APA Citation Style

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What is APA Style?

American Psychological Association (APA) style is one of several styles for academic writing. At UBCO, it is generally used in psychology, sociology, social work, education, and other disciplines. The examples on this page cover frequently used citation forms. For more detailed information refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), available at most UBC Libraries at BF 76.7 .P83 2010. If you are consulting the July 2009 version please be aware that APA has released a seven page errata detailing mistakes in the first printing.

APA style provides rules for formatting:

  • your essay as a whole: margins, indenting, etc.
  • references included in the body of your essay
  • the reference list at the end of your essay
(For a sample paper formatted in APA style, try here)

General Rules

  • Formatting: The preferred APA font is a serif typeface such as Times New Roman with 12-point size. Double-space between all lines of text, including the reference list. Have uniform margins of at least 1 in. (2.54 cm) on all sides.
  • Hanging indents should be used for the reference list entries. This means that all lines after the first line of each entry should be indented one half inch from the left margin (in Word 2007 use Paragraph>Special>Hanging).
  • Arrange reference list entries in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author or by title if there is no author. Use only the initial(s) of the author's given name, not the full name, with a space between the initials.
  • If the reference list includes two or more entries by the same author(s), list them in chronological order (oldest first). If entries are by the same author with the same year, put them in alphabetical order by first letter of the title. Add a lower case letter (a, b, etc.) after the year, within the parentheses.
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the article or book title. Proper nouns are also capitalized as well as the word following a colon (subtitle). Journal titles should have every major word capitalized.
  • Italicize journal titles, volume numbers and even the comma following the journal title. Do not italicize issue numbers (i.e., the number which appears in parentheses after the volume number).
  • References cited in text must appear in the reference list and vice versa. The only exceptions to this rule are personal communications and secondary sources, which are cited in text only and not included in the reference list.

What kinds of sources do I document?

  • direct quotations from a book, article, film, letter, email, lecture, etc.
  • single words, short phrases, sentences and longer passages quoted from books, articles etc.
  • ideas you draw from a source but present entirely in your own words
  • paraphrases and summaries of books, journal articles, pamphlets
  • single words, short phrases, sentences and longer passages quoted from books or articles used
  • statistics

How do I introduce sources in my essay?

In order to make your paper coherent and accurate, use the following tags and conventions to introduce other sources into your work:

  • Boyd argues, describes, explains, claims, asserts, refers to, cites
  • Santos contends, compares, speculates, hypothesizes, concludes, recommends

Citations in Text

1. When using a direct quotation, include the page number of the quote.

  • Stereotypes have been defined as “generalized and usually value-laden impressions that one's social group uses in characterizing members of another group” (Lindgren, 2001, p. 1617).

2. When paraphrasing an idea, the citation will include author(s) and date.
Author's name given in the body of your paper:

  • Lindgren (2001) reported…
    Author's name not given in the body of your paper:
  • A study of the comparison process (Lindgren, 2001)

3. For electronic sources without page numbers, use the paragraph number, preceded by the paragraph symbol ¶ (in Windows press down on Alt and type 0182 on the keypad) or the abbreviation para. If the paragraph number is not apparent, cite the section heading and the paragraph number following it.

  • (Myers, 2000, ¶ 5)
  • ( Butler , 2000, Conclusion, para. 1)

4. Order two or more works within the same parentheses as they would appear in the reference list.

  • Past research (Heschl, 2001, 2005; Noonan & Johnson, 2002a, 2002b; Wolchuk et al., 2000) has shown…

5. For citations taken from secondary sources, which you should use sparingly (p. 178), list the work you have read (secondary source) in the reference list and in-text add the words "as cited in" to the parenthetical citation.

  • Berringer’s study found … (as cited in Gattrell, 2012).

Sample Formats:

Journal Articles | Books & Books Sections | Web Documents | Legal Documents | Media | Notes & Class Handouts


Journal article: Retrieved online with digital object identifier (DOI)
(Example on p. 198 #1 of the Manual )

Rutherford, B. J. (2006). Reading disability and hemispheric interaction on a lexical decision task. Brain and Cognition, 60, 55-63. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2005.09.013 

Direct quotation in text: (Rutherford, 2006, p. 56)

If each issue of a journal begins on page 1, give the issue number in parentheses immediately after the volume number (p. 198).

Journal article: Retrieved online with DOI: Three to five authors
(p. 198 # 1 & p. 177 table 6.1)

Rush, K. L., Waldrop, S., Mitchell, C., & Dyches, C. (2005). The RN-BSN distance education experience: From educational limbo to more than an elusive degree. Journal of Professional Nursing, 21, 283-292. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2005.07.007 

Direct quotation in text (from a passage that spans two pages p.171 of the Manual): First citation: (Rush, Waldrop, Mitchell, & Dyches, 2005, pp. 283-284) Subsequent citation to a different passage taken from the same source: (Rush et al., 2005, p. 291)

Journal article: Retrieved online with DOI: Six or seven authors
(p. 198 #1 & p. 177 table 6.1)

Robinson, C., Pesut, B., Bottorff, J. L., Mowry, A., Broughton, S., & Fyles, G. (2009). Rural palliative care: A comprehensive review. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 12, 253-258. doi:10.1089/jpm.2008.0228

First and subsequent citations in text: (Robinson et al., 2009)

Journal article: Retrieved online with DOI: Eight or more authors: Advance online publication
(p. 198 #2 & p. 199 #5)


Bottorff, J. L., Carey, J., Mowatt, R., Varcoe, C., Johnson, J. L., Hutchinson, P., . . . Wardman, D. (2009). Bingo halls and smoking: Perspectives of First Nations women. Health & Place. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.04.005

First and subsequent citations in text: (Bottorff et al., 2009)

When authors number eight or more, include the first six authors' names in the reference, then insert three spaced dots (an ellipsis - p. 172), and add the last author's name (p. 184).

Journal article: Retrieved online with no DOI: Give URL of the journal home page (even if retrieved from a database) (p. 199 #3)

Mathieson, C. M., Bailey, N., & Gurevich, M. (2002). Health care services for lesbian and bisexual women: Some Canadian data. Health Care for Women International, 23, 185-196. Retrieved from http://www.tandf.co.uk /journals/titles/07399332.asp

Citation in text: (Mathieson, Bailey, & Gurevich, 2002)

Hint: Google journal title to locate URL.

Journal article: Retrieved online with no DOI: Posted to preprint archive: No pagination
(p. 200 #6 & p. 171 sec. 6.05)

Gabora, L. (2007). Self-other organization: Why early life did not evolve through natural selection. Journal of Theoretical Biology. Retrieved from http://cogprints.org /5583/01/soo.htm

Direct quotation in text: (Gabora, 2007, para. 5)

The exact URL is used because the article is “informally published” (p. 200).

Journal article: Not retrieved online (print version) with no DOI: Discussed in a secondary source
(p. 199 #3 & p. 178 sec. 6.17)

Kolb, B., & Cioe, J. (1998). Absence of recovery or dendritic reorganization after neonatal posterior parietal lesions. Psychobiology, 26, 134-142.

Citation in text: Diamattia and Kesner's study (as cited in Kolb & Cioe, 1998)

“Use secondary sources sparingly, for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable through usual sources, or not available in English” (p. 178).

Online magazine article
(p. 200 #8)


Wells, P. (2009, July 28). Our universities can be smarter. Maclean's . Retrieved from http://www2.macleans.ca/

Citation in text: (Wells, 2009)

Online newspaper article: Give URL (even if retrieved from a database)
(p. 200 #11)

Cernetig, M. (2009, August 11). Opinion: Crafty Campbell knew the dangers of HST. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from http://www.vancouversun.com/

Citations in text: (Cernetig, 2009)

“Give the URL of the home page when the online version of the article is available by search to avoid non working URLs” (p. 201).


Book: 1-2 authors
(p. 203 #18)

Mitchell, J. J. (2001). The mental and emotional life of teenagers. Calgary, AB: Detselig Enterprises.

Citation in text: (Mitchell, 2001) 

Book: 3-5 authors
(p. 203 #18)

Murphy, M. A., Lai, D., & Sookraj, D. (1997). Evaluation of the neighborhood (congregate) meal program: Final report. Kelowna, BC: Kelowna Home Support Society.

Citations in text: First Citation: (Murphy, Lai, & Sookraj, 1997) Subsequent: (Murphy et al., 1997)

Book: Group author: Author as publisher: 6 th edition
(p. 203 2nd bullet & p. 177 table 6.1)

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Citations in text: First citation: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2010) Subsequent: (APA, 2010)

Edited book
(p. 249 #25)

Hare, R. D., & Schalling, D. (Eds.). (1978). Psychopathic behaviour: Approaches to research. Chichester, NY: Wiley.

Citation in text: (Hare & Schalling, 1978)

Chapter in an edited book (p. 204 #25)

Porter, S., Woodworth, M., & Doucette, N. (2007). Memory for murder: The qualities and credibility of homicide narratives by perpetrators. In S. Christianson (Ed.), Offenders' memories of violent crimes (pp. 115-134). New York, NY: Wiley.

Citation in text: (Porter, Woodworth, & Doucette, 2007)

Chapter in an edited book: English translation: Reprinted from another source
(p. 204 #26)

Piaget, J. (1988). Extracts from Piaget's theory (G. Gellerier & J. Langer, Trans.). In K. Richardson & S. Sheldon (Eds.), Cognitive development to adolescence: A reader (pp. 3-18). Hillsdale, NJ : Erlbaum. (Reprinted from Manual of child psychology, pp. 703-732, by P. H. Mussen, Ed., 1970, New York, NY: Wiley)

Citation in text: (Piaget, 1970/1988

Encyclopedia article
(p. 203 sec. 7.02 & p. 205 #29)

Lindgren, H. C. (2001). Stereotyping. In The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology and behavioral science (Vol. 4, pp. 1617-1618). New York, NY: Wiley.

Citation in text: (Lindgren, 2001)

Book with no author or editor
(p. 205 #30 )

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (1993). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Citation in text: (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 1993)

Published conference proceedings: No DOI
(p. 207 #39)

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). A motivational approach to self: Integration in personality. In R. Dienstbier (Ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Vol. 38. Perspectives on Motivation (pp. 237-288). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Citation in text: (Deci & Ryan, 1991)

  “If the publisher is a university and the name of the state or province is included in the name of the university, do not repeat the name in the publisher location” (p. 187).

Multi-volume work
(p. 250 #28)

Koch, S. (Ed.). (1959-1963). Psychology: A study of science (Vols. 1-6). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Citation in text: (Koch, 1959-1963)

Entry in an online reference work: No author
(p. 205 #29 & #30 & p. 176 sec. 6.15)


Globalization. (2005). In J. Scott & G. Marshall (Eds.), A dictionary of sociology. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordreference.com

Citation in text: ("Globalization," 2005)

Electronic version of a print book
(p. 203 #19 & 21)

Dutton, D. (2006). The abusive personality: Violence and control in intimate relationships (2nd ed.). Retrieved from http://books.google.ca/books

Citation in text: (Dutton, 2006)

Limited-circulation book or monograph: Retrieved from a database
(p. 204 #22)

Johnson, S. (2008). Medically unexplained illness: Gender and biopsychosocial implications [Monograph]. Retrieved from PsycBOOKS database.

Citation in text: (Johnson, 2008)

Book review: Retrieved from a journal online
(p. 209 #45)

Rasmussen, B. (2005). Have we learned from our mistakes? [Review of the book Learning from our mistakes: Beyond dogma in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, by P. Casement ]. Psychoanalytic Social Work, 12(1), 73-79. doi:10.1300/J032v12n01_06

Citation in text: (Rasmussen, 2006)

Test review: Retrieved from a database
(p. 209 #45)

O'Grady, K. E. (1986). [Review of the test Golombok Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction, by J. Rust & S. Golombok]. Mental measurements yearbook (10th ed.). Retrieved from Mental Measurements Yearbook database.

Citation in text: (O'Grady, 1986)

  “Database names . . . may be given for material of limited circulation” (p. 202)

ERIC document: Retrieved onlin
(p. 212 #62)

Peterson, L. (1999). Transforming the daily life of the classroom: The district six laptop project. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED437028)

Citation in text: (Peterson, 1999)

Dissertation: Retrieved from a database
(p. 208 #40)

Aguiar, L. (2001). The ‘dirt' on the contract cleaning industry in Toronto: Cleanliness and work reorganization (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Proquest Dissertations & Theses. (Publication number AAT NQ67931)

Citation in text: (Aguiar, 2001)

Master's thesis: Retrieved from an institutional database
(p. 208 #41)

Gibson, L. S. (2007). Considering critical thinking and History 12: One teacher's story (Master's thesis). Retrieved from https://circle.ubc.ca/

Citation in text: (Gibson, 2007)

Brochure: No date: Corporate author same as publisher (p. 186)  

UBC Okanagan, Human Rights & Equity Services. (n.d.). Fostering an anti-racist campus community: Identifying and eliminating racism [Brochure]. Kelowna, BC: Author.

Citation in text: (UBC Okanagan, Human Rights & Equity Services, n.d.)


(p. 212 #61)

Mulhauser, G. (2009). An introduction to cognitive therapy & cognitive behavioural approaches. Retrieved from http://counsellingresource.com/types/cognitive-therapy/

Citation in text: (Mulhauser, 2009)

  “Do not include retrieval dates unless the source material may change over time (e.g., Wikis)” (p. 192).

Webpage: Corporate author same as publisher
(p 205 #31)


British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2009). Students from refugee backgrounds: A guide for teachers and schools. Retrieved from http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/esl/refugees_teachers_guide.pdf

Citation in text: (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2009)

Web report: Author different from the publisher (p. 205 sec. 7.03) so identify publisher as part of retrieval statement
(p. 206 #33)

Shields, M., & Wilkins, K. (2006). Findings from the 2005 National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses (Report No. 83-003-XPE). Retrieved from Canadian Institute for Health Information website: http://secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/products /NHSRep06_ENG.pdf

Citation in text: (Shields & Wilkins, 2006)

Wiki entry: No author: No date: Material may change over time
(p. 205 #30)


Deferred compensation. (n.d.). In Family business wiki. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://www.familybusinesswiki.org/Deferred+compensation

Citation in text: (“Deferred compensation,” n.d.)

Blog posting
(p. 215 #76)

Kiume, S. (2007, August 17). Loneliness isn't good [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/08/17/loneliness-isnt-good/

Citation in text: (Kiume, 2007)


Legislation: Revised Statutes of Canada : Retrieved from the internet (p. 220 #11)

Criminal Code, R.S. c. C-46 (1985). Retrieved from http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-46/index.html

Citation in text: (Criminal Code, 1985)

Legislation: Revised Statutes of British Columbia : Retrieved from a database
(p. 220 #10 )

University Act, R.S.B.C. c. 468 (1996). Retrieved from QP LegalEze database.

Citation in text: (University Act, 1996)

Case law: Supreme Court of Canada Reports: Retrieved from the internet
(pp. 217 #1)

R. v. Latimer, 1 S.C.R. 3 (2001). Retrieved from http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2001/2001scc1/2001scc1.html

Citation in text: ( R. v. Latimer , 2001)


Video clip (e.g. YouTube): Retrieved from the internet
(p. 215 #77)

Norton, R. (2006, November 4). How to train a cat to operate a light switch [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vja83KLQXZs

Citation in text: (Norton, 2006)

Audio clip [podcast]: Retrieved from the internet
(p. 210 #50)

Green, C. D. (Producer). (2006, October 9-15). Thomas Blass on Stanley Milgram's shocking studies of obedience [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.yorku.ca/christo/podcasts/

Citation in text: (Green, 2006)

Motion picture
(p. 209 section 7.07)


Davidson, F. (Producer), & Davidson, J. (Director). (1999). B. F. Skinner: A fresh appraisal [Motion picture]. United States: Davidson Films.

Citation in text: (Davidson, 1999)

Single episode from a television series
(p. 210 #51)

MacIntyre, L. (Reporter). (2006). Money, truth and spin [Television series episode]. In H. Cashore (Producer), The fifth estate. Toronto, ON: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Citation in text: (MacIntyre, 2006)


Personal communication
(p. 179 section 6.20)

Includes letters, phone calls, email messages, and interviews. Because they include “unrecoverable data,” they are NOT included in the reference list.

Citation in text: M. Burton (personal communication, August 1, 2009)

Class notes
(p. 179 section 6.20)

Cite information from your own personal notes from a lecture as a personal communication and refer to it only in the body of your essay.

Citation in text: In a lecture on November 16, 2008, to a PSYO 252 class, Professor Davies said.

Class handout: Has title
(p. 211 #58)

Woodworth, M. (2006). Psychopaths [Class handout]. Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, Canada.

Citation in text: (Woodworth, 2006)

Lecture notes posted to Connect
(p. 212 #61)

Cioe, J. (2012). The normal distribution [Lecture notes]. Retrieved from https://www.elearning.ubc.ca

Citation in text: (Cioe, 2012)

PowerPoint presentation posted to Connect
(p. 212 # 61)


Cioe, J. (2012). Biological foundations of sexuality [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://www.elearning.ubc.ca

Citation in text: (Cioe, 2012)

Custom Course Materials: Reprint from another source
(p. 204 #26)

Redfield, R. (2007). The folk society. In N. Netting (Ed.), Custom course materials SOCI 355 (pp. 56-71). Kelowna, BC: University of British Columbia Okanagan, Bookstore. (Reprinted from American Journal of Sociology, 52(4), 293-308, 1947)

Citation in text: (Redfield, 1947/2007)

Essay: Self-citation
(template on p. 207 section 7.05)

Janke, R. (1997). Librarians are novel lovers: An exploration of our risqué professional stereotypes . Unpublished graduate essay, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Citation in text: (Janke, 1997)

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Last reviewed 10/22/2012 9:21:29 AM

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