Skip to main content

APA Style Topic Guide: Documentation

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

When writing a paper information is gathered from many different sources.  The information gathered gets incorporated throughout the paper.  To indicate that there is substantiated support for what you are saying in your paper, as well as to give credit to the original author of that support, citations are included with the paper.  Citations are bibliographic data that enable a reader to find the original piece of work from which information was gathered.  In addition to citations, in-text citations point the reader to the proper citation for specific pieces of information in the paper.


  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • Authors' names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • If you have more than one article by the same author, single-author references or multiple-author references with the exact same authors in the exact same order are listed in order by the year of publication, starting with the earliest.
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • When referring to books, chapters, articles, or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections
    For more information:

Basic Parts of a Citation

Journal Title    (these two may be Book Title and Chapter
Article Title     Title or Website Name and Webpage Title, etc.)
Year of Publication
Page Numbers

There are a few other items depending on what type of source:

Publisher & Location
Volume & Issue Number
URL Where Item Was Retrieved From

Here's an example with the various parts labeled:

General Templates

Journal Article: Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Book: Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

Article in an Online Periodical (including Galileo Databases): Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved from

Citations in General (Excerpted from the Purdue OWL: Citation Chart)

The  American  Psychological  Association (APA) provides  a  method  for  source   documentation  that  is  used   in most   social  sciences courses.  The  social   sciences  place  emphasis  on  the  date  a   work  was  created,  so  most  APA  citation  involves  recording  the  date  of  a  particular  work  in  the physical  text.  The  date  is  usually  placed  immediately  after  the  author’s  name  in  the  “References”  page  at  the  end  of  an  essay.  The  most  recent  APA  formatting  can  be  found  in  the  sixth  edition  of  the  APA  manual.

Book  citations  in  APA  generally  require  author  name,  publication  year,  work  title,  publication  city,  and  publisher.

Journal Articles
In  APA periodical  citation, authors  are  named by  their last  name  followed  by  initials;  the  publication  year  goes  between  parentheses and  is  followed  by  a  period.  Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized for article titles.  Periodical titles  are  written  in  title  case and followed by  the  volume  number,  which,  with  the  title,  is  also  italicized.

Online Sources
In  APA  citation,  online  sources  often  include  what  are  known  as  DOIs,  or  digital  object identifiers.  If a DOI is available, it is used in place of a URL.  The DOI is a serial number that identifies  the  source  regardless  of  URL  changes,  and  it  can  often  be  found  on  the  first  page  of  an  online  source.  APA  generally  cites  author,  date,  page  title,  site  title,  available  page  numbers,  and  a  URL  or DOI.

Multimedia Sources
Electronic  sources  in  APA  format  may  include  a  digital  object  identifier  (DOI)  number.  When  a DOI  is  evident,  it  may  be  used  in  place  of  a  URL  address.  An  online  source  should  include either a  DOI  or  a  URL.

For specific examples of each type of citation with their variations see the complete Purdue OWL:  Citation Chart.

In-Text Citations

         From:  Basics of APA Style Tutorial,

Floyd Library - 706.295.6318 | Heritage Hall - 706.295.6321 | Cartersville Library - 678.872.8400 | Marietta - 678.915.5010 | Paulding Library - 678.946.1007 | Douglasville Library - 678.872.4237
©2015 Georgia Highlands College |