APA Style: In-Text Citation | Reference List Entry

The American Psychological Association (APA) format is the most common style used to cite sources within the social sciences. This article will give you a brief guide on the Publication Manual of the APA. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the APA.


APA Style: In-Text Citation | Reference List Entry

What is APA Style?

APA style is one of the styles of documentation of sources published by the American Psychological Association. APA style is especially used for citing sources within the field of social and behavioral sciences. The APA format consists of the following two parts:

  • In-text citation

  • Reference list entry

In-Text Citation

The APA format in-text citations are included in the sentence where the information is used. An in-text citation gives adequate information to uniquely identify the source in your list of references.

How to Cite One or Two Authors in the APA Style

The APA format requires the inclusion of the last name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication in in-text citations. When you directly quote a source, you should also include the page number(s), preceded by “p.” Articles with one or two authors include all names in every text citation. Below are some useful examples of in-text citations:

According to a study… (Williams, 1992).

(Levi & Williams, 2012).

For direct quotation:

(Williams, 1992, pp. 23–27).

How to Cite Three or More Authors in the APA Style (APA 7th Edition)

In October 2019, APA introduced the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual, which replaces the 6th edition published in 2009. The in-intext citation for works with three or more authors is now abbreviated right from the first citation. You only include the first author’s name and “et al.”

(Lawrence, Levi, Mason, & Parker, 2010)


(Lawrence et al., 2010)


How to Cite Multiple Sources in One Citation in the APA Style

Multiple sources should be cited in one sentence by separating them using semicolons.

Several studies showed that … (Acemoglu & Robinson, 2012; Adams, 1998; Williams et al., 2010).

How to Cite Multiple Works by the Same Author 

Add alphabetic designators to the year of publication in both the in-text citation and reference list.

(Mason, 2000a, 2000b).

For works published in different years by the same author, you need to place the years of publication in a chronological sequence separated by commas.

(Mason, 2000, 2003).

APA Style: In-Text Citation | Reference List Entry

Reference List Entry

An APA style reference list or bibliography should have a complete list of references used in your study. The reference provides all the information that is essential to locate the sources. Full publication details such as author(s) name(s), date of publication, and title are listed alphabetically on the bibliography page, which appears right after the main text.

  • An APA-style reference list must start on a new page at the end of the main text.

  • An APA-style reference list must contain all the references used in the in-text citations.

  • The reference list must be alphabetically ordered by the name of the first author or by the title of the sources with no author.

  • If there are multiple studies by the same author, these are ordered by the year of publication. However, if the studies are in the same year, they are ordered alphabetically by the title and are allocated a letter (i.e., a, b, c) after the year of publication.

APA Style Reference List

Reference list general template:

Author’s Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year of publication). Title of the book. Publishing Company. 

Books by one author (book titles should be italicized):

Wan, T.H. (2002). Evidence-based health-care management. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 

Books by two authors (book titles should be italicized):

Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. (2012). Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty.  The Crown Publishing Group.

Articles in journals (journal names should be italicized):

Aneshensel, C.S., Rutter, C.M., & Lachenbruch, P.A. (1991). Social structure, stress, and mental health: Competing conceptual and analytic models. American Sociological Review, 56:166-178.

According to the 7th edition of the APA, it requires adding the issue number of journals that have those numbers.  Also, ‘‘Retrieved from” is no longer required. (This applies to all online resources unless a retrieval date is needed).

Websites (nothing should be italicized):

DeCoster, J. (2020, January 6). Overview of factor analysis.http://www.stat-help.com/notes.html

How to List More than One Authors in the Reference List (APA 7th Edition)

According to the APA 7th edition, it requires to include all authors up to and including 20. For 21 or more authors, the first 19 authors should be listed and then the last author. In APA 6th edition, all authors should be listed for 2–7 authors, and the first 6 authors should be listed for 8 or more authors, then the last author. 

How to Cite the Publisher’s Location in the 7th Edition of the APA Manual

  • The APA 6th edition required authors to include the publisher’s location when they cite from a print book. The city and state should be included for US-based publishers, while the city and country for publishers anywhere else. 

  • However, the APA 7the edition requires adding the name of the publisher only; therefore, no publisher’s location is required.

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APA Style: In-Text Citation | Reference List Entry

For more information about the citation styles and APA style, read the following articles: 

This handout discusses APA style in-text citation and reference list entry. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount. 

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