The APA Citation Style

The American Psychological Association (APA) citation is the documentation style recommended for researchers in the behavioral and social sciences including Psychology, Sociology, Education, and Economics. It is also used in fields such as hotel and restaurant management and business.

If you use the APA citation style, use a parenthetical documentation or in-text citation in appropriate places within the paper and use References—not Works Cited—for a list of the sources you referred to. Use a Bibliography page to indicate all sources including non-print and electronic sources.

You will need the following information when you make a list of all your sources:

  • author’s name
  • title of the material
  • publication details (date, publishing company, and place)

For journals, publication details include volume (issue), page numbers, and URL (for online journal). The same formula of who (author), when (date), what (title of work), and where (publication details) applies to other works including artworks, movies, TV/radio programs, documentary, and seminars.

Compiling a Reference List Using APA Style

Always start the list of references on a new page, with the word References centered at the top of the page to indicate the sources you used. If your teacher prefers a Bibliography page, include a list of all the sources and works that you consulted, not just the ones you cited in your paper. Take note of the following formatting guidelines for your reference list:

Format Guidelines
Listing Arrange the list alphabetically by the author’s surname, followed by his/her initials.
One author, several works For several works written by the same author, arrange the year of publication starting with the most recent.
Several authors, one publication If a publication has more than seven authors, list the first six authors followed by an ellipsis (…), then the last author name without using the customary ampersand (&).
Spacing Double-space all entries.
Capitalization Capitalize proper names and the first word in each title, and the first word after a colon or dash.
Indentation Use hanging indent—flush left margin for the first line, then indent the second and succeeding lines five spaces from the left.


Documenting your source allows readers to trace tne source of your ideas and information.

Electronic Sources

The APA style follows the who, what, when and where sequence when citing information from the Internet, as well as for electronic versions of books and periodicals. APA guidelines recommend using the DOT (digital object identifier) which you may copy and paste for accuracy. In cases when the DOT is cited, you don’t need additional retrieval information such as the URL (Universal Retrieval Locator) and the retrieval date.

In cases when the DOT is not available, include the journal or book publisher’s home page URL, preceded by “Retrieved from.” The essential details include:

  • the document title or description
  • date (date of publication, date of retrieval)
  • the URL
  • the author’s name, if it is specified


The exact date of retrieval is important because the content may be revised or even removed at any time. In some cases, when the author’s name is not indicated, go by the title of the article and alphabetize this in the reference list. For electronic sources without publication date, indicate “n.d.” in parenthesis.

Here are some examples:


An e-book version of a print book:

Conrad, J. (2000). The heart of darkness. [ Reader version]. Retrieved from

An e-book without a printed version:

Eden, C. (n.d.) Bound by blood. Retrieved from book/show/11042027-bound-by-blood

Online Journal or Newspaper

An article in an online journal with DOI:

Emmanuel, R. (2011). Critical concerns for oral communication education in Alabama and beyond. Education Research International, 5(1), 67-73. http://

An article in an online newspaper without an author:

English and Philippine education. (2013). Retrieved from english-and-philippine-education-the-good-and-the-bad/

Social Media


Hunt, G. ( 2017, December 19). Creating your ideal family culture. [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Ubaria, M. (2018, January 27) Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace. [Facebook post]. posts/10T010D13


Nishi, N. (2016, June 29). Concept paper. Retrieved from–z0mW8G1x90


Woodall, B. (2018, February 15). Multiple people injured, one fatality as shooter attacks Far high school [Tweet]. Retrieved from http://www.gmanetwork.cominews/news/world/643433

Other Sources

The guidelines for compiling a Reference list for other sources such as non-printed sources follow the who, when, what, and where format. Take note of the following examples:

Information Service

Quesada, S. (2007). The role of libraries in providing services to adults learning English. (Report No. EDO-LE-91-03). Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (ERIC Document No. ED334868)

Government Document

National Statistics Office. (2000). Language or dialect generally spoken in the households (Report No. 2-20C). Sta. Mesa, Mla: National Statistics Office.

Film, Videotape, Performance, or Artwork

Indicate the medium such as film, videotape, stage play or artwork (painting or sculpture) in brackets after the title of the source material. If possible, include the name and address of the distributor.

Colby, R. (Producer) & Kaplan, B. (Director). Almost a woman [Film]. (Available from ALT Films, Paramount Pictures)

Cassette Recording

Wall, A. (Speaker). (2005). Say it naturally —level 2 (MC Library ACR 420.34) Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

TV Broadcast and TV Series

Madrigal, J. (Producer). (2008, June 7). Philippine agenda: edukasyon [Television broadcast]. Philippines: GMA Broadcasting.

Winfrey, 0. (Producer). (2008). Oprah [Television series]. USA: CBS Television.

Unpublished Paper Presented at a Meeting or Conference

Maximo, A.C. (2008, May 7). English and the Internet: The Philippine Case. Paper presented at the 3rd ELT Conference, UP Diliman.

Conference Proceedings

Chua, W. (2003). Personal records. Proceedings of the Conference on Visioning Attitude to Violence in Asia Pacific. USA, 89-95.

In-text Citation APA Style

In-text citations using the APA format follow the author, year, page number sequence. Depending on how your statement is structured, these details should be present in appropriate places in the parentheses. In the APA style, a comma is placed to separate the items inside the parentheses, and the word page is abbreviated as either “p.” or “pp.” depending on whether you are citing a single page or multiple pages. Take note of the following examples:

Marquez (2016, p. 35) cites the advantage of e-books over traditional books.

Marquez (2016) cites the advantage of e-books over traditional books, claiming that “portability and manipulability are key features of e-books” (p.35).


When you cite sources properly, you are contributing to the collective construction of academic knowledge.

You can get more updated information about citing sources using APA style from the APA web site at <>.