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Citation Styles

This Guide contains information on how to cite sources in-text and prepare a bibliography for your paper.
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APA Style

What is APA style? APA style (produced by the American Psychological Association) is a set of guidelines for organizing a paper and giving credit to sources used. Though often used to cite sources in the social sciences, APA isn't specifically reserved for use by these subjects. Any discipline can use APA style! Be sure to double-check what edition is required. APA recently switched to the 7th edition. 

Check out these handy guides to APA-style references:


7th edition

6th edition

APA OWL Purdue 7th ed. (General Format Guide) APA Quick Guide 
APA Sample Paper 7th ed. (APA Style Home) APA Sample Paper 6th ed. (Owl Purdue)
APA Paper Formatting Checklist (APA Style Home)  
APA Abstract & Keywords Guide (APA Style Home)  
APA Quick Reference Guide (APA Style Home)  


Citation Types

When you cite, do it twice!

In-text citations are used within the body of your paper to identify the idea/phrase/quote that it is associated with. They include the author(s) last name(s) and the year of publication. Their full citations should be included in the Reference section.

You can include the author in the structure of your sentence, and cite the publication year immediately following:  Example: Smith (2011) discussed the importance of citing sources correctly, so as to avoid plagiarism. 

You may also include the author & publication year at the end of a sentence. When using direct quotes, be sure to include page numbers: Example: "Knowledge of physical laws can, in some cases, give you the confidence to confront surly people," (Tyson, 2017, p. 46)

Use this chart to create an in-text citation.

Type of citation

First citation in text Other citations in text

Parenthetical format, first citation

Parenthetical format, next citations

One work by one author Hamilton (2012) Hamilton (2012) (Hamilton, 2012) (Hamilton, 2012)
One work by two authors

Jones and Smith (1971)

Jones and Smith (1971) (Jones & Smith, 1971) (Jones & Smith, 1971)
One work by three authors Miller, Legett, and Harris (1978) Miller et al. (1978) (Miller, Legett, & Harris, 1978) (Miller et al., 1978)
Groups (easily abbreviated) as authors Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2001) CDC (2001) (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2001) (CDC, 2001)

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

For more information on citation styles, see p. 169-192 in the APA manual.

References come at the end of the paper as a summary of all sources used. 

The typical format is: Creator. (Creation date). Title. Place of publication: Publisher.  However, this varies depending on what type of resource you are citing. Here are two common resources:

Physical Book: Tyson, N. D. (2017). Astrophysics for people in a hurry. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. 

Online Journal Article: Whitney, J., Thompson, K., & Park, J.H. (2019). A plan for a US space force: The what, why, how, and when. Air & Space Power Journal, 33(3), 83-95. Retrieved from,shib&db=a9h&AN=13834973site=eds-live&scope=site&custid=egc1


Use this chart to create citations if you are missing information.

What’s Missing?


Reference Template

Position A

Position B

Position C

Position D

 Nothing; I’ve got  all the pieces.


  Author, A.


 Title of document  [Format].

 Retrieved from  http://URL

 Author is missing.

 Substitute title for  the author.

 Title of document  [Format].


 Retrieved from  http://URL


 Date is missing.

 Use “n.d.” for No  date.

 Author, A.


 Title of document  [Format].

 Retrieved from  http://URL

 Title is missing.

 Describe the  document inside  square brackets.

 Author, A.


 [Description of  document].

Retrieved from http://URL

 Author and date  are both missing.

 Combine author  and date methods.

 Title of document  [Format].


 Retrieved from  http://URL


 Author and title   are both missing.

 Combine author  and title methods.

 [Description of  document].


 Retrieved from  http://URL


 Date and title are  both missing.

 Combine date and  title methods.

 Author, A.


 [Description of  document].

 Retrieved from  http://URL

 Author, date, and  title are all  missing.

 Combine all three  methods.

 [Description of  document].


 Retrieved from  http://URL



From the American Psychological Association. You can also view/download this version. 


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