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Citation Guide: APA Style

This is a guide to help students to cite resources correctly and avoid plagiarism in their projects and assignments. The guide will focus on the APA and MLA formats of citations, and will go over what constitutes plagiarism.

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APA Style

The American Psychological Association formatting style is used most often in the social and behavioral sciences. Learn basic rules on how to format the body of your work, in-text citations, and reference lists in this guide. This guide is only an introduction; for detailed instructions visit the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL) APA Style Guide.

In general, the APA requires papers to be double spaced and formatted with 1" margins all around, with a size 12 font (Times New Roman is recommended). The paper must have a title page as well as a header with the title of the paper flush left on each following page.

In-Text Citations

Whenever you refer to information gotten from an outside resource, such as a textbook, database, website, or journal, you must include an in-text citation indicating your source. This includes direct quotations as well as summaries or paraphrasing of information. Your in-text citation should appear in parentheses after the quotation or paraphrase, and should follow the (Author, Date) format. For direct quotations from a book or article, the page number must be included as well. If the source does not list an author, use the title of the source in quotes followed by the date of publication. For detailed instructions on how to format your in-text citation, visit the Purdue OWL In-Text Citations Guide.

Reference List

Every resource used must be listed on your reference list at the end of your work. Any source you cite in-text must be listed in full bibliographic format. Sources must be listed alphabetically by author's last name. Sources must also be formatted with a hanging indent, meaning the first line of the citation is flush left, but any subsequent line is indented by one half inch.

How the citation is formatted depends upon the type of resource used. Books, articles, other print resources, and electronic resources all have different formats. In general, citations follow the following order: author, year, title, publisher. Depending on the source, however, you may have to include other information like journal title, volume and issue numbers, website DOI or URL, page range and title for an encyclopedia, or more. For detailed instructions on how to format your reference page citation, visit the Purdue OWL Reference List Guide.



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

Online Journal Article

When available, APA recommends that citations include an electronic resource's Digital Object Identifier, or DOI, over a website URL. The DOI functions like a permanent electronic fingerprint, unlike URLs which can change or break. The DOI can usually be found on an article's front page near the copyright notice.

Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. (Publication Year). Title. Journal Name, Volume Number (Issue Number),

page range. doi:

Acevedo-Gil, N., & Zerquera, D. D. (2016). Community College First-Year Experience Programs:

Examining Student Access, Experience, and Success from the Student Perspective. New

Directions For Community Colleges, 2016 (175), 71-82. doi: 10.1002/cc.20213


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