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Citing Sources Research Guide

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This website will help you understand plagiarism and how to prevent plagiarism in your writing.  It includes videos and articles.

Basics of APA Citation

Basics of APA Citation

Core Elements for Journal Articles Core Elements for Books Core Elements for Electronic Sources
Author(s) Author(s) Author(s)
Year of publication Year of publication Date of publication
Article title Title of Book Title of page
Journal title Publisher name Website name
Volume & issue information URL
Page numbers
Retrieval Information (hyperlink or DOI)    

In-text citations: (author, date) format

In-text Citations: (Author, Date) Format

APA uses the author, date format for in-text citations.  Please see below for examples with one author, two authors, and three or more authors.

One author:

An in-text citation for a work with one author consists of the last name and year of publication (Author, date):

The characters of Billy Parham and John Grady Cole represent the bridge between the traditional mythology of the American West and the cruelty of its reality (McCarthy, 1998).

Two authors:

An in-text citation for a work with two authors consists of the last names of both authors separated by an ampersand and the year of publication (Author 1 & Author 2, date):

The study showed that telemedicine can be helpful to deliver services to MS patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (Alnajashi & Jabbad, 2020).

Three or more authors:

An in-text citation for a work with three or more authors consists of the first author's last name followed by et al., and the year of publication (Author 1 et al., date):

The research showed that children exposed to trauma at an early age had more positive adolescent outcomes with research based, early interventions (Sanders et al., 2020).

Short Quotation:

APA uses quotations around the sentence, and the (Author, date, p. #) citation format for short quotations within the text.

“Those who cannot see must rely upon what has gone before” (McCarthy, 1998, p. 10).

Block Quotation:

Quotations that are 40 or more words long are called block quotations. Quotation marks are not used with block quotations and the quote will start on a new line with a 0.5 indent from the left margin. The block quotation will be double spaced like the rest of the paper. The in-text citation will follow the last word of the quote after the punctuation. (Author, date, p. #)


The relationship of the Tsar to the Russian peasantry is described as follows:

In the mind of the ordinary peasant the Tsar was not just a kingly ruler but a god on earth. He thought of him as a father-figure who knew all the peasants personally by name, understood their problems in all their minute details, and, if it were not for the evil boyars who surrounded him, would satisfy their demands. (Figis, 1996, p. 103)

Reference list examples

Reference List Citation Examples:

Book-one author:

A reference list entry with one author is formatted with the last name and author's initials:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of book. Publisher.

McCarthy, C. (1998). Cities of the plain. Alfred A. Knopf.

Journal article-two authors:

A reference list entry with two authors is formatted with first author's last name, initials., followed by ampersand second author's last name, initials:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Article title. Journal Title, Vol.#(Issue #), page #s. DOI **if available**

Alnajashi, H., & Jabbad, R. (2020). Behavioral practices of patients with Multiple Sclerosis during Covid-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE, 15(10), 1-11.

Journal Article-three to twenty authors:

A reference list entry with three to twenty authors is formatted by last name, initials, and an ampersand before the last name of the final author:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., & Author, D. D. (Year of Publication). Article title. Journal Title, Vol.#(Issue #), page #s. DOI **if available**

Sanders, M. T., Welsh, J. A., Bierman, K. L., & Heinrichs, B. S. (2020). Promoting resilience: A preschool intervention enhances the adolescent adjustment of children exposed to early adversity. School Psychology, 35(5), 285–298.

See the NCC Libraries & Learning Center's APA Citation handout at the top of this guide for more in-depth information on APA in-text citations and examples of reference list entries.

APA Publication Manual

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: The Official Guide to APA Style

Find the complete APA Publication Manual in the library collections.