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APA Citation Style

Learn the basics of APA style, as well as the tough stuff!

What does an APA citation include?

There are two parts to every APA citation:

  • an in-text reference in brackets, which occurs directly after every instance in which a source is quoted or paraphrased, and
  • a complete citation, occurring in an alphabetized reference list at the end of your paper.

In-Text Citations

These show the last name of the author(s) followed by the publication date: (Jones, 2012). In rare instances, such as when the work has no author, the title will be used in its stead. See this page for more detailed information on formatting in-text citations.

Reference List Entries

In general, your reference list includes information on the sources you've used:

  • author names
  • titles,
  • editors, and
  • publication information.
  • Electronic works will also include web access information, such as a DOI or a URL. The rest of this guide contains information on how to format reference list entries for a variety of sources.

Putting it Together 

Check out the Purdue OWL site to see a sample paper written in APA citation style

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