APA (American Psychological Association) citation format guide

APA citation format is a commonly used citation style in the social sciences, education, and other fields. It is important to properly cite sources in academic writing to give credit to the original creators of the information and to allow readers to locate the sources for themselves.

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In-text citations

When you use a quote or paraphrase from a source in your paper, you should include an in-text citation. The citation should include the author's last name and the year of publication, and it should be placed within the text of your paper. For example: (Smith, 2020). If the source has two authors, include both names separated by an ampersand: (Jones & Smith, 2018). If the source has three or more authors, use the first author's name followed by et al. (Jones et al., 2016).

Reference list

At the end of your paper, you should include a reference list that provides full details about all the sources you have cited in your paper. The reference list should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each source.


The reference list entries should be formatted according to the specific type of source being cited. Some common source types and their formatting are as follows:

  • Books: Include the author's last name, first initial, year of publication, title of the book, place of publication, and publisher. For example: Smith, J. (2020). The History of Time. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Journal articles: Include the author's last name, first initial, year of publication, title of the article, title of the journal, volume number, and page numbers. For example: Jones, S. (2019). The Impact of Social Media on Society. Journal of Communication, 45(1), 35-50.
  • Websites: Include the author's last name, first initial, year of publication (if available), title of the webpage, URL, and the date you accessed the webpage. For example: Smith, J. (2020). The Benefits of Meditation. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-meditation. Accessed December 20, 2020.


If you use a direct quote from a source, the quote should be placed in quotation marks and the page number should be included in the in-text citation. For example: “Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being“ (Smith, 2020, p. 15).

Multiple works by the same author

If you are citing multiple works by the same author that were published in the same year, use a lowercase letter to distinguish between them in the in-text citation and the reference list. For example: (Smith, 2020a) and (Smith, 2020b).

By following these guidelines, you can properly cite your sources using APA citation format. It is important to be consistent and thorough in your citations to ensure the credibility and reliability of your work.