APA Citation Style

The APA 6th Edition Academic Style

APA evolved from the Harvard parenthetical referencing system, the American Psychological Association, composed of psychologists, anthropologists and other social scientists convened and worked to develop the standard APA citation style in 1929, essentially breaking free from the Harvard system. It, however, adopted some Harvard attributes

Here are the characteristics of an APA Reference page:

  • Quite similar to Harvard, “References” is the title of Harvard reference list. “References” should be on the center of the first line.  
  • The APA Reference page is located on a separate page at the end of the document. 
  • Every entry starts flush left, aligned with the margin. However, the succeeding lines should be indented half an inch. 
  • In an APA Reference page, each entry should double-spacing and the same format is observed between entries.
  • Your APA Reference page should be in alphabetical order. The list should be based on the authors’ last names. 
  • The author’s last name comes first, then the initials. If the author has a middle name, its initial should be included. 
  • The titles for the following should be italicized: books, audio-visual material, Internet sources and newspapers, and the title, and volume number of magazines and journals.
  • The titles of the following should not be italicized: newspaper articles, essays, poems, short stories, chapters of an Internet document, magazines, and journals. 
  • Capitalize only the first letter and proper nouns in these works: essays, books, websites, poems, reports, chapters from books. Examples of proper nouns are names of people, places, and organizations. 
  • When citing multiple authors, use an ampersand (&) to denote “and.” For example: Johnson, K. & Kemp, V.

The APA Style Cover Page

This is how your cover page should look like should your academic assignment requires you to utilize a cover page:

APA Academic Style Cover Page

Note that an APA style cover page has a format different from the rest of the paper, specifically the running head. See this step-by-step guide for your APA cover page:

Step 1. An APA cover page usually has three items by default - the title of your paper, your name, and the name of your university. Some universities require its students to add the date of submission as well as the total word count of the paper on the cover page.

The APA Cover Page

Step 2. Adjust your page number. This is where you will add your running head.

Adjust your page number

Step 3. Adjust the running head. Note that the word "Running head" should only be visible on the cover page. The rest of the should not have the said word, leaving just the title capitalized.

Adjust the running head.

This is how it should look like.

The APA In-Text Citation

Here are the guidelines on how to perform APA in-text citation. In APA in-text citation, the traditional author’s last name-date of publication is followed. Remember that all these sources should also be cited in the document’s reference page. This is how a standard APA in-text citation looks like:

Standard APA in-text citation: (Surname, Year)
APA Rules on Capitalization, Quotes, and Italicization

Capitalization, Quotes, Italicization

APA Rules on Direct Quotations

Direct Quotations

APA Rules on Block Quotes and Paraphrasing. Note that any direct quote that exceeds 25 words must be written in block format, and anything within that count must be enclosed in quotation marks.

Block Quotes and Paraphrasing

APA Rules on In-Text Citations for Two to Six Authors

APA In-Text for Two to Six Authors

APA Rules on In-Text Citations for Unknown Authors

APA In-Text Citations for Unknown Authors

APA Rules on Multiple Sources In-Text Citation. Citing multiple academic sources adds credibility to the information.

Citing multiple sources in one parentheses

APA Rules on Indirect Source

Indirect Source

APA Rules on Citing Online Documents (without source or page number)

Citing online documents

The APA Reference Page

Before we go into the details, this is how an APA reference page should look like:

APA Reference Page

APA Rules on Citing Books. Note that for six or more authors, you can simply cite the first author then use the term "et al." such as (Aarons, et al., 2010).

Books on APA Reference Page

APA Rules on Book Chapters

Book Chapters

APA Rules on Digital Books, Dissertation, and Artworks

Digital copies

APA Rules on Journals

APA and Journals

APA Rules on Films, Encyclopedia, Government Documents, and Interviews

Films, Encyclopedia, Government Documents, and Interviews

APA Rules on Magazines

APA and Magazines

APA Rules on Newspapers

APA on Newspapers

APA Rules on other Reports

APA and other reports

Most research papers utilize this academic style because of its clarity and simplicity, and proper referencing and source citations are of utmost importance. In some instances, failure to cite a source for a single-statement information can be considered as plagiarism. If you have any questions regarding APA style, we'd be glad to talk to you.

Learn the other academic styles: MLA Referencing Guide and Harvard Referencing Guide.