This guide is representative of the 7th edition Publication Manual of APA and focuses on a student paper structure.
APA examples are not exhaustive and focus on referencing and citations. Assistance from your professor and/or Writing Centre is suggested for clarification.
Users are responsible for interpretation of APA style guidelines and to seek further assistance when necessary.
Effective September 2020.
This video discusses how to create references in an APA Style student paper.
Academic writing requires you to do research on a topic to find scholarly research that supports your ideas, and begins to build a case and prove a concept, idea, or argument. When you do this, you need to give credit to your sources of information, and this is done in the form of references and in-text citations. References appear at the end of your paper, leading your reader to the original material you used. Each reference has a corresponding in-text citation in the text of your paper.
When it comes to developing references and in-text citations, APA suggests following these 6 steps:
Read the work you want to cite.
Identify an idea you want to put in your paper.
Write a sentence about this idea. You can quote or paraphrase it.
Write a reference for the source you are using.
Add the corresponding in-text citation for this reference to your paper.
Repeat these steps as needed for other sources and ideas used throughout the rest of your assignment.
This process suggests that you begin by creating your references before creating the in-text citations in the body of your paper. When you already have your references complete, finding the information for your in-text citations becomes much faster and easier. A lot of writers spend time trying to locate the sources they used at the end of the writing process, as they work to create their reference page and insert their in-text citations. The inability to locate sources, or to properly connect them to ideas in your paper, can result in accidental plagiarism which is subject to academic misconduct. Following the process suggested here is an excellent way to ensure your work it written with integrity.
According to the 6 steps of the APA process, once you have identified a source of information to use in your paper, you need to create a reference for it. The format of your reference will vary depending on the source of information you are using. It can be helpful to identify your source first, for instance, are you looking at a book, a journal article, or a website? These are the types of sources most commonly used for academic papers.
Your reference list entry will typically include the names of the authors who wrote the information you've used, the year their work was published, the title of the article you read, the tile of the source, for instance a website or journal name, and the publisher's name or a link to the website. If you are using a journal article, this website link may also be known as a DOI. When you begin trying to create a reference, see if you can find these items of information first.
Next, you need to list this information in a specific way, as outlined by the APA manual. In these examples, you may notice a theme in the order of information between each type of reference. For instance, the authors always appear first, followed by the year, then titles. After this, there will be variation in format depending on the source you have used.
Starting with the journal article, you will want to start with the author's last name, followed by a comma, then the letter of their first initial with a period, followed by the initial for their middle name if they have one. If they don't, you only include the initial for their first name. If you have multiple authors, you continue repeating this information for each author and separate them with commas, but you always include an ampersand, or the “and” symbol, prior to listing your last author. After your last author, simply put a period, no commas, to show that this is the end of your author list. Then, in parentheses, you include the year of publication followed by a period. After this is your article's title. Titles are not capitalized in title case, rather you only capitalize the first letter and any other words that are names.
So, for example, if your title was “Effects of pollution in Canada,” the only capitals would be the E on effects, and the C on Canada. Next, in italics, you include the title of the journal. Journal titles are in title case, so make sure you capitalize the larger words in the title. This is followed by the volume number, which is also italicized. However, this is where the italics stop. Without adding a space after the volume, you want to put the issue number in parentheses. Then there is a comma, a range of page numbers for the article, then a period, and then a link or DOI URL.
This may seem really overwhelming, but all this information can be located on the journal article itself, you just need to follow the APA format to organize it all.
Books follow a similar pattern, beginning with your authors and the year of publication, but then you want to include the title of the book. This is also not in title case, so only capitalize the first letter of the first word and any names mentioned in the title. The book may or may not have an edition. If it doesn't, simply put a period after the book title. If there is an edition, it appears in parenthesis, as in the example shown here, and the period will appear after that. Then you want to include the publisher's name, and a period to end your reference.
Websites are very similar to journal articles, but after the article title, rather than putting a journal name, you are putting the name of the website itself. This appears in italics and is followed by a link to the website.
In all cases, you may have a source written by an organization rather than a person. This is perfectly fine, simply swap out author names for the name of the organization, for instance: Georgian College. The main difference this makes in terms of websites is that you no longer need to include the name of a website after the article title when creating a website reference. Instead, the organization is used as your author, and your article title will be in italics.
Examples can be seen here. Notice how the journal article example shows a reference with one author, while the book example shows how to list three authors, and the website shows how to use an organizational author. When creating your own references, compare them to examples on the Georgian College APA guide or the APA manual and pay careful attention to the order of information, use of periods and commas, and the use of italics.
Now that you have your references, they need to be put into a list, also known as the “reference page.” Your reference page needs to be on a separate page from the text of your paper and it always comes at the end of your paper. As you can see in this example, centered in the top of your reference page, and bolded, is the title References. You should also have a page number in the top right corner, as with all pages in your paper.
Beneath that is your first reference list entry. References should always be listed in alphabetical order, double-spaced, and have something called a hanging indent, which is when the first line is flush left but the lines beneath it are indented. If you need help doing this, there is a great link on the Georgian College APA guide that links to a video that walks through how to create a hanging indent. Alternatively, there are likely other helpful videos on YouTube that could be helpful.
Just a few extra tips: As I said, each reference will be different and unique depending on the source you are using, so always look for a comparable example in the APA manual that you can use as a guide. Always pay careful attention to punctuation and italics when creating your own references
And lastly, as mentioned previously, follow the 6 steps to a proper APA citation:
Read the work you want to cite
Identify an idea you want to put in your paper
Write a sentence about this idea
Write a reference list entry for the source you are using
Add the corresponding in-text citation for this reference list entry to your paper
Repeat these steps as needed for other sources and ideas used throughout the rest of your paper
Following these steps will ensure you give proper credit to the sources of information you are using and will ensure you avoid plagiarizing the work of another author.
For further support please contact Georgian College's Writing Centre. Did you know that Georgian College's Writing Centre supports all students in all programs? The service is covered by your student fees, so there is no cost to you when you reach out for support! The Writing Centre is not an editing service, but rather works to help students become stronger and more confident writers by providing feedback on written assignments and providing writing tips, strategies and techniques. The Writing Centre can also help explain APA formatting and the nuances of referencing and in-text citations.
You can find more information on the Georgian College's Library and Academic Success website.
A reference has 4 elements:
1. Author: Who is responsible for the work?
2. Date: When was the work published?
3. Title: What is the work called?
4. Source: Where can you retrieve the work? (American Psychological Association, 2020, p. 283)
For every source, you want to identify: who, when, what, where.
For punctuation in a reference list entry, see the APA Style website, Punctuation in Reference List Entries.
Personal authors are always listed in this order:
Smith, A. B., MacPherson, C. D., & Singh, T. J.
Place a comma after the last name and list any first or second names just by their initial (first letter) followed by a period. Use one space between multiple initials. Place a comma to separate authors. Use an & between the last and second last author.
Last name can also be called surname or family name.
Usually, the listed author's name needs to have the order reversed before creating the reference list entry.
From the detailed record in Page 1+:
From the article PDF:
Up to 20 authors:
List all authors up to 20 authors.
Over 20 authors:
List first 19 authors followed by "..." then the last author of the article. There are no spaces before or after "...". See Publication Manual 8.17 for in-text citation examples when there are multiple authors.
See Publication Manual, Section 9.8. See Publication Manual 8.17 for in-text citation examples when there are multiple authors.
|Who||Archer, C. L., Brodie, J. F., & Rauscher, S. A.||Rourke, J.T. (Ed.).||Place a period after each author. Separate multiple authors with a comma. Use an & between the last and second last authors.|
|When||(2019).||(2014).||Date element surrounded by () and ends with a period.|
|What||Global warming will aggravate ozone pollution in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic.||Taking sides. Clashing views in world politics (16th ed.).||Place a period at the end of the title.|
|Where||Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology, 58(6), 1267–1278. https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-18-0263.1||McGraw-Hill.||Place a period at the end of the source. If there are several elements listed, separate them with a comma. No period after a DOI or URL. Place a period after the page range. Volume and issue form one element.|
|Component||News Video||TV Series Episode||Punctuation|
|Who||Global National.||Morgan, P. (Writer), & Martin, P. (Director).||Place a period after each author. Separate multiple authors with a comma. Use an & between the last and second last authors.|
|When||(2020, February 21).||(2016).||Date element surrounded by () and ends with a period.|
|What||The struggle of living with addiction [Video].||Smoke and mirrors (Season 1, Episode 5) [TV series episode]. In P. Morgan, S. Daldry, A. Harries, P. Martin, S. Mackie, M. Byam-Shaw, R. Fox, T. Seghatchian, N. Wolarsky, & A. Goss (Executive Producers), The crown.||Place a period at the end of the title. See audiovisual examples for further explanation.|
|Where||Global News. https://globalnews.ca/video/6581269/the-struggle-of-living-with-addiction-2||Left Bank Pictures; Sony Pictures Television; Netflix.||Place a period at the end of the source. If there are several elements listed, separate them with a comma. No period after a DOI or URL. When there are 2 or more publishers, separate them with semicolons.|
|Component||Tweet||Website with Group Author||Punctuation|
|Who||Hall, A.. [@lyss_hall].||College of Nurses Ontario.||Place a period after each author.|
|When||(2020, July 11).||(2018, October 20).||Date element surrounded by () and ends with a period.|
|What||My favourite, most recent reads [pile of 3 books emoji] [Images of book covers]. [Tweet].||New opioid dispensing requirements in effect.||Place a period at the end of the title. See online media examples for further explanation.|
|Place a period at the end of the source. No period after a DOI or URL|
When information to create the reference list entry is missing, see APA Style website or the Publication Manual, Table 9.1. Examples are also provided for the in-text citation to match the reference list entry with missing elements.