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APA Format for Students & Researchers
In this guide, students and researchers can learn the basics of creating a properly formatted research paper according to APA guidelines.
It includes information on how to conceptualize, outline, and format the basic structure of your paper, as well as practical tips on spelling, abbreviation, punctuation, and more. The guide concludes with a complete sample paper as well as a final checklist that writers can use to prepare their work for submission.
APA Paper Formatting Basics
- All text should be double-spaced
- Use one-inch margins on all sides
- All paragraphs in the body are indented
- Make sure that the title is centered on the page with your name and school/institution underneath
- Use 12-point font throughout
- All pages should be numbered in the upper right hand corner
- The manual recommends using one space after most punctuation marks
- A shortened version of the title (“running head”) should be placed in the upper left hand corner
Table of Contents
Here’s a quick rundown of the contents of this guide on how to do APA format.
Information related to writing and organizing your paper:
- Paper and essay categories
General paper length
- Margin sizes
- Title pages
- Running Heads
- APA Outline
- APA Abstract
- The body of papers
- APA headings and subheadings
- Use of graphics (tables and figures)
Writing style tips:
- Reducing bias and labels
- Abbreviation do’s and don’ts
- Number rules
Citing Your Sources:
- Citing Sources
- In-text Citations
- Reference Page
Proofing Your Paper:
- Final checklist
- Submitting your project
- What is APA
- APA 7 Updates
What you won’t find in this guide: This guide provides information related to the formatting of your paper, as in guidelines related to spacing, margins, word choice, etc. While it provides a general overview of APA references, it does not provide instructions for how to cite in APA format.
For step-by-step instructions for citing books, journals, how to cite a website in APA format, information on an APA format bibliography, and more, refer to these other EasyBib guides:
- APA citation (general reference guide)
- APA In-text citation
- APA article citation
- APA book citation
- APA citation website
Or, you can use our automatic generator. Our APA formatter helps to build your references for you. Yep, you read that correctly.
Writing and Organizing Your APA Paper in an Effective Way
This section of our guide focuses on proper paper length, how to format headings, spacing, and more! This information can be found in Chapter 2 of the official manual (American Psychological Association, 2020, pp. 29-67).
Categories of papers
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details related to APA research paper format, first determine the type of paper you’re about to embark on creating:
Empirical studies take data from observations and experiments to generate research reports. It is different from other types of studies in that it isn’t based on theories or ideas, but on actual data.
These papers analyze another individual’s work or a group of works. The purpose is to gather information about a current issue or problem and to communicate where we are today. It sheds light on issues and attempts to fill those gaps with suggestions for future research and methods.
These papers are somewhat similar to a literature reviews in that the author collects, examines, and shares information about a current issue or problem, by using others’ research. It is different from literature reviews in that it attempts to explain or solve a problem by coming up with a new theory. This theory is justified with valid evidence.
These articles showcase new advances, or modifications to an existing practice, in a scientific method or procedure. The author has data or documentation to prove that their new method, or improvement to a method, is valid. Plenty of evidence is included in this type of article. In addition, the author explains the current method being used in addition to their own findings, in order to allow the reader to understand and modify their own current practices.
Case studies present information related an individual, group, or larger set of individuals. These subjects are analyzed for a specific reason and the author reports on the method and conclusions from their study. The author may also make suggestions for future research, create possible theories, and/or determine a solution to a problem.
Since APA style format is used often in science fields, the belief is “less is more.” Make sure you’re able to get your points across in a clear and brief way. Be direct, clear, and professional. Try not to add fluff and unnecessary details into your paper or writing. This will keep the paper length shorter and more concise.
Margin sizes in APA Format
When it comes to margins, keep them consistent across the left, right, top, and bottom of the page. All four sides should be the same distance from the edge of the paper. It’s recommended to use at least one-inch margins around each side. It’s acceptable to use larger margins, but the margins should never be smaller than an inch.
Title pages in APA Format
The title page, or APA format cover page, is the first page of a paper or essay. Some teachers and professors do not require a title page, but some do. If you’re not sure if you should include one or not, ask your teacher. Some appreciate the page, which clearly displays the writer’s name and the title of the paper.
The APA format title page for student papers includes six main components:
- the title of the APA format paper
- names of all authors
- institutional affiliation
- course number and title
- instructor’s name
Title pages for professional papers also require a running head; student papers do not.
Some instructors and professional publications also ask for an author’s note. If you’re required or would like to include an author’s note, place it below the institutional affiliation. Examples of information included in an author’s note include an ORCID iD number, a disclosure, and an acknowledgement.
Here are key guidelines to developing your title page:
- The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay, but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. For example, instead of using the title “A Look at Amphibians From the Past,” title the paper “Amphibians From the Past.” Delete the unnecessary fluff!
- Center the title on the page and place it about 3-4 lines from the top.
- The title should be bolded, in title case, and the same font size as your other page text. Do not underline or italicize the title. Other text on the page should be plain (not bolded , underlined, or italicized ).
- All text on the title page should be double-spaced. The APA format examples paper below displays proper spacing, so go take a look!
- Do not include any titles in the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms. In contrast, for your instructor’s name, use the form they prefer (e.g., Sagar Parekh, PhD; Dr. Minako Asato; Professor Nathan Ian Brown; etc.).
- The institutional affiliation is the school the author attends or the location where the author conducted the research.
In a hurry? Try the EasyBib title page maker to easily create a title page for free.
Sample of an APA format title page for a student paper:
Sample of title page for a professional paper:
Running heads in APA Format
The 7th edition of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual (p. 37) states that running heads are not required for student papers unless requested by the instructor. Student papers still need a page number included in the upper right-hand corner of every page. The 6th edition required a running head for student papers, so be sure to confirm with your instructor which edition you should follow. Of note, this guide follows the 7th edition.
Running heads are required for professional papers (e.g., manuscripts submitted for publication). Read on for instructions on how to create them.
Are you wondering what is a “running head”? It’s basically a page header at the top of every page. To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page. You may want to look for “Header” in the features.
A running head/page header includes two pieces:
- the title of the paper
- page numbers.
Insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the APA format paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of the page numbers).
For all pages of the paper, including the APA format title page, include the “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left in capital letters (i.e., the running head). If your full title is long (over 50 characters), the running head title should be a shortened version.
Preparing outlines in APA Format
Outlines are extremely beneficial as they help writers stay organized, determine the scope of the research that needs to be included, and establish headings and subheadings.
There isn’t an official or recommended “APA format for outline” structure. It is up to the writer (if they choose to make use of an outline) to determine how to organize it and the characters to include. Some writers use a mix of roman numerals, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
Even though there isn’t a required or recommended APA format for an outline, we encourage writers to make use of one. Who wouldn’t want to put together a rough outline of their project? We promise you, an outline will help you stay on track.
Here’s our version of how APA format for outlines could look:
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for information on APA citation format and other related topics, check out our other comprehensive guides.
How to form an abstract in APA
An APA format abstract (p. 38) is a summary of a scholarly article or scientific study. Scholarly articles and studies are rather lengthy documents, and abstracts allow readers to first determine if they’d like to read an article in its entirety or not.
You may come across abstracts while researching a topic. Many databases display abstracts in the search results and often display them before showing the full text of an article or scientific study. It is important to create a high quality abstract that accurately communicates the purpose and goal of your paper, as readers will determine if it is worthy to continue reading or not.
Are you wondering if you need to create an abstract for your assignment? Usually, student papers do not require an abstract. Abstracts are not typically seen in class assignments, and are usually only included when submitting a paper for publication. Unless your teacher or professor asked for it, you probably don’t need to have one for your class assignment.
If you’re planning on submitting your paper to a journal for publication, first check the journal’s website to learn about abstract and APA paper format requirements.
Here are some helpful suggestions to create a dynamic abstract:
- Abstracts are found on their own page, directly after the title or cover page.
- Professional papers only (not student papers): Include the running head on the top of the page.
- On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
- On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew. Use concise, brief, informative language. You only have a few sentences to share the summary of your entire document, so be direct with your wording.
- This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
- If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords : in italics. Then list your keywords that stand out in your research. You can also include keyword strings that you think readers will type into the search box.
- Active voice: The subjects reacted to the medication.
- Passive voice: There was a reaction from the subjects taking the medication.
- Instead of evaluating your project in the abstract, simply report what it contains.
- If a large portion of your work includes the extension of someone else’s research, share this in the abstract and include the author’s last name and the year their work was released.
APA format example page:
Here’s an example of an abstract:
Visual design is a critical aspect of any web page or user interface, and its impact on a user’s experience has been studied extensively. Research has shown a positive correlation between a user’s perceived usability and a user’s assessment of visual design. Additionally, perceived web quality, which encompasses visual design, has a positive relationship with both initial and continued consumer purchase intention. However, visual design is often assessed using self-report scale, which are vulnerable to a few pitfalls. Because self-report questionnaires are often reliant on introspection and honesty, it is difficult to confidently rely on self-report questionnaires to make important decisions. This study aims to ensure the validity of a visual design assessment instrument (Visual Aesthetics of Websites Inventory: Short version) by examining its relationship with biometric (variables), like galvanic skin response, pupillometry, and fixation information. Our study looked at participants assessment of a webpage’s visual design, and compared it to their biometric responses while viewing the webpage. Overall, we found that both average fixation duration and pupil dilation differed when participants viewed web pages with lower visual design ratings compared to web pages with a higher visual design rating.
Keywords : usability, visual design, websites, eye tracking, pupillometry, self-report, VisAWI
The body of an APA paper
On the page after the title page (if a student paper) or the abstract (if a professional paper), begin with the body of the paper.
Most papers follow this format:
- At the top of the page, add the page number in the upper right corner of all pages, including the title page.
- On the next line write the title in bold font and center it. Do not underline or italicize it.
- Begin with the introduction and indent the first line of the paragraph. All paragraphs in the body are indented.
Sample body for a student paper:
Most scientific or professional papers have additional sections and guidelines:
- Start with the running head (title + page number). The heading title should be in capital letters. The abstract page should be page 2.
- The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based. It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
- Begin a new section with the Method and use this word as the subtitle. Bold and center this subtitle. The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
- Begin a new section with the Results . Bold and center this subtitle. The Results section summarizes your data. Use charts and graphs to display this data.
- Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
- Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
- Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.
Sample body for a professional paper:
Keep in mind, APA citation format is much easier than you think, thanks to EasyBib.com. Try our automatic generator and watch how we create APA citation format references for you in just a few clicks. While you’re at it, take a peek at our other helpful guides, such as our APA reference page guide, to make sure you’re on track with your research papers.
Proper usage of headings & subheadings in APA Format
Headings (p. 47) serve an important purpose in research papers — they organize your paper and make it simple to locate different pieces of information. In addition, headings provide readers with a glimpse to the main idea, or content, they are about to read.
In APA format, there are five levels of headings, each with a different formatting:
- This is the title of your paper
- The title should be centered in the middle of the page
- The title should be bolded
- Use uppercase and lowercase letters where necessary (called title capitalization)
- Place this heading against the left margin
- Use bold letters
- Use uppercase and lowercase letters where necessary
- Place this heading against the left side margin
- End the heading with a period
- Indented in from the left margin
Following general formatting rules, all headings are double spaced and there are no extra lines or spaces between sections.
Here is a visual APA format template for levels of headings:
Use of graphics (tables and figures) in APA Format
If you’re looking to jazz up your project with any charts, tables, drawings, or images, there are certain APA format rules (pp. 195-250) to follow.
First and foremost, the only reason why any graphics should be added is to provide the reader with an easier way to see or read information, rather than typing it all out in the text.
Lots of numbers to discuss? Try organizing your information into a chart or table. Pie charts, bar graphs, coordinate planes, and line graphs are just a few ways to show numerical data, relationships between numbers, and many other types of information.
Instead of typing out long, drawn out descriptions, create a drawing or image. Many visual learners would appreciate the ability to look at an image to make sense of information.
Before you go ahead and place that graphic in your paper, here are a few key guidelines:
- Follow them in the appropriate numerical order in which they appear in the text of your paper. Example : Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, Figure 3.
- Example: Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, Figure 3
- Only use graphics if they will supplement the material in your text. If they reinstate what you already have in your text, then it is not necessary to include a graphic.
- Include enough wording in the graphic so that the reader is able to understand its meaning, even if it is isolated from the corresponding text. However, do not go overboard with adding a ton of wording in your graphic.
- Left align tables and figures
In our APA format sample paper , you’ll find examples of tables after the references. You may also place tables and figures within the text just after it is mentioned.
Is there anything better than seeing a neatly organized data table? We think not! If you have tons of numbers or data to share, consider creating a table instead of typing out a wordy paragraph. Tables are pretty easy to whip up on Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
General format of a table should be:
- Table number
- Choose to type out your data OR create a table. As stated above, in APA format, you shouldn’t have the information typed out in your paper and also have a table showing the same exact information. Choose one or the other.
- If you choose to create a table, discuss it very briefly in the text. Say something along the lines of, “Table 1 displays the amount of money used towards fighting Malaria.” Or, “Stomach cancer rates are displayed in Table 4.”
- If you’re submitting your project for a class, place your table close to the text where it’s mentioned. If you’re submitting it to be published in a journal, most publishers prefer tables to be placed in the back. If you’re unsure where to place your tables, ask!
- Include the table number first and at the top. Table 1 is the first table discussed in the paper. Table 2 is the next table mentioned, and so on. This should be in bold.
- Add a title under the number. Create a brief, descriptive title. Capitalize the first letter for each important word. Italicize the title and place it under the table number.
- Only use horizontal lines.
- Limit use of cell shading.
- Keep the font at 12-point size and use single or double spacing. If you use single spacing in one table, make sure all of the others use single spaces as well. Keep it consistent.
- All headings should be centered.
- In the first column (called the stub), center the heading, left-align the information underneath it (indent 0.15 inches if info is more than one line).
- Information in other columns should be centered.
- General . Information about the whole table.
- Specific . Information targeted for a specific column, row, or cell.
- Probability . Explains what certain table symbols mean. For example, asterisks, p values, etc.
Here’s an APA format example of a table:
We know putting together a table is pretty tricky. That’s why we’ve included not one, but a few tables on this page. Scroll down and look at the additional tables in the essay in APA format example found below.
Figures represent information in a visual way. They differ from tables in that they are visually appealing. Sure, tables, like the one above, can be visually appealing, but it’s the color, circles, arrows, boxes, or icons included that make a figure a “figure.”
There are many commonly used figures in papers. Examples APA Format:
- Hierarchy charts
General format of a figure is the same as tables. This means each should include:
- Figure number
Use the same formatting tables use for the number, title, and note.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when it comes to APA format for figures:
- Only include a figure if it adds value to your paper. If it will truly help with understanding, include it!
- Either include a figure OR write it all out in the text. Do not include the same information twice.
- If a note is added, it should clearly explain the content of the figure. Include any reference information if it’s reproduced or adapted.
APA format sample of a figure:
We live in a world where we have tons of photographs available at our fingertips.
Photographs found through Google Images, social media, stock photos made available from subscription sites, and tons of other various online sources make obtaining photographs a breeze. We can even pull out our cell phones, and in just a few seconds, take pictures with our cameras.
Photographs are simple to find, and because of this, many students enjoy using them in their papers.
If you have a photograph you would like to include in your project, here are some guidelines from the American Psychological Association.
- Create a reference for the photograph. Follow the guidelines under the table and figure sections above.
- Do not use color photos. It is recommended to use black and white. Colors can change depending on the reader’s screen resolution. Using black and white ensures the reader will be able to view the image clearly. The only time it is recommended to use color photos is if you’re writing about color-specific things. For example, if you’re discussing the various shades of leaf coloration, you may want to include a few photographs of colorful leaves.
- If there are sections of the photograph that are not related to your work, it is acceptable to crop them out. Cropping is also beneficial in that it helps the reader focus on the main item you’re discussing.
- If you choose to include an image of a person you know, it would be respectful if you ask their permission before automatically including their photo in your paper. Some schools and universities post research papers online and some people prefer that their photos and information stay off the Internet.
B. Writing Style Tips
Writing a paper for scientific topics is much different than writing for English, literature, and other composition classes. Science papers are much more direct, clear, and concise. This section includes key suggestions, explains how to write in APA format, and includes other tidbits to keep in mind while formulating your research paper.
Verb usage in APA
Research experiments and observations rely on the creation and analysis of data to test hypotheses and come to conclusions. While sharing and explaining the methods and results of studies, science writers often use verbs.
When using verbs in writing, make sure that you continue to use them in the same tense throughout the section you’re writing. Further details are in the publication manual (p. 117).
Here’s an APA format example:
We tested the solution to identify the possible contaminants.
It wouldn’t make sense to add this sentence after the one above:
We tested the solution to identify the possible contaminants. Researchers often test solutions by placing them under a microscope.
Notice that the first sentence is in the past tense while the second sentence is in the present tense. This can be confusing for readers.
For verbs in scientific papers, the APA manual recommends using:
- Past tense or present perfect tense for the explantation of the procedure
- Past tense for the explanation of the results
- Present tense for the explanation of the conclusion and future implications
If this is all a bit much, and you’re simply looking for help with your references, try the EasyBib.com APA format generator . Our APA formatter creates your references in just a few clicks. APA citation format is easier than you think thanks to our innovative, automatic tool.
Even though your writing will not have the same fluff and detail as other forms of writing, it should not be boring or dull to read. The Publication Manual suggests thinking about who will be the main reader of your work and to write in a way that educates them.
How to reduce bias & labels
The American Psychological Association strongly objects to any bias towards gender, racial groups, ages of individuals or subjects, disabilities, and sexual orientation (pp. 131-149). If you’re unsure whether your writing is free of bias and labels or not, have a few individuals read your work to determine if it’s acceptable.
Here are a few guidelines that the American Psychological Association suggests :
- Only include information about an individual’s orientation or characteristic if it is important to the topic or study. Do not include information about individuals or labels if it is not necessary.
- If writing about an individual’s characteristic or orientation, for essay APA format, make sure to put the person first. Instead of saying, “Diabetic patients,” say, “Patients who are diabetic.”
- Instead of using narrow terms such as, “adolescents,” or “the elderly,” try to use broader terms such as, “participants,” and “subjects.”
- “They” or “their” are acceptable gender-neutral pronouns to use.
- Be mindful when using terms that end with “man” or “men” if they involve subjects who are female. For example, instead of using “Firemen,” use the term, “Firefighter.” In general, avoid ambiguity.
- When referring to someone’s racial or ethnic identity, use the census category terms and capitalize the first letter. Also, avoid using the word, “minority,” as it can be interpreted as meaning less than or deficient. Instead, say “people of color” or “underrepresented groups.”
- When describing subjects in APA format, use the words “girls” and “boys” for children who are under the age of 12. The terms, “young woman,” “young man,” “female adolescent,” and “male adolescent” are appropriate for subjects between 13-17 years old; “Men,” and “women,” for those older than 18. Use the term, “older adults.” for individuals who are older. “Elderly,” and “senior,” are not acceptable if used only as nouns. It is acceptable to use these terms if they’re used as adjectives.
Read through our example essay in APA format, found in section D, to see how we’ve reduced bias and labels.
Spelling in APA Format
- In APA formatting, use the same spelling as words found in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (American English) (p. 161).
- If the word you’re trying to spell is not found in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a second resource is Webster’s Third New International Dictionary .
- If attempting to properly spell words in the psychology field, consult the American Psychological Association’s Dictionary of Psychology
Thanks to helpful tools and features, such as the spell checker, in word processing programs, most of us think we have everything we need right in our document. However, quite a few helpful features are found elsewhere.
Where can you find a full grammar editor? Right here, on EasyBib.com. The EasyBib Plus paper checker scans your paper for spelling, but also for any conjunction , determiner, or adverb out of place. Try it out and unlock the magic of an edited paper.
Abbreviation do’s and don’ts in APA Format
Abbreviations can be tricky. You may be asking yourself, “Do I include periods between the letters?” “Are all letters capitalized?” “Do I need to write out the full name each and every time?” Not to worry, we’re breaking down the publication manual’s abbreviations (p. 172) for you here.
First and foremost, use abbreviations sparingly.
Too many and you’re left with a paper littered with capital letters mashed together. Plus, they don’t lend themselves to smooth and easy reading. Readers need to pause and comprehend the meaning of abbreviations and quite often stumble over them.
- If the abbreviation is used less than three times in the paper, type it out each time. It would be pretty difficult to remember what an abbreviation or acronym stands for if you’re writing a lengthy paper.
- If you decide to sprinkle in abbreviations, it is not necessary to include periods between the letters.
- Example: While it may not affect a patient’s short-term memory (STM), it may affect their ability to comprehend new terms. Patients who experience STM loss while using the medication should discuss it with their doctor.
- Example : AIDS
- The weight in pounds exceeded what we previously thought.
Punctuation in APA Format
One space after most punctuation marks.
The manual recommends using one space after most punctuation marks, including punctuation at the end of a sentence (p. 154). It doesn’t hurt to double check with your teacher or professor to ask their preference since this rule was changed recently (in 2020).
The official APA format book was primarily created to aid individuals with submitting their paper for publication in a professional journal. Many schools adopt certain parts of the handbook and modify sections to match their preference. To see an example of an APA format research paper, with the spacing we believe is most commonly and acceptable to use, scroll down and see section D.
For more information related to the handbook, including frequently asked questions, and more, here’s further reading on the style
It’s often a heated debate among writers whether or not to use an Oxford comma (p. 155), but for this style, always use an Oxford comma. This type of comma is placed before the words AND and OR or in a series of three items.
Example of APA format for commas: The medication caused drowsiness, upset stomach, and fatigue.
Here’s another example: The subjects chose between cold, room temperature, or warm water.
When writing a possessive singular noun, you should place the apostrophe before the s. For possessive plural nouns, the apostrophe is placed after the s.
- Singular : Linda Morris’s jacket
- Plural : The Morris’ house
Em dashes (long dash) are used to bring focus to a particular point or an aside. There are no spaces after these dashes (p. 157).
Use en dashes (short dash) in compound adjectives. Do not place a space before or after the dash. Here are a few examples:
Number rules in APA Format
Science papers often include the use of numbers, usually displayed in data, tables, and experiment information. The golden rule to keep in mind is that numbers less than 10 are written out in text. If the number is more than 10, use numerals.
APA format examples:
- 14 kilograms
- seven individuals
- 83 years old
- Fourth grade
The golden rule for numbers has exceptions.
In APA formatting, use numerals if you are:
- Showing numbers in a table or graph
- 4 divided by 2
Use numbers written out as words if you are:
- Ninety-two percent of teachers feel as though….
- Hundred Years’ War
- One-sixth of the students
Other APA formatting number rules to keep in mind:
- World War II
- Super Bowl LII
- It’s 1980s, not 1980’s!
Additional number rules can be found in the publication manual (p. 178)
Need help with other writing topics? Our plagiarism checker is a great resource for anyone looking for writing help. Say goodbye to an out of place noun , preposition , or adjective, and hello to a fully edited paper.
Overview of APA references
While writing a research paper, it is always important to give credit and cite your sources; this lets you acknowledge others’ ideas and research you’ve used in your own work. Not doing so can be considered plagiarism , possibly leading to a failed grade or loss of a job.
APA style is one of the most commonly used citation styles used to prevent plagiarism. Here’s more on crediting sources . Let’s get this statement out of the way before you become confused: An APA format reference and an APA format citation are two different things! We understand that many teachers and professors use the terms as if they’re synonyms, but according to this specific style, they are two separate things, with different purposes, and styled differently.
A reference displays all of the information about the source — the title, the author’s name, the year it was published, the URL, all of it! References are placed on the final page of a research project.
Here’s an example of a reference:
Wynne-Jones, T. (2015). The emperor of any place . Candlewick Press.
An APA format citation is an APA format in-text citation. These are found within your paper, anytime a quote or paraphrase is included. They usually only include the name of the author and the date the source was published.
Here’s an example of one:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is even discussed in the book, The Emperor of Any Place . The main character, Evan, finds a mysterious diary on his father’s desk (the same desk his father died on, after suffering from a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy attack). Evan unlocks the truth to his father and grandfather’s past (Wynne-Jones, 2015).
Both of the ways to credit another individual’s work — in the text of a paper and also on the final page — are key to preventing plagiarism. A writer must use both types in a paper. If you cite something in the text, it must have a full reference on the final page of the project. Where there is one, there must be the other!
Now that you understand that, here’s some basic info regarding APA format references (pp. 281-309).
- Each reference is organized, or structured, differently. It all depends on the source type. A book reference is structured one way, an APA journal is structured a different way, a newspaper article is another way. Yes, it’s probably frustrating that not all references are created equal and set up the same way. MLA works cited pages are unique in that every source type is formatted the same way. Unfortunately, this style is quite different.
- Most references follow this general format:
Author’s Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Title of source . URL.
Again, as stated in the above paragraph, you must look up the specific source type you’re using to find out the placement of the title, author’s name, year published, etc.
For more information on APA format for sources and how to reference specific types of sources, use the other guides on EasyBib.com. Here’s another useful site .
Looking for a full visual of a page of references? Scroll down and take a peek at our APA format essay example towards the bottom of this page. You’ll see a list of references and you can gain a sense of how they look.
Bonus: here’s a link to more about the fundamentals related to this particular style. If you want to brush up or catch up on the Modern Language Association’s style, here’s a great resource on how to cite websites in MLA .
In-text APA citation format
Did you find the perfect quote or piece of information to include in your project? Way to go! It’s always a nice feeling when we find that magical piece of data or info to include in our writing. You probably already know that you can’t just copy and paste it into your project, or type it in, without also providing credit to the original author.
Displaying where the original information came from is much easier than you think.Directly next to the quote or information you included, place the author’s name and the year nearby. This allows the reader of your work to see where the information originated.
APA allows for the use of two different forms of in-text citation, parenthetical and narrative Both forms of citation require two elements:
- author’s name
- year of publication
The only difference is the way that this information is presented to the reader.
Parenthetical citations are the more commonly seen form of in-text citations for academic work, in which both required reference elements are presented at the end of the sentence in parentheses. Example:
Harlem had many artists and musicians in the late 1920s (Belafonte, 2008).
Narrative citations allow the author to present one or both of the required reference elements inside of the running sentence, which prevents the text from being too repetitive or burdensome. When only one of the two reference elements is included in the sentence, the other is provided parenthetically. Example:
According to Belafonte (2008), Harlem was full of artists and musicians in the late 1920s.
If there are two authors listed in the source entry, then the parenthetical reference must list them both:
(Smith & Belafonte, 2008)
If there are three or more authors listed in the source entry, then the parenthetical reference can abbreviate with “et al.”, the latin abbreviation for “and others”:
(Smith et al., 2008)
The author’s names are structured differently if there is more than one author. Things will also look different if there isn’t an author at all (which is sometimes the case with website pages). For more information on APA citation format, check out this page on the topic: APA parenthetical citation and APA in-text citation . There is also more information in the official manual in chapter 8.
If it’s MLA in-text and parenthetical citations you’re looking for, we’ve got your covered there too! You might want to also check out his guide on parenthetical citing .
Would you benefit from having a tool that helps you easily generate citations that are in the text? Check out EasyBib Plus!
References page in APA Format
An APA format reference page is easier to create than you probably think. We go into detail on how to create this page on our APA reference page . We also have a guide for how to create an annotated bibliography in APA . But, if you’re simply looking for a brief overview of the reference page, we’ve got you covered here.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when it comes to the references page in APA format:
- This VIP page has its very own page. Start on a fresh, clean document (p. 303).
- Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title).
- Alphabetize and double-space ALL entries.
- Use a readable font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or Lucida (p. 44).
- Every quote or piece of outside information included in the paper should be referenced and have an entry.
- Even though it’s called a “reference page,” it can be longer than one page. If your references flow onto the next page, then that’s a-okay.
- Only include the running head if it is required by your teacher or you’re writing a professional paper.
Sample reference page for a student paper:
Here’s another friendly reminder to use the EasyBib APA format generator (that comes with EasyBib Plus) to quickly and easily develop every single one of your references for you. Try it out! Our APA formatter is easy to use and ready to use 24/7.
Final APA Format Checklist
Prior to submitting your paper, check to make sure you have everything you need and everything in its place:
- Did you credit all of the information and quotes you used in the body of your paper and show a matching full reference at the end of the paper? Remember, you need both! Need more information on how to credit other authors and sources? Check out our other guides, or use the EasyBib APA format generator to credit your sources quickly and easily. EasyBib.com also has more styles than just the one this page focuses on.
- 12-pt. Times New Roman
- 11-pt. Calibri, Arial, Georgia
- 10-pt. Lucida, Sans Unicode, Computer Modern
- If you created an abstract, is it directly after the title page? Some teachers and professors do not require an abstract, so before you go ahead and include it, make sure it’s something he or she is expecting.
- Professional paper — Did you include a running head on every single page of your project?
- Student paper — Did you include page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of all your pages?
- Are all headings, as in section or chapter titles, properly formatted? If you’re not sure, check section number 9.
- Are all tables and figures aligned properly? Did you include notes and other important information directly below the table or figure? Include any information that will help the reader completely understand everything in the table or figure if it were to stand alone.
- Are abbreviations used sparingly? Did you format them properly?
- Is the entire document double spaced?
- Are all numbers formatted properly? Check section 17, which is APA writing format for numbers.
- Did you glance at the sample paper? Is your assignment structured similarly? Are all of the margins uniform?
Submitting Your APA Paper
Congratulations for making it this far! You’ve put a lot of effort into writing your paper and making sure the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted. If you’re planning to submit your paper for a school assignment, make sure you review your teacher or professor’s procedures.
If you’re submitting your paper to a journal, you probably need to include a cover letter.
Most cover letters ask you to include:
- The author’s contact information.
- A statement to the editor that the paper is original.
- If a similar paper exists elsewhere, notify the editor in the cover letter.
Once again, review the specific journal’s website for exact specifications for submission.
Okay, so you’re probably thinking you’re ready to hit send or print and submit your assignment. Can we offer one last suggestion? We promise it will only take a minute.
Consider running your paper through our handy dandy paper checker. It’s pretty simple.
Copy and paste or upload your paper into our checker. Within a minute, we’ll provide feedback on your spelling and grammar. If there’s a pronoun , interjection , or verb out of place, we’ll highlight it and offer suggestions for improvement. We’ll even take it a step further and point out any instances of possible plagiarism.
If it sounds too good to be true, then head on over to our innovative tool and give it a whirl. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
What is APA Format?
APA stands for the American Psychological Association . In this guide, you’ll find information related to “What is APA format?” in relation to writing and organizing your paper according to the American Psychological Association’s standards. Information on how to cite sources can be found on our APA citation page. The official American Psychological Association handbook was used as a reference for our guide and we’ve included page numbers from the manual throughout. However, this page is not associated with the association.
You’ll most likely use APA format if your paper is on a scientific topic. Many behavioral and social sciences use this organization’s standards and guidelines.
What are behavioral sciences? Behavioral sciences study human and animal behavior. They can include:
- Cognitive Science
What are social sciences? Social sciences focus on one specific aspect of human behavior, specifically social and cultural relationships. Social sciences can include:
- Political Science
- Human Geography
What’s New in the 7th Edition?
This citation style was created by the American Psychological Association. Its rules and guidelines can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . The information provided in the guide above follows the 6th edition (2009) of the manual. The 7th edition was published in 2020 and is the most recent version.
The 7th edition of the Publication Manual is in full color and includes 12 sections (compared to 8 sections in the 6th edition). In general, this new edition differentiates between professional and student papers, includes guidance with accessibility in mind, provides new examples to follow, and has updated guidelines.We’ve selected a few notable updates below, but for a full view of all of the 7th edition changes visit the style’s website linked here .
- Paper title
- Student name
- Affiliation (e.g., school, department, etc.)
- Course number and title
- Course instructor
- 6th edition – Running head: SMARTPHONE EFFECTS ON ADOLESCENT SOCIALIZATION
- 7th edition – SMARTPHONE EFFECTS ON ADOLESCENT SOCIALIZATION
- Pronouns . “They” can be used as a gender-neutral pronoun.
- Bias-free language guidelines . There are updated and new sections on guidelines for this section. New sections address participation in research, socioeconomic status, and intersectionality.
- Spacing after sentences. Add only a single space after end punctuation.
- Tables and figures . The citing format is now streamlined so that both tables and figures should include a name and number above the table/figure, and a note underneath the table/figure.
- 6th ed. – (Ikemoto, Richardson, Murphy, Yoshida 2016)
- 7th ed. – (Ikemoto et al., 2016)
- Citing books. The location of the publisher can be omitted. Also, e-books no longer need to mention the format (e.g., Kindle, etc.)
- Example: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42255-019-0153-5
- Using URLs. URLs no longer need to be prefaced by the words “Retrieved from.”
New citing information . There is new guidance on citing classroom or intranet resources, and oral traditions or traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.
Visit our EasyBib Twitter feed to discover more citing tips, fun grammar facts, and the latest product updates.
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) (2020). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
Published October 31, 2011. Updated May 14, 2020.
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.
APA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- Multiple Authors
- Page Numbers
- Parenthetical Citations
- Sample Paper
- View APA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all APA Examples
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We should not use “et al.” in APA reference list entries. If the number of authors in the source is up to and including 20, list all author names and use an ampersand (&) before the final author’s name. If the number of authors is more than 20, list the first 19 authors’ names followed by an ellipsis (but no ampersand), and then add the final author’s name. An example of author names in a reference entry having more than 20 authors is given below:
Author Surname1, F. M., Author Surname2, F. M., Author Surname3, F. M., Author Surname4, F. M., Author Surname5, F. M., Author Surname6, F. M., Author Surname7, F. M., Author Surname8, F. M., Author Surname9, F. M., Author Surname10, F. M., Author Surname11, F. M., Author Surname12, F. M., Author Surname13, F. M., Author Surname14, F. M., Author Surname15, F. M., Author Surname16, F. M., Author Surname17, F. M., Author Surname18, F. M., Author Surname19, F. M., . . . Last Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year).
Alvarez, L. D., Peach, J. L., Rodriguez, J. F., Donald, L., Thomas, M., Aruck, A., Samy, K., Anthony, K., Ajey, M., Rodriguez, K. L., Katherine, K., Vincent, A., Pater, F., Somu, P., Pander, L., Berd, R., Fox, L., Anders, A., Kamala, W., . . . Nicole Jones, K. (2019).
Note that, unlike references with 2 to 20 author names, the symbol “&” is not used here before the last author’s name.
APA 7, released in October 2019, has some new updates. Here is a brief description of the updates made in APA 7.
Different types of papers and best practices are given in detail in Chapter 1.
How to format a student title page is explained in Chapter 2. Examples of a professional paper and a student paper are included.
Chapter 3 provides additional information on qualitative and mixed methods of research.
An update on writing style is included in Chapter 4.
In chapter 5, some best practices for writing with bias-free language are included.
Chapter 6 gives some updates on style elements including using a single space after a period, including a citation with an abbreviation, the treatment of numbers in abstracts, treatment for different types of lists, and the formatting of gene and protein names.
In Chapter 7, additional examples are given for tables and figures for different types of publications.
In Chapter 8, how to format quotations and how to paraphrase text are covered with additional examples. A simplified version of in-text citations is clearly illustrated.
Chapter 9 has many updates: listing all author names up to 20 authors, standardizing DOIs and URLs, and the formatting of an annotated bibliography.
Chapter 10 includes many examples with templates for all reference types. New rules covering the inclusion of the issue number for journals and the omission of publisher location from book references are provided. Explanations of how to cite YouTube videos, power point slides, and TED talks are included.
Chapter 11 includes many legal references for easy understanding.
Chapter 12 provides advice for authors on how to promote their papers.
For more information on some of the changes found in APA 7, check out this EasyBib article .
APA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
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APA Style (7th ed.)
- Cite: Why? When?
- Book, eBook, Dissertation
- Article or Report
- Business Sources
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools
- In-Text Citation
- Format Your Paper
Format Your Paper
Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: .
- APA 7th ed. Template Document This is an APA format template document in Google Docs. Click on the link -- it will ask for you to make a new copy of the document, which you can save in your own Google Drive with your preferred privacy settings.
- APA 7th ed. Template Document A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly according to APA 7th edition.
- APA 7th ed. Annotated Bibliography template A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly for an annotated bibliography.
Or, view the directions for specific sections below:
Order of sections (section 2.17).
- Title page including Title, Author, University and Department, Class, Instructor, and Date
- Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
- Appendices (including tables & figures)
Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)
- 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
- Left aligned paragraphs and leave the right edge ragged (not "right justified")
- Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
- Use page numbers, including on the title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin
Text Format (section 2.19)
- Times New Roman, 12 point
- Calibri, 11 point
- Arial, 11 point
- Lucinda Sans Unicode, 10 point
- Georgia, 11 point
- Double-space and align text to the left
- Use active voice
- Don't overuse technical jargon
- No periods after a web address or DOI in the References list.
Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)
- Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
- Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
- Design the table and figure so that it can be understood on its own, i.e. it does not require reference to the surrounding text to understand it
- Notes go below tables and figures
Title Page (section 2.3)
- Include the title, your name, the class name , and the college's name
- Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
- No periods or abbreviations
- Do not italicize or underline
- No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
- Center horizontally in upper half of the page
Body (section 2.11)
- Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
- As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold , and in Sentence Case Capitalization
- Usually, include sections like these: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
- Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
- Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
- Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times
Headings (section 2.26-2.27)
- Level 1: Center, bold , Title Case
- Level 2: Align left, bold , Title Case
- Level 3: Alight left, bold italics , Title Case
- Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text.
- Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text.
Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)
- Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
- For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
- When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
- Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote
References (section 2.12)
Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.
- References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
- Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
- List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
- Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
- Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
- Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
- No quotation marks around titles of articles
Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)
- Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
- Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
- For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
- If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
- If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
- Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
- Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)
Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..
- Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.
These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are not required for student papers:
Abstract (section 2.9).
- Abstract gets its own page
- Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
- Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
- Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper
Running Head (section 2.8 )
- Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
- In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
- On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number]
More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog
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A comprehensive guide to apa citations and format, overview of this guide:.
This page provides you with an overview of APA format, 7th edition. Included is information about referencing, various citation formats with examples for each source type, and other helpful information.
If you’re looking for MLA format , check out the Citation Machine MLA Guide. Also, visit the Citation Machine homepage to use the APA formatter, which is an APA citation generator, and to see more styles .
Being responsible while researching
When you’re writing a research paper or creating a research project, you will probably use another individual’s work to help develop your own assignment. A good researcher or scholar uses another individual’s work in a responsible way. This involves indicating that the work of other individuals is included in your project (i.e., citing), which is one way to prevent plagiarism.
Plagiarism? What is it?
The word plagiarism is derived from the Latin word, plagiare , which means “to kidnap.” The term has evolved over the years to now mean the act of taking another individual’s work and using it as your own, without acknowledging the original author (American Psychological Association, 2020 p. 21). Plagiarism can be illegal and there can be serious ramifications for plagiarizing someone else’s work. Thankfully, plagiarism can be prevented. One way it can be prevented is by including citations and references in your research project. Want to make them quickly and easily? Try the Citation Machine citation generator, which is found on our homepage.
All about citations & references
Citations and references should be included anytime you use another individual’s work in your own assignment. When including a quote, paraphrased information, images, or any other piece of information from another’s work, you need to show where you found it by including a citation and a reference. This guide explains how to make them.
APA style citations are added in the body of a research paper or project and references are added to the last page.
Citations , which are called in-text citations, are included when you’re adding information from another individual’s work into your own project. When you add text word-for-word from another source into your project, or take information from another source and place it in your own words and writing style (known as paraphrasing), you create an in-text citation. These citations are short in length and are placed in the main part of your project, directly after the borrowed information.
References are found at the end of your research project, usually on the last page. Included on this reference list page is the full information for any in-text citations found in the body of the project. These references are listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name.
An APA in-text citation includes only three items: the last name(s) of the author(s), the year the source was published, and sometimes the page or location of the information. References include more information such as the name of the author(s), the year the source was published, the full title of the source, and the URL or page range.
Why is it important to include citations & references
Including APA citations and references in your research projects is a very important component of the research process. When you include citations, you’re being a responsible researcher. You’re showing readers that you were able to find valuable, high-quality information from other sources, place them into your project where appropriate, all while acknowledging the original authors and their work.
Common ways students and scholars accidentally plagiarize
Believe it or not, there are instances when you could attempt to include in-text and full references in the appropriate places, but still accidentally plagiarize. Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:
Mistake #1 - Misquoting sources: If you plan to use a direct quote, make sure you copy it exactly as is. Sure, you can use part of the full quote or sentence, but if you decide to put quotation marks around any words, those words should match exactly what was found in the original source. Here’s a line from The Little Prince , by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
Here’s an acceptable option:
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves,” stated de Saint-Exupéry (1943, p. 3).
Here’s a misquote:
“Grown-ups barely ever understand anything by themselves,” stated de Saint-Exupéry (1943, p. 3).
Notice the slight change in the words. The incorrect phrasing is an instance of accidental plagiarism.
Mistake #2 - Problems with paraphrasing: When we paraphrase, we restate information using our own words and writing style. It’s not acceptable to substitute words from the original source with synonyms.
Let’s use the same sentence from The Little Prince .
A correct paraphrase could be:
de Saint-Exupéry (1943) shares various ways adults frustrate children. One of the biggest being that kids have to explain everything. It’s too bad adults are unable to comprehend anything on their own (p. 3).
An incorrect paraphrase would be:
de Saint-Exupéry (1943) shares that adults never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for kids to be always and forever clarifying things to them (p.3).
Notice how close the incorrect paraphrase is from the original. This is an instance of accidental plagiarism.
Make sure you quote and paraphrase properly in order to prevent accidental plagiarism.
If you’re having a difficult time paraphrasing properly, it is acceptable to paraphrase part of the text AND use a direct quote. Here’s an example:
de Saint-Exupery (1943) shares various ways adults frustrate children. One of the biggest being that kids have to explain everything, and “it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” (p. 3).
Information About APA
Who created it.
The American Psychological Association is an organization created for individuals in the psychology field. With close to 121,000 members, they provide educational opportunities, funding, guidance, and research information for everything psychology-related. They also have numerous high-quality databases, peer-reviewed journals, and books that revolve around mental health.
The American Psychological Association is also credited with creating their own specific citation and reference style. Today, this format is used by individuals not only in the psychology field, but many other subject areas as well. Education, economics, business, and social sciences also use APA style quite frequently. Click here for more information . This guide covers general information about the style, but is not affiliated with the American Psychological Association.
Why was this style created?
This format was first developed in 1929 to form a standardized way for researchers in science fields to document their sources. Prior to the inception of these standards and guidelines, individuals were recognizing the work of other authors by including bits and pieces of information in random order. There wasn’t a set way to format citations and references. You can probably imagine how difficult it was to understand the sources that were used for research projects!
Having a standard format for citing sources allows readers to glance at a citation or APA reference and easily locate the title, author, year published, and other critical pieces of information needed to understand a source.
The evolution of this style
The guide below is based on APA style 7th edition, which was released in 2020. In previous versions of APA format, researchers and scholars were required to include the publisher location for books and the date that an electronic resource was accessed. Both are no longer required to be included.
Details on the differences between the 6th and 7th editions is addressed later in this guide.
Citations & References
The appearance of citations & references.
The format for references varies, but most use this general format:
%%Author’s Last name, First initial. (Date published). Title . URL
Researchers and scholars must look up the proper format for the source that they’re attempting to cite. Books have a certain format, websites have a different format, periodicals have a different format, and so on. Scroll down to find the proper format for the source you’re citing or referencing.
If you would like help citing your sources, CitationMachine.com has a citation generator that will help make the APA citation process much easier for you. To start, simply click on the source type you're citing:
- Journal articles
An APA in-text citation is included in research projects in three instances: When using a direct quote, paraphrasing information, or simply referring to a piece of information from another source.
Quite often, researchers and scholars use a small amount of text, word for word, from another source and include it in their own research projects. This is done for many reasons. Sometimes, another author’s words are so eloquently written that there isn’t a better way to rephrase it yourself. Other times, the author’s words can help prove a point or establish an understanding for something in your research project. When using another author’s exact words in your research project, include an APA in-text citation directly following it.
In addition to using the exact words from another source and placing them into your project, these citations are also added anytime you paraphrase information. Paraphrasing is when you take information from another source and rephrase it, in your own words.
When simply referring to another piece of information from another source, also include a citation directly following it.
Citations in the text are found near a direct quote, paraphrased information, or next to a mention of another source. To see examples of some narrative/ parenthetical citations in action, look at the image above, under “All About Citations & References.”
Note: *Only include the page or paragraph number when using a direct quote or paraphrase. Page numbers have a p. before the number, pp. before the page range, and para. before the paragraph number. This information is included to help the reader locate the exact portion of text themselves. It is unnecessary to include this information when you’re simply referring to another source.
Examples of APA in-text citations:
“Well, you’re about to enter the land of the free and the brave. And I don’t know how you got that stamp on your passport. The priest must know someone” (Tóibín, 2009, p. 52).
Student teachers who use technology in their lessons tend to continue using technology tools throughout their teaching careers (Kent & Giles, 2017, p. 12).
If including the author’s name in the sentence, place the year in the parentheses directly next to his or her name. Add the page number at the end, unless it’s a source without any pages or paragraph numbers (See Section 8.10 of the Publication manual for more details).
In-text citation APA example:
According to a study done by Kent and Giles (2017), student teachers who use technology in their lessons tend to continue using technology tools throughout their teaching careers.
The full references, or citations, for these sources can be found on the last part of a research project, titled the “References.”
Here’s how to create in-text citations for specific amounts of authors:
APA citation with no author
When the source lacks an author’s name, place the title, year, and page number (if available) in the text. The title should be in italics if it sits alone (such as a movie, brochure, or report). If the source is part of a whole (as many web pages and articles are), place the title in quotation marks without italics (See Section 8.14 of the Publication manual ).
Structure of an APA format citation in the text narratively, with the author's name missing:
Title of Source (Year) or “Title of Source” (Year)
Structure of an APA style format citation, in parentheses at the end of the sentence, with the author’s name missing: (Title of Source, Year) or (“Title of Source,” Year)
Structure for one author
In the text, narratively: Last name of Author (Year)...(page number).
In parentheses, at the end of the sentence: (Last name of Author, Year, page number).
Structure for two authors
Place the authors in the order they appear on the source. Only use the ampersand in the parenthetical citations (see Section 8.17 of the Publication manual ). Use ‘and’ to separate the author names if they’re in the text of the sentence.
In the text, narratively: Last name of Author 1 and Last name of Author 2 (Year)....(page number).
In parentheses, at the end of the sentence: (Last name of Author 1 & Last name of Author 2, Year, page number).
Structure for three or more authors
Only include the first listed author’s name in the first and any subsequent citations. Follow it with et al.
(Last name Author 1 et al., Year, page number)
(Agbayani et al., 2020, p. 99)
Last name of Author 1 et al. (Year)...(page).
Agbayani et al. (2020)...(p. 99)
One author, multiple works, same year
What do you do when you want to cite multiple works by an author, and the sources all written in the same year?
Include the letters ‘a’ ‘b’ ‘c’ and so on after the year in the citation.
Writers can even lump dates together.
Example: Jackson often studied mammals while in Africa (2013a, 2013b).
On the APA reference page, include the same letters in the full references.
Groups and organizations
Write out the full name of the group or organization in the first citation and place the abbreviation next to it in brackets. If the group or organization is cited again, only include the abbreviation. If it doesn’t have an abbreviation associated with it, write out the entire organization’s name each and every time (see Section 8.21 of the Publication manual ).
First APA citation for an organization with an abbreviation: (World Health Organization [WHO], Year)
World Health Organization (WHO, Year)
Notice in the example directly above, the name of the organization is written out in full in the text of the sentence, and the abbreviation is placed in parentheses next to it.
Subsequent APA citations in the text for an organization with an abbreviation: (WHO, Year) OR WHO (Year)
All citations in the text for an organization without an abbreviation: (Citation Machine, Year) or Citation Machine (Year)
One in-text citation, multiple works
Sometimes you’ll need to cite more than one work within an in-text citation. Follow the same format (author, year) format but place semicolons between works (p. 263).
(Obama, 2016; Monroe et al., 1820; Hoover & Coolidge, 1928)
Reminder: There are many citation tools available on CitationMachine.com. Head to our homepage to learn more, check out our APA citation website, and cite your sources easily! The most useful resource on our website? Our APA citation generator, which doesn’t just create full references, it’s also an APA in-text citation website! It’ll do both for you!
Click here to learn more about crediting work .
Reference list citation components
References display the full information for all the citations found in the body of a research project.
Some things to keep in mind when it comes to the references:
- All references sit together on their own page, which is usually the last page(s) of a paper.
- Title the page ‘References’
- Place ‘References’ in the center of the page and bold it. Keep the title in the same font and size as the references. Do not italicize, underline, place the title in quotation marks, or increase the font size.
- The entire page is double spaced.
- All references are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the reference, which is usually the author’s last name. If the source lacks an author, alphabetize the source by the title (ignore A, An, or The)
- All references have a hanging indent, meaning that the second line of text is indented in half an inch. See examples throughout this guide.
- Remember, each and every citation in the text of the paper MUST have a full reference displayed in the reference list. The citations in the text provide the reader with a quick glimpse about the sources used, but the references in the reference list provide the reader with all the information needed to seek out the source themselves.
Learn more about each component of the reference citation and how to format it in the sections that follow. See an APA sample paper reference list at the end of this entire section.
The names of authors are written in reverse order. Include the initials for the first and middle names. End this information with a period (see Section 9.8 of the Publication manual ).
Format: Last name, F. M.
- Angelou, M.
- Doyle, A. C.
Two or more authors
When two or more authors work together on a source, write them in the order in which they appear on the source. You can name up to 20 authors in the reference. For sources with 2 to 20 authors, place an ampersand (&) before the final author. Use this format:
Last name, F. M., & Last name, F. M.
Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., Last name, F. M., & Last name, F. M.
Kent, A. G., Giles, R. M., Thorpe, A., Lukes, R., Bever, D. J., & He, Y.
If there are 21 or more authors listed on a source, only include the first 19 authors, add three ellipses, and then add the last author’s name.
Roberts, A., Johnson, M. C., Klein, J., Cheng, E. V., Sherman, A., Levin, K. K. , ...Lopez, G. S.
If you plan on using a free APA citation tool, like the one at CitationMachine.com, the names of the authors will format properly for you.
If the source lacks an author, place the title in the first position in the reference (Section 9.12 of the Publication manual ). When the source’s title begins with a number (Such as 101 Dalmatians ), place the reference alphabetically as if the number was spelled out. 101 Dalmatians would be placed in the spot where ‘One hundred’ would go, but keep the numbers in their place.
Additionally, if the title begins with the words ‘A’, ‘An,’ or ‘The,’ ignore these words and place the title alphabetically according to the next word.
See the “Titles” section below for more information on formatting the title of sources.
On an APA reference page, corporate authors are always written out in full. In the text of your paper, you may have some abbreviations (such as UN for United Nations), but in the full references, always include the full names of the corporation or organization (following Section 9.11 of the official Publication manual ).
%%United Nations. (2019). Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis. https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1031981
Publication date & retrieval date
Directly after the author’s name is the date the source was published. Include the full date for newspapers and magazine articles, and only the year for journals and all other sources. If no date is found on the source, include the initials, n.d. for “no date.”
%% Narducci, M. (2017, May 19). City renames part of 11th Street Ed Snider Way to honor Flyers founder. The Philadelphia Inquirer . http://www.philly.com/
If using our APA Citation Machine, our citation generator will add the correct format for you automatically.
Giving a retrieval date is not needed unless the online content is likely to be frequently updated and changed (e.g., encyclopedia article, dictionary entry, Twitter profile, etc.).
%%Citation Machine [@CiteMachine]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved October 10, 2019, from https://twitter.com/CiteMachine
When writing out titles for books, articles, chapters, or other non-periodical sources, only capitalize the first word of the title and the first word of the subtitle. Names of people, places, organizations, and other proper nouns also have the first letter capitalized. For books and reports, italicize the title in the APA citation.
Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Roots: The saga of an American family.
For articles and chapters in APA referencing, do not italicize the title.
Wake up the nation: Public libraries, policy making, and political discourse.
For newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, and other periodicals, capitalize the first letter in each word and italicize the title.
The Seattle Times.
A common question is whether to underline your title or place it in italics or quotation marks in the reference list. Here’s a good general rule: When a source sits alone and is not part of a larger whole, place the title in italics. If the source does not sit alone and is part of a larger whole, do not place it in italics.
Books, movies, journals, and television shows are placed in italics since they stand alone. Songs on an album, episodes of television shows, chapters in books, and articles in journals are not placed in italics since they are smaller pieces of larger wholes.
The Citation Machine citation generator will format the title in your citations automatically.
Additional information about the title
If you feel it would be helpful to include additional information about the source type, include a descriptive noun or two in brackets immediately following the title. Capitalize the first letter.
%%Kennedy, K., & Molen, G. R. (Producers), & Spielberg, S. (Director). (1993). Jurassic Park [Film]. USA: Universal.
Besides [Film], other common notations include:
- [Audio podcast]
- [Letter to the editor]
- [Television series episode]
- [Facebook page]
- [Blog post]
- [Lecture notes]
- [PowerPoint presentation]
- [Video file]
If you are using Citation Machine citing tools, additional information about the title is automatically added for you.
For books and reports, include the publisher name but not the location (see Section 9.29 of the Publication manual ). Older editions of the style required the city, state and/or country, but this hasn't been the case since the 7th edition was released.
It is not necessary to include the entire name of the publisher. It is acceptable to use a brief, intelligible form. However, if Books or Press are part of the publisher’s names, keep these words in the reference. Other common terms, such as Inc., Co., Publishers, and others can be omitted.
For newspapers, journals, magazines, and other periodicals, include the volume and issue number after the title. The volume number is listed first, by itself, in italics. The issue number is in parentheses immediately after it, not italicized. There is no space after the closing parenthesis and before the volume number.
%%Giannoukos, G., Besas, G., Hictour, V., & Georgas, T. (2016). A study on the role of computers in adult education. Educational Research and Reviews , 11 (9), 907-923. https://doi.org/10.5897/ERR2016.2688
After including the publisher information, end this section with a period.
Electronic source information:
For online sources, the URL or DOI (Direct Object Identifier) are included at the end of an APA citation.
DOI numbers are often created by publishers for journal articles and other periodical sources. They were created in response to the problem of broken or outdated links and URLs. When a journal article is assigned a DOI number, it is static and will never change. Because of its permanent characteristic, DOIs are the preferred type of electronic information to include in APA citations. When a DOI number is not available, include the source’s URL (see Section 9.34 in the Publication manual ).
For DOIs, include the number in this format:
For URLs, type them in this format:
http:// or https://
Other information about electronic sources:
- If the URL is longer than a line, break it up before a punctuation mark.
- Do not place a period at the end of the citation/URL.
- It is unnecessary to include retrieval dates, unless the source changes often over time (like in a Wikipedia article).
- It is not necessary to include the names of databases
If using the Citation Machine APA citation website autocite features, the online publication information will be automatically replaced by the DOI. The Citation Machine APA template will properly cite your online sources for you.
Make sure you run your completed paper through the Citation Machine Plus smart proofreader, which scans for grammar, spelling, and plagiarism. Whether it’s an adjective , verb , or pronoun out-of-place, our technology helps edits your paper for you!
An APA annotated bibliography is a full bibliography that includes a small note for each reference citation. Each note should be short (1-2 paragraphs) and contain a summary or your evaluation about each source. When creating your citations on CitationMachine.net, there is a field at the bottom of each form to add your own annotations.
Follow the publication manual guidelines on paper format and writing style. Let your instructor guide other details about your annotations. Still confused? Read our guide on annotated bibliographies .
These types of projects look different depending on the style you’re using. Use the link at the top of the page to access resources related to the Modern Language Association’s style. Here’s information related to Chicago citation style .
Need help with the design and formatting of your paper? Look no further! This section provides the ins and outs of properly displaying the information in your APA essay.
- Times New Roman, 12-point size.
- Calibri, Arial, or Georgia, 11-point size
- Lucida, Sans Unicode, or Computer Modern, 10-point size
- Indents = Every paragraph should start with an indent.
- Margins = 1 inch around the entire document
- Spacing = Double space everything!
Arrange your pages in this order:
- Page 1 - APA Title Page (see below for information on the title page)
- Page 2 - Abstract (If your professor requests one)
- Page 3 - First page of text
- References begin on their own page. Include the list of references on the page after the text.
- Tables and figures
Keep in mind that the order above is the recommendation for papers being submitted for peer review. If you’re writing an APA style paper for a class, your professor may be more lenient about the requirements. Also, if you’re submitting your paper for a specific journal, check the requirements on the journal’s website. Each journal has different rules and procedures.
Just a little nudge to remind you about the Citation Machine Plus smart proofreader. Whether it’s a conjunction or interjection out of place, a misspelled word, or an out of place citation, we’ll offer suggestions for improvement! Don’t forget to check out our APA citation maker while you’re at it!
In older editions of APA, running heads were required for all papers. Since the 7th edition, that’s changed.
- Student paper: No running head
- Professional paper: Include a running head
The running head displays the title of the paper and the page number on all pages of the paper. This header is found on every page of a professional paper (not a student paper), even on the title page (sometimes called an APA cover page) and reference list (taken from Section 2.8 of the Publication manual ).
It's displayed all in capital letters at the top of the page. Across from the running head, along the right margin, is the page number.
- Use the header feature in your word processor. Both Google Docs and Word have these features available.
- Use one for the recommended fonts mentioned under "Page formatting."
A title page, sometimes called an APA cover page, graces the cover of an essay or paper. An APA title page should follow rules from Section 2.3 of the official Publication manual and include:
- Page number, which is page 1
- Use title case and bold font
- The title should be under 12 words in length
- The title should be a direct explanation of the focus of the paper. Do not include any unnecessary descriptors such as “An Analysis of…” or “A Study of…”
- Exclude any labels such as Mr., Ms., Dr, PhD...
- Name of the school or institution
- Course number and/or class name
- Name of your instructor, including their preferred honorifics (e.g., PhD, Dr., etc.)
- Paper’s due date
- If this is a professional paper, also include a running head. If this is a student paper, do not include one.
Follow the directions for the running head and page number in the section above. Below the running head, a few lines beneath, and centered in the middle of the page, should be the title. The next line below is the author’s name(s), followed by the name of the school or institution, the class or course name, your instructor’s name, and the paper’s due date.
All components on this page should be written in the same font and size as the rest of your paper. Double space the title, names, name of school or institution, and all other information on the page (except for the running head and page number).
Example - Student Title Page APA:
Example - Professional Title Page APA:
If you’re submitting your paper to a journal for publication, check the journal’s website for exact requirements. Each journal is different and some may request a different type of APA format cover page.
Looking to create an APA format title page? Head to CitationMachine.com’s homepage and choose “Title Page” at the top of the screen.
An abstract briefly but thoroughly summarizes dissertation contents. It’s found in the beginning of a professional paper, right after the title page. Abstracts are meant to help readers determine whether to continue reading the entire document. With that in mind, try to craft the lead sentence to entice the reader to continue reading.
Here are a few tips:
- Be factual and keep your opinions out. An abstract should accurately reflect the paper or dissertation and should not involve information or commentary not in the thesis.
- Communicate your main thesis. What was the examined problem or hypothesis? A reader should know this from reading your abstract.
- Keep it brief. Stick to the main points and don’t add unnecessary words or facts. It should not exceed 250 words.
- Consider your paper’s purpose. It’s important to cater your abstract to your paper type and think about what information the target audience for that paper type would want. For example, an empirical article may mention methodology or participant description. A quantitative or qualitative meta-analysis would mention the different variables considered and how information was synthesized.
- Use verbs over noun equivalents, and active voice. Example: “There was research into…” becomes “We researched…”
- The abstract goes after the title page.
- It should have the same font (size and type) as the rest of the paper.
- It should stick to one page.
- Double-space all page text.
- Center and bold the word “Abstract” at the top of the paper.
- Don’t indent the first line of the abstract body. The body should also be in plain text.
- For the keywords, place it on the line after the abstract and indent the first line (but not subsequent lines). The word “Keywords:” is capitalized, italicized, and followed by a colon. The actual keywords are sentence case and in plan font.
- List each keyword one after the other, and separate them by a comma.
- After the last keyword, no ending punctuation is needed.
Tables & Figures
If your paper includes a lot of numerical information or data, you may want to consider placing it into a table or a figure, rather than typing it all out. A visual figure or simple, organized table filled with numerical data is often easier for readers to digest and comprehend than tons of paragraphs filled with numbers. Chapter 7 of the Publication manual outlines formatting for tables and figures. Let's cover the basics below.
If you’d like to include a table or figure in your paper, here are a few key pieces of information to keep in mind:
- At the end of the paper after the APA reference page
- In the text after it is first mentioned
- The table first mentioned in the text should be titled ‘Table 1.’ The next table mentioned in the text is ‘Table 2,’ and so on. For figures, it would be 'Figure 1,' 'Figure 2,' and so forth.
- Even though every table and figure is numbered, also create a title for each that describes the information it contains. Capitalize all important words in the title.
- For tables, do not use any vertical lines, only use horizontal to break up information and headings.
- Single spacing is acceptable to use in tables and figures. If you prefer double spacing your information, that is okay too.
- Do not include extra information or “fluff.” Keep it simple!
- Do not include the same exact information in the paper. Only include the complete information in one area—the table or the text.
- All tables and figures must be referenced in the text. It is unacceptable to throw a table or figure into the back of the paper without first providing a brief summary or explanation of its relevance.
Publication Manual 6th Edition vs 7th Edition
The 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was released in 2009. The current 7th edition came out in the fall of 2019 and was designed to be more student focused, provide more guidance on accessibility, and address changes that have developed over the last 10 years.
Below, we’ve listed what we feel are the most relevant changes related to APA format.
Journals and DOIs
DOI stands for “digital object identifier.” Many journal articles use and have a unique DOI that should be included in a full citation.
When including a DOI in a citation, format it as a URL. Do not label it “DOI.” Articles without DOIs from databases are treated as print works. For example:
%%Gänsicke, B. T., Schreiber, M. R., Toloza, O., Fusillo, N. P. G., Koester, D., & Manser, C. J. (2019). Accretion of a giant planet onto a white dwarf star. Nature, 576 (7785), 61–64. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1789-8
%%Gänsicke, B. T., Schreiber, M. R., Toloza, O., Fusillo, N. P. G., Koester, D., & Manser, C. J. (2019). Accretion of a giant planet onto a white dwarf star. Nature, 576 (7785), 61–64. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1789-8
There are few new guidelines when you are citing a book. First, the publisher location no longer needs to be indicated.
%%Zack, P. O. (2001). The shoals of time. Bloomington, IN: First Books Library.
%%Zack, P. O. (2001). The shoals of time. First Books Library.
Second, the format of an ebook (e.g., Kindle, etc.) no longer needs to be indicated.
%%Niven, J. (2012). Ada Blackjack: A true story of survival in the Arctic [Kindle].
%%Niven, J. (2012). Ada Blackjack: A true story of survival in the Arctic .
Lastly, books from research databases without DOIs are treated the same as print works.
When using a URL in a citation, you no longer need to include the term “Retrieved from” before URLs (except with retrieval dates). The font should be blue and underlined, or black and not underlined.
%%Flood, A. (2019, December 6). Britain has closed almost 800 libraries since 2010, figures show. The Guardian . Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/06/britain-has-closed-almost-800-libraries-since-2010-figures-show
%%Flood, A. (2019, December 6). Britain has closed almost 800 libraries since 2010, figures show. The Guardian . https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/06/britain-has-closed-almost-800-libraries-since-2010-figures-show
Within a full APA citation, you may spell out up to 20 author names. For two to 20 authors, include an ampersand (&) before the name of the last author. For sources with 21 or more authors, structure it as follows:
Structure: First 19 authors’ names, . . . Last author’s name.
7th edition example: Washington, G., Adams, J., Jefferson, T., Madison, J., Monroe, J., Adams, J. Q., Jackson, A., Van Buren, M., Harrison, W. H., Tyler, J., Polk, J. K., Taylor, Z., Filmore, M., Pierce, F., Buchanan, J., Lincoln, A., Johnson, A., Grant, U. S., Hayes, R. B., Garfield, . . . Trump, D.
When creating an in-text citation for a source with 3 or more authors, use “et al.” after the first author’s name. This helps abbreviate the mention.
6th Edition: (Honda, Johnson, Prosser, Rossi, 2019)
7th Edition: (Honda et al., 2019)
Tables and Figures
Instead of having different formats for tables and figures, both use one standardized format. Now both tables and figures have a number, a title, name of the table/figure, and a note at the bottom.
If you’re still typing into Google “how to cite a website APA” among other related questions and keywords, click here for further reading on the style .
When you’re through with your writing, toss your entire paper into the Citation Machine Plus plagiarism checker , which will scan your paper for grammar edits and give you up to 5 suggestions cards for free! Worry less about a determiner , preposition , or adverb out of place and focus on your research!
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) (2020). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
Updated March 3, 2020
Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Wendy Ikemoto. Michele Kirschenbaum has been an awesome school librarian since 2006 and is an expert in citing sources. Wendy Ikemoto has a master’s degree in library and information science and has been working for Citation Machine since 2012.
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APA Basics: APA 7 STUDENT PAPER TEMPLATE & Formatting Guidelines
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Monroe College & APA Style
Monroe college uses apa 7 style guidelines for all student papers. , you can download our detailed apa 7 formatting tutorial here ., if your instructor's directions conflict with any apa rules, follow the instructor's directions., download the apa 7 student paper template.
- APA 7 Student Paper Template (.docx) Download this 7th-edition template, and use it to format your APA-style Research Paper. Simply download and save a new copy of the document and paste the contents of your paper into the appropriate fields within the template.
- APA 7 Paper Template WITH ABSTRACT This version of the template includes the ABSTRACT page. Ask your instructor whether the Abstract is required for your paper.
- APA 7 Student Paper Template PDF
APA Title Page
Please note: In 7 th edition format, student papers do not include a running head unless requested by the instructor or institution.
About the Font
As noted in the apa style blog : in the 7th edition, a variety of fonts are permitted. , monroe college uses times new roman size 12 font by default. (this is 12pt times new roman without bold or underline).
Sample APA 7th Edition Title Page
Adapted from the APA Style Blog
See sample abstract below .
- Sample APA 7 Abstract - (Click to view in a new tab) This is the abstract used on the official APA 7 website. Note the format details highlighted above.
7th Edition APA Section Headings
Apa 7 section headings.
- Running heads are no longer required for student papers.
- written in title case
- Level 1 and 2 Section Headings APA 7
This is an excerpt. The full Annotated Sample Student Paper can be downloaded from the official APA Style Website here .
**note: in apa 7 th ed., the running head is no longer required for student papers.**.
Y our references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay.
Title this page References centered and bolded at the top of the page.
All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.
Citations are listed in alphabetical order. (Default is author's last name)
Whichever font you choose, the selected font should be used consistently throughout the entire paper. View sample citations for online media in various formats on the APA website.
- Sample APA 7 References Page Click the links in the green boxes for more info on each type of citation.
You can view basic 7th-edition guidelines and samples for each section of an APA Student Paper by clicking the links below:
Quick Sheet: APA 7 Citations
Quick help with apa 7 citations.
- Quick Sheet - Citing Journal Articles, Websites & Videos, and Creating In-Text Citations A quick guide to the most frequently-used types of APA 7 citations.
Click on the slides below, or, for full details, visit the in-text citations libguide ..
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- Formatting In-text Citations, Full Citations, and Block Quotes In APA 7 Style
Purdue OWL 7th Edition Changes Guide
Great News! The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) has created a handy guide to Changes in the 7th edition of the APA Style Manual
We've done our best to lay out the basic standards for the two different editions here, but you can go to the OWL for a more comprehensive breakdown of the new APA standards.
VIDEO: Citation Styles
Excelsior OWL APA Formatting Quiz
Test your apa 7th ed. formatting knowledge, take this quiz from the excelsior college online writing lab , official apa sample paper, view an example of a student paper from the official apa style website., a sample student paper in apa 7 format, with hints and tips for good formatting and style can be seen below. for more info, go to the apa website ..
- Sample Student Paper in APA Format
Downloadable Presentation: How to Format Your APA Paper
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APA Headings and Subheadings | With Sample Paper
Published on November 7, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on October 24, 2022.
Headings and subheadings provide structure to a document. They signal what each section is about and allow for easy navigation of the document.
APA headings have five possible levels. Each heading level is formatted differently.
Table of contents
Additional guidelines for apa headings, how many heading levels should you use, when to use which apa heading level, section labels vs headings, sample paper with apa headings, using heading styles in word or google docs.
As well as the heading styles, there are some other guidelines to keep in mind:
- Double-space all text, including the headings.
- Use the same font for headings and body text (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt.).
- Don’t label headings with numbers or letters.
- Don’t add extra “enters” above or below headings.
Scribbr Citation Checker New
The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:
- Missing commas and periods
- Incorrect usage of “et al.”
- Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
- Missing reference entries
Depending on the length and complexity of your paper, you may not use all five heading levels. In fact, shorter student papers may have no headings at all.
It’s also perfectly fine for some sections in your paper to go as deep as five levels, where others use only heading level 1.
Heading level 1 is used for main sections like “ Methods ”, “ Results ”, and “ Discussion ”. There is no “ Introduction ” heading at the beginning of your paper because the first paragraphs are understood to be introductory.
Heading level 2 is used for subsections under level 1. For example, under “Methods” (level 1) you may have subsections for “Sampling Method” and “Data Analysis” (level 2). This continues all the way down to heading level 5.
Always use at least two subheadings or none at all. If there is just one subheading, the top-level heading is sufficient.
In addition to regular headings, APA works with “section labels” for specific parts of the paper. They’re similar to headings but are formatted differently. Section labels are placed on a separate line at the top of a new page in bold and centered.
Use section labels for the following sections in an APA formatted paper :
- Author note
- Paper title
- Reference page
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Instead of formatting every heading individually, you can use the “Styles” feature in Word or Google Docs. This allows you to save the styling and apply it with just a click.
The first time you use APA Style, you need to update the default heading styles to reflect the APA heading guidelines. Click here for the instructions for Microsoft Word and Google Docs .
An added benefit of using the “Styles” feature is that you can automatically generate a table of contents .
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, October 24). APA Headings and Subheadings | With Sample Paper. Scribbr. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/apa-headings/
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APA 7th Edition Style Guide: Formatting Your Paper
- Formatting Your Paper
- In-text citations
- Annotated Bibliography
- Archival Documents
- Social media
- Personal Communication
- Generative AI
- Tables and Figures
- Useful Links
- Guides and Handouts
These guidelines can be used for annotated bibliographies, essays (cause and effect, comparative, expository, narrative, persuasive, response or reaction papers and thesis and dissertations.
Below you will find examples to help you format your paper in APA Style. Although these guidelines are widely used in educational settings, it is always advised to f ollo w the specific instructions given by your professor.
More detailed information is available in Chapter 2: Paper Elements and Format of the APA Style Manual and on the APA Style website section Paper Format .
For all the following instructions, always make sure to be c onsistent throughout your paper .
Font - use a readable font (sans serif) (Examples: Arial or Calibri). The idea is to make your text clearly distinguishable from italics.
Size - choose between 10 and 12 points
Line Spacing - double-space your entire paper (title page, abstract, text, headings, block quotations, reference list, table and figure notes, and appendices).
Indentation - first line of each paragraph should be .5 inches from left margin. Block quotations are .5 inches as well.
- 1 inch on all sides
- first page (title page) and subsequent pages should include on the top, right side the page number
- do not use "justify"
More details in the Student Paper Setup Guide
Title page includes, in this order:
- page number, top right side
- Author affiliation (Department, University)
- Course number and name
- Professor's Full Name
More details in the Student Title Page Guide
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Welcome to a comprehensive guide on citing sources and formatting papers in the American Psychological Association style. Below are reference and in-text citation examples, directions on formatting your paper, and background information on the style.
What is APA?
APA stands for the American Psychological Association , which is an organization that focuses on psychology. They are responsible for creating this specific citation style. They are not associated with this guide, but all of the information here provides guidance to using their style and follows the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
What is APA Citing?
APA style is used by many scholars and researchers in the behavioral and social sciences, not just psychology. There are other citation formats and styles such as MLA and Chicago citation style , but this one is most popular in the fields of science.
Following the same standard format for citations allows readers to understand the types of sources used in a project and also understand their components.
The information in this guide follows the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . It outlines proper ways to organize and structure a research paper, explains grammar guidelines, and how to properly cite sources. This webpage was created solely by BibMe to help students and researchers focus on how to create APA citations.
The 7th edition of the Publication Manual was released in 2020. We address differences between the 6th and 7th editions at the end of this guide.
For more information, please consult the official Publication Manual .
We cite sources for many reasons. One reason is to give credit to the authors of the work you used to help you with your own research. When you use another person's information to help you with your project, it is important to acknowledge that individual or group. This is one way to prevent plagiarism. Another reason why we create citations is to provide a standard way for others to understand and possibly explore the sources we used. To learn more about citations, check out this page on crediting work . Also, read up on how to be careful of plagiarism .
What Does it Look Like?
There are two types of citations:
- In-text/Parenthetical citations: Those that are found in the body of a project are called in-text/parenthetical citations. They're added into a project when a direct quote or paraphrase has been added into your work. These citations only include the name(s) of the author(s), date, and page number(s), if applicable.
- References: Those that are found on the final part of a project are called references. They're are found in the reference list (sometimes called APA works cited by some teachers), which is at the end of the assignment. It includes the full information of all sources used in a project. These types of references show the author's name, date published, title, publisher, URL, and other key pieces of information.
Depending on the types of sources used for your project, the structure for each citation may look different. There is a certain format or structure for books, a different one for journal articles, a different one for websites, and so on. Scroll down to find the appropriate APA format structure for your sources.
Even though the structure varies across different sources, see below for a full explanation of in-text citations and reference citations.
Still wondering, "What is APA format?" To learn more about APA referencing, including access to the American Psychological Association\'s blog, formatting questions, & referencing explanations, click on this link for further reading on the style . To learn more about using the BibMe service (BibMe.com) to help build APA citation website references, see the section below titled, "Using the BibMe Online Writing Center to Create Citations for your Reference List or APA Bibliography."
In-text citations overview.
When using a direct quote or paraphrasing information from a source, include an in-text or parenthetical citation into the body of your project, immediately following it.
An APA in-text citation may look similar to this:
Author's Last name (Year) states that "direct quote" or paraphrase (page number).
Parenthetical citations look like this:
"Direct quote" or paraphrase (Author's Last name, Year, Page number).
These types of APA citations always have the author and the date together.
Only direct quotes need a page number. For paraphrased information, it isn't necessary, but helpful for the reader.
See the section below titled, "In-Text or Parenthetical Citations," for a full explanation and instructions.
Full References Overview
Each source used in your project is listed as a full citation on the APA reference page, which is usually the last part of a project.
The structure for each citation is based on the type of source used. Scroll down to see APA format examples of some common source formats.
Most print and offline citations include the following pieces of information, commonly in this order:
Author's Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of source . Publisher.
Most online citations include the following pieces of information, commonly in this order:
Author's Last name, First Initial. Middle initial. (Date published). Title of source . URL
To see how to format each section, scroll down to the appropriate areas of this guide. There is a section on authors, one on publication dates, another on titles, publishers, and on online information.
To determine the exact APA citation format for your full citations, scroll down to the section titled, "Common Examples."
For a detailed explanation on formatting your reference list, scroll down to the section titled, "Your Reference List."
Here's a quick snapshot of the basics:
All in-text citations included throughout the paper should have a corresponding full reference at the end of the project.
Full references go on their own page at the end of a project. Title the page "References"
References are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the reference (usually the author's last name, sometimes the title).
- If the reference begins with the words A , An , or The , ignore them and alphabetize the reference by the word following it.
If you're looking for an easy way to create your references and citations, use BibMe's free APA citation machine, which automatically formats your sources quickly and easily.
How to structure authors.
Authors are displayed in reverse order: Last name, First initial. Middle initial. End this information with a period.
APA format example:
Kirschenbaum, M. A.
In an APA citation, include all authors shown on a source. If using the BibMe APA citation builder, click "Add another contributor" to add additional author names. Our free citation creator will format the authors in the order in which you add them.
Multiple authors, same last name:
If your reference list has multiple authors with the same last name and initials, include their first name in brackets.
Brooks, G. [Geraldine]. (2005). March . Viking.
Brooks, G. [Gwendolyn]. (1949). Annie Allen . Harper & Brothers.
When no author is listed, exclude the author information and start the citation with the title followed by the year in parentheses.
When citing an entire edited book in APA format, place the names of editors in the author position and follow it with Ed. or Eds. in parentheses. See below for examples of citing edited books in their entirety and also APA citation format for chapters in edited books.
Use this handy chart to determine how to format author names in citations and references.
How to Structure Publication Dates
General structure is:
- Year, Month Day
- Example: 1998, March 22
Place the date that the source was published in parentheses after the name of the author. In APA format for periodicals, include the month and day as well. If no date is available, place n.d. in parentheses, which stands for no date. For more details, see Section 9.14 of the Publication Manual .
How to Structure the Title
For book titles: Only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title and the same for the subtitle. Capitalize the first letter for any proper nouns as well. Place this information in italics. End it with a period.
Gone with the wind.
For articles and chapter titles: Only capitalize the first letter of the first word in the title and the same for the subtitle. Capitalize the first letter for any proper nouns as well. Do not italicize the title or place it in quotation marks. End it with a period.
The correlation between school libraries and test scores: A complete overview.
For web pages on websites: Same as above. The web page title is italicized.
Simmons, B. (2015, January 9). The tale of two Flaccos . Grantland. http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-tale-of-two-flaccos/
For magazine, journal, and newspaper titles: Each important word should start with a capital letter.
The Boston Globe
If you believe that it will help the reader to understand the type of source, such as a brochure, lecture notes, or an audio podcast, place a description in brackets directly after the title. Only capitalize the first letter.
New World Punx. (2014, February 15). A state of trance 650 [Audio file]. https://soundcloud.com/newworldpunx/asot650utrecht
How to Structure Publication Information
In previous editions of the publication manual, books and sources that were not periodicals indicated the city and state of publication. However, in the 7th edition, the location of publication is no longer given except “for works associated with specific locations, such as conference presentations” (p. 297).
For conference presentations, give the city, state/province/territory, and country. If in the US, abbreviate the state name using the two-letter abbreviation. Place a colon after the location.
- Philadelphia, PA:
- Rotterdam, Netherlands:
Periodical Volume and Number
For journals, magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals, place the volume number after the title. Italicize this information. Place the issue number in parentheses and do not italicize it. Afterwards, include page numbers.
Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 57 (1), 79-82.
If you're citing a newspaper article, include p. or pp. before the page numbers.
How to Structure the Publisher
The names of publishers are not necessary to include for newspapers, magazines, journals, and other periodicals.
For books and other sources: It is not necessary to type out the name of the publisher exactly as it is shown on the source. Use a brief, but understandable form of the publisher's name. Exclude the terms publishers, company, and incorporated. Include Books and Press if it is part of the publisher's name. End this information with a period (See Section 9.29 in the Publication manual for more details).
Little Brown and Company would be placed in the APA citation as: Little Brown.
Oxford University Press would be placed in the citation as: Oxford University Press.
How to Structure Online Sources
For sources found online:
- include the URL at the end of the citation
- do not place a period after the URL
If you're citing a periodical article found online, there might be a DOI number attached to it. This stands for Direct Object Identifier. A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a unique string of numbers and letters assigned by a registration agency. The DOI is used to identify and provide a permanent link to its location on the Internet. The DOI is assigned when an article is published and made electronically. If your article does indeed have a DOI number, use this instead of the URL as the DOI number is static and never changes. If the source you're citing has a DOI number, after the publication information add a period and then http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx. The x's indicate where you should put the DOI number. Do not place a period after the DOI number. See sections 9.35-36 in the Publication manual for more details.
If you're using the automatic BibMe APA reference generator, you will see an area to type in the DOI number.
Lobo, F. (2017, February 23). Sony just launched the world's fastest SD card. http://mashable.com/2017/02/23/sony-sf-g-fastest-sd-card/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#ErZKV8blqOqO
Chadwell, F.A., Fisher, D.M. (2016). Creating open textbooks: A unique partnership between Oregon State University libraries and press and Open Oregon State. Open Praxis, 8 (2), 123-130. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.2.290
Looking for more help and clarification? Check out this great resource !
Citations and Examples
Citations for print books.
Author's Last name, First name initial. Middle name initial. (Year published). Title of book . Publisher.
Finney, J. (1970). Time and again . Simon and Schuster.
Looking for an APA formatter? Don't forget that the BibMe APA citation generator creates citations quickly and easily.
Notes: When creating an APA book citation, keep these in mind:
- Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title and any subtitles, as well as the first letter of any proper nouns.
- The full title of the book, including any subtitles, should be stated and italicized.
Citations for Edited Books
Most edited books state on the cover or title page that they are edited by an author or multiple authors. The format is the same as a print book, except the editor's name is in the author's position. Include a parentheses afterwards with the abbreviation (Ed.) for an edited book by one author or (Eds.) for an edited book with two or more authors.
Editor, F. M. (Ed.). (Year published). Title of edited book . Publisher.
Gupta, R. (Ed.). (2003). Remote sensing geology . Springer-Verlag.
Citations for Chapters in Edited Books
Some edited books contain chapters written by various authors. Use the format below to cite an author's individual chapter in an edited book.
Chapter author's Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of chapter. In F. M. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of book (p. x or pp. x-x). Publisher.
Notice that for APA style, the title of the chapter is not italicized, while the title of the book is. In addition, the chapter author's name is reversed at the beginning of the reference, but the editor's name is written in standard order.
Longacre, W. A., & Ayres, J. E. (1968). Archeological lessons from an Apache wickiup. In S. R. Binford & L. R. Binford (Eds.), Archeology in cultural systems (pp. 151-160). https://books.google.com/books?id=vROM3JrrRa0C&lpg=PP1&dq=archeology&pg=PR9#v=onepage&q=archeology&f=false
In the above example, Longacre and Ayers are the authors of the individual chapter and Binford & Binford are the editors of the entire book.
Citing an E-book from an E-reader
E-book is short for "electronic book." It is a digital version of a book that can be read on a computer, e-reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.), or other electronic devices. Include the DOI or URL if one exists for the e-book.
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of work . https://doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx or URL
https://doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx is used when a source has a DOI number. If the e-book you're citing has a DOI number, use it in the APA citation. DOIs are preferred over URLs.
How to cite in APA (an e-book example):
Eggers, D. (2008). The circle . https://www.amazon.com
Citing an E-book Found in a Database and Online
Use this format when citing an e-book that is either found on a website, or found on a subscription database. APA formatting for this is very similar to the structure of a print book. The only difference? Instead of the publisher information, include the DOI number or URL.
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of work . https://doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx OR URL
When citing an online book or e-book, keep in mind:
- A DOI (digital object identifier) is an assigned number that helps link content to its location on the Internet. It is therefore important, if one is provided, to use it when creating a citation. In place of the x's in the DOI format, place the 10 digit DOI number.
- Notice that for e-books, publication information is excluded from the citation.
Sayre, R. K., Devercelli, A. E., Neuman, M. J., & Wodon, Q. (2015). Investment in early childhood development: Review of the world bank's recent experience . https://doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-0403-8
Citations for Chapters in E-books
Need to cite a chapter in an e-book? No problem! Citing a chapter in an e-book is very similar to citing a chapter in a print book. Instead of including the publisher information, include a DOI number (if one is displayed) or the URL.
Chapter author's Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of chapter. In F. M. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of book (p. x or pp. x-x). https://doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx or URL
Epstein W. M. (1999). The ineffectiveness of psychotherapy. In C. Feltham (Ed.), Controversies in psychotherapy and counselling (pp. 65-73). https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446217801.n8
Citations for Websites
How to cite a web page on a website in APA:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day published). Title of article or page . Site Name. URL
APA website citation example:
Citing a web page with a group author:
Group Name. (Year, Month Date published). Title of wep page . Saite Name included if different from Group Name. URL
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, February 3). Be prepared to stay safe and healthy in winter . https://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/index.html
National Park Service. (n.d.). Enchanting landscapes beneath the parks . https://www.nps.gov/subjects/caves/index.htm
Note: "n.d." stands for "no date" and is used when there is no publication date.
The above follows Section 10.16 of the Publication manual.
Still wondering how to cite a website in APA? Check out BibMe.com! It's quick, simple, and free! Our APA citation machine also builds references for many other styles as well!
Citations for Journal Articles Found in Print
Today, most journal articles are found online, but you may be lucky enough to score a copy of a print version for your research project. If so, use the structure below for your reference:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year published). Article title. Periodical Title, Volume (Issue), pp.-pp.
Notice that the article's title is only capitalized at the beginning. If there are any proper nouns or subtitles, capitalize the first letter for those words as well. The journal article's title and the volume number are both italicized. In addition, the title of the journal is in title case form (all important words are capitalized).
Nevin, A. (1990). The changing of teacher education special education. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children,13 (3-4), 147-148.
Citations for Journal Articles Found Online
Databases are a popular place to find high quality journal articles. These references are formatted the same way as the print versions, except the DOI or URL is included at the end. If the article has a corresponding DOI number, use it instead of the URL. No URL? Use the homepage of the journal's website for the URL. See Section 10.1 in the Publication manual for additional examples.
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number (issue number), page range. https://doi.org/10.xxxx/xxxxxx OR URL
Spreer, P., & Rauschnabel, P. A. (2016). Selling with technology: Understanding the resistance to mobile sales assistant use in retailing. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 36 (3), 240-263. https://doi.org/10.1080/08853134.2016.1208100
Notes: When creating your online journal article citation, keep in mind:
- This citation style does NOT require you to include the date of access/retrieval date or database information for electronic sources.
- Use the URL of the journal homepage if there is no DOI assigned and the reference was retrieved online. * If the journal article has a DOI number assigned to it, include that number in the citation instead of a URL.
- Don't forget, our free BibMe APA generator is simple to use! Check out BibMe Plus while you're at it! If you have a noun , conjunction , or preposition out of place, we'll flag it and offer suggestions for quick writing fixes!
Citations for a Newspaper Article in Print
Similar to journal articles, most individuals use online newspaper articles for research projects. However, if you're able to get your hands on a print version, use this structure for your reference:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, pp. xx-xx.
Rosenberg, G. (1997, March 31). Electronic discovery proves an effective legal weapon. The New York Times, p. D5.
Notes: When creating your newspaper citation, keep in mind:
- Begin page numbers with p. (for a single page) or pp. (for multiple pages).
- Even if the article appears on non-consecutive pages, include all page numbers, and use a comma to separate them. Example: pp. C2, C5, C7-C9.
- Include the full date of publication, not just the year like in most references.
Citations for Newspapers found Online
Use this structure when referencing a newspaper article found on a website or database:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Title of article. Title of Newspaper. URL of newspaper's homepage
Rosenberg, G. (1997, March 31). Electronic discovery proves an effective legal weapon. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com
Notes: When citing a newspaper, keep in mind:
- If the article was found on the newspaper's website, include the URL for the newspaper's homepage. For databases, include whatever URL is provided.
- Multiple lines: If the URL runs onto a second line, only break URL before punctuation (except for http://).
- This style does NOT require you to include the date of access for electronic sources. If you discovered a newspaper article via an online database, the database's information is NOT required for the citation either. If you're using the BibMe APA formatter, we make it easy for you by only including what you need in your references!
Citations for Magazines
Citing a magazine article in print:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year, Month of publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume (Issue), page range.
APA format citation:
Tumulty, K. (2006, April). Should they stay or should they go? Time, 167 (15), 3-40.
Notes: When citing a magazine, keep in mind:
- You can find the volume number with the other publication information of the magazine.
- You can typically find page numbers at the bottom corners of a magazine article.
- If you cannot locate an issue number, simply don't include it in the citation.
Citing a magazine article found online:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Year, Month of publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume (Issue). URL
Tumulty, K. (2006, April). Should they stay or should they go? Time, 167 (15). http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1179361,00.html
Notes: When creating an online magazine citation, keep in mind:
*The volume and issue number aren't always on the same page as the article. Check out the other parts of the website before leaving it out of the citation.
Citations for Blogs
Blogs are found on websites and display continuously updated content and posts by a single author, group, or company. A blog shows news updates, ideas, information, and many other types of entries. Similar to journal entries, a blog begins with the date the information was added followed by the content.
If you’re wondering how to cite a blog entry, look no further! Citing a blog is very similar to citing a website.
Citing a blog post:
Last name of Author, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Day blog post was published). Title of blog post. Title of Blog . URL
Gonzalez, J. (2019, February 3). Let’s give our teaching language a makeover. Cult of Pedagogy. https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/language-makeover/
Notice that the blog title only has a capital letter at the beginning. If there are any proper nouns in the title, capitalize the first letter for those as well.
Cite a blog post in the text of the paper:
(Author’s last name, Year)
Author’s last name (Year)
Citations for Research Reports
A research, or technical report, is a piece of work that provides insight into research done by an individual researcher, a group of researchers, or a company or organization.
Citing a research report in print:
Author’s Last Name, F. M. or Organization. (Year published). Title of research report (Report No.). Publisher.
Note: If the publisher is the same as the author, use the name as the the “Author” and don't list the publisher.
Michigan Venture Capital Association. (2018). Annual research report .
Citing an online research report:
Author’s Last Name, F. M. or Organization. (Year published). Title of research report (Report No.). URL
Newson, S. E. & Berthinussen, A. (2019). Improving our understanding of the distribution and status of bats within the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership Scheme area (BTO Research Report No. 716). https://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/publications/bto rr 716 final website.pdf
Citations for Films
Producer's Last name, F. M. (Producer), & Director's Last name, F. M. (Director). (Release Year). Title of motion picture [Motion picture]. Studio.
Bender, L. (Producer), & Tarantino, Q. (Director). (1994). Pulp fiction [Film]. Miramax.
Citations for Online Films & Videos:
Person who posted the video's Last name, F. M. [User name]. (Year, Month Day of posting). Title of video [Video]. Publishing site. URL
If the name of the individual who posted the YouTube video is not available, begin the citation with the user name and do not place this information in brackets.
Smith, R. [Rick Smith] (2013, September 20). Favre to Moss! [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOP_L6hBjn8
Note: If you're discussing a certain part of the film or video in the body of your project, include a timestamp in the in-text or parenthetical citation. (Pulp Fiction, 1994, 1:15:30). The time stamp is Hours:Minutes:Seconds.
Citations for Images
Citing an image found in a print publication (such as a book or magazine) or museum:
Creator's Last name, F. M. (Year of Publication). Title of image [Format]. Publisher/Museum.
Including the format helps the reader understand and visualize the type of image that is being referenced. It can be [Photograph], [Painting], or another medium.
Roege, W. J. (1938). St. Patrick's Cathedral, Fifth Avenue from 50th St to 51st Street [Photograph]. New York Historical Society.
Citing an image retrieved online:
Similar to citing an image in print, when citing an image found online, place the medium, or format, in the brackets. Capitalize the first letter.
Photographer, F. (Year of Publication). Title of photograph [Photograph]. Publisher. URL
Ferraro, A. (2014). Liberty enlightening the world [Digital image]. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/afer92/14278571753/in/set-72157644617030616
Citations for TV/Radio Broadcasts
Writer's Last name, F. M. (Writer), & Director's Last name, F. M. (Director). (Year of Airing). Episode title [TV series episode]. In F. M. Executive Producer's Last name (Executive Producer), TV series name . Channel.
Kand, K. (Writer), & Fryman, P. (Director). (2006). Slap bet [TV series episode]. In C. Bays (Executive Producer), How I met your mother. CBS.
TV/Radio Broadcasts found online:
Writer, F. M. (Writer), & Director, F. M. (Director). (Year of Airing). Episode title [Television series episode]. In F. M. Executive Producer's Last name (Executive Producer), TV series name . URL
Kand, K. (Writer), & Fryman, P. (Director). (2006). Slap bet [Television series episode]. In C. Bays (Executive Producer), How I met your mother. https://www.hulu.com/watch/1134858#i0,p30,d0
Note: When citing a TV show or episode, keep in mind:
- IMDB is a great resource for finding the information needed for your citation (Director, Writer, Executive Producer, etc.) * This information can also be found in the opening and closing credits of the show.
Type what you find into the BibMe APA formatter. We'll do the work for you and structure your references properly!
Citations for Songs
To cite in APA a song from an album listened to online, use the following structure:
Songwriter's Last name, F. M. (Copyright year). Title of song [Song recorded by F. M. Last name]. On Album title . Publisher. URL
- If the song is done by a band or group, include the band or group's name instead of an individual's name.
- Only include the "Recorded by F. M. Last name" portion if it's a different individual than the writer.
- The format can be CD, Online song, mp3, or any other simple description to allow the reader to understand the format.
Swift, T. (2008). Love Story [Song]. On Fearless . Big Machine Records.
If you're using the BibMe APA citation generator to build your references, choose "Music/Audio" from the source options.
Citations for Interviews
A personal interview should NOT be included in a reference list. They are not considered recoverable data (they cannot be found by a researcher). You should reference personal interviews as citations in the body of the project instead.
(J. Doe, personal communication, December 12, 2004)
Citations for Encyclopedia and Dictionary Entries
Encyclopedia/Dictionary in print:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Publication Year). Entry title. In F. M. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of encyclopedia or dictionary (pp. xx-xx). Publisher.
Kammen, C., & Wilson, A. H. (2012). Monuments. Encyclopedia of local history . (pp. 363-364). AltaMira Press.
Encyclopedia/Dictionary online with author(s) :
Author’s Last name, F. M. (Publication Year or n.d.). Entry title. In F. M. Last name of Editor (Ed.), Title of encyclopedia or dictionary . Publisher. Retrieved date, from URL
Encyclopedia/Dictionary online with group author:
Publisher or group name (Publication Year or n.d.). Entry title. In Title of encyclopedia or dictionary . Retrieved date, from URL
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Taciturn. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary . Retrieved February 10, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taciturn
If an entry looks like it goes through many updates, use “n.d.” as the publication date and show the date you retrieved it. If using an archived version, no retrieval date is needed.
How to Reference a Lecture
This style of reference would be used if you were citing a set of notes from a lecture (e.g., PowerPoint or Google slides provided by your instructor).
Citing online lecture notes or presentation slides:
Author's Last name, F. M. (Publication year). Name or title of lecture [Lectures notes or PowerPoint slides]. URL
Saito, T. (2012). Technology and me: A personal timeline of educational technology [PowerPoint slides]. http://www.slideshare.net/Bclari25/educational-technology-ppt
Tip: If you want to cite information from your own personal notes from a lecture, this is considered personal communication. The notes may not be available online for others outside of the class to access. Refer to it only in the body of your essay or project. You can follow the style guide for personal communication available in the Interview section.
Citing Social Media
Social media is everywhere, even in research projects. Many influencers post thoughts, inspirational quotes, and intriguing stories in their profiles.
If you need to cite a post from a social media platform, use this structure:
Last name, F. M. or Group Name who posted the content [@Username]. (Year, Month Day posted). First 20 words of the post [Format]. Social Media Site Name. URL
A retrieval date (date you saw the page) is needed for profile pages since the contents are likely to change over time (e.g., Instagram profile, Facebook page etc.). The structure for that is:
Last name, F. M. or Group Name who posted the content [@Username]. (n.d.). Tweets or Home [Format]. Social Media Site Name. Retrieved from month day, year, URL
Some things to keep in mind:
- If the name of the individual or group is unknown, begin the citation with the handle and remove the brackets.
- If the post only includes an image or video without any text, instead of including the first 40 words of the post provide a description of the post and place it in brackets: [video of a NASA rocket leaving the atmosphere].
- The format, in brackets, can be [Tweet], [Facebook status update], [Facebook page], [Instagram photo], [Instagram video], or for a Reddit post, use [Online forum comment].
Citing a Tweet from Twitter:
BibMe [@BibMe]. (2020, January 22). How to cite primary sources ow.ly/fUb950vG3N5 [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/bibme/status/1219976780746043392
Citing a Twitter profile:
BibMe [@BibMe] (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://twitter.com/BibMe
Citing a Facebook post:
DeGeneres, E. (2018, December 21). Holiday party goals [Facebook status update]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ellentv/photos/a.182755292239/10157188088077240/?type=3&theater
Citing a Facebook page:
Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. (n.d.) Home [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.facebook.com/nationalzoo
Citing an Instagram post:
Lipa, D. [@dualipa]. (2018, December 2). A lil Hollywood glam brunch! Thank you @variety for by Breakthrough Artist of the Year award and thank you for [Instagram photo]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq33SC2BAsr/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
Since this citation style is commonly used in science-related disciplines, it makes sense that many students and scholars include tables in their projects.
It's a good idea to include a table in your project when:
- There is a good amount of quantitative information
- A table would promote understanding
Do not write out the information from the table in the text of your paper. Including the same information in two spots is repetitive. Either type out the quantitative information in your paper or use a table.
If you choose to include a table, make sure to:
- Refer to it in the text and provide a brief overview or snapshot of its contents.
- Refer to the table in the text using numbers. For example, "Table 3 shows the countries with the highest amount of spending per pupil."
- Every table should be numbered. The table mentioned closest to the beginning of the paper should be Table 1. The next table referred to in the paper is Table 2.
- If you're submitting your project for publication in a journal or elsewhere, place all of your tables, in number order, at the end of your project, after the reference list. If you're submitting your project for a class, most professors prefer tables to be situated close to mentions in text. Ask your teacher or professor which one they prefer.
- Each table needs a title. The title of the table should match the content displayed in it. Create a name for your table that is easy to understand. Italicize the title and capitalize the first letter of all major key words.
- Capitalize the first letter of every important word.
- Your table can either be single or double spaced. Keep the spacing in tables consistent throughout your project.
- A general note provides an overview of any information related to the table as well as an explanation of any abbreviations or unique characters. If you reproduced any portion of the table, include that information in the general note as well. Begin your general note with "Note." in italics and ending with period.
- A specific note explains information in a row, column, or individual cell. Place a tiny letter in the top right corner of the area to specify, and include information regarding it in the note below.
- A probability note displays the number of possibilities in the table. Use an asterisk symbol in the table, and show the probability in the notes.
Prior to adding your table into your paper, use this handy checklist to confirm you have all of the requirements:
__ Is it necessary to include the table?
__ Are only horizontal lines included?
__ Did you include a simple, straightforward title? Is it in italics?
__ Did you use either single spaces or double spaces? APA paper format requires you to keep your tables consistent across your project.
__ Are column headings included?
__ Are notes included below the table to provide understanding? Are the notes in the proper order? Start with general notes, then include specific notes, and end with probability notes.
__ Did you refer to the table in the written portion of your paper?
Still have questions? See Chapter 7 of the Publication manual .
In-Text and Parenthetical Citations
What is an in-text citation or parenthetical citation.
The purpose of in-text and parenthetical citations is to give the reader a brief idea as to where you found your information, while they're in the middle of reading or viewing your project. You may include direct quotes in the body of your project, which are word-for-word quotes from another source. Or, you may include a piece of information that you paraphrased in your own words. These are called parenthetical citations. Both direct quotes and paraphrased information include a citation next to it. You also need to include the full citation for the source in the reference list, which is usually the last item in a project.
In-Text Citations for Direct Quotes
In-text and parenthetical citations are found immediately following any direct quotes or paraphrases. They should include the page number or section information to help the reader locate the quote themselves.
Buck needed to adjust rather quickly upon his arrival in Canada. He stated, "no lazy, sun-kissed life was this, with nothing to do but loaf and be bored. Here was neither peace, nor rest, nor a moment's safety" (London, 1903, p. 25).
When taking an idea from another source and placing it in your own words (a paraphrase), it is not necessary to include the page number, but you can add it if the source is large and you want to direct readers right to the information.
At the time, papyrus was used to create paper, but it was only grown and available in mass quantities in Egypt. This posed a problem for the Greeks and Romans, but they managed to have it exported to their civilizations. Papyrus thus remained the material of choice for paper creation (Casson, 2001).
How to Format In-Text and Parenthetical Citations
An in-text citation in APA displays the author's name directly in the sentence, or text, of the paper. Always place the year directly after the author's name. Authors and dates stick together like peanut butter and jelly! If you're citing a direct quote, place the page number at the end of the quote.
Parenthetical citations display the author's name and year in parentheses after a quote or paraphrase. If you're citing a direct quote, include the page number as well. If you're paraphrasing, it is up to you whether or not you'd like to include a page number.
Example of various ways to cite in the body of a project:
Smith (2014) states that, "the Museum Effect is concerned with how individuals look at a work of art, but only in the context of looking at that work along with a number of other works" (p. 82). "The Museum Effect is concerned with how individuals look at a work of art, but only in the context of looking at that work along with a number of other works" (Smith, 2014, p. 82).
If your source has two authors, always include both names in each in-text or parenthetical citation.
Example: (Franks & Beans, 2019)
If your source has three or more authors, only include the first author's name and follow it with et al.
Example: (Gilley et al., 2015)
If your source was written by a company, organization, government agency, or other type of group, include the group's name in full in the first in text or parenthetical citation. In any APA citations following it, it is acceptable to shorten the group name to something that is simple and understandable.
(American Eagle Outfitters /[AEO/], 2017)
2nd and subsequent citations:
Still wondering how to in-text cite in APA? How about citing parenthetically? Check out this page to learn more about parenthetical citations. Also, BibMe writing tools can help create your in-text and parenthetical citations quickly and easily. Towards the end of creating a full reference citation, you'll see the option to create a citation for the body of your project (in-text) in the APA format generator.
Need help with your writing? Give the BibMe Plus paper checker a whirl! Upload your paper or copy and paste it into the text box on the page. We'll run it through our innovative technology and let you know if there is an adjective , verb , or pronoun out of place, plus much, much more!
Your Reference List
The listing of all sources used in your project are found in the reference list, which is the last page or part of a project. Included in this reference list are all of the sources you quoted or paraphrased in the body of your paper. This means that every reference found in the reference list should have a matching in-text or parenthetical citation in your project. Where there is one, there has to be the other. Here are general guidelines:
- Your reference page in APA should be titled "References"
- Place the title in the center of the page and bold it.
- It is not necessary to include personal communications in the reference list, such as personal emails or letters. These specific sources only need in-text citations, which are found in the body of your project.
- All references are listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name.
- The entire page should be double spaced.
- Use a hanging indent for all citations. The first line of each citation needs to be flush against the left margin. Any additional lines are indented in a half inch.
- If you have two sources by the same author, place them in order by the year of publication.
- Refer to the section titled, "How to Structure the Title," for rules regarding capitalization of source titles.
Thompson, H. S. (1971). Fear and loathing in Las Vegas: A savage journey to the heart of the American dream . Random House.
Thompson, H. S. (1998). The rum diary . Simon & Schuster.
If there are multiple sources with the same author AND same publication date, place them in alphabetical order by the title.
Dr. Seuss. (1958). The cat in the hat comes back . Random House.
Dr. Seuss. (1958). Yertle the turtle . Random House.
If a source does not have an author, place the source in alphabetical order by the first main word of the title.
Need help creating the citations in your APA reference list? BibMe.com helps you generate citations! Begin by entering a keyword, URL, title, or other identifying information. Try it out!
Sample Reference List:
Here's more information with sample papers and tutorials. Further information acan be found in Chapter 9 of the Publication manual .
How to Format Your Paper in APA:
Need to create APA format papers? Follow these guidelines:
In an APA style paper, the font used throughout your document should be in Times New Roman, 12 point font size. The entire document should be double spaced, even between titles and APA headings. Margins should be 1 inch around the entire document and indent every new paragraph using the tab button on your keyboard. See Chapter 2 of the Publication manual for more details on paper formatting.
Place the pages in the following order:
- Title page (Page 1)
- Abstract page (page 2)
- Text or body of research paper (start on page 3)
- Reference list
- Page for tables (if necessary)
- Page for figures (if necessary)
- Appendices page (if necessary)
Page numbers: The title page counts as page 1. Number subsequent pages using Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4...).
Title Page in APA
Your title page should grace the front cover of your paper. It's sometimes called an APA cover page. Included on this page are seven items:
- Page number
- Title of paper
- Name of authors
- Affiliation; name of your school or institution
- Course name
- Instructor's name
- Date paper is due
What is a running head?
The running head shows the title of your paper. It is only required for professional papers (e.g., dissertations, journal submissions, etc.).
Student papers do not need a running head (but do need the page number).
If you use one, place the running head in the top left corner of your project and place it in capital letters. Use your word processor's "header" option. It will automatically place your running head in the appropriate position, against the left margin.
Across from the running head, against the right margin, include the page number. The APA title page is 1.
Title page example:
- QUALITY LIBRARY PROGRAMS
Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and many other word processing programs allow you to set up page numbers and a repeated running head. Use these tools to make this addition easier for you!
Need help determining the title of your paper? Keep it simple and straight to the point. Exclude unnecessary terms such as "An Analysis of...." or "A Study of..." If your paper ends up being digitized and added to your school's research collection or a research database, a simple and effective title will help researchers locate it. It is recommended to keep it under 12 words and avoid abbreviations.
Order | Element | Format & Notes --- | --- | --- 0 | All elements, except page number | Centered, double-spaced lines 1 | Page number | Place “1” in the upper right corner of the page. Professional papers only: Include a running head. 2 | Title of paper | 3-4 lines from the top of the page; bolded, and title case 3 | Name of author(s) | Two double-spaced lines under the title. No font formatting (no bold italics, underline). Exclude any titles (such as Dr. or Ms.) and degrees (such as PhD). List all contributors; if there is more than one include the word “and” between the second to last and last names. 4 | Affiliation (school, department, etc.) | No font formatting. Usually includes the name of your department and university. 5 | Course name | No font formatting. Write the course name and number on your class materials: ENG 102, JPN301. 6 | Instructor | No font formatting. Show their name as they prefer, including titles and degrees. 7 | Date paper is due | Month Day, Year. Example: February 14, 2020
Example Title Page - Student Paper:
Example Title Page - Professional Paper:
If you're looking for an APA sample paper, check out the other resources found on BibMe.com.
Levels of Headings:
There are a lot of rules to follow when it comes to styling the header and title page, but there are even more rules when it comes to styling the various headings and sections in your research paper.
There are five sizes and styles, and they follow a top down approach.
In most cases, science-related papers and case studies have three sections: Method, Results, and Discussion. These three sections are considered “Level 1” and are aligned in the center of the page and in bold. Additional sections of the paper are styled as follows:
Overview of Levels
Level | Formatting --- | --- 1 | Center and bold. Use title case. 2 | Against the left margin and in bold. Use title case. Begin the next sentence on the next line, indented half an inch from the left margin. 3 | Against the left margin in bold and italics. Use title case. Begin your next sentence on the next line, and indented half an inch from the left margin. 4 | Indented half an inch from the left. Is in bold. Use title case. Begin your next sentence on the same line and immediately following the heading. 5 | Indented half an inch from the left. Is in bold and italics. Use title case. Begin your next sentence on the same line and immediately following the heading.
We’ve included a visual below to help you make sense of the five headings. Keep in mind, you do not need to have all five headings in your paper. You may only use the top two or three. It depends on the types of sections your paper includes.
Using the BibMe Online Writing Center to Create Citations for your Reference List or Bibliography
Looking to cite your sources quickly and easily? BibMe can help you generate your citations; simply enter a title, ISBN, URL, or other identifying information.
Click to see more styles , and if you'd like to cite your sources in MLA format , check out the BibMe MLA page. Other citation styles are available as well.
Not only will BibMe help you create your references quickly and painlessly, we'll also scan your paper with an innovative plagiarism checker . BibMe writing tools even helps to check your grammar, too! Improper usage of adverb ? Missing an interjection ? Determiner out of place? BibMe writing tools will highlight any areas of concern and offer suggestions to improve your writing. Try it out now!
Background Information and History of APA:
The American Psychological Association was founded in 1892 at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. APA style format was developed in 1929 by scholars from a number of different scientific fields and backgrounds. Their overall goal was to develop a standard way to document scientific writing and research.
Since its inception, the Style Manual has been updated numerous times and it is now in its 7th edition (2020). The previous 6th edition was released in 2009. In 2012, APA published an addition to their 6th edition manual, which was a guide for creating an APA style citation for any type of electronic resource.
Today, there are close to 118,000 members. There is an annual convention, numerous databases, and journal publications. Some of their more popular resources include the database, PsycINFO, and the publications, Journal of Applied Psychology and Health Psychology .
Changes Between the 6th and 7th Editions
Below is a selection of notable citing differences between the two editions.
For journal articles with a DOI number , include the DOI as a URL.
6th edition example:
Lee, C.-H., & Mackinnon, R. (2019). Voltage sensor movements during Hyperpolarization in the HCN Channel. Cell Studies . doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.11.006
7th edition example:
Lee, C.-H., & Mackinnon, R. (2019). Voltage sensor movements during Hyperpolarization in the HCN Channel. Cell Studies . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2019.11.006
For ebooks , you no longer need to identify the format.
Murakami, H. (2014). Kafka on the shore [Kindle].
Murakami, H. (2014). Kafka on the shore .
Full book references no longer need to show where the publisher is located.
Murakami, H. (2014). Kafka on the shore . London: Vintage Publishing.
Murakami, H. (2014). Kafka on the shore . Vintage Publishing.
In-text citations for sources with more than 3 authors can use the notation “et al.” for brevity.
(first author’s name et al., year published)
(Anaydike, Braga, Talfah, Gonzalez, 1980)
(Anaydike et al., 1980)
When including a website URL , do not include the words “Retrieved from” before the URL cited.
Elan, P. (2019, December 6). 'A reflection of inner life': show explores history of the hoodie. The Guardian . Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/dec/06/a-reflection-of-inner-life-show-explores-history-of-the-hoodie
Elan, P. (2019, December 6). 'A reflection of inner life': show explores history of the hoodie. The Guardian . https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/dec/06/a-reflection-of-inner-life-show-explores-history-of-the-hoodie
The citing format for tables and figures are now the same. For both, indicate a table number and name at the top, and a note at the bottom.
Here are a few important paper formatting changes: * Running head is only required for professional (not student) papers * Only a single space should be placed after punctuation. * The new style version endorses the use of the singular “they” as an option for a gender neutral pronoun. * The 7th edition promotes the use of “they” as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun. * In addition to the paper title, author name, and institutional affiliation, a cover page for a student paper should also have the course, instructor name, and due date
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/101037/0000165-000
Updated March 10, 2020
Edited and written by Elise Barbeau and Michele Kirschenbaum. Elise is a citation expert and has her master’s degree in public history/library science. She has experience in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing. Michele is a certified library media specialist who loves citations and teaching. She’s been writing about citing sources since 2014.
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Tables and Figures
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resources for the older APA 6 style can be found at this page as well as at this page (our old resources covered the material on this page on two separate pages).
The purpose of tables and figures in documents is to enhance your readers' understanding of the information in the document; usually, large amounts of information can be communicated more efficiently in tables or figures. Tables are any graphic that uses a row and column structure to organize information, whereas figures include any illustration or image other than a table.
Visual material such as tables and figures can be used quickly and efficiently to present a large amount of information to an audience, but visuals must be used to assist communication, not to use up space, or disguise marginally significant results behind a screen of complicated statistics. Ask yourself this question first: Is the table or figure necessary? For example, it is better to present simple descriptive statistics in the text, not in a table.
Relation of Tables or Figures and Text
Because tables and figures supplement the text, refer in the text to all tables and figures used and explain what the reader should look for when using the table or figure. Focus only on the important point the reader should draw from them, and leave the details for the reader to examine on their own.
If you are using figures, tables and/or data from other sources, be sure to gather all the information you will need to properly document your sources.
Integrity and Independence
Each table and figure must be intelligible without reference to the text, so be sure to include an explanation of every abbreviation (except the standard statistical symbols and abbreviations).
Organization, Consistency, and Coherence
Number all tables sequentially as you refer to them in the text (Table 1, Table 2, etc.), likewise for figures (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Abbreviations, terminology, and probability level values must be consistent across tables and figures in the same article. Likewise, formats, titles, and headings must be consistent. Do not repeat the same data in different tables.
Data in a table that would require only two or fewer columns and rows should be presented in the text. More complex data is better presented in tabular format. In order for quantitative data to be presented clearly and efficiently, it must be arranged logically, e.g. data to be compared must be presented next to one another (before/after, young/old, male/female, etc.), and statistical information (means, standard deviations, N values) must be presented in separate parts of the table. If possible, use canonical forms (such as ANOVA, regression, or correlation) to communicate your data effectively.
A generic example of a table with multiple notes formatted in APA 7 style.
Elements of Tables
Number all tables with Arabic numerals sequentially. Do not use suffix letters (e.g. Table 3a, 3b, 3c); instead, combine the related tables. If the manuscript includes an appendix with tables, identify them with capital letters and Arabic numerals (e.g. Table A1, Table B2).
Like the title of the paper itself, each table must have a clear and concise title. Titles should be written in italicized title case below the table number, with a blank line between the number and the title. When appropriate, you may use the title to explain an abbreviation parenthetically.
Comparison of Median Income of Adopted Children (AC) v. Foster Children (FC)
Keep headings clear and brief. The heading should not be much wider than the widest entry in the column. Use of standard abbreviations can aid in achieving that goal. There are several types of headings:
- Stub headings describe the lefthand column, or stub column , which usually lists major independent variables.
- Column headings describe entries below them, applying to just one column.
- Column spanners are headings that describe entries below them, applying to two or more columns which each have their own column heading. Column spanners are often stacked on top of column headings and together are called decked heads .
- Table Spanners cover the entire width of the table, allowing for more divisions or combining tables with identical column headings. They are the only type of heading that may be plural.
All columns must have headings, written in sentence case and using singular language (Item rather than Items) unless referring to a group (Men, Women). Each column’s items should be parallel (i.e., every item in a column labeled “%” should be a percentage and does not require the % symbol, since it’s already indicated in the heading). Subsections within the stub column can be shown by indenting headings rather than creating new columns:
The body is the main part of the table, which includes all the reported information organized in cells (intersections of rows and columns). Entries should be center aligned unless left aligning them would make them easier to read (longer entries, usually). Word entries in the body should use sentence case. Leave cells blank if the element is not applicable or if data were not obtained; use a dash in cells and a general note if it is necessary to explain why cells are blank. In reporting the data, consistency is key: Numerals should be expressed to a consistent number of decimal places that is determined by the precision of measurement. Never change the unit of measurement or the number of decimal places in the same column.
There are three types of notes for tables: general, specific, and probability notes. All of them must be placed below the table in that order.
General notes explain, qualify or provide information about the table as a whole. Put explanations of abbreviations, symbols, etc. here.
Example: Note . The racial categories used by the US Census (African-American, Asian American, Latinos/-as, Native-American, and Pacific Islander) have been collapsed into the category “non-White.” E = excludes respondents who self-identified as “White” and at least one other “non-White” race.
Specific notes explain, qualify or provide information about a particular column, row, or individual entry. To indicate specific notes, use superscript lowercase letters (e.g. a , b , c ), and order the superscripts from left to right, top to bottom. Each table’s first footnote must be the superscript a .
a n = 823. b One participant in this group was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the survey.
Probability notes provide the reader with the results of the tests for statistical significance. Asterisks indicate the values for which the null hypothesis is rejected, with the probability ( p value) specified in the probability note. Such notes are required only when relevant to the data in the table. Consistently use the same number of asterisks for a given alpha level throughout your paper.
* p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001
If you need to distinguish between two-tailed and one-tailed tests in the same table, use asterisks for two-tailed p values and an alternate symbol (such as daggers) for one-tailed p values.
* p < .05, two-tailed. ** p < .01, two-tailed. † p <.05, one-tailed. †† p < .01, one-tailed.
Tables should only include borders and lines that are needed for clarity (i.e., between elements of a decked head, above column spanners, separating total rows, etc.). Do not use vertical borders, and do not use borders around each cell. Spacing and strict alignment is typically enough to clarify relationships between elements.
Example of a table in the text of an APA 7 paper. Note the lack of vertical borders.
Tables from Other Sources
If using tables from an external source, copy the structure of the original exactly, and cite the source in accordance with APA style .
(Taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th ed., Section 7.20)
- Is the table necessary?
- Does it belong in the print and electronic versions of the article, or can it go in an online supplemental file?
- Are all comparable tables presented consistently?
- Are all tables numbered with Arabic numerals in the order they are mentioned in the text? Is the table number bold and left-aligned?
- Are all tables referred to in the text?
- Is the title brief but explanatory? Is it presented in italicized title case and left-aligned?
- Does every column have a column heading? Are column headings centered?
- Are all abbreviations; special use of italics, parentheses, and dashes; and special symbols explained?
- Are the notes organized according to the convention of general, specific, probability?
- Are table borders correctly used (top and bottom of table, beneath column headings, above table spanners)?
- Does the table use correct line spacing (double for the table number, title, and notes; single, one and a half, or double for the body)?
- Are entries in the left column left-aligned beneath the centered stub heading? Are all other column headings and cell entries centered?
- Are confidence intervals reported for all major point estimates?
- Are all probability level values correctly identified, and are asterisks attached to the appropriate table entries? Is a probability level assigned the same number of asterisks in all the tables in the same document?
- If the table or its data are from another source, is the source properly cited? Is permission necessary to reproduce the table?
Figures include all graphical displays of information that are not tables. Common types include graphs, charts, drawings, maps, plots, and photos. Just like tables, figures should supplement the text and should be both understandable on their own and referenced fully in the text. This section details elements of formatting writers must use when including a figure in an APA document, gives an example of a figure formatted in APA style, and includes a checklist for formatting figures.
In preparing figures, communication and readability must be the ultimate criteria. Avoid the temptation to use the special effects available in most advanced software packages. While three-dimensional effects, shading, and layered text may look interesting to the author, overuse, inconsistent use, and misuse may distort the data, and distract or even annoy readers. Design properly done is inconspicuous, almost invisible, because it supports communication. Design improperly, or amateurishly, done draws the reader’s attention from the data, and makes him or her question the author’s credibility. Line drawings are usually a good option for readability and simplicity; for photographs, high contrast between background and focal point is important, as well as cropping out extraneous detail to help the reader focus on the important aspects of the photo.
Parts of a Figure
All figures that are part of the main text require a number using Arabic numerals (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Numbers are assigned based on the order in which figures appear in the text and are bolded and left aligned.
Under the number, write the title of the figure in italicized title case. The title should be brief, clear, and explanatory, and both the title and number should be double spaced.
The image of the figure is the body, and it is positioned underneath the number and title. The image should be legible in both size and resolution; fonts should be sans serif, consistently sized, and between 8-14 pt. Title case should be used for axis labels and other headings; descriptions within figures should be in sentence case. Shading and color should be limited for clarity; use patterns along with color and check contrast between colors with free online checkers to ensure all users (people with color vision deficiencies or readers printing in grayscale, for instance) can access the content. Gridlines and 3-D effects should be avoided unless they are necessary for clarity or essential content information.
Legends, or keys, explain symbols, styles, patterns, shading, or colors in the image. Words in the legend should be in title case; legends should go within or underneath the image rather than to the side. Not all figures will require a legend.
Notes clarify the content of the figure; like tables, notes can be general, specific, or probability. General notes explain units of measurement, symbols, and abbreviations, or provide citation information. Specific notes identify specific elements using superscripts; probability notes explain statistical significance of certain values.
A generic example of a figure formatted in APA 7 style.
(Taken from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7 th ed., Section 7.35)
- Is the figure necessary?
- Does the figure belong in the print and electronic versions of the article, or is it supplemental?
- Is the figure simple, clean, and free of extraneous detail?
- Is the figure title descriptive of the content of the figure? Is it written in italic title case and left aligned?
- Are all elements of the figure clearly labeled?
- Are the magnitude, scale, and direction of grid elements clearly labeled?
- Are parallel figures or equally important figures prepared according to the same scale?
- Are the figures numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals? Is the figure number bold and left aligned?
- Has the figure been formatted properly? Is the font sans serif in the image portion of the figure and between sizes 8 and 14?
- Are all abbreviations and special symbols explained?
- If the figure has a legend, does it appear within or below the image? Are the legend’s words written in title case?
- Are the figure notes in general, specific, and probability order? Are they double-spaced, left aligned, and in the same font as the paper?
- Are all figures mentioned in the text?
- Has written permission for print and electronic reuse been obtained? Is proper credit given in the figure caption?
- Have all substantive modifications to photographic images been disclosed?
- Are the figures being submitted in a file format acceptable to the publisher?
- Have the files been produced at a sufficiently high resolution to allow for accurate reproduction?
Citation Examples for APA, MLA, and Chicago Style Guides
You may think citing sources for research papers is confusing . . . because it absolutely is! It’s one thing to memorize the precise format for your sources’ information, but it’s another thing to know the precise formats required by APA, MLA, and Chicago style guides.
Because different styles have different citation formats, we thought showing you some citation examples in research papers would help you learn to tell the difference. Feel free to use this guide as a resource to help you get the perfect citation, no matter what style you use.
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How to use citation examples in research
In-text citations vs. full citations, parenthetical citations vs. narrative citations, apa citation examples, apa in-text citation examples, apa citation examples: book.
- APA citation examples: Journal Article
APA citation examples: Website
Apa citation examples: video, apa citation examples: ai, mla citation examples, mla in-text citation examples, mla citation examples: book.
- MLA citation examples: Journal Article
MLA citation examples: Website
Mla citation examples: video, mla citation examples: ai, chicago citation examples, chicago in-text citation examples, chicago citation examples: book.
- Chicago citation examples: Journal Article
Chicago citation examples: Website
Chicago citation examples: video, chicago citation examples: ai, citation examples for multiple authors, apa citation examples for more than one author, mla citation examples for more than one author, chicago citation examples for more than one author.
In academic writing like research papers , you must cite your source for each piece of information that’s not your own . In informal writing like personal essays, you are your own source, so you don’t need a citation. But for writing that uses information from outside books, articles, websites, videos, or even AI, citations are necessary.
The tricky part is that each style has its own particular way of citing sources. Most academic papers are written in one of the three main styles:
- Chicago format
Each of these styles has different rules for what information to include in citations, as well as unique guidelines for particulars like capitalization, the use of italics, and the order in which the information comes. (For more details, read our direct comparison of MLA vs. APA .)
In this blog post, we share citation examples of each style for different types of sources. But first, let’s talk a little about the different types of citations you’ll be using in formal writing.
The two main types of citations are in-text citations and full citations.
In-text citations appear in the body text of the paper and provide the bare minimum of information to identify the source. These usually include the author’s name and sometimes a page number or publication date. They can be either parenthetical or narrative, which we explain below. Alternatively, if you’re using Chicago style, you have the option to use footnotes as in-text citations.
Full citations appear in the bibliography at the end of the text and contain all the relevant information from a source. The idea is that, if your reader is interested in learning more about one of your sources, they can find it in the full citation. Full citations are written in a particular way, and different styles have their own rules for what information goes where.
In APA, the bibliography is called a reference page ; in MLA, it’s called a works cited page . Only Chicago uses the term “bibliography.”
In-text citations can be either parenthetical citations or narrative citations. A parenthetical citation puts a brief credit in parentheses after the related piece of information. Here’s an in-text citation example in APA:
Not all experiments use a placebo group because “if your patients are ill, you shouldn’t be leaving them untreated simply because of your own mawkish interest in the placebo effect” (Goldacre, 2008, p. 60) .
A narrative citation, on the other hand, gives credit in the body text itself, such as by mentioning the author by name. Typically, any information not included in the text is still placed in an abbreviated parenthetical citation afterward.
Not all experiments use a placebo group because, as Ben Goldacre wrote , “if your patients are ill, you shouldn’t be leaving them untreated simply because of your own mawkish interest in the placebo effect” (2008, p. 60) .
Our in-text citation examples below are for standard parenthetical citations. Just remember if you mention the author, page, or year in the main text, you can remove it from the parenthetical citation.
In-text citations in APA use what’s called the author-date style , which includes the author’s last name and the year of publication, separated with commas.
If citing a specific piece of information or a direct quote, also include the location, such as a page number or timestamp. Use the abbreviations p. for page , pp. for pages , and paras. for paragraphs . For general information, such as a concept discussed throughout the source, no location is needed.
(Last Name, Year, p. #)
(Goldacre, 2008, p. 60)
To cite a book in APA , you need the author’s name, year of publication, book title, and publisher. The author’s name is written as “last name, first name initial,” as in “Shakespeare, W.” Titles use sentence-style capitalization, which means only the first letter of the first word in the title (and subtitle, if applicable) are capitalized. If the book edition is relevant, place it in parentheses after the title.
Last name, First name initial. (Year of publication). Title . Publisher.
Goldacre, B. (2008). Bad science. Fourth Estate.
APA citation examples: Journal article
Citing an article in APA requires the author’s last name and first initial; the full date of publication, including month and day if applicable; and the titles of both the article and the journal/periodical, as well as the page number. Note that, unlike MLA and Chicago styles, APA doesn’t abbreviate months in citations.
Last name, First name initial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Article title. Magazine name, volume (issue), page range. DOI
Cardanay, A. (2016, January 12). Illustrating motion, music, and story. General Music Today, 29 (3), 25–29. doi:10.1177/1048371315626498
To cite a website in APA , follow the same format you use to cite journal articles, except without volume, issue, or page numbers. Website citations in APA include a URL, however. If the website represents a print publication, italicize the title. If not, italicize the article name.
Last name, First name initial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of article, post, or page. Website. URL
Hudson, J. (2023, November 12). What Taylor Swift can teach us about leadership. Forbes . https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/
To cite YouTube in APA , as well as any online video, you need to include both the uploader’s real name and username, the date posted, the video title, the website name, and the URL. You also need to include the word “Video” in brackets after the video title to show what kind of source it is.
Real last name, First initial. [Username]. (Year, Month Day). Video title [Video]. Website. URL.
Desmond, W. [TED-Ed]. (2019, December 19). The philosophy of cynicism [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY
According to the APA website, AI citations in APA should be treated as an “algorithm’s output.” You cite the company that built it as the author, the name of the AI as the title, and the year you interacted with it as the date of publication. You should also include the version you used and a descriptor like “large language model” in brackets, followed by the URL.
Company. (Year). AI Name (version) [Descriptor]. URL
OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (March 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat
For MLA, in-text citations use only the author’s last name and the page number or timestamp, without abbreviations or commas.
(Last name #)
To cite a book in MLA , you need the author’s name, book title, place of publication, publisher’s name, and the date of publication. The author’s name is inverted, with the last name coming before the first name. Most parts are separated by periods, except for the author’s names and publication information, which are separated by commas. Titles use title capitalization, which capitalizes the first letter of each major word.
Last name, First name. Book Title . Place of publication, Publisher, publication date.
Goldacre, Ben. Bad Science . London, Fourth Estate, 2008.
MLA citation examples: Journal article
Citing an article in MLA is similar to citing a journal article in other styles, although MLA uses abbreviations for volume (vol.) and issue number (no.), as well as pages (pp.). If you found the article online, you also need to include the database name in italics and the URL or DOI.
Last name, First name. “Title of article.” Journal , vol. #, no. #, Day Month Year of publication, pp. #–#. Database , DOI or URL.
Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today , vol. 29, no. 3, 2016, pp. 25–29. Academic Search Premier , doi:10.1177/1048371315626498.
To cite a website in MLA , include the page or article title in quotes and the name of the website in italics. In addition to the publication date and URL, you also need to mention the date you visited the website, using the word “Accessed.”
Last name, First name. “Page or Article Title.” Website , Day Month Year of publication, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.
Hudson, James. “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us about Leadership.” Forbes , 12 Nov. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/. Accessed 13 Nov. 2023.
Citing YouTube in MLA is similar to citing videos in APA, although the information goes in different places. Additionally, you need either the creator’s real name or username, but not both.
Username or Last name, First name. “Title.” Website , Day Month Year, URL.
Desmond, William. “The Philosophy of Cynicism.” YouTube , 19 Dec. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY.
AI citations in MLA ignore the author altogether and use the AI prompt (what you typed into the chat) as the title. MLA uses “containers” for sources within larger works, and for AI the container is the name of the AI. You also need the version, company (as the publisher), date accessed, and URL.
“Entered text” prompt. AI Name , version, Company, Day Month Year, URL.
“Citation examples for research” prompt. ChatGPT , GPT-4, OpenAI, 15 Nov. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.
In Chicago, you can choose either parenthetical citations or footnotes for in-text citations. Chicago’s parenthetical citations also use an author-date style just like APA citations; however, there is no comma between the author and year (although there is a comma between the year and the location). Chicago citations do not use abbreviations for page numbers.
(Last Name Year, #)
(Goldacre 2008, 60)
Citing a book in Chicago uses the author’s name, book title, place of publication, publisher, and year of publication. You also include the edition, but only if it’s relevant. The author’s name is inverted, and the title uses title capitalization.
Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle . Edition (if applicable). Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.
Goldacre, Ben. Bad Science . London: Fourth Estate, 2008.
Chicago citation examples: Journal article
Citing an article in Chicago is most similar to citing an article in MLA, including the type of information to include and the use of abbreviations. Pay attention to the citation examples to see the correct order and punctuation to use; note that in Chicago the volume number directly follows the journal title and is not separated by a comma or preceded by the word “vol.”
Last name, First name. “Article title.” Journal vol. #, no. # (Year): #–#. Database or article URL.
Cardanay, Audrey. “Illustrating Motion, Music, and Story.” General Music Today 29, no. 3 (2016): 25–29. Academic Search Premier.
Compared to citing a website in other styles, citing a website in Chicago is more straightforward. Include all the relevant information, put the article or page title in quotations, and don’t worry about italics or the date you visited (unless the website does not have a publication date; in that case, include the date you accessed the site where you would normally put the publication date).
Last name, First name. “Article or Page Title.” Website, Month Day, Year of publication. URL.
Hudson, James. “What Taylor Swift Can Teach Us about Leadership.” Forbes, Nov. 12, 2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshudson/2023/11/12/what-taylor-swift-can-teach-us-about-leadership/
To cite YouTube in Chicago , you need to include all the standard information, such as the creator’s name, the title of the video, and the website that hosts it, as well as the date and URL. Unlike other formats, Chicago also requires the total video length written in XX:XX format. You also need to mention the source format (“video”) after naming the website.
Uploader. “Title.” Website and format, duration. Month Day, Year of publication. URL.
TED-Ed. “The Philosophy of Cynicism.” YouTube video, 5:25. Dec. 19, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utzym1I_BiY.
AI citations in Chicago work differently than in other styles; Chicago considers AI conversations as “personal communication” because they’re non-retrievable—meaning other people can’t access the same conversation you had. Consequently, do not include AI chatbots in the bibliography ; mention them only as personal communications if necessary.
However, you still need to use in-text citations for AI in Chicago. For parenthetical citations, you can use the name of the AI as the author and when you had the conversation as the publication date.
APA, MLA, and Chicago formats all have different guidelines for citing more than one author. Here are some quick reference tips on how each does it:
Each author in an APA citation is written in the format of Last name, First Initial. Place authors in the same order as the publication lists them, which may not necessarily be alphabetical. Separate each name with a comma and add an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.
Marieb, E., & Keller, S. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy & physiology (12th ed.) . Pearson.
In-text citations in APA for two authors use both authors’ last names, connected with an ampersand. For more than two authors, use only the first author’s last name and the phrase et al.
(Marieb & Keller, 2018)
(Marieb et al., 2018)
If an MLA citation has two authors, list them both in the full citation but invert only the first name. Separate them with a comma and the word and .
Cohn, Rachel, and David Levithan. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares . Ember Publishing House, 2011.
In-text citations use both last names with and .
(Cohn and Levitation 55)
For more than two authors, use only the first author’s name and the phrase et al. in both the full and in-text citation.
Heffernan, James, et al. Writing: A College Handbook . New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.
(Heffernan et al. 27)
In the bibliography, Chicago citations list the names of up to ten authors, separated by commas and with the word and before the last author. For more than ten authors, list only the first seven and then add et al . Only the first name is inverted.
Gyatso, Tenzin, and Howard Cutler. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living . Norwalk: Easton Press, 1998.
In-text citations list the last names of up to three authors, separated by commas (if there are more than two), and the word and before the final name. For four or more authors, use only the first author’s last name and the phrase et al .
(Gyatso and Cutler 1998)
(Gyatso et al. 1998)
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(GENERAL-23-100) Update on the Simplified, Streamlined, Redesigned 2024-25 FAFSA (Updated Nov. 27, 2023)
As we committed to in this announcement, FSA provided status updates on Nov. 27, 2023 and Nov. 15, 2023.
Each time we publish a status update, we will add a link to this announcement and include the announcement in our subscription email. In addition, you can bookmark the 2024-25 FAFSA Updates feature and check it periodically.
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released new details on the redesigned and streamlined Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ® ) form. The new FAFSA will make it easier than ever for students to get financial aid for college and help 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds receive Pell Grants. In total, it will allow 1.5 million more students access to the maximum Pell Grant award, bringing the total number of students eligible for the maximum Pell Grant to over 5.2 million.
The changes to the FAFSA form represent the most ambitious and significant redesign of the processes to apply for federal student aid and the formulas used to determine aid eligibility since the Common Financial Aid Form—the FAFSA form’s predecessor—was introduced in the Reagan era. They were enacted by bipartisan majorities in Congress through the FUTURE Act and FAFSA Simplification Act . The improved FAFSA form will be available for students and parents by Dec. 31, 2023. Students who complete the form will receive a confirmation and see their estimated student aid eligibility. More information on the implementation of the new FAFSA is provided below.
A Better FAFSA Form
The new FAFSA form will significantly improve, streamline, and redesign how students and their families use the form. For the first time, applicants will be able to securely transfer their federal tax information necessary for the eligibility calculation, directly from the IRS, removing the burdensome and confusing step of connecting to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for almost 9 million applicants using the tool each year. The changes will greatly simplify the process of submitting tax information for as many as 4 million additional students and families, many of whom are from low-income backgrounds.
The FAFSA redesign goes well beyond just a new form. Starting with the 2024–25 award year, the better FAFSA form reflects updates to student aid calculations, that extend Federal Pell Grants to more students. Pell Grant eligibility will be linked to family size and the federal poverty level. These changes will help significantly expand access to federal student aid.
Approximately 610,000 more students from low-income backgrounds will receive Pell Grants, driven primarily by the changes to these eligibility rules. Additionally, Pell recipients will receive more aid and nearly 1.5 million more students will receive the maximum Pell Grant. Today, the Department released state-by-state estimates of how many more students will be eligible for Pell Grants and the maximum Pell award under the new, better FAFSA.
Transition to the Better FAFSA
The Department has been working closely with all of our partners to prepare for the many changes to the better FAFSA experience. To ensure a smooth experience for students and families, the Department is issuing guidance, hosting webinars, and offering training support in the coming months.
Students and families will be able to complete and submit FAFSA forms online by Dec. 31. We expect applications to peak in late January and February 2024. The new FAFSA will allow students and families to use federal tax data transferred directly and securely from the Internal Revenue Service. Once the application is complete, students will receive a confirmation email including their estimated Student Aid Index and Pell Grant eligibility. Students and families will also be able to complete paper forms by downloading a PDF form and mailing it to the Department.
Schools will begin receiving aid eligibility information, including Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs), by the end of January 2024, with information on paper forms to follow. Additionally, students will also be able to make corrections and updates at this time. Institutions will be able to make corrections in the weeks following. Direct connections to certain state financial aid applications and the ability for unpaid preparers to complete a FAFSA form on behalf of students will return with the 2025–26 FAFSA.
The new FAFSA is not only a major transition for the Department; it will also bring many changes for students, families, schools, and software vendors. In March 2023, we published the Better FAFSA Better Future Roadmap (FAFSA Roadmap) , an implementation timeline of resources, guidance, and training materials for students and parents, schools and institutions, and other stakeholders about the redesigned 2024–25 FAFSA form. The Department has updated the FAFSA Roadmap with additional resources for our stakeholders, including students and families. We remain committed to continuing our support with regular outreach, including webinars, guidance, tool tips, and communications directly to our stakeholders.
FSA will provide regular status updates in a new 2024-25 FAFSA Updates feature on the FAFSA Simplification Information Topics page on the Knowledge Center.
Questions about the information outlined in this announcement can be submitted to the Department using the Contact Customer Support form in FSA's Partner Connect Help Center. To submit a question, please enter your name, email address, topic, and question. When submitting a question related to this announcement, please select the topic “2024-25 FAFSA.”
Last Modified: 11/27/2023