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APA Citation and Formatting: How Do I Cite . . .?

Attention Students!

This guide is a starting point. For full details on correctly citing resources and creating references, please consult
the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Ed.) (2020), or Cites & Sources (6th Ed.) (2021).

Please Note! Library staff do not teach APA, and cannot evaluate or correct work. If you need help with APA Style, please contact your instructor.

How Do I Cite . . .?

Please Note! This list includes the types of resources that students are most likely to use. It is not a complete list, and it is still in development. If you do not see the kind of resource you are using on this list, consult the Publication Manual, contact the Library for help, or contact Peer Tutoring or the Writing Clinic.

Evaluating Your Resources

Whether you're using resources from the Library or the web, it's important to evaluate what you're reading! Is it accurate? Credible? And how do you know? The Learning Portal has a great guide to help you get started.

References and Citations: The Basics

Why use APA Style?
Using APA Style helps writers, including students, to present their ideas in a clear, consistent way. APA Style also helps the writer to cite all of their sources in a standard format. Finally, using APA Style helps the reader to find the same sources of information used by the author.

What does "citing a source" mean? Why do I need to cite sources?
When an instructor talks about citing a source, or creating references, they're talking about giving credit for the information that students use in an assignment. It is expected that all writers, including students, give credit for information that is not their own original idea and that is not common knowledge. If a student is unsure if information is common knowledge, they should check with their instructor. When in doubt, provide a citation. 

Giving credit for information that was taken from other sources is important, and failure to correctly cite sources is considered plagiarism. Students at Loyalist College who plagiarize may fail the assignment or the course, and if plagiarism occurs multiple times, students may be removed from their program.

How do I create a citation?
There are two parts to a citation - the in-text citation and the reference list entry. An in-text citation appears in the body of the assignment as either a parenthetical or narrative citation. In-text citations are short and typically consist of the last name of the author and the date of publication. For every in-text citation, there must be a corresponding reference list entry, which provides more details about the source.

Remember! When creating a citation, look at more than the information on the Library's website. Look at the material itself, either on the shelf or in an electronic format. Important citation information can be found in multiple places, and it is the responsibility of the student to make sure they have carefully examined the material to find the information required for the citation.

What is a reference list? (9.0)
A reference list appears at the end of an assignment, and it provides the information needed to identify and retrieve each source cited in the text. More information on creating reference list entries can be found in the How Do I Cite . . .? box (left), or in chapter nine of the Publication Manual. Instructions on formatting the reference list can be found until the Formatting Assignments tab.

To create a reference list entry, it is important to identify what kind of resource is being cited (9.1). It is important to remember that the way a work was accessed or obtained (e.g.: online, in print, through interlibrary loan), and the format (e.g.: print vs. PDF, DVD vs. streaming), has very little impact on the reference list entry. For example, both printed books and eBooks are cited the same way, because both are books.  

What information is included in a reference list entry? (9.4)
All reference list entries follow a similar formula, and a reference has four main parts:

  • Author: Who is responsible for the work?
  • Date: When was this work published or created?
  • Title: What is the work called?
  • Source: Where can the work be found or retrieved?

More information on each of these can be found under the tabs in this box.

Accuracy and consistency in references is important because it allows readers to find and access the works on the reference list (9.6). For students, accurate and consistent references and citations also help instructors to mark assignments accurately.

What if I can't find a piece of information?
Information may be located in different places, depending on the source. This is very common with electronic or online resources. For example, a DOI may appear at the beginning or an article or at the end. Review the resource carefully to find all of the information required for the reference list entry, and contact the Library for help if you are struggling. If a piece of information cannot be found, omit it and move on to the next piece of information required for the reference list entry. 

What is an in-text citation? (8.10)
In-text citations appear in the body of a paper or other assignment, and they briefly identify a work by author and date of publication. In-text citations also help the reader to find the full reference list entry in the reference list at the end of the paper. In-text citations must have corresponding reference list entries.

What kinds of in-text citations can be used? (8.11) 
There are two types of in-text citations - parenthetical and narrative. Parenthetical citations appear in parentheses, or brackets, following the information being cited. Narrative citations are part of the text of the assignment.

Formatting: Parenthetical Citations (8.11)
Parenthetical citations include the last name of the author and the date of publication in parentheses, or brackets, following the information being cited. In cases where a work has two authors, give the last name of both authors, separated by an ampersand (&), followed by the date (Table 8.1). For works with three authors or more, the last name of the first author is listed, followed by et al., and the date, e.g.: (Delisle, 2019), or (Shimoni & Clark, 2016), or (Brown et al., 2015).  

How do I create an in-text citation for works with no author?
If a work has no author, use a shortened form of the title, followed by the date.

Formatting: Narrative Citation (8.11)
Narrative citations include the name(s) of the author(s) in the text of the paper, with the date of publication appearing in  parentheses, or brackets, immediately after, e.g.: Glauser (2016) notes that cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is underdiagnosed and . . .

Alternately, the year can be included in the text, e.g.: In 2016, Glauser observed that cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) was underdiagnosed. . .

Do I include page numbers?
When paraphrasing, a page number is not necessary. If a direct quotation is used, a page number is required, and should be included after the date in the in-text citation.

More information on creating in-text citations for specific kinds of resources can be found in the How Do I Cite . . .? box (left), or in chapter eight of the Publication Manual

What is an author? (9.7)
In a reference, the author is the person or people, or the group responsible for creating the work. An author can be a single person, multiple people, a group like an institution or a government agency, or a combination of individuals and groups. This includes the author(s) of books, articles, reports, and other written works. Others who played a primary role in the creation of a work can also be included as "authors" in a reference. This includes directors, producers, hosts, artists, composers, and more. The person(s) or group listed as as being responsible for the work depends on the kind of work being cited, e.g.: the director of a film or the host of a podcast.

How do I find the name of the author?
Authors of print works are usually listed on the cover or title page of a book, or the first page of an article. Sometimes, the name of the author needs to be determined from context, and it can take time to find this information. For example, the author of a webpage or website might be found under an "About Us" section, and the name of a director or producer might be found in the credits of a film. If a student is unsure of how to find the name of an author, they should check with their instructor, the Library, or with the drop-in writing centre.

How do I cite an editor? (9.10, 10.2)
If only an editor(s) is listed, cite them as you would an author, followed by the abbreviation (Ed.) or (Eds.), for multiple editors, e.g.: Lymer, L-Ann. & Carney, W.W. (Eds.) (2015). Fundamentals of public relations and marketing communications in Canada. Pica Pica Press.

If both an author(s) and an editor(s) are listed, their names are cited differently depending on the kind of material. For more information, click on the "How Do I Cite. . .?" tab and select the type of resource from the drop-down menu, or consult the Publication Manual

What if there is no author? (9.12)
If no author is listed and the author cannot be determined from context, the work is treated as having no author, and the title of the work becomes the first piece of information listed in the reference, followed by the date in parentheses, and then the source information, e.g.: Title. (Date). Publisher.

Formatting (9.8)
Students should use the following guidelines when recording the author in a reference:

  • Individual author names are inverted. The last name appears first, followed by a comma, and the first initial(s), followed by a period, e.g.: Drew Hayden Taylor appears as Taylor, D. H.
  • Use one space between initials.
  • Group names are listed as they appear (9.11), e.g.: The Writer's Union of Canada appears as The Writer's Union of Canada . Abbreviations for groups are only used in in-text citations.
  • Individual author names are separated by commas. An ampersand (&) is used before the final author's name, e.g.: Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire appear as Downie, G. & Lemire, J.
  • In a reference list entry, up to 20 authors' names can be listed. Each name is separated by a comma, with an ampersand (&) used before the final author's name. If there are more than 21 authors, list the first 19, insert an ellipses (. . .) and then list the final author's name. Do not include an ampersand.
  • When a first name is hyphenated, keep the hyphen and include a period with no space after each initial, e.g.: Kari-Lynn Winters appears as Winters, K.-L. 
  • Initials and suffixes like Jr. or III are listed after first initials, separated by a comma, e.g.: Leo McKay, Jr. appears as McKay, L., Jr.
  • If an additional author is credited using the word "with", include them in the reference list in parentheses, e.g.: Kendra Phipps with Mariah Marsden appears as Phipps,K. (with Marsden, M.)
  • If an author has only one name, or in cases of online communication, only a screen name, the full name appears without any abbreviations in both the reference list and in in-text citations, e.g.: the Canadian author and illustrator Seth appears as Seth.
  • If both a username and a real name are known, list the real name in inverted format followed by the username in square brackets. For platforms where the @ symbol is included in the username, it is included in the reference in the square brackets, e.g.: Geist, M. [@mgeist].
  • Do not include titles, positions, ranks, or academic achievements, e.g.: President, PhD.

Spelling (9.9)

  • Record last names exactly as they appear, including two-part last names, hyphens and punctuation, e.g.: Évelyne de la Chenelière appears as de la Chenelière, É., Kamal Al-Solaylee appears as Al-Solaylee, K.
  • Keep the author's preferred capitalization, e.g.: author bell hooks appears as hooks, b.

What is a date? (9.13)
In a reference, a date refers to the date of publication. The date may appear in one of the following forms:

  • Year only
  • Year, month, and day
  • Year and month
  • Year and season
  • A range of dates; this could be a range of years or a range of exact dates

How do I find the date of publication? (9.13)
APA Style recommends using the following dates for specific sources:

  • For books, use the copyright date as the date of publication.
  • For a journal article, use the year of the volume in which the article is published.
  • For a webpage or website, use the copyright date, but ensure that this date applies to the content being cited. Do not use the copyright date from the footer of the site. Instead, use the "last updated" date on the page being cited, if it applies to the work being cited (9.15). If no separate date of publication is listed, the work is treated as having no date (9.17).

What are retrieval dates? When are they included in a reference? (9.16)
Some online resources are designed to be updated or to change, like social media pages. Other resources are designed to reflect information that changes over time, like a map generated by Google Maps, or a webpage that is frequently updated. In these cases, use "n.d." (see Formatting, below), and include "Retrieved from", followed by the exact date, after the title.

What if there is no date? (9.17)
If the date of a work is unknown or cannot be determined, APA Style recommends using the abbreviation "n.d.", which stands for "no date". This appears in brackets following the author's name, e.g.: Beaton, K. (n.d.). French Revolution Comics. Retrieved from, July 14, 2019.

Formatting (9.14)
Students should use the following guidelines when recording the date in a reference:

  • The date appears in brackets followed by a period, e.g.: (2019).
  • For works that have a month, day, or season, put the year first, followed by a comma and then the month, day, or season, e.g: (2019, October 17)., or (2019, Fall).
  • If the date of publication is approximate, us the abbreviation "ca.", which stands for "circa" (10.2), e.g: (ca. 2019).
  • Some online works, like websites or webpages, note when the work was last updated. Provide this date as the publication date. Do not include the words "last updated".

What is a title? (9.18)
In a reference, "title" refers to the title or name of the work being cited. There are two kinds of titles:

  1. Works that stand alone, e.g.: whole books, reports, videos, films, 
  2. Works that are part of a larger work, e.g.: periodical articles, news articles,

When a work stands alone, e.g.: a book, the title of the work is listed as the title in the reference. When a work is part of a larger work, e.g.: an article in a journal, the title of that part is listed as the title in the reference, and the title of the larger work, e.g.: the title of the journal, is listed as as part of the source.

What if there is an edition statement? (10.2)
An edition statement is part of the title. If the work has an edition statement, it is included in parentheses following the title, e.g.: Title (2nd Ed.).

What if the title is in a different language? (9.38)
When citing a work in another language, provide a translation of the title in square brackets after the original title, e.g.: L'abri [The shelter]. When citing a work that uses a different alphabet, APA Style advises transliterating the alphabet into the Roman alphabet, used in English, French, and other languages. If it is not possible to transliterate the language, APA Style states that it is acceptable to reproduce the original alphabet in the paper, and include the translation in square brackets.

What if there is no title? (9.22)
For works with no title, include a description in square brackets instead, e.g.: [Map showing the population density of Canada as of the year 2019].

Formatting (9.19)
Students should use the following guidelines when recording the title in a reference:

  • Finish the title with a period, unless the title ends with a question mark or exclamation mark.
  • For works that stand alone, the title appears in italics and is capitalized in sentence case, e.g: the book Delivering Culturally Competent Nursing Care appears as Delivering culturally competent nursing care.
  • For works that are part of a larger work, the title appears in regular font and is capitalized in sentence case. Do no italicize the title or use quotation marks, e.g.: an article titled Citizen Oversight in the United States and Canada: An Overview appears as Citizen oversight in the United States and Canada: an overview.
  • To help identify non-print works, provide a description in square brackets after the title and before the period, e.g.: [Computer software], [Audiobook], [Photograph], [Video], etc.

What is a source? (9.23)
In a reference, the source tells the reader where they can find the work being cited. Like titles, sources fall into two categories:

  1. Works that stand alone, e.g.: whole books, reports, videos, films 
  2. Works that are part of a larger work, e.g.: periodical articles, news articles

For works that stand alone, the source is the publisher, e.g.: when citing a something from a print book, the publisher of the book is the source. For works that are part of a greater whole, that greater whole is the source, e.g: when citing an article from a journal, the journal is the source, along with any DOI or URL, if the article is electronic.

Formatting (9.24)
Students should use the following guidelines when recording the source in a reference:

  • The source may have one or two parts, depending on the category of the reference, e.g.: the source of a print book has one part: the book publisher, and the source of an electronic article has two parts: the journal and the URL or DOI. 
  • In a reference entry, publisher's names are followed by a period, e.g.: McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • Do not change the spelling or capitalization.
  • Do not include designations of business structure with a publisher's name, e.g.: Inc., Ltd., LCC.
  • If a work is published by an imprint or division, list the imprint or division as the publisher, e.g.: list Doubleday Canada instead of Penguin Random House Canada.
  • If two or more publishers are listed, include them all, separated by a semicolon, e.g.: McGraw-Hill Ryerson; Broadview Press.
  • When the author and the publisher are the same, e.g.: an annual report written and published by the same company, do not include the name of the publisher from the reference.
  • If a source is electronic, e.g.: found in an online database or on a website, the publisher name is followed by a DOI or a URL, e.g.: Canadian Medical Association Journal. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.180694 

What are DOIs and URLs? (9.34)  
The DOI or URL is the final component of the reference list entry, and either a DOI or URL is included in a reference list entry when the source is retrieved online. DOIs, or digital object identifiers, are strings of letters and numbers that act as a persistent link to the source. The DOI is usually found on the first page of an article, and it starts with "DOI", "", or "". (See example below.) URLs are persistent links to information on the Internet. URLs can be found in the address bar of the web browser. (See example below.) 

How are DOIs and URLs formatted? When are they included in a reference? (9.34, 9.36)  

  • DOIs are included for all works that have a DOI, regardless of whether the print or online version was used.
  • If a source has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI.
  • If a source has a URL and no DOI, include the URL in the reference. Make sure the URL works for readers. 
  • If a source was found in an academic research database, do not include the URL or any other database information.
  • DOIs and URLs may be very long or complex. In these cases, APA Style recommends using an appropriate DOI or URL shortener, such as the Short DOI Service provided by the International DOI Foundation. It is very important to check that the shortened DOI or URL works before including it in the reference list entry.

Resources at Loyalist

The 6th edition of Cites & Sources pairs with the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual.

Please Note!

This guide is based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020). Library staff have reviewed the information in this guide, and to the best of our knowledge, it is accurate. However, mistakes do occur. Students bear sole responsibility for ensuring that their citations are correct, and that their assignments meet the criteria laid out by their instructor. Students are encouraged to contact Peer Tutoring or the Writing Clinic for assistance.