Magazine Articles

Audiovisual Media

Figures/Images

Other Sources

For more examples and information, consult the following publications:

Cover Art

How & When to Cite - GW Writing Center

The Dos and Don'ts of Paraphrasing - GW Writing Center

What is RefWorks?

What is refworks.

RefWorks is an online research management, writing, and collaboration tool designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share references.

Use RefWorks to

  • quickly generate bibliographies in any citation style format. (APA*, AMA, MLA, and more!),
  • create & organize your own personal database of references,
  • import references directly from databases, journals, or the library catalog, and
  • share your RefWorks folder of reference and easily collaborate on group projects.

New Users: Getting Started!

  • Go to Himmelfarb Library's Homepage   
  • Under Other Resources Click RefWorks    
  • Select   "Create Refworks Account"  and complete the new user information form.
  • You will receive an email from RefWorks confirming your login username and password

Note: If asked to provide a Group Code, please contact the Himmelfarb Library ([email protected]).

*Tip:  Several APA 7th citation style versions are available in RefWorks. Watch this two-minute video to get tips on selecting the correct version for your needs. 

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APA Style (7th ed.)

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Why does APA even matter?

Click below to watch a video: .

video link for Why cite using APA style?

How to cite in APA Style (7th edition)

(Looking for the old 6th edition guide?)

Most academic writing cites others' ideas and research, for several reasons:

  • Sources that support your ideas give your paper authority and credibility
  • Shows you have researched your topic thoroughly
  • Crediting sources protects you from plagiarism
  • A list of sources can be a useful record for further research

Different academic disciplines prefer different citation styles, most commonly  APA and MLA styles. 

Besides these styles, there are  Chicago ,  Turabian ,  AAA ,  AP , and more. Only use the most current edition of the citation style.

Ask your instructors which citation style they want you to use for assignments.

Prefer an interactive, video-based tutorial? Click the image below:

link to APA tutorial: https://uww.libwizard.com/f/APA

More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog

When to cite.

To avoid plagiarism, provide a citation for ideas that are not your own:

  • Direct quotation
  • Paraphrasing of a quotation, passage, or idea
  • Summary of another's idea or research
  • Specific reference to a fact, figure, or phrase

You do not need to cite common knowledge (ex. George Washington was the first President of the United States) or proverbs unless you are using a direct quotation. When in doubt, cite your source.

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16.1: Formatting a Research Paper

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Learning Objectives

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style, the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style, from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract, or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred to one hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12, you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Exercise 1
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings”.

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings”, but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2”, begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11, the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Section 13.2 and Section 13.3 provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

writing at work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. (Section 13.3 provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

b561934bebfadaf7ee8c8da990644aac.jpg

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

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  • APA 7th Citation Style  
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  • APA Style (official APA website with detailed FAQs and examples)
  • APA Style Blog  Detailed answers to specific questions provided by experts
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  • Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (print version)

In-Text Citations

"In-text citation" means that you refer to (or cite) the ideas or words of another as soon as you write about them in your paper. There are several ways to do this: using quotation marks for exact words, summarizing or condensing without changing the meaning, and paraphrasing or using your own words.

Here are specific examples of ways to handle in-text citation in both APA and MLA format.

APA7th In-Text Citation Basics (Purdue OWL)

APA 7th In-Text Citations Specific Examples (Purdue OWL)

MLA In-Text Citation Basics and Examples (Purdue OWL)

Brief Examples of Quoting, Summarizing and Paraphrasing Using MLA (UCLA Library)

Structuring Your Paper: Advice and Examples

Writing an Education Research Paper (Boston College) (Brief discussion of typical parts of paper on education topics specifically.)

Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching: Components of a Research Paper   (Online tutorial in which the key components of a quality research paper are identified and discussed with videos and examples.)

Citation Managers: What are They and Why Use Them?

Citation Managers are bibliographic management programs that will help you keep track of articles and books as you find them, organize your references and create bibliographies in 100s of citation styles (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, etc.)

They will also allow you to:

  • Import citations as you research from databases and catalogs
  • Save and organize citations
  • Attach PDFs of articles, when available
  • Embed citations (footnotes or in-text) into your word processing documents
  • Collaborate with others online
  • Discover the latest research

The most popular citation managers are EndNote and Zotero. Below are their differences. Remember to always check with your professor if you are not sure.

EndNote  - Web version (EndNote Online or EndNote Basic) free to anyone; integrates with MS Word; the Instruction Labs at the University Library have the Cite-While-You-Write plug-in on Word for students to access their EndNote web accounts

Zotero  - Free to anyone; integrates with MS Word and/or Google Docs; must be installed on your own computer 

Zoterobib - Free to anyone; allows you to create an instant bibliography from your browser on any devices.

adapted from American University Library and Penn State University Libraries

EndNote: How-to Guides and Tutorials

  • EndNote FAQ (from EndNote website)
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  • EndNote LibGuide (Clarivate)
  • CSUN EndNote Help Page  
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Introduction to citations.

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This guide covers the three main citation styles you may be asked to use while attending Seattle University. Please review the examples and information, and if you need more support, see the Style Manuals provided by the library, either in print or ebook form. 

if you are looking for instructions on citing artworks, photographs, or visual media, check the Citing Artworks or Images  Section, sorted by citation style. 

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) Citation guides A somewhat out of date, but detailed guide to citations in all three major styles.

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Manual of Style:  This refers to a detailed guide to a particular citation style, such as the Chicago Manual of Style. These get updated regularly, so be sure to check with your professor which edition they want you to use for your assignments.

DOI:  Digital object identifier, which is a specific code that corresponds to a digital object like an article or ebook.

ORCID ID:  Similar to a DOI, the ORCID ID is a specific code that corresponds to a specific author/researcher. 

et al:  Means "and others" in latin. This is sometimes used in citations when there are more than a certain number of authors.

Citation:  A citation is a collection of information that tells your reader that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your reader all the information necessary to find the location of any source included in your reference list/bibliography/works cited.

Useful Differences between Citation Styles

Differences between APA, MLA, and Chicago:

APA:  The list of citations at the end is called a Reference List.

MLA : The list of citations at the end is called a Works Cited.

Chicago/Turabian:  The list of citations at the end is called a Bibliography.

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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:

  • Cite Them Right
  • Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
  • University of the West of England (UWE)

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

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Tables and Figures

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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 resources for the older APA 6 style  can be found at this page  as well as at this page (our old resources covered the material on this page on two separate pages).

The purpose of tables and figures in documents is to enhance your readers' understanding of the information in the document; usually, large amounts of information can be communicated more efficiently in tables or figures. Tables are any graphic that uses a row and column structure to organize information, whereas figures include any illustration or image other than a table.

General guidelines

Visual material such as tables and figures can be used quickly and efficiently to present a large amount of information to an audience, but visuals must be used to assist communication, not to use up space, or disguise marginally significant results behind a screen of complicated statistics. Ask yourself this question first: Is the table or figure necessary? For example, it is better to present simple descriptive statistics in the text, not in a table.

Relation of Tables or Figures and Text

Because tables and figures supplement the text, refer in the text to all tables and figures used and explain what the reader should look for when using the table or figure. Focus only on the important point the reader should draw from them, and leave the details for the reader to examine on their own.

Documentation

If you are using figures, tables and/or data from other sources, be sure to gather all the information you will need to properly document your sources.

Integrity and Independence

Each table and figure must be intelligible without reference to the text, so be sure to include an explanation of every abbreviation (except the standard statistical symbols and abbreviations).

Organization, Consistency, and Coherence

Number all tables sequentially as you refer to them in the text (Table 1, Table 2, etc.), likewise for figures (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Abbreviations, terminology, and probability level values must be consistent across tables and figures in the same article. Likewise, formats, titles, and headings must be consistent. Do not repeat the same data in different tables.

Data in a table that would require only two or fewer columns and rows should be presented in the text. More complex data is better presented in tabular format. In order for quantitative data to be presented clearly and efficiently, it must be arranged logically, e.g. data to be compared must be presented next to one another (before/after, young/old, male/female, etc.), and statistical information (means, standard deviations, N values) must be presented in separate parts of the table. If possible, use canonical forms (such as ANOVA, regression, or correlation) to communicate your data effectively.

This image shows a table with multiple notes formatted in APA 7 style.

A generic example of a table with multiple notes formatted in APA 7 style.

Elements of Tables

Number all tables with Arabic numerals sequentially. Do not use suffix letters (e.g. Table 3a, 3b, 3c); instead, combine the related tables. If the manuscript includes an appendix with tables, identify them with capital letters and Arabic numerals (e.g. Table A1, Table B2).

Like the title of the paper itself, each table must have a clear and concise title. Titles should be written in italicized title case below the table number, with a blank line between the number and the title. When appropriate, you may use the title to explain an abbreviation parenthetically.

Comparison of Median Income of Adopted Children (AC) v. Foster Children (FC)

Keep headings clear and brief. The heading should not be much wider than the widest entry in the column. Use of standard abbreviations can aid in achieving that goal. There are several types of headings:

  • Stub headings describe the lefthand column, or stub column , which usually lists major independent variables.
  • Column headings describe entries below them, applying to just one column.
  • Column spanners are headings that describe entries below them, applying to two or more columns which each have their own column heading. Column spanners are often stacked on top of column headings and together are called decked heads .
  • Table Spanners cover the entire width of the table, allowing for more divisions or combining tables with identical column headings. They are the only type of heading that may be plural.

All columns must have headings, written in sentence case and using singular language (Item rather than Items) unless referring to a group (Men, Women). Each column’s items should be parallel (i.e., every item in a column labeled “%” should be a percentage and does not require the % symbol, since it’s already indicated in the heading). Subsections within the stub column can be shown by indenting headings rather than creating new columns:

Chemical Bonds

     Ionic

     Covalent

     Metallic

The body is the main part of the table, which includes all the reported information organized in cells (intersections of rows and columns). Entries should be center aligned unless left aligning them would make them easier to read (longer entries, usually). Word entries in the body should use sentence case. Leave cells blank if the element is not applicable or if data were not obtained; use a dash in cells and a general note if it is necessary to explain why cells are blank.   In reporting the data, consistency is key: Numerals should be expressed to a consistent number of decimal places that is determined by the precision of measurement. Never change the unit of measurement or the number of decimal places in the same column.

There are three types of notes for tables: general, specific, and probability notes. All of them must be placed below the table in that order.

General  notes explain, qualify or provide information about the table as a whole. Put explanations of abbreviations, symbols, etc. here.

Example:  Note . The racial categories used by the US Census (African-American, Asian American, Latinos/-as, Native-American, and Pacific Islander) have been collapsed into the category “non-White.” E = excludes respondents who self-identified as “White” and at least one other “non-White” race.

Specific  notes explain, qualify or provide information about a particular column, row, or individual entry. To indicate specific notes, use superscript lowercase letters (e.g.  a ,  b ,  c ), and order the superscripts from left to right, top to bottom. Each table’s first footnote must be the superscript  a .

a  n = 823.  b  One participant in this group was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the survey.

Probability  notes provide the reader with the results of the tests for statistical significance. Asterisks indicate the values for which the null hypothesis is rejected, with the probability ( p value) specified in the probability note. Such notes are required only when relevant to the data in the table. Consistently use the same number of asterisks for a given alpha level throughout your paper.

* p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001

If you need to distinguish between two-tailed and one-tailed tests in the same table, use asterisks for two-tailed p values and an alternate symbol (such as daggers) for one-tailed p values.

* p < .05, two-tailed. ** p < .01, two-tailed. † p <.05, one-tailed. †† p < .01, one-tailed.

Borders 

Tables should only include borders and lines that are needed for clarity (i.e., between elements of a decked head, above column spanners, separating total rows, etc.). Do not use vertical borders, and do not use borders around each cell. Spacing and strict alignment is typically enough to clarify relationships between elements.

This image shows an example of a table presented in the text of an APA 7 paper.

Example of a table in the text of an APA 7 paper. Note the lack of vertical borders.

Tables from Other Sources

If using tables from an external source, copy the structure of the original exactly, and cite the source in accordance with  APA style .

Table Checklist

(Taken from the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th ed., Section 7.20)

  • Is the table necessary?
  • Does it belong in the print and electronic versions of the article, or can it go in an online supplemental file?
  • Are all comparable tables presented consistently?
  • Are all tables numbered with Arabic numerals in the order they are mentioned in the text? Is the table number bold and left-aligned?
  • Are all tables referred to in the text?
  • Is the title brief but explanatory? Is it presented in italicized title case and left-aligned?
  • Does every column have a column heading? Are column headings centered?
  • Are all abbreviations; special use of italics, parentheses, and dashes; and special symbols explained?
  • Are the notes organized according to the convention of general, specific, probability?
  • Are table borders correctly used (top and bottom of table, beneath column headings, above table spanners)?
  • Does the table use correct line spacing (double for the table number, title, and notes; single, one and a half, or double for the body)?
  • Are entries in the left column left-aligned beneath the centered stub heading? Are all other column headings and cell entries centered?
  • Are confidence intervals reported for all major point estimates?
  • Are all probability level values correctly identified, and are asterisks attached to the appropriate table entries? Is a probability level assigned the same number of asterisks in all the tables in the same document?
  • If the table or its data are from another source, is the source properly cited? Is permission necessary to reproduce the table?

Figures include all graphical displays of information that are not tables. Common types include graphs, charts, drawings, maps, plots, and photos. Just like tables, figures should supplement the text and should be both understandable on their own and referenced fully in the text. This section details elements of formatting writers must use when including a figure in an APA document, gives an example of a figure formatted in APA style, and includes a checklist for formatting figures.

Preparing Figures

In preparing figures, communication and readability must be the ultimate criteria. Avoid the temptation to use the special effects available in most advanced software packages. While three-dimensional effects, shading, and layered text may look interesting to the author, overuse, inconsistent use, and misuse may distort the data, and distract or even annoy readers. Design properly done is inconspicuous, almost invisible, because it supports communication. Design improperly, or amateurishly, done draws the reader’s attention from the data, and makes him or her question the author’s credibility. Line drawings are usually a good option for readability and simplicity; for photographs, high contrast between background and focal point is important, as well as cropping out extraneous detail to help the reader focus on the important aspects of the photo.

Parts of a Figure

All figures that are part of the main text require a number using Arabic numerals (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Numbers are assigned based on the order in which figures appear in the text and are bolded and left aligned.

Under the number, write the title of the figure in italicized title case. The title should be brief, clear, and explanatory, and both the title and number should be double spaced.

The image of the figure is the body, and it is positioned underneath the number and title. The image should be legible in both size and resolution; fonts should be sans serif, consistently sized, and between 8-14 pt. Title case should be used for axis labels and other headings; descriptions within figures should be in sentence case. Shading and color should be limited for clarity; use patterns along with color and check contrast between colors with free online checkers to ensure all users (people with color vision deficiencies or readers printing in grayscale, for instance) can access the content. Gridlines and 3-D effects should be avoided unless they are necessary for clarity or essential content information.

Legends, or keys, explain symbols, styles, patterns, shading, or colors in the image. Words in the legend should be in title case; legends should go within or underneath the image rather than to the side. Not all figures will require a legend.

Notes clarify the content of the figure; like tables, notes can be general, specific, or probability. General notes explain units of measurement, symbols, and abbreviations, or provide citation information. Specific notes identify specific elements using superscripts; probability notes explain statistical significance of certain values.

This image shows a generic example of a bar graph formatted as a figure in APA 7 style.

A generic example of a figure formatted in APA 7 style.

Figure Checklist 

(Taken from the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7 th ed., Section 7.35)

  • Is the figure necessary?
  • Does the figure belong in the print and electronic versions of the article, or is it supplemental?
  • Is the figure simple, clean, and free of extraneous detail?
  • Is the figure title descriptive of the content of the figure? Is it written in italic title case and left aligned?
  • Are all elements of the figure clearly labeled?
  • Are the magnitude, scale, and direction of grid elements clearly labeled?
  • Are parallel figures or equally important figures prepared according to the same scale?
  • Are the figures numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals? Is the figure number bold and left aligned?
  • Has the figure been formatted properly? Is the font sans serif in the image portion of the figure and between sizes 8 and 14?
  • Are all abbreviations and special symbols explained?
  • If the figure has a legend, does it appear within or below the image? Are the legend’s words written in title case?
  • Are the figure notes in general, specific, and probability order? Are they double-spaced, left aligned, and in the same font as the paper?
  • Are all figures mentioned in the text?
  • Has written permission for print and electronic reuse been obtained? Is proper credit given in the figure caption?
  • Have all substantive modifications to photographic images been disclosed?
  • Are the figures being submitted in a file format acceptable to the publisher?
  • Have the files been produced at a sufficiently high resolution to allow for accurate reproduction?

IMAGES

  1. How to Cite a Research Paper in APA (with Pictures)

    how to cite apa style research paper

  2. How to Write a Research Paper in APA Format

    how to cite apa style research paper

  3. How To Cite A Research Paper In Apa Format

    how to cite apa style research paper

  4. Research Paper Apa Style

    how to cite apa style research paper

  5. How to Cite a Research Paper: APA, MLA, and Chicago Formats

    how to cite apa style research paper

  6. APA Basics: Fundamentals of Formatting Research Papers in APA Style

    how to cite apa style research paper

VIDEO

  1. How to Cite Sources in APA Style

  2. APA BIBLIOGRAPHY l HOW TO CREATE l GOOGLE DOCS TUTORIAL

  3. APA Style and Citation: Formatting Your Paper

  4. An English Teacher's Guide to Introducing APA Style for Student Papers

  5. Vancouver Style

  6. APA Format, Style and Guide. How to Follow APA style in Writing Researches, Thesis ! Khan Lectures

COMMENTS

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

    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 to avoid plagiarism.. An APA in-text citation consists of the author's last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system).

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

    Resources on writing an APA style reference list, including citation formats. Basic Rules 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 ...

  3. How to Cite a Research Paper in APA (with Pictures)

    1. Name the author and the publication date in-text before a quote. To simplify the in-text citation, place the last name of the author in the text to introduce the quote and then the publication date for the text in parentheses. You can then leave the author's name and the publication date out of the quote itself. [1]

  4. Basic principles of citation

    Basic Principles of Citation. APA Style uses the author-date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation directs readers to a full reference list entry. The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication.

  5. Research Guides: Format Your Paper & Cite Your Sources: APA Style

    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. Formatting Your 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.

  6. 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.

  7. APA Style 7th Edition: Citing Your Sources

    Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association by American Psychological Association The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is the official source for APA Style. With millions of copies sold worldwide in multiple languages, it is the style manual of choice for writers, researchers, editors, students, and educators in the social and ...

  8. APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction

    In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places: In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation. In the References list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source. APA 7th ed. Sample Paper.

  9. APA

    American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in student papers in science, medical, public health, health sciences and nursing as well as the social science. The purpose of documentation is to: Identify (cite) other people's ideas and information used within your essay or term paper.Indicate the authors or sources of these in a References list at the ...

  10. 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.

  11. 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 ...

  12. How to Cite a Journal Article in APA Style

    If you want to cite a special issue of a journal rather than a regular article, the name (s) of the editor (s) and the title of the issue appear in place of the author's name and article title: APA format. Last name, Initials. (Ed. or Eds.). ( Year ). Title of issue [Special issue]. Journal Name, Volume ( Issue ).

  13. References

    References provide the information necessary for readers to identify and retrieve each work cited in the text. Check each reference carefully against the original publication to ensure information is accurate and complete. Accurately prepared references help establish your credibility as a careful researcher and writer. Consistency in reference ...

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

    Indent the first line of every paragraph of text 0.5 in. using the tab key or the paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program. Page numbers: Put a page number in the top right corner of every page, including the title page or cover page, which is page 1. Student papers do not require a running head on any page.

  15. Contents

    APA Referencing Basics: Reference List; 2. APA Referencing Basics: In-Text Citation; 3. How to Cite Different Source Types; 4. Ultimate Citation Cheat Sheet; 5. Back to Citation Hub; Mendeley Supports Responsible Sharing Learn how you can share. Products. Reference Management; Datasets; Careers; Premium Packages; Support.

  16. Cite: Why? When?

    A list of sources can be a useful record for further research; Different academic disciplines prefer different citation styles, most commonly APA and MLA styles. Besides these styles, there are Chicago, Turabian, AAA, AP, and more. Only use the most current edition of the citation style.

  17. 16.1: Formatting a Research Paper

    Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper. APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper. APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.

  18. 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.

  19. Free APA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    Our APA generator was built with a focus on simplicity and speed. To generate a formatted reference list or bibliography just follow these steps: Start by searching for the source you want to cite in the search box at the top of the page. MyBib will automatically locate all the required information. If any is missing you can add it yourself.

  20. Paper format

    Paper Format. Consistency in the order, structure, and format of a paper allows readers to focus on a paper's content rather than its presentation. 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.

  21. APA In-Text Citations

    Basic APA in-text citations. The most basic type of APA in-text citation includes the author name followed by a comma and the resource publication date. If you are citing a specific part of the text (e.g., a quotation), include the page number ("p.") or page range ("pp."). When citing a page range, an en dash (-) should be used (e.g ...

  22. 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 ...

  23. LibGuides: Secondary Education: Citing & Citation Management

    Writing an Education Research Paper (Boston College) (Brief discussion of typical parts of paper on education topics specifically.) Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching: Components of a Research Paper (Online tutorial in which the key components of a quality research paper are identified and discussed with videos and examples.)

  24. Introduction to Citations

    ISBN: 9781603293518. Publication Date: 2021-04-06. Relied on by generations of writers, the MLA Handbook is published by the Modern Language Association and is the only official, authorized book on MLA style. The new, ninth edition builds on the MLA's unique approach to documenting sources using a template of core elements--facts, common to ...

  25. Reference List: Basic Rules

    Reference List: Basic Rules. This resourse, revised according to the 7 th edition APA Publication Manual, offers basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper. Most sources follow fairly straightforward rules. However, because sources obtained from academic journals carry special weight in research writing, these sources are subject to special ...

  26. Free Harvard Referencing Generator [Updated for 2024]

    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.

  27. APA Tables and Figures

    Cite your source automatically in APA. The purpose of tables and figures in documents is to enhance your readers' understanding of the information in the document; usually, large amounts of information can be communicated more efficiently in tables or figures. Tables are any graphic that uses a row and column structure to organize information ...