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APA Style: APA Quick Reference

Guide to using APA style and creating citations

Essential Elements

As a rule of thumb, students should always record the following information when working with sources:

1) Name of Author   2) Title of Work   3) Year or Date of Publication   4) Publisher   5) Place of Publication

The information required for a proper citation can vary, though, so it’s important to follow the specific model for a given source type. You can find numerous examples of citations and examine sample papers in this portion of the guide.

Here is a Quick Reference Guide for the APA 7th Edition


In-text (Parenthetical) Citations

In APA, writers must use the author-date style to cite each source they use. These citations can be written in essentially two different ways.


Using the Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. Marten (2010) argues that breed specific legislation has not lessened the number of incidents related to dog aggression (p. 76).

Without Using Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. Breed specific legislation has not lessened the number of incidents related to dog aggression (Marten, 2010, p. 76).


Quotations should always be preceded by a tag or signal phrase that introduces readers to quoted material.

Using the Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. According to Marten (2010), such "fears and fundamental misunderstandings have led to a culture where genocide appears acceptable" (p. 78).

Without Using Author's Name in a Sentence:

   ex. Over the past several decades, these "fears and fundamental misunderstandings have led to a culture where genocide appears acceptable" (Marten, 2010, p. 78).

Long quotations (40 words or more) should be presented as a block of text. The block of text should not be enclosed in quotation marks, as it is designated as a quote by virtue of the block format.

   ex. Marten (2010) makes the following conclusion:

               In the end, the unfounded, stereotypical assumptions driving breed

               specific legislation cause considerably more harm than good. These

               laws have proven to be wrong-headed and roundly ineffectual when

               it comes to preventing incidents tied to canine aggression. They have

               also proven to be nothing short of cruel by stripping families of their

               well-behaved companions and destroying those same companions

               without just consideration. (p. 82)

Notes about Quoting, Paraphrasing and APA 7th Edition Rules

  • Quotes - when you use the exact text from another source, this is defined as "quoted text." Quoted text should always be in parentheses and include an in-text citation with a page number. Example - (Smith, 2019, p. 52) 
  • Paraphrase & Summary - when you paraphrase or summarize another author's idea or writing you should give credit to the original source by including an in-text citation. Since you may be combining ideas from across multiple pages or from multiple author's a page number is not needed. Examples - (Smith, 2019); (Smith, 2019; Davis, 2017) 
  • Long Quotes - if your quoted text totals 40 or more words, you should use the "block quote" format. Click here for instructions on how a block quote should be formatted.

APA Most Notable Changes 7th Edition (ECU Libguides)


Book, Chapter and Entry Citations in a Bibliography

Book, Single Author

McLuhan, M. (1994). Understanding the media: The extensions of man. Boston: MIT Press.

Book, Multiple Authors

  • Multiple Authors - if your source has three or more authors, the formatting of the in-text citation will change. You will use the et al. format immediately in the new APA 7th edition. For instance, if our authors were Smith, John, and Davis we would cite (Smith et al., 2019, p. ?) when using a direct quote. We would use Smith et al. (2019) when paraphrasing.

Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C. & Fulker, D. W. (1988). Nature and nurture during infancy and early

     childhood. New York: Cambridge University Press.     will become

Plomin, R. et al. (1988). Nature and nurture during infancy and early

     childhood. New York: Cambridge University Press.

...provided that you already have this citation in your Reference List. If the citation is not in your list of references, it cannot be cited in your paper.


Electronic Book/ Electronic Version of Print Book

Speed, H. (2004). The practice and science of drawing. Retrieved from


Book with Editor

Wagner, V. (Ed.). (2007). Eating disorders. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Essay or Chapter in an Edited Book

Labajo, J. (2003). Body and voice: The construction of gender in flamenco. In T. Magrini (Ed.), Music

     and gender: Perspectives from the Mediterranean (pp. 67-86). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago


Entry in a Reference Work

Kennedy, C. (2008). Bipolar scale. In P. J. Lavrakas (Ed.), Encyclopedia of survey research methods.

     Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Periodical Citations in a Bibliography

Journal Article, Single Author

Lickliter, R. (2008). The growth of developmental thought: Implications for a new evolutionary psychology.

     New Ideas in Psychology, 26(3), 353-369.

Journal Article, Multiple Authors

Harvey, M., Treadway, D., Heames, J. T., & Duke, A. (2009). Bullying in the 21st century global

     organization: An ethical perspective. Journal of  Business Ethics, 85(1), 27-40.

Electronic Journal Article, Single Author, DOI Assigned

Feldt, R. (2008). Development of a brief measure of college stress: The college student stress scale.

     Psychological Reports, 102, 855-860. doi:10.2466/PR0.102.3.855-860

Electronic Journal Article, Single Author, No DOI Assigned

Hess, D.W. (2012). The impact of religiosity on personal financial decisions. Journal of Religion and

     Society, 14. Retrieved from

Newspaper Article, Single Author

Schultz, S. (2005, December 28). Calls made to strengthen state energy policies. The Country Today,

     pp. 1A, 2A.

Online Newspaper Article, Single Author

Fraenkel, C. (2012, September 2). In praise of the clash of cultures. The New York Times. Retrieved



Audiovisual Citations in a Bibliography


American Psychological Association. (2012). APA concise dictionary of psychology (Version 1.0)

     [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from


Audio (Podcast)

Kavanaugh, P. B. (Presenter). (2009, August 30). On culture and institutions: Storytelling and

     psychoanalysis [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from


Video/ DVD

Lennon, T. (Producer). (2004). Battle of the bulge [DVD]. United States: WGBH Boston Video.



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