APA Style Guide

5th edition


The APA style, as presented in this handout, is widely accepted in the Social Sciences. The American Psychological Association (APA) citation format requires parenthetical citations within the text rather than endnotes or footnotes. Complete information about each source cited in the text is supplied in a list called "References" found at the end of the research paper.  For exact detailed information you will need to consult the 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

Parenthetical Citations Reference
Journal Articles (printed) Books and Reports
Online Articles Online Documents

Parenthetical Citations
Parenthetical citation in the text provides information, usually the name of the author and the date of publication, to lead the reader to the accompanying bibliographical entry. Complete information about each source cited in the text is supplied in "References," placed at the end of the research paper. 

Author and Date Cited in Text (No Parenthetical Citation Necessary)
In a 1989 article, Gould explores some of Darwin's most effective metaphors. 

Author Not Cited in Text
As metaphors for the workings of nature, Darwin used the tangled bank, the tree of life, and the face of nature (Gould, 1989). 

Author Cited in Text
Gould (1989) attributes Darwin's success to his gift for making the appropriate metaphor. 

Direct Quotation with Name of Author
Gould (1989) explains that Darwin used the metaphor of the tree of life "to express the other form of interconnectedness–genealogical rather than ecological–and to illustrate both success and failure in the history of life" (p. 14). 

Direct Quotation without Name of Author
Darwin used the metaphor of the tree of life "to express the other form of interconnectedness–genealogical rather than ecological" (Gould, 1989, p. 14). 

For each of the above five sample sentences the correct "References" APA style format would be:
Gould, S. J. (1989). The wheel of fortune and the wedge of progress. Natural History, 89(3), 14-21.

FAQ: Quoting references that cite other works
To cite secondary sources, refer to both sources in the text, but include in the References list only the source that you actually used. For instance, suppose you read Feist (1998) and would like to paraphrase the following sentence within that book: Bandura (1989) defined self-efficacy as "people's beliefs about their capabilities to exercise control over events that affect their lives" (p. 1175). In this case, your in-text citation would be "(Bandura, 1989, as cited in Feist, 1998)." Feist (1998) would be fully referenced within the list of References. Bandura (1989) would not be listed. For more information on citing secondary sources, see Example 22 on p. 247 of the Publication Manual. Remember to use the examples in this handout to cite and reference your quote correctly.


For space reasons the format of the citations listed below are not in the specified format for the APA style.   APA style requires double space throughout the document (e.g., title page, text, references).   Alphabetize the list by author's last name. If there is no author given, start with the first significant word in the title. In titles, capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle, and proper names. In addition References should be in a hanging indent format, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented. For example:

Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. 
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 45(2), 10-36.

Capitalize only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns.

Journal Articles (print): Here are examples of APA style reference citations for periodical articles published in journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.  
: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, vol, pp.

One Author
Mellers, B. A. (2000). Choice and the relative pleasure of consequences. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 910-924.  

Two to Six Authors
Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 45(2), 10-36.
NOTE! Include the issue number in parentheses without italics following the volume number only if each issue is paginated separately, i.e., the pagination begins fresh with each issue. If all issues within a single volume are paginated continuously, do not include the issue number.

Six or More Authors
Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J., Coatsworth, D., Lengua, L., et al. (2000). An experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother-child programs for children of divorce. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 843-856.

Magazine Article
Kandel, E. R., & Squire, L. R. (2000, November 10). Breaking down scientific barriers to the study of brain and mind. Science, 290, 1113-1120. 

Review of a Book
Schatz, B. R. (2000). Learning by text or context? [Review of the book The social life of information]. Science, 290, 1304.  

Daily Newspaper Article, No Author
New drug appears to sharply cut risk of death from heart failure. (2001, August 3). The Washington Post, p. A12. If the article had more than one page but not continuous then the citation would be "pp. A12, A14."  

Entire Issue or Special Section
Barlow, D. H. (Ed.). (1991). Diagnoses, dimensions, and DSM-IV: The science of classification [Special issue]. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100(3).


Books and Reports
Format: Author, A. A. (year). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

Mitchell, T. R., & Larson, J. R., Jr. (1987). People in organizations: An introduction to organizational behavior (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Edited Book
Ruiz, V. L. & Sánchez Korrol, V. (Eds.). (2006). Latinas in the United States: A historical encyclopedia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Corporate Author as publisher
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. 

Anonymous Author
Guidelines and application form for directors, 1990 summer seminar for school teachers. (1988). Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Chapter in a Book
Massaro, D. (1992). Broadening the domain of the fuzzy logical model of perception. In H. L. Pick Jr., P. van den Broek, & D.C. Knill (Eds.), Cognition: Conceptual and methodological issues (pp. 51-84). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

ERIC Document
Mead, J. V. (1992) Looking at old photographs: Investigating the teacher tales that novice teaches bring with them (Report No. NCRTL-RTR-92-4). East Lansing, MI: National Center for Research on Teaching Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 346082) 

Government Report
National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 

Television Broadcast
Crystal, L. (Executive Producer). (1993, October 11). The MacNeil/Lehrer news hour. [Television broadcast]. New York and Washington, DC: Public Broadcasting Service. 


Online Articles

FormatAuthor, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, vol, pp. Retrieved month day, year, from source. NOTE: APA protocols for citing electronic information are evolving. For the latest information, consult the official APA Web site link given here. APA will update this page regularly as there are additions, changes, or clarifications to APA style.

Full-Text Article Retrieved from an Aggregated Database (NOTE: Full Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) are usually not given with aggregated databases since they often do not function in subsequent online sessions; instead, use database name.)

Senior, B. (1997). Team roles and team performance: Is there really a link? Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 70, 241-258. Retrieved June 6, 2001 from ABI/INFORM Global (Proquest) database. 
Dykeman, B. F. (1994). The effects of motivational orientation, self-efficacy, and feedback condition on test anxiety. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 21(2), 114-120. Retrieved June 4, 2001 from EBSCOHost Academic Search Elite database. 


Stevenson, W., Maton, K. I. and Teti, D. M. (1999, February). Social support, relationship quality, and well-being among pregnant adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 22(1), 109-121. Retrieved June 3, 2001 from IDEAL database.

Garza, A. (1999, March 17). Siesta put to rest: Mexican tradition under siege. Boston Globe, p. A2. Retrieved June 3, 2001 from Newsstand (Proquest) database. 
NOTE: for newspapers, make certain that the month and day of the publication is included.

Article from Public Domain, E-journal and/or Nonaggregate Database NOTE: Full URLs are given with public domain e-journals, and/or non-aggregate databases where the URL will function in subsequent online sessions to retrieve the same article. There is no period at the end of a reference citation ending with a URL.

VandenBox, G., Knapp, S., & Doe, J. (2001). Role of reference elements in the selection of resources by psychology undergraduates. Journal of Bibliographic Research, 5, 117-123. Retrieved October 13, 2001, from
Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A., & Schwartz, A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience, and antiscience. American Psychologist, 50, 750-765. Retrieved June 6, 2001, from

For additional Writing Citation guides online see:

Online Documents
Format: Author, A. A. (Yr, date). Title of work. Retrieved month day, year, from source  

Online Document  
NAACP. (1999, February 25). NAACP calls for Presidential order to halt police brutality crisis. Retrieved June 3, 2001 from
NOTE: Break a URL that goes to another line after a slash or before a period. Do not insert, or allow your word-processing program to insert, a hyphen at the break.

No Author Identified, No Date
GVU's 8th WWW user survey. (n.d.). Retrieved August 8, 2000, from  

Can't find the right rule? If you do not find a rule in this guide to fit the specific citation situation you are working on, you need to consult the 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Copies are available in the Library on the 2nd floor Reference collection (BF 76.7 P83 2001). Reference citations rules are in Chapter Four, pages 215 through 281. Use pages 232 through 239 as an index to examples in this chapter.


Kathryn Blackmer Reyes,, 408.808.2097