Skip to Main Content
VGCC Library Services logo

Social Problems (SOC 220): APA

APA Citation Examples

APA Style

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 2020. 

More information about APA Style can be found at

APA In-Text Citations

When using information from a source in a paper or other text-based communication, APA Style uses a brief in-text citation to direct reader to the full entry in the reference list.

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 1: Researchers found significant differences in the cancer rates of people who used sunscreen when compared to those who did not (Roberts & Lombardi, 2010).
  • Example 2: 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. See example below:

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)

For more information on in-text citations, view the In-Text Citations section of the APA Style Guide website, or see the full APA Style Manual in the VGCC Library.

APA Style Guide

Works Cited or Reference List

A works cited, or reference list, is where you list all of the items and materials you use as sources in a paper, presentation, or similar project. It is usually located at the end of the document.

There are 4 important elements to a reference in a works cited list:

  • Author or authors of the item
  • Date reference was published
  • Title of the work
  • Source where the work was retrieved

See below for some basic examples of references in APA format. Please note: This is not an exhaustive list, for more detailed information, consult the full version of the APA Handbook or click one of the links in the "More APA Help" box on this page.

APA Reference List Examples

Books/Ebooks -- Basic Form:
Lastname, Initials. (Copyright date). Book or journal title. Publisher. DOI if available.
Example: Print or ebook with DOI
Hamnet, B. R. (2019). A Concise History of Mexico (3rd ed.). Cambridge.
Example: Book with No DOI or Permanent Weblink
Dunkling, L., & Gosling, W. (1984). The dictionary of first names. Facts on File.
Example: Whole Edited Book
Ferguson, E. (Ed.). (1990). Encyclopedia of early Christianity. Garland Press.
Journal Article from a Database--Basic Form:
Lastname, Initials. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages. DOI if available
Note: For articles retrieved from online databases, you will need to find the DOI (digital object identifier) within the article information, if available. If you cannot locate a DOI, do not include anything after the page range.
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 from a Database--Basic Form:

Lastname, Initials. (Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Magazine, volume number(issue number), pages. DOI if available
Ghosh, B., Crain, C., & Bennett, B. (2007, December 24). Hold the cheers. Time170(26), 58-63.
Webpage on a Website -- Basic Form:
Author. (Date of last update). Title of webpage. Website name. Page URL
George, T. (2022, July 26). Consequences of Mild, Moderate & Severe Plagiarism. Scribbr.

For more information on references, view the References section of the APA Style Guide website, or see the full APA Style Manual in the VGCC Library.

Subject Guide


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

Need help?  Contact the VGCC Library.