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APA Basics at CSULA - Getting Started

Printable APA Format - 6th Edition

APA Guide

APA Format–6th Edition


OVERVIEW–The American Psychological Association (APA) style is widely accepted in the social sciences and other fields, such as education, business, and nursing. The APA citation format requires parenthetical citations within the text rather than endnotes or footnotes. Citations in the text provide brief information, usually the name of the author and the date of publication, which will lead the reader to the source of information in the reference page at the end of the paper.   

NOTE:  APA style requires double spacing throughout (e.g. text, references, etc.)

APA RULES FOR THE REFERENCE PAGE – The following sections show some of the more commonly used APA citation rules.

NOTE: All citations must be in the Hanging Indent Format with the first line flush to the left margin and all other lines indented.

Authors are listed by last name and initials only. List up to seven authors.  For articles from eight or more authors list the first six authors, then a spaced ellipsis and the last author.



General Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Name of Journal, xx, xxx-xxx. doi:xxxxxxxxxx

NOTE: Italicize the name of the journal and the volume number. Use the article’s DOI (Digital Object Identifier), the unique code given by the publisher to a specific article.  Use the DOI information as it appears in the article.  The examples below show the two versions – the numeric string or the alpha-numeric string.

Senior, B., & Swailes, S. (2007). Inside management teams: Developing a teamwork survey instrument. British

          Journal of Management, 18,
138-153. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.2006.00507.x


Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Coatsworth, D., Lengua, L.,...Griffin, W. A. (2000). An

          experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother-child programs for children of divorce. Journal of

          Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68,

NOTE: If there is no DOI, use the journal’s home page URL (web address).  This may require a web search to locate the journal’s home page. There is no period at the end of web address.  Break a long URL before the punctuation.

Koo, D. J., Chitwoode, D. D., & Sanchez, J. (2008). Violent victimization and the routine activities/lifestyle of active

          drug users. Journal of Drug Issues, 38, 1105-1137. Retrieved from http://www2



NOTE: The entire date is used for daily, weekly or biweekly publications.  The format is Year, Month Day.

Lodewijkx, H. F. M. (2001, May 23). Individual-group continuity in cooperation and competition under varying

          communication conditions. Current Issues in Social Psychology, 6(12), 166-182. Retrieved from

NOTE: The issue number is not required if the journal is continuously paged. If the journal is paged individually, the issue number is required in the citation and is typed in parentheses adjacent to the volume number in regular type.


Healy, M. (2018, January 20). Concussion is the tip of CTE iceberg. Los Angeles Times, p. B2. Retrieved from



General Format

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Retrieved from web address

NOTE: If there are no individual authors listed, use the corporate author or the title of the document

Online Report

Kenney, G. M., Cook, A., & Pelletier, J. (2009). Prospects for reducing uninsured rates among children: How much

          can premium assistance programs help? 
Retrieved from =411823

Online Report with a Corporate Author

National Association of Social Workers. (2017). NASW Code of Ethics (Rev ed.). Retrieved from


Online Report with No Author Identified and No Date

GVU's 10th WWW user survey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www

Web Sites in Parenthetical Citations: To cite an entire Web site (but not a specific document within the site), it is sufficient to give the URL of the site in the text. No entry in the reference list is needed.  Example:

Kidpsych is an excellent website for young children (


General Format

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Location of Publisher: Publisher.

NOTE: The title of the book is italicized.

Alexie, S. (1992). The business of fancydancing: Stories and poems. Brooklyn, NY: Hang Loose Press.

Corporate Author with an Edition and Published by the Corporate Author

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

          Washington, DC: Author.

Anonymous Author

Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary (32nd ed.). (2011). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders.

Chapter in a Book

Von Hoene, L., Nilson, L. B., & Siering, G. (2017). Intended teaching effectiveness outcomes for instructors and

          faculty development. In C. Haras, S. C. Taylor, M. D. Sorcinelli, & L. von Hoene (Eds.), Institutional     
          commitment to teaching excellence: Assessing the impacts and outcomes of faculty development
(pp. 17-27).

          Washington, DC: American Council on Education.


APA RULES FOR IN-TEXT CITATIONS - APA utilizes a system of brief referencing in the text of a paper, whether one is paraphrasing or providing a direct quotation from another author’s work.  Citations in the text usually consist of the name of the author(s) and the year of publication.  The page number is added when utilizing a direct quotation.

NOTE: The number of authors for any given work dictates the style: 
One author – Always list; Two authors – Always list;
Three authors – List all the first time cited. Subsequent citations use the first author listed and et al.; Four authors - List all the first time used. Subsequent citations use the first author listed and et al.; Five authors - List all the first time used. Subsequent citations use the first author listed and et al.
Six or more authors – Never list all. The first author listed and et al. will be used throughout the paper.


Indirect Quotation with Parenthetical Citation

          Libraries historically highly value intellectual freedom and patron confidentiality (LaRue, 2007).

Indirect Quotation with Author as Part of the Narrative

          LaRue (2007) identified intellectual freedom and patron confidentiality as two key values held historically by  


Direct Quotation with Parenthetical Citation 

          Darwin used the metaphor of the tree of life "to express the other form of interconnectedness–genealogical

          rather than ecological" (Gould & Brown, 1991, p. 14).\

Direct Quotation with Author as Part of the Narrative

          Gould and Brown (1991) explained that Darwin used the metaphor of the tree of life "to express the other

 of interconnectedness–genealogical rather than ecological” (p. 14).

Direct Quotation with Parenthetical Citation – Four authors in first citation

          “Recognizing a teacher’s view of information literacy in an active learning environment may provide a basis

          for productive collaborative efforts” (Maybee, Doan, & Flierl, 2016, p. 709).

Direct Quotation with Parenthetical Citation – Four authors in subsequent citation

          Maybee et al. (2016) further suggested that “librarians should be prepared to describe how using information

          is important to the active learning experience” (p. 710).



CITING SECONDARY SOURCES -- When citing in the text a work discussed in a secondary source, give both the primary and the secondary sources. In the example below, the study by Seidenberg and McClelland was mentioned in an article by Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller.

Seidenberg and McClelland’s study (as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993) provided a glimpse into the world.

In the references page, you would cite the secondary source you read not the original study.

Coltheart, M., Curtis, B., Atkins, P., & Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud:  Dual-route and

          parallel-distributed-processing approaches. Psychological Review, 100, 589-608.



dlschaeffer 012718

Action Verbs

Use these words carefully to build your vocabulary.

Guide to Author In-Text Citation

This chart can be a useful in correctly citing authors within the text of your paper.

APA Headings - Term Paper

This sample page will help you set up your headings.

APA Headings - Thesis

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300