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Citing Bibliographic Sources: APA: Home

An introduction to the most popular guide for the social sciences.


  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (Malpass Reserve, Malpass Reference Desk, WIU Quad Cities Library Reference) BF76.7 .P83 2020


The format defined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition (APA Manual) uses author-date references in the text and a reference list at the end.

Text references are used in two ways:

  • as parenthetical citations: The current results indicate that social media can be a very powerful tool for motivating behavior (Carpenter & Amaravadi, 2019).
  • as narrative citations: Carpenter and Amaravadi (2019) examined data obtained from users of a social media website and mobile app that focuses on physical activity.

Note that the type of citation affects the format and punctuation you use! See more examples starting on p. 261 of the APA Manual.

The bibliography at the end of the paper is called a reference list, arranged alphabetically by author. If there is no author, alphabetize by the first significant word in the title. Table 9.1 (p. 284) explains what to do when other data elements are missing.



Prepared by John Stierman, updated by Jeanne Stierman (Fall 2021)

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