In October 2019, the American Psychological Association made radical changes its style, especially with regard to the format and citation rules for students writing academic papers. Use this guide to learn how to format and cite your papers using APA Style, 7th edition.
You can start by viewing the video tutorial.
For help on all aspects of formatting your paper in APA Style, see The Essentials page on the APA Style website.
Student papers generally include, at a minimum:
Student papers may include additional elements such as tables and figures depending on the assignment. So, please check with your teacher!
Student papers generally DO NOT include the following unless your teacher specifically requests it:
For complete information on the order of pages, see the APA Style website.
Number your pages consecutively starting with page 1. Each section begins on a new page. Put the pages in the following order:
To see what your paper should look like, check out these sample papers with built-in instructions.
APA Style uses five (5) levels of headings to help you organize your paper and allow your audience to identify its key points easily. Levels of headings establish the hierarchy of your sections just like you did in your paper outline.
APA tells us to use "only the number of headings necessary to differentiate distinct section in your paper." Therefore, the number of heading levels you create depends on the length and complexity of your paper.
See the chart below for instructions on formatting your headings:
Placement: The reference list appears at the end of the paper, on its own page(s). If your research paper ends on page 8, your References begin on page 9.
Heading: Place the section label References in bold at the top of the page, centered.
Arrangement: Alphabetize entries by author's last name. If source has no named author, alphabetize by the title, ignoring A, An, or The. (9.44-9.48)
Spacing: Like the rest of the APA paper, the reference list is double-spaced throughout. Be sure NOT to add extra spaces between citations.
Indentation: To make citations easier to scan, add a hanging indent of 0.5 in. to any citation that runs more than one line. Use the paragraph-formatting function of your word processing program to create your hanging indent.
References generally have four elements, each of which has a corresponding question for you to answer:
By using these four elements and answering these four questions, you should be able to create a citation for any type of source.
For complete information on all of these elements, checkout the APA Style website.
This infographic shows the first page of a journal article. The locations of the reference elements are highlighted with different colors and callouts, and the same colors are used in the reference list entry to show how the entry corresponds to the source.
To create your references, you'll simple look for these elements in your source and put them together in your reference list entry.
American Psychological Association. Example of where to find reference information for a journal article [Infographic]. APA Style Center. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/basic-principles
Below you'll find two printable handouts showing APA citation examples. The first is an abbreviated list created by MJC Librarians. The second, which is more comprehensive, is from the APA Style website. Feel free to print these for your convenience or use the links to reference examples below:
You can view the entire Reference Examples website below and view a helpful guide to finding useful APA style topics easily:
Missing Reference Information
Sometimes you won't be able to find all the elements required for your reference. In that case, see the instructions in Table 9.1 of the APA style manual in section 9.4 or the APA Style website below:
The DOI or URL is the final component of a reference list entry. Because so much scholarship is available and/or retrieved online, most reference list entries end with either a DOI or a URL.
When to Include DOIs and URLs:
Format of DOIs and URLs:
Your DOI should look like this:
Follow these guidelines from the APA Style website.
APA Style uses the author–date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation points your reader to the full reference list entry at the end of your paper. The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. This method enables your reader to locate the corresponding entry in the alphabetical reference list at the end of your paper.
Each work you cite must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) except for the following (See APA, 8.4):
Parenthetical and Narrative Citations: (See APA Section 8.11)
In APA style you use the author-date citation system for citing references within your paper. You incorporate these references using either a parenthetical or a narrative style.
In narrative citations, the author name or title of your source appears within your text and the publication date appears in parentheses immediately after the author name.