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Citation Basics Guide: APA Citations


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, DOI 

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].

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.


9. Include retrieval date when the information from the electronic source is likely to change.



Spaghetti and Meatballs. (2018, February 25). Budgetbytes. Retrieved November 20,  2023 from 

10. If an online scholarly journal does NOT have a DOI then you do not have to include a link or database.

  • All other online sources require a link to the item.


(From OWL Purdue)


In-Text Citation Guidelines


1.     You only have to include the page number if you are directly quoting or borrowing specific

        information from another work.


2.     If you introduce the author is the body of your sentence you write the year in parenthesis after the

        name and the page number at the end of the sentence in parenthesis.



  • According to McKlein (2019), "people benefit from extended interactions with therapy animals" (p. 199).


3.     If you do not mention the author's name in the body of your sentence include the author last name,

        year, and page number at the end of the sentence in parenthesis.



  • He mentioned, "People benefit from extended interactions with therapy animals" (McKlein, 2019, p.199). 


4.     Use p. for one page or pp. for multiple pages



  • (p. 201) or (pp. 201-205)


5.      If there are no page numbers use the paragraph number (para.) or refer to the table the information

        is in.


  • McKlein (2019) found a variety of causes for positive responses to therapy animal interactions (paras. 4–5).


  • A meta-analysis of available literature (McKlein, 2019) revealed a consistent correlation between interactions and response to therapy (Table 3).


6.     If you are summarizing or paraphrasing you don't have to include page numbers or ranges.



  • In McKlein's (2019) work he discusses correlations between responses to stress therapy and positive interactions with therapy animals.

  • Positive interactions with therapy animals can have a beneficial relationship with people who are participating in therapy (McKlein, 2019). 


7.    If you there are 3 of more authors only include the first author followed by et al. [There is only a  

        period after al. NOT after et]



  • According to Leeds et al. (2017), people may respond differently to various types of therapy animals.


  • People react differently to different types of therapy animals based on the type of therapy they are taking (Leeds et al., 2017).


8.    The punctuation should always come AFTER the parenthesis.


General APA Formatting

1. Papers should be Double Spaced, 8.5/11 in pages with 1 inch margins


2. You should use accessible fonts like:

Sans serif fonts:

  • 11-point Calibri,
  • 11-point Arial, 
  • 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode

Serif fonts:

  • 12-point Times New Roman
  •  11-point Georgia
  •  10-point Computer Modern


3. Papers should include your name, date, and title of the paper:

  • Check with your professor to see if a title page is required.


4.  References on the reference page should be organized alphabetically.


More Resources

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!


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