/   Library   /   Help & how-to   /   Citing   /   APA - 7th edition

APA citation style - 7th edition


This guide provides a basic introduction to the APA citation style. It is based on the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association published in 2020 (2019). Copies of the manual are available at the Vanier Library's Reference desk and Webster Library's Ask Us! desk, in both Libraries' reference collections and on 3-hour reserve. The call number for the manual is BF 76.7 P83 2020.

The Publication Manual is generally used for academic writing in the social sciences. The manual itself covers many aspects of research writing including selecting a topic, evaluating sources, taking notes, plagiarism, the mechanics of writing, the format of the research paper as well as the way to cite sources.

This guide provides basic explanations and examples for the most common types of citations used by students. For additional information and examples, refer to the Publication Manual.

Back to top

In-text citations - overview

When using your own words to refer indirectly to another author's work, you must identify the original source. A complete reference must appear in the Reference List at the end of your paper.

Chapter 8 of the Publication Manual provides further explanations and examples of in-text citations.

Back to top


One author

  • In most cases, providing the author's last name and the publication year are sufficient:
    Smith (1997) compared reaction times...

    Within a paragraph, you need not include the year in subsequent references.

    Smith (1997) compared reaction times. Smith also found that...

Two authors

  • If there are two authors, include the last name of each and the publication year:
    ... as James and Ryerson (1999) demonstrated...
    ... as has been shown (James & Ryerson, 1999)...

3 or more authors

  • If there are three or more authors, include the last name of only the first author followed by "et al.":
    Wottom et al. (2017) found that...
    ... was also noted (Wotton et al., 2017)...

Corporate authors

  • The names of groups that serve as authors (e.g., corporations, associations, government agencies, and study groups) are usually spelled out each time they appear in a text citation. If it will not cause confusion for the reader, names may be abbreviated thereafter:
    First citation: (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 1999)
    Subsequent citations: (NIMH, 1999)
Back to top

Citing specific parts (pages, sections, & paragraphs)

  • To cite a specific part of a source, indicate the page, chapter, figure, table or equation at the appropriate point in the text:
    (Czapiewski & Ruby, 1995, p. 10)
    (Wilmarth, 1980, Chapter 3)
  • For electronic sources that do not provide page numbers, provide a heading or section name, abbreviated heading or section name, paragraph number, or a combination of heading name and paragraph number.
    (Myers, 2000, para. 5)
    (Bruce, 2020, “Why Individual Research Consultations” section)
    (Beutler, 2000, Conclusion section, para. 1)
  • For audiovisual works, such as TEDTalks, provide the time stamp of where the quote begins.
    "... we first of all need to consider emotional intelligence as a crucial skill in our society..." (Hacker, 2018, 6:10)
Back to top

Citing traditional knowledge or oral traditions of Indigenous peoples

  • If the information is recorded and recoverable by readers, cite the source in your text and include it as an entry in the reference list. Be sure to examine published work to ensure that information it is providing is both accurate and appropriate before citing it.
  • Oral Traditions or Traditional Knowledge that is not recorded should have as much detail as possible in the parenthetical citations. In this circumstance, there would be no reference list entry. For more information, refer to section 8.9 of the Publication Manual
Back to top

Secondary sources (indirect citation)

  • When citing a work which is discussed in another work, include the original author's name in an explanatory sentence, and then include the source you actually consulted in your parenthetical reference and in your reference list.
    Smith argued that... (as cited in Andrews, 2007)
Back to top


Direct quotations of sources

Direct quotations allow you to acknowledge a source within your text by providing a reference to exactly where in that source you found the information. The reader can then follow up on the complete reference in the Reference List page at the end of your paper.

Short direct quotations

  • Quotations of less than 40 words should be incorporated in the text and enclosed with double quotation marks. Provide the author, publication year and a page number.
    She stated, "The 'placebo effect,' ... disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner" (Miele, 1993, p. 276), but he did not clarify which behaviors were studied.

    Miele (1993) found that "the 'placebo effect,' which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [only the first group's] behaviors were studied in this manner" (p. 276).

Long direct quotations

  • When including a quotation of more than 40 words, use a free-standing "block quotation" on a new line, indented 0.5 inches and omit quotation marks.
    Miele (1993) found the following:
    The "placebo effect," which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner. Furthermore, the behaviors were never exhibited, even when reel [sic] drugs were administered. Earlier studies were clearly premature in attributing the results to a placebo effect. (p. 276)

Further examples and explanations are available in Section 8.27 of the Publication Manual.

Back to top

Reference list - overview

The alphabetical list of references that appears at the end of your paper contains more information about all of the sources you have used allowing readers to refer to them, as needed. The main characteristics are:

  • The list of references must be on a new page at the end of your text
  • The word References should be written in bold and centered at the top of the page
  • Entries are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name or by the title if there is no author
  • Titles of larger works (i.e. books, journals, encyclopedias) are italicized
  • Entries are double-spaced (for the purposes of this handout, single-spacing is used)
  • For each entry, the first line is typed flush with the left margin. Additional lines are indented as a group, 0.5 inches to the right of the left margin (hanging indent)

Below are some examples of the most common types of sources including online sources (Web and databases). For more examples, refer to Chapter 10 of the Publication Manual.

Back to top


Book with one author

Bernstein, T. M. (1965). The careful writer: A modern guide to English usage (2nd ed.). Atheneum.

Electronic book or audiobook

  • Add the DOI after the publisher's information.

DOIs often appear in the citation or the abstract of an article and look like this: doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.04.008. Learn more...

Anderson, C.A., Gentile, D.A., & Buckley, K.E. (2007). Violent video game effects on children and adolescents: Theory, research and public policy. Oxford University Press.

  • If no DOI is present, replace DOI with a URL.

Obama, M. (2018). Becoming. Random House Audio.

Work with two authors

Beck, C. A. J., & Sales, B. D. (2001). Family mediation: Facts, myths, and future prospects. American Psychological Association.

Two or more works by the same author

  • Arrange by the year of publication, the earliest first.

Postman, N. (1979). Teaching as a conserving activity. Delacorte Press.

Postman, N. (1985). Amusing ourselves to death: Public discourse in the age of show business. Viking.

  • If works by the same author are published in the same year, arrange alphabetically by title and add a letter after the year as indicated below.

McLuhan, M. (1970a). Culture is our business. McGraw-Hill.

McLuhan, M. (1970b). From cliché to archetype. Viking Press.

Book by a corporate author

  • Associations, corporations, agencies, government departments and organizations are considered authors when there is no single author.

American Psychological Association. (1972). Ethical standards of psychologists. American Psychological Association.

Back to top

Anthologies, coursepacks, dictionaries & encyclopedias

Anthology or compilation

Gibbs, J. T., & Huang, L. N. (Eds.). (1991). Children of color: Psychological interventions with minority youth. Jossey-Bass.

Work in an anthology or an essay in a book

Bjork, R. A. (1989). Retrieval inhibition as an adaptive mechanism in human memory. In H. L. Roediger III, & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory & consciousness (pp. 309–330). Erlbaum.

Work in a coursepack

Goleman, D. (2009). What makes a leader? In D. Demers (Ed.), AHSC 230: Interpersonal communication and relationships (pp. 47–56). Concordia University Bookstore. (Reprinted from Harvard Business Review, 76(6), pp.93–102, 1998).

An entry in a dictionary, group author

  • If the retrieval date is continuously updated and the versions are not archived, include a retrieval date before the URL.

Oxford University Press. (2020, March). Revolutionary. In Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.).

Article in a reference book or an entry in an encyclopedia, individual author

  • If an entry has an individual author, include the author’s name, the editor of the encyclopedia, and the publisher of the encyclopedia.

Guignon, C. B. (1998). Existentialism. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy (Vol. 3, pp. 493–502). Routledge.


  • Cite the archived version of the page you used. If this is not available, include a retrieval date before the URL.

Climate change mitigation. (2020, February 24). In Wikipedia.

Back to top


Article in a journal - for electronic articles retrieved online, see below

  • Make sure to include the journal title, volume number, issue number, and page.

Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 45(2), 10–36.

  • Note: if the volume, issue, or page numbers are missing, do not include them in the reference.

Article in a newspaper or magazine

Burke, J. (2020, March 26). COVID-19: Uncertainty takes the stage for Montreal Theatre. Montreal Gazette, A4.

Article from an electronic source

  • Provide the same information as you would for a printed journal article and add the URL or Digital Object Identifier (DOI).
  • If adding the DOI, format it to look like a URL. Refer to example 1 below.
  • In general, it is not necessary to include database information (APA, 2020, p. 317).
  • You can identify your source by including ONE of the following:

  1. DOI (digital object identifier)

    A DOI is a standardized method for identifying an electronic object. They look something like this: doi:10.1016/j.chb.2008.02.012. DOIs often appear in the citation or the abstract of an article or at the top or bottom of the first page of the article. You may find the DOI for your article by using Find out more about DOIs.

    Zhao, S., Grasmuck, S., & Martin, J. (2008). Identity construction on Facebook: Digital empowerment in anchored relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 1816–1836.

  2. URL for an online periodical
  • If there is no DOI for an article found in an academic database, do not include the URL. (APA, 2020, p. 299).

  • Henkin, R., Harmon, J., Pate, E., & Moorman, H. (2010). Merging literacy and technology. Voices from the Middle, 17(3), 7–8.

  • If there is no DOI for an article found from a website that is not a database, provide the URL in the reference.

  • Robinson, B. (2019). No holds barred: Policing and security in the public library. In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Back to top


Television or radio program

Smart, V. (Writer & Director). (2019, October 6). Havana syndrome: Investigating what made diplomats sick (Season 45, Episode 3) [TV series episode]. In C. Legge (Executive Producer), The fifth estate. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Film, videorecording or DVD

Kubrick, S. (Director). (1980). The Shining [Film]. Warner Brothers.

YouTube videos

King Arthur Flour. (2015, August 7). How to braid a three strand loaf [Video]. YouTube.

Podcast (single episode)

Stubner, S. (Host). (2020, March 25). What does COVID-19 mean for cities (and marriages)? [Audio podcast episode]. In Freakonomics. Stitcher Radio.

Online lecture notes and presentation slides (such as Moodle)

Cress, C. M. (2009). Curricular strategies for student success and engaged learning [PowerPoint slides]. Moodle.

Back to top


Note: An in-text citation or reference list entry is not required when making a general mention of a website. Further examples are available in section 8.22 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Webpages & non-periodical documents on the Internet

When citing a website or webpage:

  • Include the author, title of the document, and if available, always include the date the material was updated or posted online. If the page may be changed or moved, include the date of retrieval. Include the URL of the document cited.
  • If there is no author, place the title in the author position.
  • If there is no date, replace the date with (n.d.) to signify that there is no date for the material.
  • If the author and name of the website are the same, do not include the website name in the reference list entry.

Webpage with an individual author

Beaudry, G. (2021, September 8). A message from Dr. Beaudry. Concordia University Library.

Webpage with a group author

Note in this example, the author and website name are the same, so the website name is not included in the reference

United Nations Global Compact. (2020). Endorse the women’s empowerment principles. Retrieved April 6, 2020 from

Further examples and explanations are available in section 10.16 and throughout chapter 10 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Back to top


Note: The URL is optional, however, it should be included if it is available.

Erb, R., Warmouth, C., Long, V. R., & VanHoutin, L. A. (2018). Football helmet shell. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Note: The in-text citation for the above patent would be:

(Erb et al., 2018)

Back to top
Back to top arrow up, go to top of page