Citing References in a Bibliography

The following guidelines for the construction of a reference list and the use of citations in text are based on the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. For instructions on formatting the body of a paper, refer to the Publication Manual. For online help, consult The Basics of APA Style tutorial, or other guides on the APA website.

Reference List / Works Cited

The reference list is usually arranged alphabetically by author's last name, with anonymous works arranged by the first significant word in the title. In authors’ names, initials are used for first and middle names. Note that in the title and subtitle (if any) of books, only the first word and any proper nouns are capitalized. Significant words in periodical titles are all capitalized. Double-space all reference entries, and indent the second line of each entry five spaces. For help in citing electronic formats, refer to pp. 187-192 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010).


The general form for any non-periodical publication is as follows:


Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Location: Publisher.


One author/editor

Rice, J. L. (1993). Freud's Russia: National identity in the evolution of psychoanalysis. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Two to seven authors/editors

Adey, P., & Shayer, M. (Eds.). (1994). Really raising standards: Cognitive intervention & academic achievement. London, England: Routledge.

Eight or more authors

List first six authors,...last author. (e.g., Author, A. A., Author, B., Author, C., Author, D., Author, E. E., Author, F.,...Last, L.)

Corporate author

American Psychiatric Association. (1993). (3rd ed., rev.). Diagnostic & statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-III-R. Washington, DC : American Psychiatric Association.

No author identified

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (1993). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Chapter / Essay in an edited work

Shantz, C. V. (1993). Children's conflicts: Representations & lesson. In R. R. Cocking & K. A. Renninger (Eds.), The development & meaning of psychological distance. (pp. 185-202). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Electronic version of a printed book Vogel, C. G. (1999). Legends of landforms: Native American lore and the geology of the land [Adobe Reader version]. Retrieved from http://www.netlibrary.com/

Reference Works

Signed article

Franklin, M. N. (1995). Voting behavior. In The encyclopedia of democracy. (Vol. IV, pp. 1346-1353). Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly.

Unsigned article

Mineral water. (2000). In The encyclopedia Americana of democracy. (Vol. 19, p. 159). Danbury, CT: Grolier.

Periodical Articles

The general form for periodicals differs from the form for books and other print media. Follow this format:


Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, xx, xxx-xx.

The xx refers to the volume number (which is always in italics) and xxx-xxx are the page numbers. If there is an issue number, include that in parentheses (and not in italics) directly after the volume number.



Carey, G., & DiLalla, D. L. (1994). Personality & psycho- pathology: Genetic perspectives. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103(1), 32-43.

Journal, two to seven authors

Mellet, E., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Bricogne, S., Mazoyer, B., Kosslyn, S. M., & Denis, M. (2000). Function anatomy of high-resolution visual mental imagery. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 12(1), 98-109.

Eight or more authors

List 1st six authors,...then last author, as for non-periodical works.


Smith, B. L. (1994, October 30). Biofeedback. Science, 262, 673-674.


Hicks, J. P. (2003, June 5). Revisions urged for campaign finance rules. The New York Times, p. B9.

Online newspaper article Becker, E. (2001, August 27). Prairie farmers reap conservation's rewards. The New York Times . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Miscellaneous Print and Non-Print Sources

Published interviews

Archer, N. (1993). [Interview with Helen Burns, author of Sense and Perception]. Journal of Sensory Studies, 21, 211-216.

Films / videos

Scorsese, M. (Producer), & Lonergan, K. (Writer / Director). (2000). You can count on me [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

Online videos University of Chicago. (2007, December 12). European cartographers and the Ottoman world, 1500--1750 [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xax5d4IKqrQ

Government Publications


United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Children, Youth, & Families. (1988). Parents, the missing link in education reform: Hearing before the Select Committee on Children, Youth, & Families. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

ERIC Documents

Journal articles with a print equivalent that are retrieved from ERIC should be cited as a print document. (See Journal example above.) An ERIC document that is informally published or self-archived is cited as followed:

ERIC document informally published

Kubota, K. (2007). "Soaking" model for learning: Analyzing Japanese learning/teaching process from a socio-historical perspective. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED498566)

Internet and Online Sources

Citing Internet resources accurately can be tricky given that there are so many different types of web-based documents used in research. For a detailed explanation of how to cite electronic media, consult the Publication Manual of the APA, or refer to Electronic Sources and Locator Information.

APA style suggests the use of a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for print and online citations, if one has been assigned to the document, to identify the location of the electronic material. A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by publishers, and provides a persistent link to the online location of electronic sources. If a DOI is not available, use a "Retrieved from" statement with the URL. Do not place a period after the DOI or the URL. DOIs are sometimes assigned to print and non-print versions; books and journal articles.

Web Page

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of work. Retrieved from URL of web page.

Online journal with DOI

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number, pages. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxx


Web page

Willet, P. (Ed.) (2003, April 24). Victorian women writers’ project. Retrieved from http://www.indiana .edu/~letrs/vwwp/

Online journal with DOI Brownlie, D. Toward effective poster presentations: An annotated bibliography. European Journal of Marketing, 41 (11/12), 1245-1283. doi:10.1108/03090560710821161

Online journal with no DOI and no print equivalent

Fredrickson, B. L. (2000, March 7). Cultivating positive emotions to optimize health and well being. Prevention & Treatment, 3, Article 0001a. Retrieved from http:// journals.apa.org/prevention/volume3/pre003000/a.html

Online journal with print equivalent*

VandenBos, G., Knapp, S., & Doe, J. (2001). Role of reference elements in the selection of resources by psychology undergraduates. Journal of Bibliographic Research, 5, 117-123.

Presentation slides Clumpner, K. E. (2007, April). Interdisciplinary blog for liaisons [PowerPoint slides]. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians, Wisconsin Dells, WI. Retrieved from http://www.wla.lib.wi.us/waal/conferences/2007/postconference/ clumpner.pdf

*If the article appears as a printed version as well, the URL is not necessary. If the online version is different from the print format or includes data or commentary not part of the original article, use "Electronic version" in brackets after the title of the article.

All references begin with the same information that would be provided for a printed source (or as much of the information as is available). If no publication date is available for a document, use "n.d." (for "no date") in its place. The Web information is then placed in a retrieval statement at the end of the reference. It is not necessary to give a retrieval date unless the material is likely to change, as in a Wiki.

Citing Articles and Abstracts from Electronic Databases

If you retrieved an article from an online database from the library, for example, it is not necessary to include a retrieval date or the title of the database. Include the database home URL, however, for an archival document from a discontinued publication that would be difficult to find. Some examples are http://www.jstor.org or http://search.ebscohost.com.

Electronic Databases

Full text articles from online databases

Christian, D. (2000). Silk roads or steppe roads? The silk roads in world history [Electronic version]. Journal of World History, 11(1), 1-26.


Eichel, O. R. (1922). The long-time cycles of pandemic influenza . Journal of the American Statistical Association, 18(140). Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/


Hanlon, M. M., & Cantrell, R. J. (1999). Teaching a learning disabled adult to spell: Is it ever too late? Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 43(1), 4-11.

Online newspaper

Hilts, P. J. (1999, February 16). In forecasting their emotions, most people flunk out. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Reference Citations in Text

Citation documentation in the APA style uses the author-date method in parentheses in the text of your paper to allow the reader to locate the source in your reference list. Besides direct quotes, references to a particular work or to someone else's ideas must be identified by a parenthetical reference. Include page number(s) when referencing a direct quote or when referring to a specific portion of text.


One author / editor

"... the issue of identity grew" (Rice, 1993, p. 13).

Two authors / editors

Both Adey and Shayer (1994) developed theories...

(For 3-5 authors cite all authors the first time the reference occurs. Use one author plus "et al." after that.)

Six or more authors / editors

"... as illustrated in chapter one (Conquest et al., 1984, pp. 3-5)

Corporate author*

The American Psychiatric Association recommends...(1993).

Chapter / Essay in an edited work

(Shantz, 1993)

No author identified

Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (1993)

*For subsequent use of a corporate author, use an abbreviation, e.g., (APA, 1993).

Reference Works

Signed article

(Tignor, 1993)

Unsigned article

("Mozart," 1991)

Periodical Articles


(Carey & DiLalla, 1993)

Journal, six or more authors

(Mellet, et al., 2000)


(Evitt, 1993)


("Snapple plan," 1994)

Government Documents

(United States Congress, Select Committee on Children, Youth & Families, 1988)

Note: It is better to include a long name in the text to avoid interrupting the reader with an extended parenthetical reference.

ERIC Documents

...as detailed by the pattern scores (Goffredson, 1980, p. 5)

Electronic and Online Sources

For information on citing references within text, refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. To cite specific parts of a Web document, indicate the chapter, figure, table, or equation as appropriate.

For direct quotations of online material, give page the author, year, and page number(s) or paragraph numbers if they are available. For example:

As Myers (2000) aptly phrased it, "positive emotions are both an end - better to live fulfilled with joy [and other positive emotions] - and a means to a more caring and healthy society" (para. 5).

If page or paragraph numbers are not available (i.e., they are not visible to every reader), they can be omitted from the in-text citation. With most browsers, readers will still be able to search for the quoted material.

These are only a few examples for types of sources. Include as much information in your reference citation as you think is necessary so that the source and be retrieved. Here is a list of links to other helpful information about APA style:

This page is based on a web site maintained by Carol Anne Germain at the University at Albany.