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Evidence-Based Nursing

Reference Librarian

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library@reynolds.edu

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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.

  • References page is a list of fully referenced citations used when writing a paper.
  • Authors are listed by last name and first and middle initial/s (e.g., Brown, J.E.). For a work with up to 20 authors, include all of the names in the reference. When the work has 21 or more authors, include only the first 19 names.
  • Year of publication follows author name/s.
  • In text citations must include author's last name and year of publication in parentheses - example: (Williams, 2009). If page numbers are available include the page/s where you took a direct quote or paraphrased. Use p. for one page and pp. for a page range - example: (Williams, 2009, pp. 32-33).
  • Book titles are formatted in italics; capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the title, subtitle and any proper nouns in the title. Acronyms in a title should be in all caps (e.g., Brewing justice: Fair trade coffee, sustainability, and survival).
  • Journal titles are also formatted in italics. Capitalize the first letter of each significant word in the journal title (e.g., New England Journal of Medicine).
  • Titles from journal articles and book chapters - capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the title, subtitle and any proper nouns in the title. Acronyms in a title should be in all caps (e.g., A descriptive review of ADHD coaching research: Implications for college students).
  • Resources found in a library database: Do not list the database name, the database URL or the access date. Resources should be treated as print works except for journal articles that include a DOI number.
  • DOI or URL - use the DOI number if available. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a string of numbers, letters and symbols used to identify a specific article and link to the article citation on the web. While a URL (web address) might change, a DOI number will never change (e.g., https://doi.org/10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0021). If a journal, magazine or newspaper is found on the open web (not a library database) and there is no DOI number, include the URL (e.g., https://www.ahead.org/professional-resources/publications/jped/archived-jped/jped-volume-31). When entering full citations in your References list, do not include periods at the end of a DOI number or a URL.

Formatting changes:

  • New guidelines for formatting student papers
  • More options for choosing a font size and style (other than Times New Roman 12) as long as the fonts are legible and widely available
  • One space after sentence period
  • More quotations will be used rather than italicizing words
  • In-text citations – if a source was written by 3 or more authors, you can use et al.

More Citation examples:

  • The new manual includes more citation examples that include classroom material, Intranet sources, and social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Resources found in the library databases:

  • Continue to use the DOI URL for journal articles that include a DOI #. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a string of numbers, letters and symbols used to identify a specific article and link to the article citation on the web. While a URL (web address) might change, a DOI number will never change (e.g., https://doi.org/10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0021).
  • Journal articles without a DOI # including eBooks, magazine and newspaper articles found in a library database should be treated as print works. Do not list the database name, the database or publisher's homepage URL, or the access date. Only include database information in the reference if the source comes from a database that publishes original, proprietary content, such as UpToDate. For an explanation of this change, click here.
  • . If a journal, magazine or newspaper is found on the open web (not a library database) and there is no DOI number, include the URL (e.g., https://www.ahead.org/professional-resources/publications/jped/archived-jped/jped-volume-31). When entering full citations in your References list, do not include periods at the end of a DOI number or a URL.

Hyperlinks/URLs:

  • Present both DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks (i.e., beginning with https: (e.g., https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000185). 
  • Because a hyperlink leads readers directly to the resource (citation only or citation and full text), it is no longer necessary to include the words “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” before a DOI or URL.
  • It is acceptable to use either the default display settings for hyperlinks in your word-processing program (e.g., usually blue font, underlined) or plain text that is not underlined.
  • Leave links live if the work is to be published or read online.
  • For more information on DOIs, URLs and hyperlinks, click here.

Publisher information:

  • Publisher location is no longer necessary (same as MLA guidelines).

Student papers in APA style require the following:

  • Simplified title page (link to example above)
  • Page numbers
  • Reference list

Not required for student papers (unless required by your instructor):

  • Running head
  • Author note
  • Abstract

General formatting guidelines:

  • The citations list is called References (when you only have one citation on the list, the list should be labeled Reference)
  • Reference list entries are alphabetized by author's last name. If there is no author, the entry is alphabetized by title.
  • Entries are double spaced.
  • The first line of an entry is set against the left margin. Subsequent lines are indented using the hanging indent format.
  • For journal articles that include a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), the DOI is formatted as a URL, with the prefix https://doi.org/ followed by the DOI number. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is a string of numbers, letters and symbols used to identify a specific article and link to the article citation on the web. While a URL (web address) might change, a DOI number will never change (e.g., https://doi.org/10.1044/2015_AJA-15-0021). If a journal, magazine or newspaper is found on the open web (not a library database) and there is no DOI number, include the URL (e.g., https://www.ahead.org/professional-resources/publications/jped/archive

Hanging indents:

Microsoft Word instructions:

  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 small arrow next to the Paragraph menu
  3. Next, under the Special, menu select Hanging then click OK
  4. Your selected text will now be formatted with a hanging indent.

Google Docs instructions:

  1. Select the text you want to format in hanging indent style
  2. Click on the Format menu
  3. When the Format menu appears, click on Align & indent
  4. When a submenu appears, click on Indentation options
  5. Under Special indent, select Hanging then click Apply

Though not labeled as such, APA citations are composed of 4 core elementswho, when, what, where.

who -- author field

when -- date field (in parentheses)

what -- title of the source

where -- where the source lives

Example:

Anderson, A. K. (2005). Affective influences on the attentional dynamics supporting awareness. Journal of  Experimental Psychology: General, 154, 258-281. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.134.2.258

Who = Anderson, A. K.

When = (2005)

What = Affective influences on the attentional dynamics supporting awareness.

Where = Journal of  Experimental Psychology: General, 154, 258-281. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.134.2.258

Image taken from the APA Referencing 7th Edition guide is used with permission from the University Library, The University of Notre Dame, Australia.

Video created by Bob Hoffman from the School of Education, The University of Notre Dame Austrailia.

Important Note

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

Credit

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