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APA 7th Edition Style Guide


This page and subpages cover APA chapters 9 & 10.

A reference list is a list of everything that was cited in the paper. Reference lists usually have headings such as: References, Cited Works, Literature Cited, or more rarely Bibliography. In contrast, a list of on-topic readings the author feels the reader might benefit from are often given headings such as Further Reading or Suggested Texts. So be sure you only put references in the reference list that were actually used in the paper itself and that has an associated in-line reference. 

4 elements of citations

Citations have 4 components:

  • Author(s)
  • Date
  • Title
  • Source


The full citation, with each component differentiated by color and defined below for the typical periodical citation:

Umberson, D., & Thomeer, M.B. (2020). Family matters: research on family ties and health, 2010 to 2020. Journal of Marriage & Family, 82(1), 404-419.


**** citations in the 7th edition of APA use hanging indents. This is where all lines of a citation following the first are indented.



Author(s) name is listed here. There are limits on how many authors are listed (20). Author names do not have to be individuals but could be organizations or institutions (see author page for more information). 


Usually the date will just include the year of publication. However, this is not always the case and is dependent on the publication type. (e.g., websites use day of publication if available).


In this example the title is the title of the journal article. In other cases the title may be a book chapter (a book title is not the title to use if you are citing the chapter of a book), a webpage, etc...



In this example the source is the name of the journal because that is where the article is found, or contained, within. The source of a citation is the larger "container" unit. Source is usually a periodical (e.g., Journal of Ecology, Feminist Studies, National Geographic), a book title, or a website.

Reference list versus in-line reference.

The reference section lists the full references at the end of a paper. The "in-line" citation (Umberson & Thomeer, 2020) is the short citation that is written in the text at the point that the reference was used, as in my example of this sentence.


Umberson, D., & Thomeer, M.B. (2020). Family matters: research on family ties and health, 2010 to 2020. Journal of Marriage & Family, 82(1), 404-419.


The above reference is a simple and straightforward citation to write. However, there are many variations to the journal citation. I cover some of the most common below. Other tabs show variations to each of the 4 main components. 



Examples of serials include:

  • scholarly, peer-reviewed journals
  • popular magazines
  • some u.s. government publications
  • trade publications
  • newspapers

3 journal article example citations using the APA 7th edition:

Chen, C., Chen, H.Y.H., Chen, X., & Koricheva, J. (2020). Functional diversity enhances, but exploitative traits reduce tree mixture effects on microbial biomass. Functional Ecology, 34(1), 276-286.

Myles, B., Hackett, S., Masson, H., & Phillips, J. (2019). The disrupted sociologies of young people with harmful sexual behaviours. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 25(2), 177-192.  

Nguyen, H.B., Loughead, J., Lipner, E., Hantsoo, L., Kornfield, S.L., & Epperson, C.N. (2019). What has sex got to do with it? The role of hormones in the transgender brain. Neuropsychoplarmacology, 44, 22-37. 


In these examples, we have the authors last name, comma, first and middle initials and year of the publication in parentheses followed by a period. Then we have a space and the title of the article. Then we have a space and the title of the journal with a comma, then we have a space and we have the volume the article was published in, and then the issue in parentheses (some journals do not have issue numbers, in which case this can be omitted), then we have a comma and the page numbers that that the article is in. 


Two newspaper article example citations using the APA 7th edition:

Author: Andrew Jacobs

Date: February 12, 2020

Title: Sugary drink consumption plunges in Chile after new food law.

Source: The New York Times,

Jacobs, A. (2020, February 12). Sugary drink consumption in Chile after new food law. New York Times.



Citing a "website" be sure you are choosing the correct type of citation. Many publication types are available online yet not considered "websites".  A few examples of which might be a journal article that is published online, an e-book, a thesis or dissertation, etc... A webpage has to be the "top most" publication source type for this to be used. If there is confusion feel free to ask for clarification. 


Department of Human Development and Family Studies (n.d.). Early childhood education. Iowa State University.

Author: Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Date: (n.d.).​

Title of Webpage: Early childhood education

Website: Iowa State University


In the above example there is "no date" (i.e, n.d.). There is a general copyright date on this page. However, this is not the date to use as this page could have been updated since the copyright was put into place. Because there is no indicator of a date of last update, then we do not give this webpage citation a date. For no date, we use: (n.d.) in lowercase.

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Books & Book Chapters

Book in Print only

Rogers, S.O. & Castello, J.D. (2020). Defrosting Ancient Microbes: emerging genomes in a warmer world. CRC Press.

Book e-book, or print but e-book is available

Book Chapter

Ardern, Z.N. & Goddard, M.R. (2015). Investigating trade-offs in sexual populations with gene flow. In Pontarotti, P. (Ed.), Evolutionary Biology: Biodiversification from Genotype to Phenotype (pp. 245-262). Springer