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How to Cite Your Sources

APA (7th ed.)

From the American Psychological Association

APA is most often used in the social sciences. It is similar in some ways to the MLA style but highlights the currency of the work in question so is often recommended by librarians to students in the sciences and engineering who are familiar with MLA but want to use a style more appropriate for their discipline.

In-Text Citations

The works that inform your research, mentioned in the text of your paper where contextually appropriate.



Three components are required:

Author (last name only), year of publication, page number (if applicable*).

*Include a page number if you're directly quoting a work or discussing an observation from the work, but if you're speaking more generally about the gist of the work, page numbers are not needed.


How to Cite

For short quotations or paraphrases, works can be cited in-text in two ways, always within the punctuation (that is, before the period):

  • Using the author's name in the text itself, known as a "signal phrase":
    • "Orlofsky discovered the powerful effects of fried potatoes on small children (2013, p. 23)."
  • Putting the author's name in the parentheses as well:
    • "One study found that small children are enraptured by fried potatoes and would eat as many as allowed (Orlofsky, 2013, p. 23)."

For quotations longer than 40 words, the text must be block-indented and the parenthetical citation must come after the sentence's punctuation.

In 2008, Burhans noted that:

As more and more Florida potato farms are lost to development, recent events in potato breeding may reduce chippers’ dependence on early Florida potatoes. At the time of this writing, new varieties, such as Dakota Pearl and Glacier Chips, have been successfully stored into June, well past the April date when storage potatoes are usually giving out. According to some, these varieties will be able to tolerate storage temperature fluctuations as great as ten to twenty degrees without turning to sugar, chipping white the whole time. (p. 9)


Capitalize titles: If citing a title in-text, capitalize the key words (unlike the Reference list, in which only the first word of a title is capitalized)


Author Details

You refer only to authors by their last name, either in the use of the author's name in the text itself or in the parentheses. Use a page number if what you're citing is directly from a page (a quote or observation), but do not if you're speaking more generally about the gist of the work. The last of multiple authors is marked with an ampersand in parentheses, but spell out "and" if used in text.

  • One author
    • In text: Orlofsky (2013) studied the effects of...fried potatoes (p. 12).
    • Parentheses: (Orlofsky, 2013, p. 12)
  • Two authors
    • In text: Orlofsky and Walsh (2014) noted...
    • Parentheses: (Orlofsky & Walsh, 2014)
  • 3+ authors
    Use "et al." (Latin for "and others") to abbreviate multiple authors.
    • In text: Orlofsky et al. (2015) suggest...
    • Parentheses: (Orlofsky et al., 2015)
    • Note: if repeated use of the first author with et al. would be confusing (multiple works cited by the same first author), then write out all the names in text and then cite them parenthetically with more names before the et al.:
      • Orlofsky, Walsh and Espinel (2015) suggest.... (Orlofsky, Walsh & Espinel, 2015)
      • Orlofsky, Walsh, Espinel, Smith and Valverde (2016) discuss.... (Orlofsky, Walsh, Espinel, et al., 2016)
  • Unknown author
    Use the title along with the year, in quotes if an article, in italics if a book:
    • French fries are a popular snack ("Potatoes Fried in Oil," 2019).
      • Note that while the article title would be in sentence case in the reference list (only first word capitalized), when cited in-text, it's written in title case (all words capitalized).
  • Organization as author
    Write out organization in text and in the citation:
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2017) suggests...
  • Two or more works in the same parentheses
    Order them alphabetically, separate with a semi-colon:
    (Orlofsky, 2015; Walsh, 2018)

For answers to other author questions, see In-Text Citations: Author/Authors (Purdue OWL).


References List

Full bibliographic information for the works you refer to in the text of your paper.


Section format

  • The list of references starts on a new page in your paper.
  • The page is titled References in bold and center-justified.
  • Each work cited in your paper must be included, and the list is alphabetized by author.
  • Each entry in the Reference list should have a hanging indent (every line after the first line indented 1/2 inch from the left margin).


Basic citation format


Author(s). (year, month day). Title of article. Journal Title, volume(number), page number-page number. DOI or URL.


Orlofsky, V. L. (2013). French fries and small children. Journal of Fried Foods, 43(2), 19-34.



Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Subtitle of work. Publisher Name.


Burhans, D. (2008). Crunch!: A history of the great American potato chip. University of Wisconsin Press.

For more help:

Author Details

Write all author names, starting with the listed first author, as Last name, First initial. Second initial (if applicable). (example: Orlofsky, V. L.). The last of multiple authors is marked with an ampersand unless there are more than 20 authors (see example below).

  • One author
    Orlofsky, V. L.
  • Two authors
    AminJafari, A., & Ghasemi, S. (2020). The possible of immunotherapy for COVID-19: A systematic review. International immunopharmacology, 83, 106455.
  • 3-20 authors
    List every author, separated by commas, with last author preceded by an ampersand:

    Bai, Y., Yao, L., Wei, T., Tian, F., Jin, D. Y., Chen, L., & Wang, M. (2020). Presumed asymptomatic carrier transmission of COVID-19. JAMA, 323(14), 1406-1407.
  • More than 20 authors
    Authors 1-19: list every author, separated by a comma. After the 19th author, use an ellipsis and end with the last author's name.

    Hatcher, S. M., Agnew-Brune, C., Anderson, M., Zambrano, L. D., Rose, C. E., Jim, M. A., Baugher, A., Liu, G. S., Patel, S. V., Evans, M. E., Pindyck, T., Dubray, C. L., Rainey, J. J., Chen, J., Sadowski, C., Winglee, K., Penman-Aguilar, A., Dixit, A., Claw, E., Parshall, C., … McCollum, J. (2020). COVID-19 Among American Indian and Alaska Native Persons - 23 States, January 31-July 3, 2020. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 69(34), 1166–1169.

For answers to other author questions, see Reference List: Author/Authors (Purdue OWL).




Scholarly journal article (print or online)

Basic form
  • Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages.
    • Include the DOI for an online article as the permalink to the publisher website for the article.
Single author
  • Biddle C. J. (2020). Epidemics and pandemics as high consequence events: Expanding leadership challenges and responsibilities in business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Journal of business continuity & emergency planning, 14(1), 6–16.
Multiple authors
  • Peng, Y., Pei, C., Zheng, Y., Wang, J., Zhang, K., Zheng, Z., & Zhu, P. (2020). A cross-sectional survey of knowledge, attitude and practice associated with COVID-19 among undergraduate students in China. BMC public health, 20(1), 1292.


Online article (non-scholarly)

From a newspaper
  • Author, A. A. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Title of Publication. URL
  • Guy, J. (2020, August 31). A plum crumble that meets you where you are. New York Times.

Not from a newspaper
  • Author, A. A. (Year, Month Date). Title of article. Name of publishing website. URL
  • Streefkerk, R. (2019, October 11). APA Manual 7th edition: The most notable changes. Scribbr.



Book with a single author

Garrett-Scott, S. (2019). Banking on freedom: Black women in U.S. finance before the New Deal. Columbia University Press.


Book with multiple authors

Evans, S. Y., Domingue, A. D., & Mitchell, T. D. (2019). Black women and social justice education: Legacies and lessons. SUNY Press.


Chapter in a book

Cobb, C. E. Who Is Fannie Lou Hamer? A movement veteran reflects on teaching civil rights history. In H.K. Jeffries (Ed.), Understanding and teaching the Civil Rights Movement (pp. 13-21). University of Wisconsin Press.



Per the Purdue OWL APA guide: "It is not necessary to note that you have used an eBook or audiobook when the content is the same as a physical book. However, you should distinguish between the eBook or audiobook and the print version if the content is different or abridged, or if you would like to cite the narrator of an audiobook."

For example:

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book. Publisher. URL

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book [ebook edition]. Publisher. URL



When citing a review of a work (music recording, film, artwork, book, etc.), it's important to include the name of the work being reviewed as well as citation information about the review itself.

  • Lastname, F. (Year, Month Day). Title of review. [Review of the {medium} Title of work, by A. Author]. Title of Periodical, Volume(Number), page(s). doi: ___ (if applicable).
  • Dickar, M. (2000, March). Coming of age in New Jersey. [Review of the book Teenage New Jersey, 1941-1975, by K. Grover]. American Quarterly, 52(1), 127-144



  • Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle (T. Translator, Trans.). Publisher. (Original work published YEAR)
  • Ariosto, L. (2009). Orlando furioso: A new verse translation (D. R. Slavitt,Trans.). Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1516-1532 CE)


Websites & Social Media


Page from a Website

Named author:
  • Author, A. A. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL
  • Streefkerk, R. (2019, October 11). APA Manual 7th edition: The most notable changes. Scribbr.

Organization as author:
  • Group name. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL
  • NJ Department of State. (2020). Register to vote! New Jersey Division of Elections.

Note: you can determine who to name as the author of the page by looking to the website's footer for the copyright notice. That will also tell you the year of publication, if you haven't found that info elsewhere on the site.



  • Lastname, F. M. or Name of Group [@username]. (Year, Month Date). Content of the post up to the first 20 words[Tweet]. Site Name. URL
  • Wildland Tours [@WildlandsOceans]. (2020, August 21). Had a wonderful morning picking blueberries along the East Coast Trail in Petty Harbour! #berrypicking #blueberries #pettyharbour #EastCoastTrail #Hiking #locallove [Video attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.


Refer to the author of the tweet in text by name, not their Twitter account.

Emojis and hashtags count as words toward the 20-word total for the tweet title.

For more on citing tweets, see Twitter References (APA Style blog).


Government Documents



National Cancer Institute. (2019). Taking time: Support for people with cancer (NIH Publication No. 18-2059). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

  • Parenthetical citation: (National Cancer Institute, 2019)
  • Narrative citation: National Cancer Institute (2019)

Example taken from Report by a Government Agency References (APA Style blog).


Website from a government agency

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, July). Anxiety disorders. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

  • Parenthetical citation: (National Institute of Mental Health, 2018)
  • Narrative citation: National Institute of Mental Health (2018)

Example taken from Webpage on a Website References (APA Style blog).

Note: If there is no author name listed, use the agency. Parent agencies should be listed in the reference citation, but not in-text.

APA 7 Manuals

Writing Help at Stevens