APA 7 Citations: Getting Started

This guide replaces the APA Citations guide for the 6th edition.

What You'll Discover in this Guide


The APA Style website answers hundreds of questions about APA Style and citation format, including how to format your paper.

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See the APA's Style and Grammar Guidelines!

Here's a Reference Quick Guide, APA Style 7th Edition.

Why Do We Cite Sources?

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:
    • quotation uses the exact words of the author.
    • 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, 7th ed.

What are the 4 Key Elements of a Reference?

According to APA Style, there are 4 key parts of a reference:

  1. AuthorWho is responsible for this work? Could be one or more individuals, or it could be a group or organization (a hospital, government agency, or business).

  2. Date: When was this work published? Use "n.d." if publication date or last updated date is unavailable.

  3. Title: What is this work called? Note the difference between "stand alone" works (book, journal, feature film, TV series, artwork, podcast or YouTube video) and works that "are part of a greater whole" (chapter in a book, article from a journal, song from an album, TV episode, or podcast episode).

  4. SourceWhere can I retrieve this work? (depends on the document type).

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