APA Citation & Style Guide

About APA

American Psychological Association (APA) style, most commonly used in the social sciences, is a specific formatting style that students and scholars use to write papers and cite cources. Information here is taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) which may be consulted for questions not addressed here. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) is also an excellent resource.

In-Text Citations

Any time you paraphrase or quote from a source you must give an in-text citation (also called a parenthetical reference). Every in-text citation points a reader to complete details of each source used in the References page (at the end of your paper). In-text citations in APA style require author and year; direct quotations also require specific page number(s) when available. (Yellow highlighting is only used to point out in-text citation elements and is not part of APA style.)


In-Text Citation When Paraphrasing

According to one researcher, students learn best when they are actively engaged (Smith, 2013)

In her research, Smith (2013) found that students learn best when they are actively engaged. 


In-Text Citation When Quoting

Smith (2011) concluded that "the evidence shows that community college students learn best when they are actively participating in a lecture" (p. 49).

One scholar concluded that "students learn best when they are actively participating" (Smith, 2011, p. 49).


In-Text Citation of Source With No Author

If a source does not have an author the in-text citation should use the first few words of the title of the source in quotation marks and the year: Scientists in Oceanside discovered that blue whales prefer cold water ("New Ocean Discoveries," 2014).


First and Subsequent In-Text Citations

Certain rules apply for in-text citations for works by three or more authors. See this chart or view Table 6.1 on page 177 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.).