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Human Services: General: APA Citations

APA Style

APA Style Guide

The American Psychological Association (APA) has developed a standardized way of citing resources used in academic research. While APA is a professional association for psychologists, APA formatting is regularly used in many different subject areas. Traditionally, APA formatting has been used for academic papers written in the subject areas of Psychology, Education, Criminology, and other social sciences. It is important to check with instructors to see which formatting style they prefer.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is available at all Vance-Granville Community College library locations in the Reference section. The call number is BF 76.7 .P83 2010

More information about APA Style can be found at

APA - Citing Print Sources

Print Book -- Basic Form:
Author Name. (Year of Publication). Book or journal title. Place of Publication: Publisher.
Dunkling, L., & Gosling, W. (1984). The dictionary of first names. New York: Facts on File.
Ferguson, E. (Ed.). (1990). Encyclopedia of early Christianity. New York: Garland.
Journal Article:
Lastname, Initials. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages.
Lee, R. H., Pieper, C. F., & Colón-Emeric, C. (2015). Functional Impairments Mediate Association Between Clinical Fracture Risk and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Older Women. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63(8), 1546-1551.
Magazine Article:
Lastname, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Magazine, volume number(issue number), pages.
Ghosh, B., Crain, C., & Bennett, B. (2007, December 24). Hold the cheers. Time170(26), 58-63.

APA - Citing Online Sources

Website -- Basic Form:
Author. (Year of Publication). Title of website. Date Retrieved, Sponsoring Organization: URL
Scribe, A. (2006). Dr. Abel Scribe's guides to research style and documentation. Retrieved October 31, 2006, from
Articles Retrieved from Online Databases -- Basic Form:
Note: You will need to find the DOI (digital object identifier) within the article information, if available. If you cannot locate a DOI, do an internet search for the journal title & cite the homepage URL for the journal.
Author Name. (Year of Publication). Title of the article. Title of Journalvolume number(issue number), pages. doi or journal homepage URL or database information
Gilbert, P. (2009). Human adjustment and the problem of death. Death Studies, 33(8), 771-774. doi: 10.1080/07481180903070509
Johnson, L. (2003). Computer and video games: the impact on children's health. Journal of Child Health45(2), 64-65. Retrieved from
Ebooks -- Basic Form:
Author, A. A. (Year published). Name of book. Location Published: Publisher. [Retrieved] date, [from] URL of Website
Dawkins, R. (1976). The selfish gene. New York: Oxford. Retrieved June 18, 2012, from

APA Online Resources

APA Online Help

These websites can help you understand how to use APA Style effectively.

Citation Builders

Need help building your Works Cited list? Use these online tools to help. Always remember to check your citations against your style guide.

APA In-Text Citations

The author's last name and the work's date of publication must always appear & are all that is necessary when citing an idea, an entire book, article or other work.

Example: (Smith, 2009)

The page number appears only if it is a direct quotation.

Example: (Smith, 2009, p. 195)


Paraphrasing a Source:

You may summarize or paraphrase the original words, thought, or idea but credit must be given to the source.

  • Example:  Stem cell research will bring about new ways of treating Alzheimer's disease (Tannen, 2011).

If you include the author's name(s) in the sentence, only the year is needed in the parenthetical reference.

  • Example:  Tannen has argued the point that stem cell research will bring about new ways of treating Alzheimer's disease (2011).

Two or Three Authors:

In citing information from a work by two or three authors include all authors' last names in either the signal phrase or parenthetical reference.

  • Example: Researchers found significant differences in the cancer rates of people who used sunscreen when compared to those who did not (Roberts & Lombardi, 2010).
  • Example: Some experts disagree with Johnson's argument and state that the spike in property crime is largely a result of high unemployment (Smith et al., 2008).

Short Quotation:

When you incorporate a direct quotation into a sentence, you must cite the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number. Fit quotations within your sentences:

  •  Example 1: “Quotations are effective in research papers when used selectively” (Gibaldi, 2010, p. 119).
  • Example 2: Gilbaldi (2010) states that "[q]uotations are effective in research papers when used selectively" (p. 119).

Long Quotation:

If the quote you are using is longer than 40 words set it off from your text with a free standing block. No quotation marks needed.

  • Example:

Nelly Dean treats Heathcliff poorly and dehumanizes him throughout her narration:

They entirely refused to have it in bed with them, or even in their room, and I had no more sense, so, I put it on the landing of the stairs, hoping it would be gone on the morrow. By chance, or else attracted by hearing his voice, it crept to Mr. Earnshaw's door, and there he found it on quitting his chamber. Inquiries were made as to how it got there; I was obliged to confess, and in recompense for my cowardice and inhumanity was sent out of the house. (Bronte, 2009, p. 83)

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Thank you to Surry Community College Library for their assistance in creating this guide.

Need help?  Contact the VGCC Library.