Skip to Main Content



Citing your Sources

You will most likely be using APA (American Psychological Association) Style. Use the examples below as a helpful guide.

How to cite an article from a library database (such as Academic Search Complete or Criminal Justice Abstracts)

 Here's how you can use the database generated citation:

Step 1: Once you've accessed the full article, click the circled icon. (It will say "Cite"). 





Step 2: A box will pop up that has an alphabetized list of all citation styles, complete with the full, ready-made citation; scroll down a bit and you'll see APA. Feel free to copy and paste that into your source list. 

Step 3: Double check your citations to make sure they are correct and follow the current editions standard for APA


However, you may have used a database that does not have a citation generator tool. If this is the case, you can follow this example:

  • Journal Article: 

Author, A. (Year). Title of article. Title of Publication, Vol.#(Issue #), page range. 

Rataj, T. (2014). Video gets personal with body-worn cameras. Blue Line Magazine26(8), 38-39.



Some other common sources you may have to cite:

  • Web Page or Site

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year, Month Day)Title of document. http://Web address

Barak, A., & Sutherland, A. (2014, December 23). First scientific report shows police body-worn-cameras

can prevent unacceptable use-of-force. 



  • Data Report from a website (ie. tables, charts, statistics)

Name of Agency/Organization. (Year). Title of document [Data file]. Retrieved from

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2012). Crime in the United States [Data file]. Retrieved from   



  • Online Newspaper Article

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

Melendez, G. (2016, June 23). State officials to distribute money for police body cameras. The State.       



  • Blog

A.A. Lastname. (Year, Month Day). Title of document [Web log comment]. Retrieved from 

J.D. Williamson. (2016, July 11). What to do if you get pulled over by a cop and you’re legally armed [Web

log comment].  



General APA Rules to keep in mind

1. All of your sources should have a hanging indentation.



Author, A. (2022). Some long article name. Journal of Citations 1(2), 

1-5. Doi: 10.123456.78




2. All authors' names should be inverted (i.e., last names should be provided first).

  • Authors' first and middle names should be written as initials.




3. Give the last name and first/middle initials for all authors of a particular work up to and including 20 authors . Separate each author’s initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.

  • If there are 21 or more authors, use an ellipsis (but no ampersand) after the 19th author, and then add the final author’s name.



Example: Less than 20 authors

Nguyen, T., Carnevale, J. J., Scholer, A. A., Miele, D. B., & Fujita, K. (2019). Metamotivational knowledge 

of the role of high-level and low-level construal in goal-relevant task performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(5), 879-899.



Example: More than 20 authors

Pegion, K., Kirtman, B. P., Becker, E., Collins, D. C., LaJoie, E., Burgman, R., Bell, R., DelSole, R., Min, 

D., Zhu, Y., Li, W., Sinsky, E., Guan, H., Gottschalck, J., Metzger, E. J., Barton, N. P., Achuthavarier, D., Marshak, J., Koster, R., . . .  Kim, H. (2019). The subseasonal experiment (SubX): A multimodel subseasonal prediction experiment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 100(10), 2043-2061.




4. Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.


5. For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.


6. When referring to the titles of books, chapters, articles, reports, webpages, or other sources, capitalize ONLY the FIRST LETTER of the FIRST WORD of the title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns.


7. Italicize titles of longer works (e.g., books, edited collections, names of newspapers, and so on).


8. Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as chapters in books or essays in edited collections.

(From OWL Purdue)


More Help

Here are extra resources to help you understand your citations and to find more examples:

Purdue Online Writing Lab

They have simplified explanations and examples of the most commonly used source types for APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, AMA, and ASA citation styles. The information provided will be based on the most recent version of those style guides.


APA Style Guide

Has the most recent APA citation style guide, tips for formatting your papers, and grammar examples.



Tips for formatting your paper, and a citation generator**

**The citation generator can be helpful in getting started BUT should always be checked against an official citation style guide.


APA Format Tutorial

This is a tutorial for formatting your papers and citations using APA Style. By the end of the tutorial you should feel more prepared to prepare your citations for your research projects.


APA – Sample Papers

Example papers for you to follow and ensure yours look the way they should!


Citation Basics Guide

Research guide dedicated to citation styles at a glance. The very basics of citation rules and guidelines can be found on this page, as well as access to other tools.



You want to make sure that you evaluate your sources so you know you are using credible, relevant, and recent research! This is one of the many methods to help evaluate your sources.


The 5 W's and 1 H

  • Who- Who is the author? Are they an expert?
    • Anyone can make a claim but do you trust just anyone?

  • What- What does this source say? Is it relevant to you?

  • When- When was it published? Is it current/up to date?

  • Where-  Where was the source published?

  • Why- Why was it written? What is the author's purpose?

  • How- How did the author prove their research? Evidence?


Check for Bias from your author! Is the author writing with from an emotional or factual standpoint?



What are we citing and why?


We use sources to add credibility, complexity, and to support our research. How we use the information from those sources depends on what your needs are, sources are not meant to make your point for you but to SUPPORT a point you are making. Here are a few ways you can use your sources to support your paper and when to use them.



                  Quoting   This is when you are directly, word for word, using the author's EXACT phrasing in your paper
       Paraphrasing This is when you restate IN YOUR OWN WORDS, with great detail, what author is saying. The wording should be mostly your own but the author's meaning and purpose should remain clear and the same.
  Summarizing This is similar to paraphrasing, you are restating the author's work in your own words. However, this would be summarizing the MAIN IDEAS, not the specific details like in paraphrasing. Summaries keep the main idea but do not need all the specifics.



When should I use quotes?

Using direct quotes is the easiest way to use your sources BUT SHOULD BE USED SPARINGLY. Only use quotes for the following reasons:

  • Accuracy: There isn't a way to rephrase the statement without changing its meaning.
  • Authority: To demonstrate the EXPERT authority of a point you have already made
  • Conciseness: You paraphrase or summarize are awkward or much longer than the source material.
  • Unforgettable language: The author's exact words are too important in historical context to be changed.

Avoid having a paper that is full of quotes!



When should I paraphrase?

You will want to paraphrase or summarize most of your sources, especially if the meaning of the source is more important than the exact wording. You may use the paraphrase often for the following reasons:

  • To show understanding of the material. Paraphrasing demonstrates that you understand the source you are using and understand how it relates to your research
  • To simplify the material. You may have to simplify overly  complex arguments, sentences, or vocabulary.
  • To clarify the material. You may have to clarify technical passages or specialized information into language that is appropriate for your audience.


  • When you paraphrase make sure you are EXPLAINING the meaning of the source in your OWN WORDS. Do not alter the meaning of the source or change the perception of the source.


  • This is a chance for you to pull out what is helpful to your argument and then explain how this supports your paper.


  • Sources are meant to ADD complexity and credibility to you paper, by paraphrasing and using sources correctly you are helping the reader to see you as an authority over your topic.