APA Citation Format

There are many standard citation formats.  Use the form recommended by the instructor of each class.  However, humanities courses usually are asked to style according to MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines. Students in science and research fields, meanwhile, are often encouraged to follow the APA (American Psychological Association) guidelines. In college, the primary reason for using a standardized reference format like the MLA or APA is so that professional peers, researchers, professors, and other academic readers can easily understand the syntax and easily check the citations.

General Rules of Citation

 Works Cited List (MLA) or References (APA)

  • This page should list all the works that have contributed ideas and information to your essay (through direct quotation, summary or paraphrase).
  • It must provide full publication information so that others will easily be able to locate the same sources.
  • List sources alphabetically, according to the surname of the author.
  • If a source has no author, alphabetize it by its title (not THE or A/AN).
  • With a source with multiple authors – the first name in the list is the only one with the last name first – all others are first name then last name.
  • Do not number entries.
  • Indent every line of a citation after line #1 in each reference (a hanging indent).
  • Double space all citations.

Note:  MLA Works Cited and Bibliography are not the same. In Works Cited you only list items you have actually cited. In a Bibliography you list all of the material you have consulted in preparing your essay whether or not you have actually cited, summarized, or paraphrased the work.

Sample Citations:  APA

Here is a list of sample citations for a few of the most commonly used resources.  To find specific citation rules for all other types of resources, go to https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html

NOTE:  The examples here are single-spaced for efficiency.  They should be double-spaced.

A Book with author or corporate author

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

* Note: For "Location," you should always list the city and the state using the two letter postal abbreviation without periods (New York, NY).

*When a book has multiple authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. 


Periodicals include magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals.

*APA style dictates that authors are named last name followed by initials; publication year goes between parentheses, followed by a period. The title of the article is in sentence-case, meaning only the first word and proper nouns in the title are capitalized. The periodical title is run in title case, and is followed by the volume number which, with the title, is also italicized. If a DOI has been assigned to the article that you are using, you should include this after the page numbers for the article. If no DOI has been assigned and you are accessing the periodical online, use the URL of the website from which you are retrieving the periodical.

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical,volume number(issue number), pages. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April). Making the grade in today's schools. Time, 135, 28-31.

An Entire Website

When citing an entire website, follow the format below.

Last, F. M. (Year, Month Date Published). Article title. Retrieved from URL

Cain, K. (2012, June 29). The Negative effects of Facebook on communication. Social Media Today RSS.  Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com

A Single Webpage

Individual webpages and documents hosted online are cited similarly to print content. Note, however, that the URL is typically included at the end of the entry. The URL may, at the author's discretion, be left as an active link. Include additional information (like translators, editors, first edition publication date, and so on) as you would for print sources.

Author, A. A. & Author B. B. (Date of publication). Title of page [Format description when necessary]. Retrieved from https://www.someaddress.com/full/url/

Eco, U. (2015). How to write a thesis [PDF file]. (Farina C. M. & Farina F., Trans.) Retrieved  from https://www.researchgate.net/...How_to_write_a_thesis/.../Umberto+Eco-How+to+Write+... (Original work published 1977).

A Blog Post

Last, F. M. (Year Month Date Published). Article title [Type of blog post]. Retrieved from URL. 

Kirschenbaum, M. (2017, January 4). 10 ways to spot a fake news article [Blog post].Retrieved from /10-ways-to-spot-a-fake-news-article/

Online Images

Photographer, F.M. (Photographer). (Year, Month Date of Publication). Title of Photograph [digital image]. Retrieved from URL 

O’Shea, P. (Photographer). (2010, August 29). Rescued hedgehog [digital image]. Retrieved from http://flickr.com/photos/peteoshea/5476076002/

Last modified: Thursday, 7 November 2019, 6:27 PM