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APA (American Psychological Association) Style

About APA Style

APA Style is a popular style among the social sciences. When editors or teachers ask you to write in APA Style they are referring to the editorial style that many of the social and behavioral sciences have adopted to present written material in the field. APA Style was first developed in 1929 by a group of social scientists who wished to establish sound standards of communication. Since that time, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world.

In-Text Citations


There are several ways to cite a quotation within a document with APA format, but the same citation information (author’s last name, publication date and page number) must be included. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) provides the examples below.
Quotation 1 - use double quotations:  
When author is mentioned in the beginning:
Miele (1993) found that "the 'placebo effect', which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [only the first group's] behaviors were studied in this manner" (p.276)

When author is mentioned at the end:
... "the 'placebo effect', which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [only the first group's] behaviors were studied in this manner" (Miele, 1993, p. 276)

Quotation 2 - block quotation of 40 words or more; no quotation marks used; indent 5 spaces from the left margin:
Miele (1993) found the following:

The “placebo effect,” which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner.  Furthermore, the behaviors were never exhibited again [emphasis added], even when reel [sic] drugs were administered. Earlier studies (e.g., Abdullah, 1984; Fox, 1979) were clearly premature in attributing the results to a placebo effect. (p. 276)


The publication manual also notes that sometimes electronic sources (such as an HTML full-text document from an online database or information from a website) do not have page numbers. If no page numbers are listed, use the paragraph number and, when given, the heading or section title. The manual provides the following two examples:
Quotation 1 - when paragraph numbers are visible, indicate with (para.):
Basu and Jones (2007) went so far as to suggest the need for a new "intellectual framework in which to consider the nature and form of regulation in cyberspace" (para. 4).
Quotation 2 - document uses headings rather than paragraphs or page numbers:
In their study, Verbunt, Pernot, and Smeets (2008) found that "the level of perceived disability in patients with fibromyalgia seemed best explained by their mental health condition and less by their physical condition" (Discussion section, para.1).
Quotation 3 - when headings are too unwieldy to cite in full, use a short parenthetical title enclosed in quotation marks:
"Empirical studies have found mixed results on the efficacy of labels in educating consumers and changing consumption behavior" (Golan, Kuchler, & Krissof, 2007, "Mandatory Labeling has Targeted", para. 4).


Jackson (personal communication, January 1, 2022) claims...


How this information is cited depends on if and how the information was recorded. If this information has been recorded in a way that can be retrieved, cite it as you would that type or format. For traditional knowledge or oral traditions that are not in a fixed format, use a modified form of the personal communication citation; the APA Manual indicates you do not need to include a reference entry.

Following a series of conversations with Joseph Turnipseed (Tulalip Nation, lives in Portland, Oregon, personal communication, September 2017), we discovered connections between…


Format quotations from research participants like normal quotations (i.e., use a block quotation if longer than 40 words). However, you do not need to provide an in-text citation or a reference list entry. Instead, in your text just indicate the quote is from a research participant.


References List

"APA Style provides a foundation for effective scholarly communication because it helps writers present their ideas in a clear, precise, and inclusive manner."

Learn more by viewing this APA 7th Edition tutorial

Practice your APA style skills with this APA 7th Edition Quiz

Jones, P.J, & Williams, W.W. (2009). Books that don’t exist. Augusta, ME: Capitol Publishers.

Schiraldi, G.R. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth

[Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi:10.1036/0071393722 


Sedaris, David. (2019). david sedaris: The Official David Sedaris Site. Retrieved from

Audubon Field Guide: Common Raven. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Herbst-Damm, K.L. & Kulik, J.A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients.

Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225 

JOURNAL ARTICLE WITHOUT DOI (when DOI is not available)
Sillick, T.J., & Schutte, N.S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between perceived early parental love and adult

happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48. Retrieved from

Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4.

Brody, J.E. (2007, December 11). Mental reserves keep brain agile. The New York Times. Retrieved from

While the APA Manual does not require including a citation beyond in the text of your writing (see example in the section above), Lorisia MacLeod (2021) advocates including the knowledge of indigenous elders and knowledge keepers in your reference list as a way to actively incorporate anti-racism and anti-colonialism in scholarly writing, and offers the following APA template and example:

Last name, First initial. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. Where they live if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. personal communication. Month Date, Year.
Cardinal, D. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. personal communication. April 4, 2004. (p. 3)


The Mansfield Library subscribes to RefWorks to make research and citation easier for you. RefWorks is a citation management tool that stores your electronic articles in one place for easy access, organization, citation and sharing. You can save web page content and metadata, create collections to organize or share documents and citations, and upload PDF and Office documents.

VIDEO - Learn how to use RefWorks by watching these short videos