APA Style

What is APA style?

  • The style of the American Psychological Association
  • APA style is used by:
    • psychology classes
    • social sciences classes

Why use APA style?

  • Avoid plagiarism
    • must cite quotations and borrowed ideas
    • information borrowed word for word must be in quotation marks
    • summaries and paraphrases must be in your own words

In-text citations

  • Establish source’s credibility by using his or her name
  • No “dropped quotes” – quotes that are just dropped into a paragraph without identifying where information is coming from
  • Each needs to correspond to an entry on the Works Cited page


  • (Smith, 1999, p. 33).
    • punctuation follows closing parenthesis
  • If no author: (“Many People,” 1999, p. 33).
  • If no page number: (Smith, 1999).
  • If no date: (Smith, n.d., p. 33).
  • If more than one author for one item: (Smith & Johnson, 1999, p. 33).

Works-cited entries


  • Last Name, First Name.  (Year).  Book Title.  Place of Publication: Publisher.
  • Example: Smith, John.  (1999).  Many People, Many Faiths.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Books with edition numbers: Smith, John.  (1999).  Many People, Many Faiths (2nd ed.).  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Books with editors: Smith, John (Ed.).  (1999).  Many People, Many Faiths. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Newspaper or magazine articles

  • Always consider credibility of source – for example, an article from The New York Times is usually more reliable than an article from Cosmo
  • Last Name, First Name.  (Year, Month Date).  Article Title.  Newspaper or Magazine Title, pp. Section and Page Number.
  • Example: Smith, John.  (2001, February 13).  Many People, Many Faiths.  The New York Times, pp. A1.

Scholarly journals

  • Last Name, First Name.  (Year).  Article Title.  Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number), Page Numbers.
  • Example: Smith, John.  (1999) Many People, Many Faiths.  Language 11(3), 156-227.

Web sites

  • Again, always consider reliability of source.  For example, a newspaper, journal, or university site is more trustworthy than “Joe’s Homepage.”  Always check the author of your material.
  • Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name.  (Date of Publication).  Section or Page on Web Site.  In Overall Web Site.  Retrieved Month Date, Year, from http://Web Address
  • Example: Smith, John.  (May 19, 2004).  Hinduism.  Many People, Many Faiths.  Retrieved March 25, 2005 from http://www.manypeople.com


  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.).
  • Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers (5th ed.).
  • OR A Pocket Style Manual (4th ed.).

Formatting the paper

Page numbers

  • Upper right hand corner of page
  • Start on cover page; first page of text will be page 2
  • Should include a shortened version of your title
  • Insert > Page Numbers > Upper Right > Double click on page numbers in document to add shortened title
  • Example: Dolphins and Language 1


Cover page:

(begin halfway down the page)

Dolphins and Language:
What Do They Understand?

(return halfway down the rest of the page)

Jane Doe

(return to bottom of the page)

EN 111, Section A
Professor Johnson
March 2, 2001

Works Cited page

  • Page numbers should continue from main body of paper
  • Double space, with no extra returns between entries
  • Hanging indent: Second line of entry (and any following lines) should be indented
  • Alphabetize entries
  • “References” should be centered on first line of page
    • No italics, bold, underlining or font type or size change

Other formatting issues

  • White paper
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double space
  • Basic font, like Times New Roman
  • 12-point text
  • Key is readability