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APA Style: 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 must be included with the paper.  Citations enable the reader to find the original piece of work from which information was gathered.

Two types of citations are required:

  • In-text - appears within the body of your paper to refer the reader to the full citation
  • References Page - appears as the last page of your paper and contains full citations for all supporting sources



​​​​​​The References page must conform to the following rules:

  • Begin on a separate page at the end of your essay, using the same format as your essay (i.e., one-inch margins and page number).
  • Entries in your list of references should be alphabetized by the authors’ last names. Use the title if a work does not have an author.
  • Center and bold the word References at the top of the page.
  • Double-space all references, even within individual references.
  • Use a hanging indent of 0.5 inches for each reference. This means the first line of each entry will be flush against the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.


Basic Parts of a Citation

In-Text Citations

Any time you use someone else's words OR ideas in your paper, you must indicate that by providing an in-text citation that allows the reader to refer to the references page for the full citation.

In APA 7, in-text citations are author-date style. They come at the end of the quote or sentence in parentheses before the sentence punctuation.

The Excelsior OWL has examples of in-text citations for various types of resources.

In-Text Citation Examples

Author type

Parenthetical citation

Narrative citation

One author

(Luna, 2020)

Luna (2020)

Two authors

(Salas & D’Agostino, 2020)

Salas and D’Agostino (2020)

Three or more authors

(Martin et al., 2020)

Martin et al. (2020)

Group author with abbreviation

First citation a



(National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2020)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2020)

Subsequent citations

(NIMH, 2020)

NIMH (2020)

Group author without abbreviation

(Stanford University, 2020)

Stanford University (2020)

a Define the abbreviation for a group author only once in the text, choosing either the parenthetical or the narrative format. Thereafter, use the abbreviation for all mentions of the group in the text.

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