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APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / How to Cite a Report in APA

How to Cite a Report in APA

This guide will teach you how to cite a report in APA and create accurate references and text in-citations for various types of reports. That includes citations for  government reports, annual reports, and reports made by both individuals, task forces, and organizations. The content of this guide is based on the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (pp. 329-331).

Are you looking for information on how to cite a different kind of resource? Check out this EasyBib guide on creating an APA citation for a web page , or this one on formatting an APA book citation .

Guide Overview

What is gray literature, when the title doesn’t describe the literature type, when the author and publisher name are the same, how to cite a report from an organization or government agency, how to cite a report with listed author(s), how to cite a report that is part of a series, how to cite a report by a group, task force, or working group, how to cite an annual report, how to cite a press release, what you need.

To begin, let’s take a few moments to define what gray literature is.

Basically, gray literature includes any research or work that was produced by an individual or organization through non-traditional publishing routes.

A report is one example of gray literature. Reports are original research documents that are published by companies, organizations, or working groups that are intended to present the key findings of a specific research project. Since they are not distributed in a traditional way, reports are considered gray literature.

Though gray literature isn’t a traditional source type (like books, journals, newspapers, etc.), there can be a lot of value in gray literature.

Types include

  • Annual reports
  • Codes of ethics
  • Conference proceedings
  • Financial health reports
  • Government accountability reports
  • GrantsPeriodic reports
  • Issue briefs
  • Policy briefs
  • Pharmacological studies
  • Press releases
  • Technical reports
  • Unpublished clinical trials

In some cases, the type of gray literature that you are referencing may not be clear by the title alone, as is sometimes the case with policy briefs and press releases . In these instances, you should include a bracketed description of the gray literature immediately after the title.

Author last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number) . Publisher name. DOI or URL

To see an example of brackets in use, go down to the section on how to cite a press release .

According to the Publication Manual , when the author and publisher are the same, do not add the publisher element (329). To avoid redundancy in these references, you only need to use the name as the author.

Author last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number) . DOI or URL

In this example, the report has been both authored and published by the U.S. Department of the Interior. In cases such as these, provide the name of the organization or agency only once as the author element at the beginning of the reference.

U.S. Department of the Interior. (2016). Agency financial report FY 2016. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/doi_fy_2016_afr.pdf

In-text citation example:

  • Parenthetical citation: (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2016)
  • Narrative citation: U.S. Department of the Interior (2016)

If you’re still a little unsure about how to cite a report, try our EasyBib citation form for reports .

If you are interested in learning more about how to cite gray literature, check out Section 10.4 of the Publication Manual .

Organization or Agency. (Year Published). Title of report or gray literature in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2017). NIH Turning discovery into health. (NIH Publication No. 11-7634). https://www.nih.gov/sites/default/files/about-nih/discovery-into-health/nih-turning-discovery-into-health.pdf

Some government publications will have many departments listed as the author. According to the Publication Manual , you should choose the most detailed department and use that as the in-text citation author (Section 9.11).

  • Parenthetical citation: (National Institutes of Health, 2017)
  • Narrative citation: National Institutes of Health (2017)

If the report has a specific person or persons listed on the title page, then their names belong in the author position, and the organization belongs in the publisher position.

1st author last name, First initial. Middle initial., & 2nd Author last name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Associated number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Gerling, M., & Wilson, T. (2019). Evaluating the June area survey’s field enumerator training (RDD-19-01) . U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Research and Development Division. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Education_and_Outreach/Reports,_Presentations_and_Conferences/reports/Evaluating_the_June_Area_Surveys_Field_Enumerator_Training.pdf

For this example, we have chosen a research report which utilizes the U.S. Research and Development Division’s own indexing system (RDD-19-01). If the report is presented with a report number like this, it is included in the reference within parentheses right after the title.

In addition, there are multiple government agencies responsible for the report in addition to the individual authors. In this case, the agencies are all included in the publisher position and separated by a comma.

In-text citation:

  • Parenthetical citation : (Gerling & Wilson, 2019)
  • Narrative citation : Gerling & Wilson (2019)

Here’s one more example reference:

Gorbunova, Y. (2013). Laws of attrition: Crackdown on Russia’s civil society after Putin’s return to the presidency . Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/04/24/laws-attrition/crackdown-russias-civil-society-after-putins-return-presidency#page

Note: Since no report number was identified, it was not included in the citation.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 1.15.01 PM

Author last name, First initial. Middle initial., & Author 2 last name, First initial, Middle initial. (Year published). Title of report in sentence case (Series Name, Series Number). Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Robson, S.G., Heiny, J.S., Arnold, L.R. (2000). Geohydrology of the shallow aquifers in the Boulder-Longmont area, Colorado (Hydrologic Atlas, 746). https://doi.org/10.3133/ha746D

  • Parenthetical citation : (Robson et al., 2000)
  • Narrative citation : Robson et al. (2000)

Name of Group. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case (Associated number) . Publisher Name. DOI or URL

International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force. (2007). Final report. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/170368main_IIST_%20Final%20Report.pdf

  • Parenthetical citation: (International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force, 2007)
  • Narrative citation: International Space Station Independent Safety Task Force (2007)

Name of Organization or Company. (Year Published). Title of report in sentence case. URL

Yum! Brands. (2019). 2018 Annual Report. https://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_YUM_2018.pdf

Since annual reports are almost always published by the companies or organizations that commissioned them, the author and publisher name would be the same in a reference. To avoid this duplication, the organization name only needs to be listed once as the author; the publisher element can be left out.

  • Parenthetical citation : (Yum! Brands, 2019)
  • Narrative citation : Yum! Brands (2019)

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Date published). Title of the work [Work description] (Associated number) . Publisher Name. DOI or URL

Chegg. (2019, June 6). Chegg reveals first of its kind equity plan to help its US employees pay off their student debt. https://investor.chegg.com/Press-Releases/press-release-details/2019/Chegg-reveals-first-of-its-kind-equity-plan-to-help-its-US-employees-pay-off-their-student-debt/default.aspx

  • Parenthetical citation : (Chegg, 2019)
  • Narrative citation : Chegg (2019)

A reference entry for a report, and other gray literature, will contain the the following source details:

  • Author name
  • Date published. Either year (2020) or year, month day (2020, February 14)
  • Title of the work (in sentence case)
  • Associated number (if applicable). Examples: Report No. 22, Project No. 567, Issue 101, etc.
  • Work description (if needed). Examples: [Grant], [Policy brief], [Press release]
  • Publisher name
  • DOI or URL (if applicable). DOi would be formatted as https://doi.org/xxxx

Here’s a basic structure for citing gray literature:

Author last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of the work (Associated number) . Publisher Name. DOI or URL

American Psychological Association. (2020a). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

American Psychological Association. (2020b). Style-Grammar-Guidelines. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles/parenthetical-versus-narrative

Published August 10, 2012. Updated March 24, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

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Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
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  • View all APA Examples

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To cite a report in APA style, you need to have basic information including the name of the author/organization, publication year, title of the report, publisher, and/or URL. The templates for in-text citations and reference list entries for a report, along with examples, are given below.

In-text citation template and example:

Author Surname/Organization name (Publication Year)

Logan and Stults (2011)

Parenthetical:

(Author Surname/Organization name, Publication Year)

(Logan & Stults, 2011)

Reference list entry template and example:

Author or organization. (Year of publication). Title of the report (Report No. if applicable). Publisher. URL

Logan, J. R., & Stults, B. J. (2011). The persistence of segregation in the metropolis: New findings from the 2010 Census (Census Brief for Project US2010). American Communities Project, Brown University. www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/Data/Report/report2.pdf

The report title should be in sentence case and italics.

To cite a source with no title in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the name of the author, date if possible, and other information depending upon the type of publication, such as journal article, book chapter, or map. The templates and examples for in-text citations and reference list entries for a source with no title are given below.

Author Surname (Publication Year)

Google (n.d.)

(Author Surname, Publication Year)

(Google, n.d.)

Author Surname, F. (Publication Year). [Description of the work]. Source. URL (if applicable)

Google. (n.d.). [Map of Google to travel by road from Chennai to New Delhi, India]. Retrieved August 21, 2021, from https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Chennai,+Tamil+Nadu/New+Delhi,+Delhi/@20.6384587,69.8777929,5z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x3a5265ea4f7d3361:0x6e61a70b6863d433!2m2!1d80.2707184!2d13.0826802!1m5!1m1!1s0x390cfd5b347eb62d:0x52c2b7494e204dce!2m2!1d77.2090212!2d28.6139391

Note that the “retrieved” date should only be included if the source is likely to change or become unavailable. Since the Google map cited in the example entry may be slightly different depending on the day (due to traffic conditions, road closures, etc.), the “retrieved” date is included.

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APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples

Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

  • Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space all text, including headings.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
  • Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
  • Include a page number on every page.

APA format (7th edition)

Let an expert format your paper

Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:

  • Margins, line spacing, and indentation
  • Font and headings
  • Running head and page numbering

research report apa citation

Table of contents

How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.

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research report apa citation

References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).

Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?

Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.

  • Student paper: Word | Google Docs
  • Professional paper: Word | Google Docs

In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .

A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .

APA running head (7th edition)

Scribbr Citation Checker New

The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:

  • Missing commas and periods
  • Incorrect usage of “et al.”
  • Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
  • Missing reference entries

APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.

Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .

APA headings (7th edition)

The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.

Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .

For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .

APA title page - student version (7th edition)

The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).

The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.

Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.

APA abstract (7th edition)

APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.

Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.

The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.

Creating APA Style references

Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .

Formatting the reference page

Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.

Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.

APA reference page (7th edition)

Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).

Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.

Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).

Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.

APA table (7th edition)

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

  • Times New Roman (12pt.)
  • Arial (11pt.)
  • Calibri (11pt.)
  • Georgia (11pt.)

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2024, January 17). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved July 5, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/

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APA Style 7th Edition: Citing Your Sources

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Author, A. A. & Author, B. B.

Name of Group

Author, C. C. [username]

Username.

 (year).

 (year, month date). 

(Report No. #). 

[Description].

Publisher Name.

https://doi.org/xxxx....

https://xxxx...

 

Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed).  https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

  • Italicize report titles
  • First word of the title and first word of the subtitle capitalized
  • Capitalize proper nouns
  • Every other word is lower case
  • Shorten long URLs or DOIs: When a DOI or URL is long or complex, you may use shortDOIs or shortened URLs if desired. Use the shortDOI service provided by the International DOI Foundation ( https://shortdoi.org/ ) to create shortDOI.
Business Report with shorten URL

Nelson, G., & Goon, X. J. (2019).   CFRA. http://bit.ly/2vbZVCu

Section of Government Report

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2018). Maternal, infant, and child health. . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Government Report accessed online Paschall, P. (2013). .  The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.  http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/move_analyisis_2012_elec_obama.pdf.
Government Report (print) National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679).  U.S. Government Printing Office
White Paper Furst, M., & DeMillo, R. A. (2006). [White paper].  Georgia Tech College of Computing website: http://www.cc.gatech.edu/sites/default/files/Threads%20Whitepaper.pdf
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Cite a Report

Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper, consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.

  • Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
  • Can you contact them? Do they have social media profiles?
  • Have other credible individuals referenced this source or author?
  • Book: What have reviews said about it?
  • What do you know about the publisher/sponsor? Are they well-respected?
  • Do they take responsibility for the content? Are they selective about what they publish?
  • Take a look at their other content. Do these other articles generally appear credible?
  • Does the author or the organization have a bias? Does bias make sense in relation to your argument?
  • Is the purpose of the content to inform, entertain, or to spread an agenda? Is there commercial intent?
  • Are there ads?
  • When was the source published or updated? Is there a date shown?
  • Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
  • Does the source even have a date?
  • Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
  • If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?
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General Rule:

Author. (Year). Title of report  (Report No. if given). Publisher. DOI or URL

  • If the author and the publishing agency are the same omit the publisher from the citation. 

  Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2013). America’s children: key national indicators of well-being. http://childstats.gov/americaschildren/index2.asp.

Author or name of group. (Year). Title of data set [description of form]. Publisher Name or Source of

unpublished data. Retrieved month day, year, from DOI or URL

  • Include a retrieval date only if the data set is designed to change over time. 
  • If a version number and/or database number is available include it with the data set title. 
  • No need to include a publisher name if it is the same as the author.
  • If the data is unpublished provide the source (e.g. university) if known. 
  • If the dataset is untitled, give a description of the data and publication status in square brackets.

Pew Internet & American Life Project. (2012). November 2012- library services [Data file and code book]. http://www.pewinternet.org/Shared-Content/Data-Sets/2012/November-2012--Library-Services.aspx

Jeffri, J., Schriel, A., & Throsby, D. (2003) The aDvANCE Project: A study of career transition for professional dancers (ICPSR 35598; Version V1)  [Data set].  IPCSR.  https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35598.v1  

Whenever possible, give a citation for the measurements' supporting literature (e.g. manual, book, or journal article ). If the supporting literature is unavailable, cite the the test itself or database record using the following rule.

Author name. (year).  Title of the test. URL

Author name. (year).  Title of the test database record [Database record] . Test Database Name. URL

Hofstede , G &  Hofstede , G. J. (2013). Values Survey Module 2013 .  https://geerthofstede.com/research-and-vsm/vsm-2013/

Castellanos, I., Kronenberger, W.G., & Pisoni, D.B.   ( 2018 ). Learning, Executive, and Attention Function Scale

(LEAF) [Database record]. PsycTESTS.  https://doi.org/10.1037/t66008-000

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When do I use in-text citations?

When should you add in-text citations in your paper .

There are several rules of thumb you can follow to make sure that you are citing your paper correctly in APA 7 format. 

  • Think of your paper broken up into paragraphs. When you start a paragraph, the first time you add a sentence that has been paraphrased from a reference -> that's when you need to add an in-text citation. 
  • Continue writing your paragraph, you do NOT need to add another in-text citation until: 1) You are paraphrasing from a NEW source, which means you need to cite NEW information OR 2) You need to cite a DIRECT quote, which includes a page number, paragraph number or Section title. 
  • Important to remember : You DO NOT need to add an in-text citation after EVERY sentence of your paragraph. 

Paragraph Rules of Thumb: Cite after 1st paraphrase, continue writing, add a new cite for a new source or a direct quote.

What do in-text citations look like?

In-text citation styles: .

(Forbes, 2020) Forbes (2020) stated... 
(Bennet & Miller, 2019) Bennet and Miller (2019) concluded that... 
(Jones et al., 2020)  Jones et al. (2020) shared two different... 
(East Carolina University, 2020)  East Carolina University (2020) found... 

Let's look at these examples if they were written in text: 

An example with 1 author:

Parenthetical citation:  Following American Psychological Association (APA) style guidelines will help you to cultivate your own unique academic voice as an expert in your field (Forbes, 2020). 

Narrative citation : Forbes (2020) shared that by following American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines, students would learn to find their own voice as experts in the field of nursing. 

An example with 2 authors: 

Parenthetical citation: Research on the use of progressive muscle relaxation for stress reduction has demonstrated the efficacy of the method (Bennett & Miller, 2019). 

Narrative citation: As shared by Bennett and Miller (2019), research on the use of progressive muscle relaxation for stress reduction has demonstrated the efficacy of the method. 

An example with 3 authors: 

Parenthetical citation: Guided imagery has also been shown to reduce stress, length of hospital stay, and symptoms related to medical and psychological conditions (Jones et al., 2020).

Narrative citation: Jones et al. (2020) shared that guided imagery has also been shown to reduce stress, length of hospital stay, and symptoms related to medical and psychological conditions. 

An example with a group/corporate author: 

Parenthetical citation: Dr. Philip G. Rogers, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, was recently elected as the newest chancellor of the university (East Carolina University, 2020). 

Narrative citation: Recently shared on the East Carolina University (2020) website, Dr. Philip G. Rogers, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, was elected as the newest chancellor. 

Tips on Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is recreating someone else's ideas into your own words & thoughts, without changing the original meaning (gahan, 2020).  .

Here are some best practices when you are paraphrasing: 

  • How do I learn to paraphrase? IF you are thoroughly reading and researching articles or book chapters for a paper, you will start to take notes in your own words . Those notes are the beginning of paraphrased information.
  • Read the original information, PUT IT AWAY, then rewrite the ideas in your own words . This is hard to do at first, it takes practice, but this is how you start to paraphrase. 
  • It's usually better to paraphrase, than to use too many direct quotes. 
  • When you start to paraphrase, cite your source. 
  • Make sure not to use language that is TOO close to the original, so that you are not committing plagiarism. 
  • Use theasaurus.com to help you come up with like/similar phrases if you are struggling. 
  • Paraphrasing (vs. using direct quotes) is important because it shows that YOU ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND the information you are reading. 
  • Paraphrasing ALLOWS YOUR VOICE to be prevalent in your writing. 
  • The best time to use direct quotes is when you need to give an exact definition, provide specific evidence, or if you need to use the original writer's terminology. 
  • BEST PRACTICE PER PARAGRAPH: On your 1st paraphrase of a source, CITE IT. There is no need to add another in-text citation until you use a different source, OR, until you use a direct quote. 

References : 

Gahan, C. (2020, October 15). How to paraphrase sources . Scribbr.com .   https://tinyurl.com/y7ssxc6g  

Citing Direct Quotes

When should i use a direct quote in my paper .

Direct quotes should only be used occasionally: 

  • When you need to share an exact definition 
  • When you want to provide specific evidence or information that cannot be paraphrased
  • When you want to use the original writer's terminology

From:  https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/whaddyamean/ 

Definitions of direct quotes: 

, around the quote, are incorporated into the text of the paper. (Shayden, 2016, p. 202)
(by indenting 0.5" or 1 tab) beneath the text of the paragraph. (Miller et al., 2016, p. 136)

, therefore you need a different way to cite the information for a direct quote. There are two ways to do this: 

(Jones, 2014, para. 4)

(Scotts, 2019, Resources section)

  • Western Oregon University's APA Guidelines on Direct Quotes This is an excellent quick tutorial on how to format direct quotes in APA 7th edition. Bookmark this page for future reference!

Carrie Forbes, MLS

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APA 7th Edition

This guide reflects the latest version (7th edition) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association .

What Is APA?

APA stands for American Psychological Association and is a common formatting style for publications, including research papers, in the social sciences. APA style has unique formats for in-text citations and reference pages. Its style and guidelines increase the ease of reading comprehension for viewers as well as ensure consistent presentation of content and written material.

In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted, or otherwise refer to in your research paper.

Cite your sources in two places:

  • In the body of your paper with an in-text citation .
  • In the Reference list at the end of your paper.

Common Citations: Journal Article

Journal article with doi.

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical , Volume (Issue), #-#. DOI

Bailey, N. W. (2012). Evolutionary models of extended phenotypes. Trends in Ecology & Evolution , 27 (3), 561-569. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2012.05.011

Journal Article Without a DOI with a Nondatabase URL

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical ,  Volume (Issue), #-#. URL

Note : Separate the authors' names by putting a comma between them. For the final author listed, add an ampersand (&) after the comma and before the final author's last name.

Bai, H. (2009). Facilitating students' critical thinking in online discussion: An instructor's experience. J ournal of Interactive Online Learning , 8 (2), 156-164. www.ncolr.org/jiol

Common Citations: Book

Book with one author.

Author, A. A. (Copyright Year).  Title of book . Publisher. DOI or URL

Sheingate, A. D. (2016). Building a business of politics: The rise of political consulting and the transformation of American democracy . Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592718003882  

Do You Need Citation Help?

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More APA Citation Help

Want more citation help or examples? Choose one of the links below, or if you would like to use the most recent copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  7th Edition, 2020, stop by the Research Help Desk on the 2nd floor of the Knowledge Center.

  • Quick How-Tos of APA Citation - Short and accessible explanation and examples of basic citation.
  • Purdue's APA Guide (Online Writing Lab - OWL) - A thorough collection of APA citation and style examples.

All citations should be double-spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference list. A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

DOIs and Permalinks

For sources found using Library Search or a database, use the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) , which is a type of permalink assigned to journal articles published online. If you have both a permalink and a DOI for an article, use the DOI.

The "Permalink" button in Library Search is indicated by an icon made of two connected, gray links. With the large number of sources available online, it is common for citations to include a URL. It is important to note, however, that the URL you include for any of your citations should be a permanent URL (or permalink), one that will stay active past the time that you are on that webpage.

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This guide is used/adapted with the permission of Seneca College Libraries. For information please contact [email protected] .

Note: When copying this guide, please retain this box.

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APA Style (7th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction

  • Introduction
  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine/Newspaper Articles
  • Books & Ebooks
  • Government & Legal Documents
  • Biblical Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Films/Videos/TV Shows
  • How to Cite: Other
  • Additional Help

Who Should Use APA Style?

APA style is used by social science disciplines such as communication studies, economics, education, psychology, and sociology; it is also used by business and nursing.

What is APA Style?

APA style, created by the American Psychological Association, is a set of rules for formatting manuscripts, including research papers.

In APA, you must cite sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:

  • In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation .
  • In the References list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
  • APA 7th ed. Sample Paper
  • APA Style Paper template (Microsoft Word)
  • APA 7th. ed. Journal Article Reference Checklist
  • APA 7th. ed. Student Paper Checklist

APA Style Guide (7th Edition)

research report apa citation

Four Elements of a Reference

A reference generally has these four elements: author, date, title, and source. Each element answers a question and is listed in your citation in the following order:

  • author : Who is responsible for this work?
  • date : When was this work published?
  • title : What is the work called?
  • source : Where can I retrieve this work?

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APA 7th Edition Citation Examples

  • Volume and Issue Numbers
  • Page Numbers
  • Undated Sources
  • Citing a Source Within a Source
  • In-Text Citations
  • Academic Journals
  • Encyclopedia Articles
  • Book, Film, and Product Reviews
  • Online Classroom Materials
  • Conference Papers

Format for technical and research reports

  • Court Decisions
  • Treaties and Other International Agreements
  • Federal Regulations: I. The Code of Federal Regulations
  • Federal Regulations: II. The Federal Register
  • Executive Orders
  • Charter of the United Nations
  • Federal Statutes
  • Dissertations and Theses
  • Interviews, E-mail Messages + Other Personal Communications
  • Social Media
  • Business Sources
  • PowerPoints
  • AI: ChatGPT, etc.

Author last name, first initial. (Date).  Title of report  (Publication No.). Publisher. DOI or URL

  • Author:  List the last name, followed by the first initial (and second initial). See  Authors  for more information.
  • Date:  List the date between parentheses, followed by a period
  • Title of report:  In italics. Capitalize the first word of the title, subtitle, and proper nouns.
  • Publication number: Omit if unavailable for the source that you're citing
  • Publisher:  List the report's publisher. If the publisher is the same as the author, do not list the name a second time.
  • DOI or URL:  List DOI or URL if available

See specific examples below.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2010). Information security: Concerted effort needed to consolidate and secure Internet connections at federal agencies (Publication No. GAO-10-237). http://www.gao.gov/assets/310/301876.pdf

U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2010). Information security: Concerted effort needed to consolidate and secure Internet connections at federal agencies (Publication No. GAO-10-237).

See  Publication Manual , 10.4.

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APA 7th referencing style

  • About APA 7th
  • Printing this guide
  • In-text references
  • Direct quotations
  • Reference list
  • Author information
  • Additional referencing information
  • Using headings
  • Book chapter
  • Brochure and pamphlets
  • ChatGPT and other generative AI tools
  • Conferences
  • Dictionary or encyclopaedia
  • Government legislation
  • Journal article
  • Lecture notes and slides
  • Legal sources
  • Newspaper or magazine article
  • Other web sources
  • Patents and standards
  • Personal communication
  • Press (media) release

Abbreviating groups as authors

Government report, industry/corporate report.

  • Secondary source (indirect citation)
  • Social media
  • Software and mobile apps
  • Specialised health information
  • Television program
  • Works in non-English languages
  • Works in non-English scripts, such as Arabic or Chinese
  • Group authors can be an organisation, professional association, company, government department
  • Include the full name of the group the first time it is used. The abbreviation is included in square brackets.
  • If the abbreviation is well known, it can be included for subsequent uses.

In-text Example:

United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund ([UNICEF], 2018)

(United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund [UNICEF], 2018)

  • The full group name should be used in the reference list.
Elements of the reference

Author(s) - last name, initial(s) or company name - use & for multiple authors. (Year). (Report number - if available). Publisher - include if different to author. Web address - if available

In-text reference

(Queensland Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, 2016)

Queensland Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development (2016) found that ....

Reference list

Queensland Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development. (2016). https://www.publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/advancing-tourism/resource/df997cf7-14fc-47b1-ac99-ddc7f0975967

EndNote reference type Report
Elements of the reference

Author(s) - last name, initial(s) or company name - use & for multiple authors. (Year). (Report number - if available) Publisher - include if different to author Web address - if available

In-text reference

(The Coca-Cola Company, 2017)

The Coca-Cola Company (2017) has found that ....

Reference list

The Coca-Cola Company. (2017). http://www.coca-colacompany.com/content/dam/journey/us/en/private/fileassets/pdf/2017/2016-sustainability/2016-Sustainability-Report-The-Coca-Cola-Company.pdf

EndNote reference type

Report

 

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APA Style (7th ed.)

  • Cite: Why? When?
  • Book, eBook, Dissertation
  • Article or Report
  • Business Sources
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools
  • In-Text Citation
  • Format Your Paper

Format Your Paper

Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: .

  • APA 7th ed. Template Document This is an APA format template document in Google Docs. Click on the link -- it will ask for you to make a new copy of the document, which you can save in your own Google Drive with your preferred privacy settings.
  • APA 7th ed. Template Document A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly according to APA 7th edition.
  • APA 7th ed. Annotated Bibliography template A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly for an annotated bibliography.

Or, view the directions for specific sections below:

  &

Order of Sections (section 2.17)

  • Title page including Title, Author, University and Department, Class, Instructor, and Date
  • Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
  • Appendices (including tables & figures)

Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)

  • 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
  • Left aligned paragraphs and leave the right edge ragged (not "right justified")
  • Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
  • Use page numbers, including on the title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin

Text Format (section 2.19)

  • Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Calibri, 11 point
  • Arial, 11 point
  • Lucinda Sans Unicode, 10 point
  • Georgia, 11 point
  • Double-space and align text to the left
  • Use active voice
  • Don't overuse technical jargon
  • No periods after a web address or DOI in the References list.

Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)

  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
  • Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
  • Design the table and figure so that it can be understood on its own, i.e. it does not require reference to the surrounding text to understand it
  • Notes go below tables and figures

Title Page (section 2.3)

  • Include the title, your name,  the class name , and  the college's name
  • Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
  • No periods or abbreviations
  • Do not italicize or underline
  • No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
  • Center horizontally in upper half of the page

Body (section 2.11)

  • Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
  • Double-space
  • As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold , and in Sentence Case Capitalization
  • Usually, include sections like these:  introduction, literature review or background,  discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
  • Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
  • Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
  • Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times

Headings (section 2.26-2.27)

  • Level 1: Center, bold , Title Case 
  • Level 2: Align left, bold , Title Case
  • Level 3: Alight left, bold italics , Title Case
  • Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 
  • Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 

an illustration of the headings -- same detail as is given directly above this image

Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)

  • Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
  • For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
  • When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
  • Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote

References (section 2.12)

Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.

  • References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
  • Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
  • List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
  • Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
  • Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
  • Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
  • No quotation marks around titles of articles

Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)

  • Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
  • Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
  • For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
  • If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
  • If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
  • Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)

Annotated Bibliography

Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..

  • Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.

These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are  not required for student papers: 

Abstract (section 2.9).

  • Abstract gets its own page
  • Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
  • Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
  • Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper

Running Head (section 2.8 )

  • Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
  • In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
  • On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number] 

More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog

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What is the Cite This For Me APA Citation Generator?

If you are working on an APA style project or paper, you know that formatting APA citations can be a complicated task that requires a lot of patience. Fortunately, referencing has never been so easy. Introducing your new best friend: the Cite This For Me APA citation generator. Using this automated citation machine to create accurate citations helps you to work smarter, leaving more time to focus on your studies and research.

The Cite This For Me citation generator fully-formats all of your APA citations in just a few clicks. So if you’re unsure how to accurately follow the APA citation format, or you need to cite all of your sources quickly, using the Cite This For Me accurate and intuitive generator will help you avoid losing valuable points on your work. Using this generator can help you create proper citations which prevents you from plagiarizing and allows you more time to focus on the content of your paper. All you have to do is enter the information from your sources as prompted by the generator, and it will create both a reference page citation you can copy and paste directly onto your reference page and an in-text citation for use within your paper.

This guide provides you with everything we believe you need to know to cite APA and get the grade that reflects all your hard work. Read ahead for tips on how to structure and present your work according to the APA formatting guidelines, how to avoid charges of plagiarism, and how to cite sources both in-text and in your reference list and bibliography.

Popular APA Citation Examples

  • Dictionary entry 
  • Edited book 
  • Image or video online
  • PDF or E-book
  • Presentation or lecture
  • Video, film, or DVD

Why Do I Need To Cite?

Essentially, citing is the crediting of sources used in academic work. When another source contributes to your work you must acknowledge the original author with an accurate reference, unless it is common knowledge (e.g., Barack Obama is the first American of mixed race to be elected president). Failing to cite all of your sources or citing them incorrectly constitutes plagiarism , which is considered a serious academic offense. It is important to remember that information doesn’t just belong to anyone who happens to stumble upon it. If you are caught plagiarizing it is more than likely that you will lose points on your assignment, or even face expulsion from your university.

Aside from avoiding plagiarism, attributing your research is crucial in ensuring that your work is firmly anchored in academic tradition. Correctly citing your sources validates the statements and conclusions you make in your work by providing supporting evidence. For many students, citing can be a frustrating process, but it’s an excellent way to enhance the quality of your work and inject it with authority.

Imagine if all the stress of referencing simply vanished. Well, the Cite This For Me APA citation generator is here to help you – now you can create in-text citations and reference lists in the APA format without the usual frustrations of referencing. Creating an APA citation has never been easier.

Note that using a citation generator is not cheating or plagiarizing, unless the requirements for your paper specify that you do all citations manually, which is very uncommon. Consider citation generators as a tool similar to spell check – it doesn’t write the paper for you, but it helps prevent you from making errors in your citations. Also, unless you have the citation handbook memorized, using a generator is usually a much faster method for creating references.

What is the APA Citation Style?

The APA citation style (6th Edition) is a parenthetical author-date style, so you need to put the author’s last name and the publishing date into parentheses wherever another source is used in the narrative.

The APA format consists of in-text citations and a reference list, along with guidelines for formatting the paper itself. Both the in-text citations and the reference list can be created in using the Cite This For Me APA reference generator.

Although primarily used by social and behavioural sciences, the APA style citation is used amongst other scientific publications for its editorial efficiency. The Cite This For Me APA citation generator uses the (6th) edition of the APA format. Whether you are using the APA format generator for university assignments or are preparing research projects for publishing, Cite This For Me is there for you 24/7.

Aside from the APA format there is a plethora of different citation styles out there – the use of which depends on your discipline, university requirements, your professor’s preference or the publication you are submitting the work to. It is important to make sure that you are using the correct style – so if you’re unsure, consult your department and follow their guidelines exactly.

If no format is specified, be careful to use the same format throughout your paper and reference list. Do not mix citation styles, as this could lead to confusion in your references and a reduction of points.

Cite This For Me is not only an APA citation website; it can help you generate citations in multiple formats. The citation generator above will generate your references in APA format as standard. You can also sign up to Cite This For Me to select from over 7,000+ styles, including individual college variations. So, whether your professor prefers that you use the MLA format , or your discipline requires you to adopt the Chicago style citation , your referencing will be supported. Cite This For Me also provides citation generators and handy guides for styles such as ASA , AMA , IEEE or Harvard .

How do I Create and Format My Citations?

When you want to create an APA reference for a source within a paper; whether it is using a direct quote, repurposing an image, or simply referring to an idea or theory, you should:

  • Insert an in-text citation APA (the author’s surname and the date of publication within parentheses) straight after a direct quote
  • Insert an in-text citation at the end of the sentence when the author’s name is not included in the narrative of the sentence
  • If you have already mentioned the author’s name in the sentence, you only need to insert the date immediately after their surname in parentheses
  • Include page numbers within the parentheses (after the date), if referring to a particular page or section of the source
  • When citing a source with three to five authors, include all surnames for the first in-text citation, then use the first author’s surname followed by ‘et al.’ for subsequent citations
  • When citing six or more authors – use the first author’s surname followed by ‘et al.’ for all citations
  • If you are mentioning both the year and author in the text, don’t include an additional citation in parentheses – unless you are referring to a particular section of the source, in which case you should cite the page number
  • Provide an alphabetical list (ordered by author’s surname) of all sources used, titled ‘References’, on a separate page at the end of the narrative
  • Inclusive page numbers for the electronic version of a print source (e.g., a PDF)
  • Provide your appendices on a separate page after the reference list

When in doubt, it’s always better to create a citation instead of risking plagiarizing. If the thought or idea didn’t come from your head and isn’t considered common knowledge, cite a credible source. Use the Cite This For Me APA citation maker to help you create citations with ease; this will allow you to add citations to your project, edit on the spot, and export separate in-text citations as well as fully-formatted reference lists.

APA Citation Examples (7th Edition)

You will use an in-text citation to credit a source within the context of your paper. You can use an in-text citation after a direct quote or at the end of a sentence containing thoughts and ideas from a source, even if the sentence is not in quotations. To create an APA in-text citation, you will need some information from your sources, such as the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number, if applicable.

The example below directly follow rules from Chapter 10 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th edition.

In-text citation examples:

  • Page specified, author mentioned in text:

Lutz & Huitt (2010, p. 4) argue that “the statistical significance of …”

  • Page specified, author not mentioned in text:

The results were consistent throughout the study (Fernández-Manzanal, Rodríguez-Barreiro, & Carrasquer, 2007).

  • Six authors:

The study found that … (Sania et al., 2011)

The data presented …. (“How sleep enhances memory retention”, 2015).

Reference examples:

  • Book, one author, multiple editions:

Hawking, S. W. (1998). A brief history of time: From the big bang to black holes (10th ed.). New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group.

  • Ebook, online only:

Tyler, G. (n.d.). Evolution in the systems age . http://www.onlineoriginals.com/showitem.asp?itemID=142&action=setvar&vartype=history&varname=bookmark&v1=1&v2=46&v3=2

  • Journal article, three authors, with a DOI:

Fernández-Manzanal, R., Rodríguez-Barreiro, L., & Carrasquer, J. (2007). Evaluation of environmental attitudes: Analysis and results of a scale applied to university students. Science Education , 91(6), 988–1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20218

  • How to cite a website in APA:

Veterans Affairs Canada. (2019, February 14). Indigenous people in the Second World War . https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/historical-sheets/aborigin

  • Online newspaper article:

Smith, D. (2019, October 22). The banner, the rings, the season opener: Champion Raptors return on a night like no other. The Toronto Star . https://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2019/10/22/the-banner-the-rings-the-season-opener-champion-raptors-return-on-a-night-like-no-other.html

  • Article from an online news website (HuffPost, MSNBC, Vox, etc.):

Wade, L. (2013, March 6). ‘Sunstone’ crystal from British shipwreck may be vikings’ legendary navigation aid . HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sunstone-british-shipwreck-viking-navigation_n_2818858

  • Video, online:

CrashCourse. (2015, April 30). Mars: Crash course astronomy #15 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-88YWx71gE

How Do I Format My Reference List?

Drawing on a range of relevant sources in your work proves that you have read widely around your chosen topic, so it’s a surefire way to impress your reader. Your reference page may need to include citations for a variety of reference types, including books, websites, academic journals, videos, sheet music, song lyrics, paintings, and more.

To ensure your reader’s ease of comprehension you must adhere to the style’s formatting guidelines. On an APA reference page, or an APA works cited page, a list of all the sources that have directly contributed to your work should be placed on a new page at the end of the narrative and titled ‘References’ (center align the title). The references should all have a hanging indentation – the second and subsequent lines of each reference should start ½ inch from the margin.

You may also be required to provide a full bibliography. The difference between a bibliography and a reference page is that a reference page only cites the sources which are used directly in the paper, or those that are cited with in-text citations. For an APA bibliography, you will need to create a comprehensive list of all the source material you used to complete the assignment, even if it was not cited in the text. It should include any book, journal, article, etc., that you may have consulted throughout your research and writing process in order to get a deeper understanding of the subject at hand.

APA Format Example:

Fernández-Manzanal, R., Rodríguez-Barreiro, L., & Carrasquer, J. (2007). Evaluation of environmental attitudes: Analysis and results of a scale applied to university students. Science Education , 91(6), 988–1009. doi:10.1002/sce.20218

A note on journals and website citations: If you are wondering how to cite a website in APA, you will need the URL of the website. If you use an online journal as a source, then you should first look for a DOI, or digital object identifier, and use that instead of a URL. A DOI is a more precise way to locate an article than a URL because the DOI will follow the article even if the URL changes. A DOI is typically located at the top of the page of an online journal article.

The DOI or URL (never both) should be the last part of your citation for the website or online journal article on the reference page. To create an in text citation for a website, follow the same structure required for books, putting the author’s last name first followed by a comma and the year of publication, followed by a comma and the page numbers if applicable.

Sound like a lot of work? Although the style guidelines are strict in regard to how references should be formatted, the Cite This For Me APA citation machine helps take the weight off your shoulders by accurately compiling your reference list and bibliography in a matter of a few clicks.

APA Style Paper Formatting Guidelines (7th Edition)

Along with specifications for in-text and reference page citations, APA style also has guidelines to follow when formatting the rest of your paper. When following these guidelines, you must pay attention to presentation details such as font type, line spacing, margins and page headers to ensure your work is easily legible.

The information provided here is an overview of only the most important formatting elements; a more thorough description of paper elements and formatting can be found in Chapter 2 of the APA 7 Publication Manual , beginning on page 29.

  • 1 inch margins on all sides
  • Use Times New Roman, 12 pt. size
  • Double-space the entirety of the paper
  • The page number is included at the top of the page, aligned to the right
  • Title of the paper in all capitals, 50 characters or less, in the header on each page of the body (the ‘running head’), aligned to the left. A running head is only required for professional papers and not student papers
  • For students, the paper should typically include three major sections – Title Page, Main Body and References.
  • An APA cover page, also known as an APA title page, should include the following elements: the running head, page number, paper title, author name, and the institutional affiliation.
  • If infographics (tables, charts) were used in the narrative you should also add Appendices as a separate section at the end of the paper.
  • An APA sample paper may have an APA format title page that also includes an author’s note, but this is usually optional and not considered a requirement.

APA Title Page

Not all instructors will require a title page, also sometimes called an APA cover page. If they do, include these four parts:

  • Title of your paper
  • Running head (see above section)
  • Author’s/Your name
  • Institutional affiliation

The title of your paper should:

  • Be centered on the page and use title case (a combination of lower and uppercase letters).
  • Not be italicized, bolded, or underlined
  • Use a 12-point font
  • Be a maximum of 2 lines and not more than 12 words long
  • Not include abbreviations

Underneath the title, place the author’s name. If you wrote the paper, put your full name here. There’s no need to include titles or degrees (e.g., Ms., PhD, etc.).

Under the author’s name, place the institutional affiliation. For most students, this would be the name of the school, college or university you are attending.

The title, author’s name, and institutional affiliation should all be double spaced.

Here’s an example of an APA format title page:

Example title page in APA format

A Brief History of the APA Format

APA stands for American Psychological Association , the scientific organisation that assembles the publishing manual of the APA format. The style was developed in 1929 by a group of scientists to standardize scientific writing. It was created in the hopes that it would provide a coherent and professional manner of citing sources for students and researchers in the fields of social and behavioural sciences.

The first publication manual of the APA format was published in pursuit of a neat and efficient research formatting style, mainly for editorial purposes. Although some contemporary scientists argued that having such strict regulations restricted personal writing styles, the format has since become one of the most popular referencing styles. Today it is adopted in term papers, research reports, literature reviews, theoretical articles, case studies etc.

Differences Between the 6th Edition and 7th Edition

In the fall of 2019, the American Psychological Association published the 7th edition of its Publication Manual . The 7th edition of the APA paper format includes updated citation rules for more efficiency, new example citations and papers, and revised writing guidelines.

When in doubt about how to cite APA or which edition to use, ask your instructor or a librarian for help. Most of this guide follows the 6th edition, but if you’re looking for guidance on the 7th edition for your paper, these are some notable changes:

  • When making an APA book citation do not include the publisher’s location. This also applies to book chapter references
  • DOIs are formatted as URLs (i.e., https://doi.org/xxx)
  • Don’t include the label “DOI” before the DOI url
  • Include the issue number if one exists
  • When making a full APA website citation, do not include the words “Retrieved from” before the URL
  • When citing an ebook, don’t indicate the format, platform, or device (e.g., Kindle)
  • Figures are formatted more like notes with a number and title at the top, and a note under the figure/table instead of a caption
  • Don’t include running heads on student papers, except when your instructor asks for it by your instructor
  • Annotated bibliographies
  • Citing social media posts, podcasts, and other modern sources
  • There’s only a single space after sentences

APA Writing Guidelines and Suggestions

The American Psychological Association also provides some helpful guidelines regarding overall best practices when writing academic and scientific papers. One important thing to be on the lookout for is bias in your writing. For instance, using the word “man” to represent humans as a species is neither scientific nor without potential bias.

Here are some good rules of thumb to help you avoid bias in your paper:

  • Always be specific in your writing and avoid generalizations.
  • Do not label people or test subjects unnecessarily.
  • When writing about participants in your experiment or study, be sure to acknowledge them as such appropriately. Use the term “participants” instead of “subjects.”
  • Use active voice instead of passive voice in your writing. For example, “the participants completed the task” vs. “the task was completed by the participants.”
  • Always be cautious when discussing topics such as sexual orientation, racial and ethnic identity, disabilities, etc.
  • Never change quotations to better serve your own ends or to better fit with your conclusions.

View Spanish APA Citation Guide

How Do I Create Accurate Citations With the Cite This For Me APA Generator?

APA citing giving you a headache? Let the Cite This For Me APA format generator remove some stress caused by citations by helping you turn your sources into a fully-formatted citation. The citation generator will create your reference in two parts; an in-text APA format citation and a full reference that is ready to be copied straight into your work.

To unlock the full potential of the APA citation maker simply login to the Cite This For Me multi-platform tool. Use the web platform to add and edit citations, export full projects and individual entries, utilize the add-ons and save all of your citations in the cloud. Or make use of the Cite This For Me extension for Chrome – the browser extension for Google Chrome that allows you to instantly create and edit a citation for any online source, without leaving the web page you’re viewing.

Cite This For Me helps give students the confidence to be ethical researchers and writers by encouraging them to research and cite diverse sources. There are so many sources you can cite using the APA citation generator; whether it be a PDF report, podcast, a musical score or many more .

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Q. How do I cite in APA format a research report that is not in a journal?

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Answered By: Gabe Gossett Last Updated: Dec 18, 2019     Views: 191306

For details on how to cite technical reports  and gray literature look under section 10.4 in the  APA Publication Manual (7th Edition), starting on page 329.

Basic reference list format for a print report

Author Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title of Report (Report No. #). Publisher Name.

Basic reference list format for an online report

Author Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title (Report No. #). DOI or URL

  • If there is a name of a person listed as an author, list them as the author for your in-text and reference list citations. When there is not author listed use the organization name as a corporate author.
  • If the organization that published the report issued a number be sure to include that in parentheses right after the title.
  • Technical and research reports might not be peer-reviewed. If you require peer-reviewed sources use reports with caution.
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Comments (9)

  • what do you do if there are multiple authors etc? by student on Jun 01, 2016
  • For multiple authors uses the same convention you would use with other citations. List all of the authors by last name and initials using an & symbol. For example: Ramirez, Z. A., Jones, B. C., & Smith, D. C. If no people are listed as authors use the organization as author. by Gabe Gossett on Jun 02, 2016
  • How do I cite a research paper with no authors but to organizing parties? There are over one hundred authors. by Unclear on Aug 30, 2016
  • If you have a source with seven or more authors you list the first six followed by an ellipses (...) and the last author. Like this (the formatting in this example is off): Lein, E. S., Hawrylycz, M. J., Ao, N., Ayres, M., Bensinger, A., Bernard, A., . . . Jones, A. R. (2007). Genome-wide atlas of gene expression in the adult mouse brain. Nature, 445 (7124), 168-176. doi:10.1038/nature05453 Note: The first six authors are listed; all subsequent authors except the last are omitted and replaced with an ellipsis; then list name of the last author. In-text example: (Lein et al., 2007) As for an example using two organizing parties in addition to the 100+ authors, I'm not sure I understand. If you want more assistance, you can use the chat option (http://askus.library.wwu.edu/) to get direct help. More APA citation examples can be found here: http://libguides.wwu.edu/ld.php?content_id=18901398. by Elizabeth Stephan on Aug 30, 2016
  • How about a direct quote? I'm inclined to treat it like a journal- eg (Blah, Blah & Blah, 2020, p.2). ??? by Sandy on Feb 28, 2020
  • What about a thesis/ research paper available online as pdf? Should I then include the URL? by Marshia Khan on Jan 24, 2021
  • @Marshia: Yes, if you have a URL for a source that is open access (someone using the URL would not need to log into a subscription service) always make sure to include that. by Gabe on Jan 25, 2021
  • How to cite an article without publishing journal? by harsha on Mar 23, 2021
  • @harsha: When information for a citation component does not exist you omit that part and may describe the source in square brackets. Table 9.1 on page 284 of the Manual is helpful for examples, if you have a copy on hand. by Gabe Gossett on Mar 30, 2021

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