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APA Citation Style Guide (7th ed.): Four Elements of a Reference

Four Elements of a Reference

APA, 7th ed., bases its reference on the four elements.  The four reference elements answer four questions:

Author - Who?

Date - When?

Title - What?

Source - Where?

Basic Principles of Reference List Entries

https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/basic-principles

For further information, see pages 283-301 of the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020.

 

Author Types - Who?

Type of Author Format
One author Author, A. A.
Two authors Author, A. A., & Author, B. B.
3-20 authors Author, A. A., Author, B. B. & Author, C. C. 
21 or more authors Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., Author, G. G., Author, H. H., Author, I. I., Author, J. J., Author, K. K., Author, L. L., Author, M. M., Author, N. N., Author, O. O., Author, P. P., Author, Q. Q., Author, R. R., Author, S. S.,...Author, W. W.
Editor Editor, E. E. (Ed.).
Two editors Editor, E. E., & Editor, F. F. (Eds.).
Group author Name of Group.
   

Who is responsible for the work?

Use one space between author initials.

If the author and the publisher are the same, omit the publisher.

If the author can not be determined, move the title of the work to the author position.

For further information on authors, refer to Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020, pp. 286-289.

Date Types - When?

Books - Use the copyright date given on the book's copyright page.

Webpages - Make sure the date applies to the webpage you are citing.  Copyright dates from website footers may not indicate when the content was published.  Use the 'last updated' date if that is relevant to the webpage you are citing.

The date may take one of the following forms depending on the type of item being cited.

  • year only
  • year, month, and day
  • year and month
  • range of dates

While most references use only the year of publication, works published more frequently such as newspapers, include the year, month and day.  For these types of works, put the year first in the following format.

(2020, December 15)

(2020, Summer)

When the publication date is unknown, use (n.d.).

For sources where the content changes frequently, provide a retrieval date.

Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://xxxx

For further information on authors, refer to Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020, pp. 289-291).

Title Types - What?

For works that stand alone such as books, italicize the title.  Use sentence case -Capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle and proper nouns.

 

Rodl, S. (2018).  Self-consciousness and objectivity: An introduction to absolute idealism. Harvard University Press.

 

For works that are part of a greater whole such as articles in journals or edited book chapters, do not italicize the title.

Goor, J., Sools, A. M., Westerhof, G. J., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2020). Wonderful life: Exploring wonder in meaningful moments. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 60(2), 147-167. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167817696837

Use bracketed descriptions to help identify works other than books, articles, reports etc.  Provide a description of the work in square brackets after the title and before the period.

 Russell Brand's definition of God [Video].

For further information on authors, refer to Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020, pp. 291-293).

Source Types - Where?

Periodicals (e.g. journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, blogs etc.)

e.g. Periodical, Volume(issue), page or a range of page

Edited book with chapters or a reference book such as an encyclopedia

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. chapter page numbers). Name of Publisher.

Publishers

e.g. Routlege

  • Do not include Inc., Ltd., or LLC in the publisher name
  • If the work is published by an imprint or division, use the imprint or division as the publisher.
  • If the author and the publisher are the same, omit the publisher from the reference.

Social Media

e.g. Facebook. URL 

Webpages or websites

Website name. URL or Retrieved Month Day, Year, from URL

Conferences

Conference Name, Location. DOI or URL

Databases

Do not include the database name for most research databases.  Provide database or online archive information in a reference only when it is necessary for readers to retrieve the cited work from that exact database or archive...URLs from database or library-provided services usually require a login and/or are session specific, meaning they will not be accessible to most readers and are not suitable to include in a reference ist." (Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020, p. 317)

DOI

e.g. https://doi.org/10/1061/j.jebo.2019.03.023

URL

https://xxx or Retrieved Month Day, Year, from https://xxxx

The retrieval date is only required for online required for online resources that change their content frequently. 

For further information on authors, refer to Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed., 2020, pp. 293-301).