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APA (American Psychological Association) Style Guide(6th edition)

The APA publication style is recommended for many Life and Health Sciences assignments.  Check your course syllabus or ask your professor to make sure you are using the correct citation style.

All examples and FAQ's are taken from the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological AssociationFour copies of this book can be found at the various Reference and Help desks in the library - BF76.7 .P83 2010

Watch this helpful YouTube video about formatting an APA style paper in Microsoft Word.

** APA requires the Reference list be double-spaced and that entries have a hanging indent of 5 to 7 spaces or one-half inch. **

  Books (Print) (APA 7.02)

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

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

Shotton, M.A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency. London, England:

          Taylor & Francis.

VandenBos, G.R. (Ed.). (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, D.C.: American

          Psychological Association.

  Electronic Books

Author, A.A. (publication year). Title of work. Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxxxxx

Author,  A.A. (publication year). Title of work. doi:xxxxxx

Electronic version of a Print  Book
Axelrod, R. (1997). The complexity of cooperation: Agent-based models of competition and

[Ebrary version]. doi:100358352

Electronic Book
O'Keefe, E. (n.d.) Egoism & the crisis in Western values.  Retrieved from


  Book chapter or entry in a reference book

Author, A.A. & Author, B.B. (1995). Title of chapter or entry. In A. Editor, B. Editor, & C. Editor

          (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.

Haybron, D.M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well-being. In M. Eid & R.J. Larsen

          (Eds.), The science of subjective well-being (pp.17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

*Apply citation endings shown above for electronic books.

  Reports and Government Documents  (APA  7.03)

Basic reference format: 
Author, A.A. (publication year). Title of work (Report No. xxxxxxx). Location: Publisher.

Online reports:  identify publisher as part of the retrieval statement.
Author, A.A. (publication year). Title of work (Report No .if available).  Retrieved from Agency

         name. Website: http://www.xxxxxxxx

Example: Government document
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart,

         Lung, and Blood Institute. (2003). Managing asthma: A guide for schools (NIH Publication

         No. 02-2650). Retrieved from


  Periodicals (APA 7.01)
Newspaper Articles
Robinson, E. (2009, September 4). First they did harm. The Washington Post, p. A23. 
Tsouderos, T.  (2009, February 27). Face it: We're all superficial: Could be a primal reflex. Chicago

                Tribune. Retrieved from
  Magazine Articles

Chamberlin, J., Novotney, A., Packard, E., & Price, M. (2008, May). Enhancing worker well-being:

         Occupational health psychologists convene to share their research on work stress, and

         health. Monitor on Psychology, 39(5), 26-29.

Clay, R. (2008, June). Science vs. ideology: Psychologists fight back about the misuse of

          research. Monitor on Psychology, 39(6). Retrieved from

  Journal Articles

General reference format:
Author, A.A., Author, B.B., & Author, C.C. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume number

(Issue number), pp-pp.
Electronic versions of articles will also have a digital object identifier (doi:xxxxxx) or a URL (Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxx) which is included in the citation. (see the examples below)

Print Journal Article: Example
Lawrence, S., Hazlett, R., & Hightower, P. (2010). Understanding and acting on the growing

         childhood and adolescent weight crisis: A role for social work. Health & Social Work, 35(2),


Electronic (on-line) Journal Article: Example

With Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Herbst-Damm, K.L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times

         of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. Doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Without DOI
Lawrence, S., Hazlett, R., & Hightower, P. (2010). Understanding and acting on the growing

         childhood and adolescent weight crisis: A role for social work. Health & Social Work, 35(2),

         147-153. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

Sillick, T.J., & Schutte, N.S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between

         perceived early parental love and adult happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2),

         38-48. Retrieved from

  ERIC DOCUMENT (dissertation or informally published article)

Walsh, R. (2010). Breaking barriers to educational opportunities: A comparative analysis of

         adolescent intervention programs. Online Submission, Retrieved from ERIC database.


  Website / Web 2.0 / Blog / Forum / You Tube (7.11)

Many things are now available through the Internet. Follow the format recommendations depending on the type of material it is (i.e. If it is an article follow the article instructions).

  • Include the author's last name followed by initials; if only a screen name is provided use that.
  • Provide the exact date of the posting
  • Do not italicize the thread or posting title
  • Include a description of the form in brackets
  • Include the Retrieved from followed by the URL where the message can be retrieved.

Cain, A., & Burris, M. (1999, April). Investigation of the use of mobile phones while driving.

         Retrieved January 15, 2000, from

Norton, R. (2006, November 4). How to train a cat to operate a light switch [Video file].

         Retrieved from



Citing References in Text

Question:   How should I format the titles of books and articles within the text of my paper?

Answer:  Capitalize major words in the titles of books, articles, films, etc.  within the text of the paper. Use Italics for titles of books, periodicals, films, videos, and TV shows. (APA 4.15 & APA 4.21)

  • In her book, History of Pathology
  • The journal, American Psychologist
  • The criticism of the article, "Attitudes Toward Mental Health Workers"

Question:  How do I correctly cite a work by multiple authors within the text of my paper?

Answer:  When a work has two authors, cite both names every time the reference occurs in the text.  When a work has three, four, or five authors, cite all authors the first time the reference occurs; in subsequent citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year if it is the first citation of the reference within a paragraph. (APA 6.12)

  • Kisangau, Lyaruu, Hosea, and Joseph (2007) found [use as first citation in text.]
  • Kisangau et al. (2007) found [Use a subsequent first citation per paragraph]
  • Kisangau et al. found [Omit year from subsequent citations after first non-parenthetical citation within a paragraph]

Question:  Do I need to include page numbers in an in-text citation?

Answer:  Yes, cite a specific part of a source.  Indicate page, chapter, figure, table, or equation at the appropriate point in text.  Always give the page numbers for a quotation.   Note that page, but not chapter, is abbreviated in such text citations: (APA 6.19)

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005, p.10)
  • (Shimamura, 1989, Chapter 3)

*When citing Web pages or Web resources without page numbers, use paragraph number (APA 6.05)
(Golan, Juchler, & Krissof, 2007, "Mandatory Labeling Has Targeted" para. 4).
Web page heading was "Mandatory Labeling Has Targeted Information Gaps"

Question:  Should I always enclose a quotation with double quotation marks"?

Answer:  If the quotation comprises fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into the text and enclose the quotation with double quotation marks.  If the quotation comprises 40 or more words, display it in a freestanding block of text and omit the quotation marks. (APA 6.03)

  • Mid sentence quotation

Interpreting these results, Robbins et al. (2003) suggested that the "therapists in dropout cases may have inadvertently validated parental negativity about the adolescent without adequately responding to the adolescent's needs or concerns" (p. 541) contributing to an overall climate of negativity.

  • End of sentence quotation

Confusing this issue is the overlapping nature of roles in palliative care, whereby "medical needs are met by those in the medical disciplines; nonmedical needs may be addressed by anyone on the team" (Csikai & Chaitin, 2006, p. 112).

  • Block quotation (>40 words)

Others have contradicted this view:
Co-presence does not ensure intimate interaction among all group members.  Consider large-scale social gatherings in which hundreds or thousands of people gather in a location to perform a ritual or celebrate an event.
In these instances, participants are able to see the visible manifestation of the group, the physical gathering, yet their ability to make direct, intimate connections with those around them is limited by the sheer magnitude of the assembly. (Purcell, 1997, pp. 111-112)

Reference List
Question:  Where can I find a correct example for the formatting of a Reference list? 
Answer:  APA requires the Reference list be double-spaced and that entries have a hanging indent of 5 to 7 spaces or one-half inch.  (APA p. 180)   A sample Reference list is located in the APA Manual, figure 2.1, page 49.

Question:  Are citations listed in Alphabetical order for an APA style Reference List?

Answer:  Arrange reference list entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author followed by initials of the author's given name.  There are many special cases for author's names and the APA guidelines are listed in the APA manual, section 6.25, page 181. 

Question:  Many academic journal articles are authored by several people.  How do I correctly list multiple authors in an article citation for my reference list?

Answer:  Invert all author's names; give surnames and initials for up to and including seven authors (e.g., Author, A.A., Author, B.B., & author, C.C.).  When authors number eight or more, include the first six authors' names, then insert three ellipsis points, and add the last author's name. (APA 6.27)
Example of >8 authors:
Gilbert, D.G., McClernon, J.F., Rabinovich, N.E., Sugai, C., Plath, L.C., Asgaard, G., …Botros, N. (2004). Effects of quitting smoking on EEG activation and attention last for more than 31 days and are more severe with stress, dependence, DRDx A1 allele, and depressive traits.  Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 6, 249-267. Doi:10.1o80/14622200410001676305

All FAQ information has been taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition, 2009.

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Click on a book cover to see books you can check out about each citation style.
APA Style Guide MLA Style Guide
AMA Style Guide Chicago Style Guide


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