APA Citations: Getting Started

Guidelines and examples for citing research sources using APA format. Also includes information on citation generators.

Coming Soon!

APA 7 Citations Guide is also available as a separate guide!

Both guides shall be available concurrenty for a few semesters, starting Summer 2020.  

In late 2019, the American Psychological Association published the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

This newest edition includes several changes, revisions, and updates and we are diligently working to create an updated APA Citations guide which clearly demonstrates what's new. Learn more about APA Style at the APA website.

Columbus State's library holds copies of the 7th edition.  

Click on 7th edition to locate a copy.


Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. If you do it deliberately, it is considered cheating. If caught, students could face penalties up to and including expulsion from the college.  Columbus State Community College addresses plagiarism in the Student Code of Conduct, Academic Misconduct, Policy No. 7-10. Plagiarism is:

  • Submitting an assignment purporting to be the student's original work which has been wholly or partly created by another person.
  • Presenting as one's own the ideas, organization, or wording of another person without acknowledgment of sources.
  • Knowingly permitting one's own work to be submitted by another student as if it were the student's own.

Students can accidentally plagiarize when they fail to cite their sources accurately or misplace them in the document.

What's in This Guide

This guide will help you learn how to cite sources in APA format.
Specifically, you will learn to:

  • Cite sources for the Reference List
  • Create in-text citations in the body of your paper
  • Format your research paper
  • Cite legal sources and government documents
  • Evaluate and use citation generators


What is a Citation?

When you write a research paper, you will read research that others have performed before you. You need to mention (or cite), the sources that you used. At the end of the paper, you will create a list of those sources in alphabetical order. In APA format, the list is called a Reference List;  Sometimes, this list is referred to as a Bibliography.

Why Cite Sources?

  • To give credit to the original author. If you quote or paraphrase someone else's words or ideas, you must cite the source.
    • A quotation uses the exact words of the author.
    • A paraphrase accurately states all the relevant information from a passage in your own words and sentence structures.
  • To allow readers to locate and explore the sources you used in your research
  • To avoid plagiarism..

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.

Citation examples in this guide are based on:




APAStyle.org is a must-have site to use in conjunction with the APA Manual. Sponsored by the American Psychological Association, it is a dynamic site that answers hundreds of questions about APA Style and is constantly updated. The APA Style Blog is especially useful.

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