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APA Citations

APA citations are citations that are formatted according to the rules, guidelines, and stylistic conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, an organization of physicians and medical practitioners who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and behavioral disorders, for use in its own publications, such as The American Journal of Psychiatry and The American Journal of Insanity. APA citations have been adopted by many departments in psychology, criminology, nursing, medicine, economics, and business as the standard editorial style for documenting sources used in a research paper in many colleges and universities.

This style requires both in-text citations and a corresponding APA reference page. For every in-text citation that appears in the main body of your paper, there should be a corresponding citation entry in the APA reference page. This page is an alphabetized list of all the sources that you have used in writing your essay. Located at the end of your document, this page provides publication information for every source that you have cited. In-text citations refer to the references that appear within the body of the paper, including all the resources that you have quoted, summarized, or paraphrased.

For purposes of clarity, in-text citations are normally placed within or after sentences and paragraphs so to show readers what information is being quoted or paraphrased and whose information is being cited. As a rule, the first time you mention a particular source, you should cite it right away as part of the text. The citation, including the year of publication, is enclosed within parentheses. For example:

… “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” (Fitzgerald, 1945). …

As exemplified above, an in-text citation consists of the last name of the author and the year of publication enclosed within parentheses and inserted in the text at an appropriate point. The citation can also be written into a sentence, with the year of publication enclosed in parentheses, as with the following example:

… “The test of a first-rate intelligence, according to Fitzgerald (1945), is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” …

The citation example happens to be a book, namely, The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and thus there should be a corresponding APA book citation entry in your APA reference page:


Fitzgerald, F. S. (1945). The Crack-Up: Essays, Letters, and Notes. New York: New Directions.

If, for instance, you took the quotation from an online source, such as a website or a database, you need to include an APA website citation,which looks like this:


Fitzgerald, F. S. (1945). The Crack-Up: Essays, Letters, and Notes. Esquire. Retrieved Jun 28, 2012, from

APA Format

The APA format of writing research papers is very simple. This format is used when doing research on any of the branches of social science which include, but are not limited to, sociology, anthropology, behavioral science, and history.

When using the APA format, all you have to remember is that your research paper should have four main parts, namely, the title page, the abstract page, the main body, and the references section.

The APA title page has a several elements in it. These are the title of your paper, your name, the institution you are affiliated with, and the page header or the running head. The title of your research should be in title case, that is, only the important words should have their first letters in uppercase. The title should be placed in the center, but on the upper part of the page. Below it is where you can type in your name. On the third line is where you put the name of the institution or organization you are affiliated with. The running head is located on the upper portion of the page. On the upper left-hand corner is where you type in the title of your paper. Meanwhile, the upper right-hand corner shows the page number. The title of the research paper on the running head should all be in capital letters.

So if the title of your research work is “Flower Power: The Power of Peaceful Resistance,” this would appear in the title page twice: the first as the title (sentence case only) and the second as a running head (in capital letters). It should also appear on all the running heads of your research paper.

Now, like all other articles, your research paper needs an abstract. This is where the abstract page comes in. The APA format prescribes that the abstract page come right after the title page. The abstract is a preview of what your paper contains. If you plan to have your paper published or uploaded on an online database, the abstract will help students and future researchers easily identify if your work will be of value to them. Here, you can give a brief summary of what your paper is all about, the method you used in the research, your participants, and even your thesis statement.

An APA abstract should not exceed more than one page, be between 150-250 words only, and be double-spaced. Everything you want to include in your abstract should be said in only one paragraph. If you need to put some keywords in the abstract page to help other scholars on their search, simply go to a new line, indent it, type in the word “Keywords” in italics, and enter the pertinent terms right after.

The main body is the content of your paper. Keep in mind that the entire body should still contain the running head and the page numbers.

Lastly, the APA format prescribes the preparation of a references page. This is where you will list down all your sources, whether print or online. The elements needed to cite a book in the reference list should have the author’s name, the year when the book was published, the book title in italics and sentence case, the location of the publisher, and the publisher name. An APA format example for this is Harpur, J. (2011). Flower power to union power, 1970s. New York: Reader’s Digest Association.

Another example of a reference material is an online article from a newspaper. For this kind of citation, you need the writer’s name, date when the article was published, article title in sentence case, newspaper name where the article appeared in italics, and URL where it was taken from. Here is the APA format example for this kind of reference material: Montgomery, D. (2007, March 18). Flowers, guns and an iconic snapshot. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

The APA format is piece of cake to master. You only have to remember the four main parts that you need to include in your research paper and you’re all set.

APA Reference Page

In scholarly writing and publishing, especially among high school, collegiate, and graduate students, writing essays and research papers in the social sciences and other health-related fields require the APA format in structuring and organizing the paper, and the APA citation style to document sources and references. Because the aim of a research paper is to present facts and information in a formal, scientific, and scholarly nature, the sources and references that have been used need to be verified and authenticated. This can be achieved by including an APA reference page in your document, which is structured according to the style specifications of the APA format and contains all of the APA citations.
An APA citation is a brief note that gives credit to an original source of an idea or a piece of information that has been used in a research paper to support arguments or statements. A complete APA citation typically includes the name of the author, the title of the work being cited, the publisher, the year of publication, and other relevant bibliographic information to help readers locate the original source. Each citation entry is listed alphabetically in the APA reference page, and is structured with a hanging indent. For example:

Felman, S. (1987). Jacques Lacan: The Adventure of Insight. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Because its purpose is to direct your readers’ attention to other sources of information, the APA reference page should appear at the end of your paper. This page is structured according to the APA format, and it provides all the necessary information for readers to locate and retrieve any source that you have consulted and cited in the body of the paper. As a general rule, each source you cite in the paper must appear in your APA reference page; similarly, each entry in this page must be located in your text.
The APA reference page must begin and be typed on a new, separate page, and must be labeled “References” that is centered at the top of the page using standard capitalization. Just with the rest of the format of your paper, all citation entries must be double spaced. Additionally, all the APA reference page entries should be arranged in alphabetical order, listed chronologically according to the last names of the authors for each source, not by the type or date. Sources that do not have attributed authors must be listed by their titles.

APA Journal Citation

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Most researches use not only books but also journal articles for referencing, thus it is only proper that a researcher knows how to create an APA journal citation in his or her research paper. The APA style is used in researches on sociology, anthropology, development studies, and any other subject related to the social science. The common elements found in an APA journal citation are name of author, year of publication, title of article in sentence case, name of journal in italics, volume number in italics, issue number, and page numbers where the article appeared.


Below is the APA format of how to make an APA journal citation. Examples of actual citations are also provided to make preparing a reference list a breeze.


Type of Reference Material

APA Format

Actual APA References

Journal article with one author Author’s Name, A. (Year of Publication). Article title: Article subtitle. Name of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers. Kwiatkowski, L. (2011). Domestic violence and the “happy family” in northern Vietnam. Anthropology Now, 3(3), 20-28.


*Only the first words in the article title and subtitle are capitalized. However, if there is a proper noun in the article title, it should be capitalized as well, even if it’s not the first word in the title or subtitle.

*Only the initial of the author’s given name is cited.

Journal article with more than one author Author’s Name, A., and Author’s Name, B. (Year of publication). Article title: Article subtitle. Name of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers. Allen, M. S., and Addison, D. (2002). Prehistoric settlement at Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands: Preliminary observations. Archaeology in Oceania, 37(2), 87-91.
Online journal article with assigned DOI (digital object identifier) Author’s Name, A. (Year of publication). Article title: Article subtitle. Name of Journal, volume number, page numbers. doi:#####/######## Thomas, A., and Smith, T. (2010). Fear and loathing in Kansas City: Political harassment and the making of moderates in America’s abortion wars. Anthropology Today, 26(4), 4-7. doi:10.2307/40929038


*A digital object identifier (DOI) is assigned to a journal article since most URLs change over time. With a DOI, there is no more need to include the URL of the article in the citation.

Online journal article with no DOI Author’s Name, A. (Year of publication). Article title: Article subtitle. Name of Journal, volume number. Retrieved from URL Mendonca, M. (2010). Gamelan in prisons in England and Scotland: Narratives of transformation and the “good vibrations” of educational rhetoric. Ethnomusicology, 54. Retrieved from ethnomusicology.54.3.0369


*Take care not to put any punctuation mark after the URL

Online book review in a journal Author’s Name, A. (Year of publication). Title of book review [Review of the book Book title: Book subtitle]. Name of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers. Available from website name: URL Chatterjee, P. (2011). Life without the state [Review of the book The art of not being governed: An anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia]. Anthropology Now, 3(3), 111-114. Available from Jstor:



*If the book review is not freely available online (the researcher needs to subscribe to the database), use “Available from.” If, however, the review can be viewed entirely on the web, use “Retrieved from.”


An APA journal citation is easy to make with With the wealth of information available on the Internet, researchers have no excuse not to make a complete and well-formatted reference list.

APA Website Citation

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Making an APA website citation is particularly tricky. Not only do you have to get the complete details of the material you’ve made as reference, but you also have to make sure that your source is factual and not merely made-up stories. It’s a good thing that there are several websites where you can access online journals which are products of scholarly research. Other online citations that you can include in your reference list are e-books, book reviews, and web articles.


The common elements needed when making an APA website citation is the author’s name, year of publication, document title, and URL where the article was retrieved. Below is a table of how to properly format your references.


Type of Reference Material

APA Format

Appearance in the Reference List

Journal article with only one author Author, A. (Year of publication). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Name of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages where the article appeared. Retrieved from URL Burkhauser, R. V. (2011). Presidential address: Evaluating the questions that alternative policy success measures behavior. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(2), 205-215. Retrieved from


*Note that only the initials of the author’s first name are given and that the title of the article is in sentence case, that is, only the first words in the title and subtitle are capitalized. Be careful that you don’t put any unnecessary punctuation marks after the URL.

Journal article with more than one author Author, A., & Author, B. (Year of publication). Title of article: Subtitle of article. Name of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages where the article appeared. Retrieved from URL Collins, J. M., Lam, K., & Herbert, C. E. (2011). State mortgage foreclosure policies and lender interventions: Impacts on borrower behavior in default. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(2), 216-322. Retrieved from


*The last author is preceded by an ampersand (&).

Journal article with DOI assigned Author, A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), pages where the article appeared. doi:number Foster, D. (2007). Steel magnolias: Labor allies with the environmental movement. New Labor Forum, 16(1), 58-67. doi: 10.2307/40342668


*Ensure that the DOI or digital object identifier is in lowercase and that there are no spaces between the “doi,” “colon,” and “doi number.”

Online book review Author, A. (Year of publication). Title of the review. [Review of the book Book title: Book subtitle]. Journal name, volume number(issue number), pages where the book review appeared. Retrieved from URL Nelson, A. A. (2011). Book reviews. [Review of the books Subprime nation: American power, global capital, and the housing bubble and Animal spirits: How human psychology drives the economy, and why it matters for global capitalism]. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(2), 401-404. Retrieved from


*If the particular journal issue has several reviews written only by one author, then include all the books in one citation.


APA website citation is handy for researchers who have full access to online journals and databases. Since most people now have their own computers and broadband connections, they can simply go online and look for reference materials that they need for their research.

APA Book Citation

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Although previously existing ideas found in books can be mentioned in a research paper, an APA book citation should always be present in the reference list to avoid committing plagiarism. Preparing a reference list ensures that all concepts included in the paper are documented.


The APA has a set of rules to follow when it comes to making an APA book citation. Below are some examples of citations:


Type of Reference Material

APA Format

Appearance in the References List

Book with one author Author, A. (Year). Book title: Book subtitle. Location of Publisher: Publisher. Dettwyler, K. A. (2011). Cultural anthropology and human experience: The feast of life. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.


*Note that the author’s given name are only in initials, the title is in italics, and the only the first words in the main title and subtitle are capitalized.

Book with more than one author Author, A., Author, B., Author, C., & Author, D. (Year). Book title: Book subtitle. Location of Publisher: Publisher. Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., & McDaniel, E. R. (1991). Communication between cultures. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing.


*A book which has more than one author mentions all the authors’ names; an ampersand comes before the last author in the list.

Book which has editors instead of authors Editor, A., & Editor, B. (Eds.). (Year). Book title: Book subtitle. Location of Publisher: Publisher. Spradley, J. P., & McCurdy, D. W. (Eds.). (1971). Conformity and conflict: Readings in cultural anthropology. Boston: Little Brown.


*To distinguish this kind of citation from a book citation with an author, the abbreviation “Eds.” which stands for editors should be placed right after the editors’ names. (If there’s only one editor, then “Ed.” should be the one to appear in the citation.)

Book with author, translator, and editor Author, A. (Year). Book title: Book subtitle (A. Editor/Translator, Ed. & Trans.). Location of Publisher: Publisher. (Original work published yead) De Beauvour, S. (1974). The second sex (H. M. Parshley, Ed. & Trans.). New York: Vintage. (Original work published 1949)
Chapter or article from a book Author of Chapter or Article, A. (Year). Chapter or article title. In A. Editor, & B. Editor (Eds.), Book title: Book subtitle (page numbers). Location of Publisher: Publisher. Sayeed, A. (2002). Chappals and gym shorts: An Indian Muslim woman in the Land of Oz. In D. Hernandez, & E. S. Bushra Rehman (Eds.), Colonize this!: Young women of color on today’s feminism (203-214). Berkeley, California: Seal Press.


*Proper nouns are capitalized despite them being not the first words in the title and subtitle.

Book not in the first edition Author, A. (Year). Book title: Book subtitle (Edition number.). Location of Publisher: Publisher. Miller, B. D. (2010). Cultural anthropology (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Introduction, preface, or foreword from a book Author of introduction, A. (Year.) Introduction. In A. Author, Book title: Book subtitle (page numbers). Location of Publisher: Publisher. Berano, N. K. (2007). Introduction. In A. Lorde, Sister outsider: Essays and speeches (7-11). Berkeley, California: Crossing Press.


*Should the introduction, preface, or foreword have a title, use it in the citation instead.


The reference list appears at the end of the research paper. It can be referred to by readers who want to know more about the sources cited in the research work.

To produce citation automatically, please visit this link.


You may have written the best research paper in the whole world only to be aware that your points had been deducted for incorrectly citing sources. Fortunately, the internet has once again made recent innovations to come rescue you. There are many scattered sites online today that provide assistance in generating proper citations for APA. All you have to do is to put all the information of your source into some form fields and it instantly spits out the appropriate citation for FREE!
Nowadays, there are many useful interactive web tools that we can find in the internet like for an instance, the discovery of APA citation generator which is very helpful not only for students but for teachers and researchers as well. Writing paper works such as research paper, essays, and other scholarly documents is never an easy process; however, with the recent breakthroughs, this task became less stressful. Today, we can find lots of APA citation generator online which help researchers especially students to credit all the vital information properly and what is the best thing about APA generator is that it will perhaps make sure an effortless creation of an APA style and APA format to get an acceptable citation.
In the recent years, many students and researchers are struggling very hard with their research papers. They were obliged to go over the thick books in the library just to find the appropriate APA style and format. Aside from the mere fact that doing so is really a time consuming, the manual process of doing the citation in APA style is very mind-numbing and prone to errors as well. Here are some of the popular APA citation generators that you can find over the net:

-Citation Producer – This site is considered one of the best option for professional researchers and students for the reason that it can possibly allows all individuals to create citations for any type of sources. One rationale why it is being patronized by a lot of users is that the website offers free citation services.

-Landmark’s Son of Citation Machine – Like Citation Producer, this APA citation generator site offers a completely free citation services as well. However, compared to other APA generators, this site is substandard when it comes to some areas of their services.

-North Carolina State University System’s Citation Builder – Just like the two APA citation generators mentioned earlier, this APA generator also offers free services. It also allows citation of the three major writing styles. However, the con for this site is that it requires the user to fill up all the required fields in order to generate a result.

All of these online APA citation generators are indeed huge help especially for students and first time researchers who aren’t that familiar with the APA format writing styles. Aside from the mere fact that they will be saving a lot of time compared to the manual process of doing the citations, they will also have a hundred percent assurance of having an error free citations. Aside from the above mentioned free APA generators, you can find more of these useful citation tools that suit your needs online but you must be very careful in choosing what generator you should use and with the information that you will be providing in order for you to obtain accurate results.


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