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Citation Styles and How to Guide

Citation Guidance

APA Style

The APA Style was created by the American Psychological Association which is how it got its name!  The current edition of APA Style is the 7th edition, and you can keep up with any changes to the style here.

This is a popular citation style for the social sciences (think psychology, anthropology, etc.).  Generally, this citation style follows the author-date citation method.  These take the form of in-text citations that follow the author-date formation that are followed by an appearance in the reference list.  Take a look at the resources below to get a better understanding of APA Style.

Current APA Manual

APA Basics

Below is a selection of reputable resources to help you get started learning more about APA Style.

The main elements of a reference are the author namedate of publicationtitle of the work, and the publication information. The official APA Style Blog has some great information about how you can figure out what this information is below. (These are from blog posts related to the previous 6th edition, though the general information is still useful.)


APA citations are made up of two parts: the in-text citation and the reference list entry. Each source you cite will have both in-text citations and a corresponding entry in your reference list at the end of your paper. The in-text citation is located after the actual quote or paraphrase from the source you're citing in the main body of your paper, and the reference list at the end of the paper has the full information of the sources you've cited.

Formatting Your Paper


You must format your paper according to the APA guidelines if you are using APA Style for your paper.  Reference APA Style's Student Paper Setup Guide and Purdue OWL's Formatting and Style Guide for detailed guidance on proper formatting.  These guidelines include:

  • Essays should be typed
  • Use double spacing
  • 1 inch margins around each side of the paper
  • Select a font such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Calibri, or 11-point Arial
  • Include a running header at the top of each pager flush right
  • Essays should include a title page, abstract, main body, and references.  If you have questions about which sections you should include in your paper, check with your professor.

Purdue OWL also has some sample papers that you can reference to better understand what your paper formatting should look like.

In APA Style, in-text citations are generally formatted with the author(s) of the text and date.  If you are directly quoting the text, you will need to include the page number(s).  

For example, a work by Jasmine Plott written in 2023 would be cited as (Plott, 2023).  If you were directly quoting a piece of the text from page 3, you would add the page number after the year (Plott, 2023, p.3).

Take a look at APA Style's In-Text Citations and Purdue OWL's In-Text Citations for further information on in-text citations and what to do in cases of multiple authors, unknown authors, or other citation oddities that will inevitably arise along the way.

APA Style's In-Text Citation Checklist can also help you track your writing to make sure you're including in-text citations as needed.

At the end of your paper will be your references, which lists all the sources you included in your paper in alphabetical order.  The purpose of creating a reference list is to give the reader enough information so that, if they wanted to, they could find the source on their own.

Different types of sources require specific formatting, so be sure to check the guidelines for the source type to ensure you are citing each source correctly.  APA Style's Reference Page and Purdue OWL's  Reference List Basics are our recommended resources for getting guidance on how to structure your reference list.  Check out the links below for more information.


APA Style Tutorial Videos from Purdue OWL 


The Purdue Online Writing Lab has a series of tutorial videos to help you with APA formatting: