Skip to main content

SER251: Principles and Methods of Interviewing (Heaney): APA

About APA

Developed by the American Psychological Association, this style is widely used in the health and social sciences.

Each citation consists of two parts: the in text citation, which provides brief identifying information within the text, and the reference list (list of sources used) which provides full bibliographic information. APA Style gives prominence to the date of a publication. In-text citations use the author's last name and the date, separated by a comma, as a brief reference in the text of the article to refer the reader to complete information in the reference list.

For help with this or any other writing questions, please visit your local campus Writing Center.

APA Useful Web Resources

Formatting In Text Citations

(Austin, 1998)

If the author's name is mentioned in the narrative, then only the date need be given:

Austin (1998) compared institutional support

Two authors. Always use both names every time they are referred to in the text. Use the ampersand (&) to connect the names in the parentheses, but spell out "and" in the running text.

(Parker & Mokhesi-Parker, 1998)

Parker and Mokhesi-Parker (1998) in examining institutional design and function …

Three to five authors. Cite all the authors in text the first time a reference occurs; in subsequent citations, include only the surname of the first author followed by et al.

First reference:

(Parker, Mokhesi-Parker, AuthorC, AuthorD & AuthorE, 1998)

Subsequent references:

(Parker et al.)

Six or more authors. Cite in text only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year for the first and subsequent citations.

(Parker et al., 1998)

Group or corporate authors. Use the name of the body in the citation:

(World Bank, 1998)

Unknown author. Use the first few words of the title as the reference in the text:

("Structuring lawmaking", 2002)

Author is listed as "Anonymous". Use it as if it were the author's name.

(Anonymous, 2003)

When paraphrasing, APA style does not require page numbers in the in-text citation. However, authors are encouraged to include page numbers if it will help the reader locate the relevant information in longer texts. Consult with your professor regarding the need for page numbers for paraphrased information.

If the reference is to an exact quotation, the author, year and page number must be included. The page number can be given in parentheses at the end of the exact quotation or incorporated into the in-text citation.

Newman (1994) concluded "sibling conflict is so common that its occurence is taken for granted" (p. 123).

Such findings have prompted one researcher to conclude, “Sibling conflict is so common that its occurrence is taken for granted” (Newman, 1994, p. 123).

For exact quotations from sources without page numbers, use paragraph numbers, if available. If the paragraphs are not numbered, but there are headings, use the heading name and count the number of paragraphs after the heading to the paragraph containing the quotation. In some cases page numbers, paragraphs, and headings do not exist. In this case, omit the location of the reference altogether. (Publication Manual, sec. 3.39, p. 120)

(Smith, 2003, para. 1) or (Smith, 2003, ¶ 1)

(Greene, 2003, Discussion, ¶ 4)

For citations taken from secondary sources, include the secondary source in the reference list and mention the original work in the text.

Text citation:

Goldman and Goldman's study (as cited in Linebarger, 2001) found ....

Reference List:

Linebarger, D. L. (2001). Learning to read from television: The effects of using captions and narration. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(2), 288-298.

Formatting a Reference List

Note: With all citations, regardless of format, the first line is flush to the left margin and all subsequent lines are indented one half inch (approximately 5 spaces). For space considerations, the citations shown below are single-spaced. However, APA format calls for citations to be double-spaced, as illustrated in the Basic Format example, below, for each source type (book, article, web page, etc)


Basic Format

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle.

       Location: Publisher.

Single author
Austin, J. H. (1998). Zen and the brain: Toward an understanding of meditation 
    and consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Multiple authors
Parker, P., & Mokhesi-Parker, J. (1998). In the shadow of Sharpeville: Apartheid 
     and criminal justice. New York: New York University Press.
Edited Book
Ickes, W. (Ed.). (1998). Empathic accuracy. New York: Guilford Press.
Group or corporate author
World Bank. (1998). Slovak Republic: A strategy for growth and European
     integration.Washington, D.C.: Author.

Note: when the author and publisher are the same, use the word "Author" as the publisher.

Chapter or essay in book
Herrmann, R. K. (2002). Linking theory to evidence in international relations. In
     W. Carlsnaes, T. Risse, & B. A. Simmons (Eds.), Handbook of
     International Relations (pp. 119-136). London: SAGE.
Article from a reference book
Campbell, H. (2002). Pan-Africanism. In Krieger, J. (Ed.), The Oxford companion
     to politics of the world (pp. 631-633). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Note: if there is no author, place the title in the author position.


OWL at Purdue states:

"When referencing a print article obtained from an online database (such as a database in the library), provide appropriate print citation information (formatted just like a "normal" print citation would be for that type of work). By providing this information, you allow people to retrieve the print version if they do not have access to the database from which you retrieved the article. You can also include the item number or accession number or database URL at the end, but the APA manual says that this is not required.

If you are citing an article from a database that is available in other places, such as a journal or magazine, include the homepage's URL. You may have to do a web search of the article's title, author, etc. to find the URL." (Article From a Database)

Article in a journal (one author)
Blass, E. M. (1997). Interactions between contact and chemosensory mechanisms in pain
     modulation in 10-day-old rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 111, 147-154.
Article in a journal (multiple authors)
Gagne, P., Tewksbury, R., & McGaughey, D. (1997). Coming out and crossing over:  
     Identity formation and proclamation in a transgender community. Gender and Society, 
     11, 478-508.
Article in a popular magazine
Henry, W. A., III (1990, April 9) Beyond the melting pot. Time, 135, 28-31.
Article in a newspaper
Young, J. (2003, February 14). Prozac campus: more students seek counseling and take
     psychiatric medication. The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A37-38.
Article from a full-text database
Hicks, J. E., Jones, J. F. Renner, J. H., & Schmaling, K. (1995). Chronic fatigue
     syndrome: strategies that work. Patient Care, 29(10), 55.
Article from an e-journal collection
Hamilton, C. (1992). A way of seeing: culture as political expression in the works of
     C.L.R. James. Journal of Black Studies, 22 (3), 429-443.
Article from a free web e-journal
Yu, D. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002, May 8). Preventing Depressive symptoms in
     Chinese children. Prevention & Treatment, 5, Article 9.
     Retrieved from pre0050009a.html




Music Score No example given in APA Publication Manual for music score.
Sound Recording
Writer, A. (Date of Copyright). Title of song [Recorded by artist if different from writer]. On
     Title of album [medium of recording: CD, record, cassette, etc], Location: Label.
     (Recording date if different from copyright date)
Video Recording
Bevan, T., Fellner, E., Cavendish, J. (Producers), & Dryburgh, S. (Director). (2001). Bridget
     Jones's diary [Motion Picture]. United States: Miramax Home Entertainment.
Producer, A. (Executive Producer). (Year, date of broadcast). Title of broadcast [Television
     broadcast]. Place: Broadcasting Service.


Note: Different web browsers break the text in different places of a URL. The URL should begin on the same line as the rest of the citation information, with a break inserted after a slash, if needed.

Web page
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2002, December 4). What the
     world thinks in 2002. Retrieved February 26, 2003, from
Article from a free web e-journal
Yu, D. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002, May 8). Preventing Depressive symptoms in Chinese
     children. Prevention & Treatment, 5, Article 9. Retrieved May 6, 2003, from pre0050009a.html
Article from a full-text database
Hicks, J. E., Jones, J. F. Renner, J. H., & Schmaling, K. (1995). Chronic fatigue syndrome:
     strategies that work. Patient Care, 29(10), 55. Retrieved March 17, 2002, from InfoTrac
     Web Expanded Academic ASAP database.
Article from an e-journal collection
Hamilton, C. (1992). A way of seeing: culture as political expression in the works of C.L.R.
     James. Journal of Black Studies, 22 (3), 429-443. Retrieved February 26, 2003 from
     JSTOR database.

Government Information

See Citing Government Documents [automated fill-in form from Arizona State University Library]

APA Style Manual

DOI vs. URL ??????

APA citation format calls for providing a web site URL (uniform resource locator) in order for the reader to easily and consistently locate web content cited.

Journal articles provide a different kind of "locator," called a digital object identifier (DOI); a permanent address, so to speak. The American Psychological Association describes a digital object identifier as "a unique string of letters, numbers, and symbols assigned to a published work to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet.

The DOI is typically located on the first page of an electronic document near the copyright notice and on the database landing page for the document. When DOIs are available, include them in the reference information. Specifically, place the DOI at the end of the reference, and don’t add a period at the end of it." Here’s an example:

Author, A. (year). Title of article. Journal Title, X, xxx–xxx. doi:xxxxxx