Citation Guide

Basic Overview of APA Style

APA APA Citation Handout (PDF): a four-page quick guide to citing in APA format

Every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s work, you must indicate:

  • who wrote the work
  • what is it called
  • and where we (the reader) can find a copy.

You give us this information in two places:

  1. In the paragraph where you are quoting or paraphrasing. This is called an In Text or Parenthetical Citation because you will put brief information about the work in parentheses. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column.
  2. In the References page at the end of the paper. This is where you put all of the information we need to find a copy of the works you used in your paper. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column. (See the Sample Student Paper on the official APA Style Guide)

Paper Format

The official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines includes a section on Paper Format, which includes information on:

  • Page Headers: For student papers, the page header consists of the page number only. No running head! 
  • Font: Recommended fonts include 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, and 12-point Times New Roman
  • Title Page: Should include the title, author names, author affiliation, course number and name, instructor name, assignment due date, and page number.  Title Page Quick Guide
  • Sample Papers

Formatting the Title Page

For detailed explanation and sample title pages, see the official  APA Style Guidelines Title Page Setup section and Student Title Page Guide (PDF).

The student title page is the first page of your paper and includes:

  • paper title (centered and bolded)
  • author name
  • author affiliation (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College)
  • course number and name
  • instructor name
  • assignment due date

Citations in the Paper's Body

When you quote or paraphrase from a source (book, article, or webpage) in your paper, you need to insert an in-text citation. 

This citation typically consists of the author’s name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

“This is a direct citation” (Chapman, 2019, p. 126).

When paraphrasing the idea in your own words, do not use quotation marks and do not include a page number (Jackson, 1999).

Another option is to use the author’s name in the sentence, followed directly by the year in parentheses, with the page numbers in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

According to Chapman (2019), "This is a direct citation" (p. 216).

Jackson (1999) explains that when paraphrasing the idea in your own words, do not use quotation marks and do not include a page number.


Additional Resources from the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab:


Direct Quoting - When you are using someone else's exact words.

  1. If you are using a quote that is less than 40 words, enclose the quote in quotation marks and add the author’s name** (unless it is already in the sentence), year of publication and page numbers (if there are any) in parentheses.  Place this reference where a pause would occur or at the end of the sentence.  Punctuation marks should be placed after the parenthetical citation. You also will need to add each work from which you cite to your Works Cited page. Here are two examples:
    • The article goes on to say that “People don't do derby just for exercise but usually because it becomes a part of who they are” (Fagundes,  2012, p.1098).

    • Fagundes (2012) believes that roller derby gives participants "a chance to feel like a superstar" (p. 1098).

  2. If you are using a quote that is more than 40 words, do not use quotation marks. Instead, put the quote on a new line and indent the whole block approximately 1/2 inch from the left margin. Keep the quote double-spaced. Remember to add a parenthetical citation and put the work on your Works Cited page.  The parenthetical citation comes after the final punctuation mark. For example:

He asserts the following:

More importantly, though, the notion of competing under derby names was a perfect fit with the recent reimagination of the sport as a punk-rock spectacle that allowed, and encouraged, participants to develop outrageous public personas. The story of derby-name emergence probably has more to do with coincidence and path dependence than with conscious design. Derby pioneer Ivanna S. Pankin’s classic derby name pre-dated her founding of Arizona Roller Derby in 2003. Rather, it was a handle and email address she used as a musician in Phoenix’s punk rock scene. When she publicized her nascent league using the alias Ivanna S. Pankin, and the entire Austin scene was already using skate names, the leagues that popped up in their wake followed suit,33 and the practice of using colorful nicknames has been used by virtually all derby leagues and skaters since. (Fagundes, 2012, pp.1093-1094)

Paraphrasing or Referring to Works - Acknowledging the sources you used in your research.

  • If you mention the author’s name in the paragraph, then just put the date in parentheses.

    Fagundes believes it is hard to pin down when the practice of skating under a pseudonym began (2012).


  • If you do not mention the author’s name, then include the author’s name in parentheses before the date.

    It is hard to pin down when the practice of skating under a pseudonym began (Fagundes, 2012).

Authors' Names in Citations

Author-Date Citation System - Official APA Style and Grammar Guidelines

Two authors

  • Use and between the authors' last names within the text, and use the & in the parentheses.
  • Add the year and page numbers (if there are any). 
  • (Pence & Chapman, 2016, p. 52)

Three or more authors

  • Include the name of only the first author plus “et al.” in every citation. Add the year and page numbers (if there are any).
  • (Emerson et al., 1993, p. 76)

No author

  • Include the title and year of publication. If the title is long (more than 3 words), shorten it.
  • If the title of the work is not italicized in the reference (article, book chapter, page or section on a website), use the first word or two of the source in quotation marks.
  • If the title of the work is italicized in the reference (book, entire website), use the first word or two of the source in italics.
  • For example, if you had an article with the title Practical oral care for people with intellectual disability, the parenthetical citation would look like ("Practical oral," 2014). 

Government Agency as Author

Authors' Names in References

Two to 20 authors: 

  • List by their last names and initials, separated by a comma. Put an & between the final two names.

  • Brooks, K., & Dunn, R.                        

  • Knowles-Carter, B., Carter, B.I., & Carter, S.

21 or more authors: 

  • List by last names and initials; commas separate author names. 

  • Include the first 19 authors’ names, insert an ellipsis ... (but no ampersand), and then add the final author’s name:.

  • 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, Z. Z.. (2018). 

No author:

  • Start with the article title: Practical oral care for people with intellectual disability.

  • or Book title: Evicted: Poverty and profit in the American city. 


According to the APA Style Guide section on Capitalization, "APA Style is a 'down' style, meaning that words are lowercase unless there is specific guidance to capitalize them."  

Here are some basic rules for capitalizing within APA papers:

Diseases, Disorders, Therapies, and More 

  • In general, do not capitalize the names of diseases, treatments, theories, concepts, etc.
  • Do capitalize personal names that appear within these kinds of terms.
  • Examples: lung cancer, art therapy, Alzheimer's disease, Adlerian therapy

Proper Nouns, Trade Names, and Generic Drug Names

  • Capitalize proper nouns, names of racial & ethnic groups, and trade & brand names.
  • Do not capitalize generic drug names.
  • Example: Prozac (trade name) vs fluoxetine (generic name)

When in doubt, ask a librarian or consult the APA Dictionary of Psychology.

No page numbers?

According to the APA Manual (Section 8.28 Written Material Without Page Numbers), you have three main options when quoting sources that do not have page numbers (webpages, eBooks, etc.). Use the option that will best help your reader find the quotation in the source:

Provide a paragraph number; you will probably have to count them manually.

According to the IceBridge Project leader, " in addition to the airborne and satellite measurements, scientists will be out on the ice taking height and density measurements as well" (Gray, 2019, para. 6). Source

Provide a heading or section name.

Medical consensus is that the flu is spread "mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, How Flu Spreads section). Source

Provide an abbreviated heading or section name in quotation marks if the name is too long or unwieldy to cite in full.

Research has shown that an average of 8% of the U.S. population experiences flu symptoms each flu season," with a range of between 3% and 11%, depending on the season" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, "How Many People" section). Source

Citing Specific Source Parts

One of the basic principles for citing is "to cite a specific part of a source" by including "an author–date citation for the work plus information about the specific part."

There are many possible "specific parts" to cite, including pages, paragraphs, sections, chapters, video time stamps, and slide numbers in PowerPoint presentations.

For examples, see Citing Specific Parts of a Source.

Journal Articles

APA recommends providing a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), when it is available. DOIs provide stable, long-lasting links for online articles.

Basic Scholarly Journal Article Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article: Subtitle words. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Example of Scholarly Article with DOI

Nguyen, T. T., Gildengorin, G., & Truong, A. (2007). Factors influencing physicians' screening behavior for liver cancer among high-risk patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(4), 523-526.

Example of Scholarly Article from Library Database with No DOI

Ryan,E., & Redding, R. (2004). A review of mood disorders among juvenile offenders. Psychiatric Services, 55(12), 1397-1407.

Magazine Articles

APA recommends providing a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), when it is available. DOIs provide stable, long-lasting links for online articles.

Basic Magazine Article Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year, Month Day). Title of article: Subtitle words. Title of Magazine, volume number(issue number), pages.

Example of Magazine Article from Library Database with no DOI

Lane, A., & Brody, R. (2019). No laughing matter. New Yorker, 95(41), 65-67.

Example of Magazine Article from Website with DOI

Schaefer, N. K., & Shapiro, B. (2019, September 6). New middle chapter in the story of human evolution. Science, 365(6457), 981-982.

Example of Magazine Article from Website with URL

Hall, M. (2017, March). The faces of Obamacare. Texas Monthly, 45(3), 116-197.

Newspaper Articles

Basic Newspaper Article Format

  • If the newspaper article is from a library database, provide the title of the newspaper and any volume, issue, and/or page numbers that are available for the article. Do not include database information in the reference. If the article does not have volume, issue, or page numbers available, the reference in this case ends with the title of the newspaper.
  • If the newspaper article is from an online newspaper that has a URL that will resolve for readers, include the URL of the article at the end of the reference. If volume, issue, and/or page numbers for the article are missing, omit these elements from the reference.
  • If the article is from a news website (e.g., CNN, HuffPost)—one that does not have an associated daily or weekly newspaper—use the format for a webpage on a news website instead.

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article: Subtitle words. Title of Newspaper, volume number(issue number), pages. 

Examples of Newspaper Article from Library Database 

Seitz, M. J. (2020, June 26).  El Paso's Bishop Mark Seitz: Black lives matter. National Catholic Reporter, 13-16.

Bowles, N. (2019, July 7). Virtual pre-K closes a gap, and exposes it. New York Times, 168(58381) , 1, 15.

Example of Newspaper Article from Website with URL

Glauber, B. (2020, July 30).  DNC convention will meet for just two hours nightly during Milwaukee convention. Green Bay Press Gazette.

Webpage: Individual Author

Basic Format for Webpage or Document on a Government Website: Individual Author

Author, A. A. (Date published or updated).  Title of report or document: Subtitle of report. Organization Namehttp://someurl

What if there's more than one author or no author?


Granath, B. (2016, April 22). Astronaut photography from space helped “discover the Earth”. NASA.

Hoyert, D. L. (2021, March 23). Maternal mortality rates in the United States, 2019. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.


Basic Format for Document or Webpage on an Organization Website

Name of Professional Organization. (Date published or updated). Title of document: Subtitle of document. Publisher if different from group author. http://someurl

American Nurses Association. (2017). Sharps injury prevention.

Government Agencies as Authors

Basic Format on Reference Page

  • Spell out the full name of a group author in the reference list entry, followed by a period.
  • While an abbreviation for the group author can be used in the text (e.g., NIMH for National Institute of Mental Health), do NOT include an abbreviation for a group author in a reference list entry.
  • When numerous layers of government agencies are listed as the author of a work, use the most specific agency as the author in the reference. The names of parent agencies appear after the title as the publisher.

Examples of Documents on a Government Website

Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. (2019, January 8). Heart failure fact sheet. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2019, December 18). NASA’s Webb telescope to search for young brown dwarfs and rogue planets.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2016, December). Cardiac rehabilitation. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. 


Parenthetical Citations for Groups

You are not required to abbreviate the name of a group author, but you can if

  • the abbreviation is well-known,
  • or if it will help avoid cumbersome repetition,
  • or if it will appear at least three times in the paper. 

First Citation

If the group name first appears in the signal phrase in the sentence, include the abbreviation before the year in parentheses, separated with a comma.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2017) provided information on men and depression.

If the group name first appears in a parenthetical citation, include the abbreviation in square brackets, followed by a comma and the year.

Men are less likely to seek treatment for depression (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2017).

Subsequent Citations

The NIMH (2017) also cautions that men may not recognize increased irritability and feelings of aggression as symptoms of depression. 
In addition, men may not recognize increased irritability and feelings of aggression as symptoms of depression (NIMH, 2017).


Basic Book Formats

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of book: Subtitle words. Publisher Name.

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.),  Title of book (pages of chapter). Publisher Name.

Print Book Examples

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2017). Racism without the racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America. Rowman & Littlefield.

Olsen, Y., & Sharfstein, J. M. (2019). The opioid epidemic: What everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press.

Chapter in a Book Examples

Kindler, L. L., & Polomano, R. C. (2017). Pain. In S. L. Lewis, S. R. Dirksen, M. M. Heitkemper, & L. Bucher (Eds.), Medical-surgical nursing (10th ed., pp. 114-139). Elsevier.

Scott, C.L. (2014). Historical perspectives for studying workforce diversity. In M.Y. Byrd (Ed.), Diversity in the workforce: Current issues and emerging trends (pp. 3-33). Routledge.

Edited Book Example

Pedersen, P. B., Lonner, W. J., Draguns, J. G., Trimble, J.E., & Scharrón-del Río, M. R. (Eds.). (2016). Counseling across cultures (7th ed.). Sage.

E-Book Example

If the book comes from a library database and has no DOI, end the reference after the publisher name, just like a print book.

Goodwin, G., & Sachs, G. (2010). Fast facts: Bipolar disorder. Health Press.

For more examples, see the Book/Ebook References section on the APA Style & Grammar Guidelines


Published Dissertation or Thesis

A dissertation or thesis is considered published when it is available from a database such as ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, an institutional repository, or an archive. (Published Dissertation or Thesis References)

Basic Format

Author, A. A. (Date published). Title of dissertation: Subtitle of dissertation [Doctoral dissertation, Name of University]. Name of Repository or Database. url

Author, A. A. (Date published). Title of dissertation: Subtitle of dissertation [Master's thesis, Name of University]. Name of Repository or Database. url


Robinson, G. D. (2019). Promoting persistence among LGBTQ community college students [Doctoral dissertation, Illinois State University]. ISU ReD Repository.

Lindmark, S. A. (2019).. "Watching their souls speak": Interpreting the new music videos of Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter [Master's thesis, UC Irvine]. University of California eScholarship.

Online Videos

YouTube Video Basic Format

Author, A.A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video [Video]. YouTube. http://xxxxx

  • Use the name of the account that uploaded the video as the author.

  • If the user’s real name is not available, include only the screen name, without brackets

  • The capitalization [or lack thereof] in the screen name is in keeping with how it appears online.

  • In text, cite by the author name that appears outside of brackets, whichever one that may be.


YouTube Video Examples

Bozeman Science. (2014, March 10). Integumentary system [Video]. YouTube.

Fox, D. J. [Dr. Daniel Fox]. (2019, February 19). Empathy paradox and borderline personality disorder [Video]. YouTube.


TED Talks

TED Talk from YouTube

  • Follow the YouTube video basic format shown above.

  • List the owner of the YouTube account as the author. In most cases, it will be the TED YouTube account.

  • Credit YouTube as the publisher of the TED Talk and then provide the URL.

TED. (2022, May 10). An Olympic champion's mindset for overcoming fear | Allyson Felix [Video]. YouTube.

TED Talk from the TED website

  • Use the name of the speaker as the author.

  • Include [Video] after the title of the talk.

  • Credit TED Conferences as the publisher of the TED Talk and end with the URL.

Schor, J. (2022, April). The case for the 4-day work week [Video]. TED Conferences.


Films on Demand Video Basic Format

Title of video: Subtitle of video [Video]. (year). Films on Demand. http://xxxxx

Films on Demand Video Examples

Method and madness: In search of science [Video]. (2013). Films on Demand.

Suctioning: Nasotracheal suctioning and monitoring complications [Video]. (2018). Films on Demand.

PowerPoint Slides

PowerPoint Slides Accessed on Blackboard Basic Format

Instructor last name, Initial. (year). Title of PowerPoint presentation [PowerPoint slides]. NWTC Blackboard Learn.

PowerPoint Slides Example

Chapman, J. M. (2019). Overview of citations: What's new with APA [PowerPoint slides]. NWTC Blackboard Learn.


If you want to cite an interview, email, chat, text message or other personal communication, you only need to do so as a parenthetical citation in the body of your paper; you do NOT need to include it in your References.

Use this format for the parenthetical citation:

(P. Malone, personal communication, December 3, 2020).

Oral Teachings of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

APA style does not have an official format to acknowledge Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers as a reference; however, NorQuest College Librarian Lorisia MacLeod and NorQuest College Indigenous Student Centre staff have designed templates to meet this need. While not officially adopted into the APA citation style guide, MacLeod’s templates are supported by many universities and colleges across North America. (source)


Last name, First initial. Nation/Community.  Treaty Territory, if applicable. Where they live if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. personal communication. Month Date, Year.


Cardinal, D. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. personal communication. April 4, 2004.


Template Source: NorQuest College's First Nations and Indigenous Studies Research Guide  (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Formatting a PowerPoint Presentation in APA Style

The APA Publication Manual does not provide specific instructions on how to format a PowerPoint presentation; however, many college libraries recommend the following:

  • Include the same information on your title slide that you would have on a title page. 
  • Include in-text citations for any quote, paraphrase, image, graph, table, data, audio or video file that you use within your presentation. Please note that photographs are considered figures in APA style. See the Figure Setup section of the APA Style & Grammar Guidelines for more information about this.
  • The last slide will be your References List. 
  • “No citation, permission, or copyright attribution is necessary for clip art from programs like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint” (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 346).
  • Do not reproduce images without permission from the creator or owner of the image. See section 12.15 of the APA manual for more information about this.

Slideshow on how to prepare APA Style PowerPoint presentations (Bennett College Library)

How to format a PowerPoint presentation in APA Style (Goodwin College Library)

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