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Citation Style: APA

Important Note

Always check with your instructor on what format specifications to use for a particular class or assignment, especially when citing electronic resources including material found in library databases.

What is APA citation style?

APA citation style is a set of rules created by the American Psychological Association that establishes standards of written communication (college research papers; articles, books and other documents submitted for publication) including:

  • formatting and page layout
  • writing style
  • citing sources

APA citation style is often used in the following classes/fields:

  • Social Sciences, such as Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology
  • Business
  • Nursing

We keep a copy of the manual at the Library Reference Desk at all three Reynolds campuses.

6th Edition Changes

  • If available, use the DOI for online journals
  • If no DOI use the home page URL for the journal rather than the database name. The manual advises that this may necessitate a "quick web search to locate this URL."
  • Retrieval dates are no longer necessary for websites unless the material may change over time (e.g. Wikis).
  • When working on the References list at the end of your paper, if there are eight or moreauthors listed for any resource, include the first six authors' names, then insert three dots and add the last author's name.  The following is an example:

Yoon, P. W., Chen, B., Faucett, A., Clyne, M., Gwinn, M., Lubin, I. M., . . .

Muin, J. (2001) Public health impact of genetic tests at the end of the

20th century. Genetics in Medicine, 3, 405-410.

APA Handouts

You can print these handouts for easy access, if you would like.

Sample APA Papers

Learn More

Web Tutorials

Need a little extra help understanding citations? Try these interactive web tutorials:

Formatting the Hanging Indent

Save time by using Microsoft Word to format the hanging indent:

[1] Select the text you would like to format (you can select your entire list of citations, for example, to format all at once)

[2] From the Home tab in Word, select the arrow next to Paragraph

[3] Next, under Special, select Hanging

[4] Click OK.  Your selected text will now be formatted with a hanging indent.


To see how to format the hanging indent using Google Docs, see this tutorial.

Related Guides


This guide was adapted from the APA Style pages in the Citation Styles Playbook created by Piedmont Virginia Community College Library.