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Learn To Cite

Learn to cite your sources and format your paper in MLA, APA, Chicago, and other styles.

What is APA Style?

Created by the American Psychological Association, APA style is most often used by students and writers in the Social Sciences, including Anthropology, Communications, Economics, History, Political Science, and Psychology.

Formatting Your Paper

Watch How to Use Word to Format a Paper:

This video also has written instructions at the end.

Click the link below to read or print the step-by-step instructions that accompany this video.

APA Help Links:

The American Psychological Association also make help available to you on their Website.

Examples of Papers:

Citing Your Sources

The Rules:

  • 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. 
  • Arrangement: Alphabetize entries by author's last name. If source has no named author, alphabetize by the title, ignoring A, An, or The.
  • 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 to any citation that runs more than one line.
  • Title: The name of your bibliography will be References.


Step-by-Step Instructions:

Click on the image below to view this 3:18 minute YouTube video for step-by-step instructions.

APA Formatting video


Citation Examples:

Use the links below to see examples of source citations.

Don't forget to -- when in doubt -- verify the accuracy of any citation example by using the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.


DOI (Digital Object Identifier):

The APA tells us that a digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. The publisher assigns a DOI when your article is published and made available electronically.

APA recommends that when DOIs are available, you include them for both print and electronic sources. The DOI is typically located on the first page of the electronic journal article, near the copyright notice. The DOI can also be found on the database landing page for the article. You may need to view the .pdf format of a document to find the DOI.

All DOI numbers begin with a 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash. The prefix is a unique number of four or more digits assigned to organizations; the suffix is assigned by the publisher and was designed to be flexible with publisher identification standards. Here are examples from the APA Style Blog:




Retrieved from

What To Do If There is No DOI:

Not all publications have DOI numbers assigned to them yet. Use this flowchart to determine what to do if your publication doesn't include a DOI. Click on the picture to see a larger image of the flowchart.

DOI Flowchart



Use CrossRef to Find a DOI:

In-Text Citations


Citing within the text of your paper at the point where you integrate outside information or new ideas, briefly identifies the source for your audience and enables them to locate that source easily in your alphabetically-arranged reference list at the end of your paper. Therefore, each in-text citation must appear in your reference list and each entry in your reference list must be cited within the text of your paper.


The Rules: (See APA 6.11-6.21)

Use the author-date citation system for citing references within your paper.

  • The basic entry is author's last name and year of publication, separated by a comma. Example: (Jones, 2008)
  • If there is no author, use the first few words of the reference list entry, usually the "Title" of the source. Example: ("Autism," 2008)
  • For direct quotations, always provide the author, year, and specific page citation or paragraph number for non-paginated materials in the text. Example: (Santa Barbara, 2010, p. 243). See APA 6.03
  • For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation. Example: Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty, 2012).
  • If author name or title is used within the text, do NOT list it again within parenthesis. Example: Haggerty (2012) notes magnesium is effective at relieving some symptoms of PMS.


Examples of In-Text Citations:

Direct Quote Example:

The quote below appears exactly as it does in Joanna Santa Barbara's article on child-rearing in the Encyclopedia of Violence Peace and Conflict.

Adjusted data from seven U.S. surveys between 1968 and 1994 show a decline in approval of disciplinary spanking from 94% to 68%, or 26 percentage points in 26 years" (Santa Barbara, 2010, p. 243).

Paraphrase Example:

This sentence takes the information above and puts it into your own words.

Studies show that Americans are becoming more critical of the concept of spanking children. Between 1968 and 1994 the so-called “approval rating” of spanking children dropped from 94% to 68% (Santa Barbara, 2010).

Summarize Example:

The sentence below distills the main idea of the original information.

Studies have shown that Americans just don't approve of spanking like they used to (Santa Barbara, 2010). 



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