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Citing Sources: APA Citation Examples

  • Citing Sources Overview
  • Citing in the Sciences & Engineering
  • APA Citation Examples
  • Chicago Citation Examples
  • Biologists: Council of Science Editors (CSE) Examples
  • MLA Citation Examples
  • Bluebook - Legal Citation
  • Citing Orally in Speeches
  • Citation Managers

APA Citations

  • Periodicals

Basic Format for a Book:

Reference List: Authors' Last name, First Initial. (Year). Book title: Subtitle. (Edition) [if other than the 1st]. Publisher.

In-text: (Author, Year)

   ~ Book with One Author:

Reference List:  Brader, T. (2006). Campaigning for hearts and minds: How emotional appeals in political ads work . University of Chicago Press. 

In-text: (Brader, 2006)

   ~ ​Book with Two  Authors:

Reference List:   Miller, T. E., & Schuh, J. H. (2005). Promoting reasonable expectations: Aligning student and institutional views of the college experience. Jossey-Bass.

In-text:  (Miller & Schuh, 2005) *for more than two authors (3 or more), list only the first author’s name followed by “et al.” in every citation, even the first, unless doing so would create ambiguity between different sources. Example: (Kernis et al., 1993)

Basic format for an eBook:

Reference list:  author's last name, first initial. (year).  book title [format of book]. publisher. url , in-text:  (author, year),   ~ example:, reference list:  brock, j., & arciuli, j. (2014).  communication in autism [ebook edition] .  john benjamins publishing company. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4757-4806-2, in-text:  (brock & arciuli, 2014).

Basic Format for a Print Journal Article: 

Last name, First Initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title.  Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Title ,  Volume number (Issue number), Page numbers of the entire article.

   ~ Example:

Newman, J. L., Fuqua, D. R., Gray, E. A., & Simpson, D. B. (2006). Gender differences in the relationship of anger and depression in a clinical sample.  Journal of Counseling & Development ,  84 , 157-161.

Basic Format for an Online Journal Article:

Author’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Article title. Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Title, Volume number (Issue number), Page numbers. doi or URL of publication home page

   ~ Online Journal Article with DOI Assigned:

Basic Format: 

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article.  Title of Journal, volume number (issue number),   page range. https://doi.org/10.0000/0000

Denhart, H. (2008). Deconstructing barriers: Perceptions of students labeled with learning disabilities in higher education.  Journal of Learning Disabilities ,  41 (6), 483-497. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0022219408321151

    ~ Online Journal Article with no DOI Assigned:

Basic Format:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article.  Title of Journal, volume number (issue number).  http://www.journalhomepage.com/full/url/

Example: 

von Busch, O., & Palmas, K. (2016). Designing consent: Can design thinking manufacture democratic capitalism?  Organizational Aesthetics, 5 (2), 10-24. http://digitalcommons.wpi.edu/oa/. 

Basic Format for citing an image in the Reference List:

Last name, first initial. (year image was created).  title of work  [type of work]. url , note: if you can only find the screen name of an author, use that as the author's name. maintain the formatting of the screen name. for example, if a screen name is in all lower case, keep the name in lower case in your citations. if there is no title, create your own title that describes the content of the image., example of a reference list citation for an image: , sipler , d. (2005).  nap time [photograph]. flickr.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/photofarmer/284159867/in/set-72157594353612286, formatting figures in your paper:, each image in your paper should have a figure number, a title, and a caption. the caption should describe the image, provide a citation for the image, and provide copyright information. for example:, two cats resting,            , note. this photo shows two orange cats resting in the "loaf" position. from  nap time [photograph], by d. sipler, 2005, flickr ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/photofarmer/284159867/in/set-72157594353612286 ).  cc by 2.0 ., if you have taken the photo or created the image, you do not need to cite it or provide copyright information for it. you will still need to label the picture with a figure number and title, and you will need to provide a caption with information on what the image shows. , for more information on formatting tables and figures in your apa style paper, see:, apa style guide: tables and figures, apa style guide: clip art or stock image references, navigating copyright for reproduced images, if you did not create the image, you need to provide a copyright statement for that image. the apa style blog takes you through the four steps of navigating copyright for reproduced images:, understand the copyright status of the image., determine whether permission is needed to reproduce the image., secure permission to reproduce the image, if permission is needed.  , write the apa style copyright statement and reference list entry for the image.  , for more information on copyright and finding safe to reuse images, see the library's copyright guide . , basic format for a print article: ,    ~ magazine article:,  white, c. (2006, april). the spirit of disobedience: an invitation to resistance. harper's magazine, 312 (1871), 31-40. ,    ~ newspaper article: , zernike, k. (2015, october 25). white house moves to limit school testing.  new york times , p. a1. , note: for newspaper articles,  p. or pp. precedes page numbers for a newspaper reference in apa style. single pages take p., e.g., p. b2; multiple pages take pp., e.g., pp. b2, b4 or pp. c1, c3-c4. ,    ~ newspaper article found on a newspaper's website:, author, a. a. (year, month day). title of article. title of newspaper.  http://www.someaddress.com/full/url/ , zernike, k. (2016, february 29). testing for joy and grit schools nationwide push to measure students’ emotional skills.  the new york times . http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/us/testing-for-joy-and-grit-schools-nationwide-push-to-measure-students-emotional-skills.html_r=.

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Citing references

  • Introduction
  • Using quotes & paraphrases
  • Writing citations

The top five: 1. Book

The top 5: 2. journal article, the top five: 3. chapter in an edited collection, the top five: 4. website, the top five: 5. secondary referencing, archival material, company databases, conference papers, figures (such as charts, diagrams and graphs), government or corporate body publication/report, legal and parliamentary documents, literary texts, market research report, newspaper articles, personal communications.

  • Radio programme

Sacred texts

Social media, teaching materials (posted on blackboard), technical standards e.g. british standards, youtube videos.

  • Compiling a reference list or bibliography
  • Different styles & systems of referencing
  • Which style does your School/Department use?
  • Avoiding unintentional plagiarism
  • Using Turnitin to develop your referencing
  • Managing your references
  • Getting help

Example not here? Try this guide

Cover Art

Citation examples

This page lists the details you will need to include when writing citations for various types of source material. The examples given are in the 'Cite Them Right' version of the Harvard style.

For each example:

  • Reference list  refers to the way it would be cited in your reference list or bibliography when using the 'Cite Them Right' Harvard style.
  • In-text citation  refers to the way that a work would be cited either in the body of the text or in footnotes when using 'Cite Them Right' Harvard style.
  • Referencing styles in use in the University Find out which style your Department uses. Please consult your course handbook for definitive guidance on which style to use.
  • Styles of referencing Overview of different referencing styles in use at the University.

Note that, whatever the type of source, the title of the containing volume (i.e. the book, journal, collection etc) should always be marked out, usually by being put in italics but sometimes underlined. Whichever you use, be consistent and use the same formatting throughout your citations.

If the source you want to cite is not listed here consult the following book:

Alternatively ask your Academic Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser for guidance:

  • Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian
  • Make an appointment with a Study Adviser

Elements to include:

  • Authors or Editors
  • Year of publication (in round brackets)
  • Title (in italics)
  • Edition (if applicable)
  • Place published
  • Series and volume number (if applicable)

Authored book:

Reference list: Ashbourn, J. (2014)  Biometrics in the new world: the cloud, mobile technology and pervasive identity . 2nd edn. London: Springer .

In-text citation:   (Ashbourn, 2014)

Edited book:

Reference list: Nasta, S. and Stein, M.U. (eds) (2020)  The Cambridge history of Black and Asian British writing . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In-text citation:   (Nasta and Stein, 2020)

Where an e-book looks like a printed book (usually PDFs) with publication information and page numbers - cite it in the same way as a printed book (above). Where specific pagination details are not available use the information you have e.g. %, loc, chapter/page/paragraph. Also add the DOI or web address to the full reference.

Reference list: Prior, H. (2020) Away with the penguins . Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Away-Penguins-Hazel-Prior-ebook (Accessed: 20 September 2021).

In-text citation: (Prior, 2020, 74%)

Reference list: Faulkner, W. (2000) Light in August. Available at: https://www.vlebooks.com/vleweb/product/openreader?id=UniReading&isbn=9781446485521 (Accessed: 10 September 2021).

In-text citation: (Faulkner, 2000, ch. 7, p. 105)

  • Elements to include
  • Print journals or print journals now online
  • Online only journals
  • Versions in repositories

The information you include in the reference will depend on whether the journal is published in print (but uploaded for electronic access), only published online, or is a version found in an institutional repository. You can usually tell the difference by looking for page numbers. If each article in the journal begins at page 1, or has no page number at all, it is likely to be an online-only journal. 

  • Article title (in single quotation marks)
  • Journal title (in italics, capitalise the first letter of each word except linking words)
  • Volume number
  • Issue number (if present, in round brackets)
  • Page numbers or article reference number (Include the page numbers of the whole article when writing your full citation, not just the pages you have referred to)
  • DOI or web link for online-only articles

See the examples in the other tabs in this box.

Examples for articles in print copies of journal articles or a print journal accessed online (e.g. on JSTOR)

Traditionally all articles were published in print format in issues which then formed part of a volume and this way of citing them (giving volume, issue and page numbers) has been retained even though most are now available online. There is no need to include the DOI or web address for articles with volume numbers and page numbers or an article reference number even if you accessed them online.

A single author:

Reference list:   Gulddal, J. (2020) 'That deep underground savage instinct: narratives of sacrifice and retribution in Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death',  Textual Practice,  34(11), pp. 1803-1821.

In-text citation: (Gulddal, 2020)

Two authors - include them both separated by and or &:

Reference list:  Thomas, D. and Tian, L. (2021) 'Hits from the Bong: the impact of recreational marijuana dispensaries on property values',  Regional Science and Urban Economics,  87, article number 103655.

In-text citation: (Thomas and Tian, 2021)

Three authors - include them all, separate the first two with a comma and use and or & before the third author:

Reference list:  Abu Salem, H., Gemail, K.S. and Nosair, A.M. (2021) 'A multidisciplinary approach for delineating wastewater flow paths in shallow groundwater aquifers: A case study in the southeastern part of the Nile Delta, Egypt',  Journal of Contaminant Hydrology,  236, article number 103701.

In-text citation: (Abu Salem, Gemail and Nosair, 2021)

Four or more authors - include them all in the full reference, but for the in-text citation you can just state the first author, followed by  et al .

Reference list: Moise, L., Gutiérrez, A.H., Khan, S., Tan, S., Ardito, M., Martin, W.D. & De Groot, A.S. (2020) 'New immunoinformatics tools for swine: designing epitope-driven vaccines, predicting vaccine efficacy, and making vaccines on demand',  Frontiers in Immunology,  11, article number 563362.

In-text citation:   (Moise  et al. , 2020)

Examples for online-only journals

If the journal is ONLY available online, you should include the DOI or the URL in the full reference. Online-only journal articles may not have page numbers or reference numbers, or pagination for each article will begin with '1'. The rules for in-text citations are the same as for print articles.

Article with a DOI:

Reference list:  Mair, A., Poirier, M. and Conway M.A. (2021) 'Age effects in autobiographical memory depend on the measure',  PLoS one,  16(10), article number e0259279. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0259279

Article without a DOI:

Reference list: Farrell, L.G. (2013) 'Challenging assumptions about IT skills in higher education'. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education , 6. Available at: http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe&page=article&op=view&path[]=173&path[]=138 (Accessed: 23 June 2021)

Examples for versions of articles found in repositories

Authors will often put versions of their articles into institutional repositories to comply with funding requirements to make the research Open Access. These may be pre-print versions (before peer review has taken place) or post-print versions, also known as author accepted manuscripts (the final version of the text, following peer review, to be published in the journal).

Pre-print example

Allen, R. J., Horowitz, L. W., Naik, V., Oshima, N., O'Connor, F., Turnock, S., Shim, S., Le Sager, P., Van Noije, T., Tsigaridis, K., Bauer, S. E., Sentman, L. T., John, J. G., Broderick, C., Deushi, M., Folberth, G., Fujimori, S. and Collins, B.  (2021) 'Significant climate benefits from near-term climate forcer mitigation in spite of aerosol reductions'. To be published in Environmental Research Letters  [Preprint]. Available at: http://centaur.reading.ac.uk/view/creators/90004988.html (Accessed: 24 June 2021)

For post-prints which are identical in content to the published version, you should cite the published version instead of citing the repository version.

  • Chapter author(s)
  • Chapter title in single quotation marks
  • 'in' followed by book author(s)/editor(s)
  • Book title (in italics)
  • Publisher's name
  • Chapter pagination

Include the page extent of the whole chapter when writing your full citation. Put just the pages you have referred to in the in-text citation.

Reference list: Singh, H., Khurana, L.K. and Singh, R. (2018) 'Pharmaceutical development', in Vohora, D. and Singh, G. (eds)  Pharmaceutical medicine and translational clinical research , London: Academic Press, pp.33-46.

In-text citation: (Singh, Khurana and Singh, 2018, p.35)

You can find many different types of information on the Internet. Check that the item you are referencing isn't a journal article, book chapter, or another type of publication which you should be citing in a different way.

  • Author (person or company that created the webpage)
  • Year of publication or last update (in round brackets). Scroll to the bottom of the page but if there is no date put (no date)
  • Page title (in italics)
  • Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Webpage created by a person

Reference list:  Bologna, C. (2018)  What happens to your mind and body when you feel homesick?  Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-happens-mindbody-homesick_us_5b201ebde4b09d7a3d77eee1 (Accessed: 24 June 2021)

In-text citation: (Bologna, 2018)

Webpage created by an organisation

Reference list: World Health Organization (2020) Salt reduction . Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/salt-reduction (Accessed: 24 June 2021)

In-text citation: (World Health Organization, 2020)

Further guidance on referencing websites

Have a look at this Study Advice video tutorial (note that the format of the examples may not match the guidance given above):

  • Referencing websites (video) Watch this brief video tutorial for more on the topic.
  • Referencing websites (transcript) Read along while watching the video tutorial.

A secondary reference is used when you are referring to a source which you have not read yourself, but have seen quoted or read about in another source.  Where possible, you should always try to read the original of anything you wish to refer to ; otherwise you are relying on the author who cited the reference to have interpreted it correctly and not taken it out of context. Use the reference list at the end of the source you are reading to find details of the reference and search for it using the search boxes below.

Find books using the Enterprise catalogue

Just type in the first author's surname and a few words from the title.

Find journal articles using Summon

Just type in the first author's surname and first part of the article title.

If you can't get hold of the original source you'll need to do a secondary reference and you should make clear that you are not using the original source. Only include the source you have used in your list of references following the guidance for citing that type of publication. 

Different Schools/Departments might have different preferred ways of doing this, so do check any advice you are given or ask your course tutor if you are not sure. Otherwise, this is general guidance.

If the author quotes another source:

F rance (2003, quoted in Weingart et al ., 2018, p. 24) provides evidence that hospitals use internal reporting procedures to identify...

If the author summarises another source

In-text citation: According to France (2003, cited in Weingart  et al. , 2018, p. 24) , hospitals use internal reporting procedures to identify...

In both examples only the full reference for the article by Weingart et al . would be included in the reference list.

  • Author, initials.
  • Year (in round brackets)
  • Title of document.
  • Date (if avaialble)
  • Collection name
  • Document number.
  • Name of archive
  • Location of archive

In-text citation: ( Author , Year)

Reference list: Becket, S. (1974) Letter from Samuel Beckett to Vera Beckett. 1 January 1974. Letters from Samuel Beckett to Vera Beckett series BC MS 5411 B, University of Reading Special Collections, Reading .

In-text citation: (Beckett, 1974)

Cite the item you have seen - if you have seen an artwork in a book or catalogue, reference that book or catalogue (use our Images examples .) If you have seen the painting or exhibition, cite that as follows; 

Exhibitions

  • Title of exhibition (in italics)
  • [Exhibition]
  • Location. Date(s) of exhibition

If it's an online exhibition, use [Online exhibition] and add;

In-text citation: ( Title of exhibition , Year)

Example: 

Reference list:  Yayoi Kusama: Infinity mirror rooms  (2021) [Exhibition]. Tate Modern, London. 18 May 2021-12 June 2022.

Reference list: Vida Americana: Mexican muralists remake American art, 1925 - 1945 (2020) [Online exhibition] Whitney Museum of American Art. 17 February 2020 - 31 January 2021. Available at: https://whitney.org/exhibitions/vida-americana (Accessed: 23 January 2021.)

In-text citation: ( Yayoi Kusama: Infinity mirror rooms , 2021)

In-text citation: ( Vida Americana: Mexican muralists remake American art, 1925 - 1945 , 2020)

Works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations.)

  • Title of artwork (in italics)
  • Medium (e.g. Sculpture, Mixed-media, Video installation, Oil on canvas, etc) in square brackets
  • (Viewed: date)

OR if you accessed it online, use the URL as the location

  • Available at: URL
  • (Accessed: date)

In-text citation: ( Artist , Year)

Reference list: Bacon, F. (1943-4)  Three studies for figures at the base of a crucifixion  [Oil and pastel on board]. Tate Britain, London (Viewed: 30 August 2022).

In-text citation: (Bacon ,  1943-4)

OR if accessed online;

Reference list:  Bacon, F. (1943-4)  Three studies for figures at the base of a crucifixion  [Oil and pastel on board]. Available at: www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bacon-three-studies-for-figures-at-the-base-of-a-crucifixion-n06171 (Accessed: 1 July 2021). 

  • Publishing organisation  
  • Year of publication/last updated (in round brackets)  
  • Title of report  (in italics)  
  •  Available at: URL or DOI (Accessed: date)

Reference list:  Bureau van Dijk (2020)  Tesco plc company report . Available at: http://fame.bvdep.com (Accessed: 27 May 2021). 

In-text citation: (Bureau van Dijk, 2020)

  • Author of paper
  • Year of publication (in round brackets)
  • Title of paper (in single quotation marks)
  • Title of conference proceedings: subtitle (in italics)
  • Location and date of conference
  • Place of publication: Publisher
  • Page references for the paper

Reference list:  Jones, L. (2018) 'Polymer blends based on compact disc scrap',  Proceedings of the Annual Technical Conference - Society of Plastics Engineers.  San Francisco, May 6-9. Brookfield, CT: Society of Plastics Engineers. pp.236-254.

In-text citation:  (Jones, 2018)

  • Film from streaming service

You should include the following elements:

  • Title of film (in italics)
  • Year of distribution (in round brackets)
  • Directed by
  • [Feature film]
  • Place of distribution: Distributor

In-text citation: ( Title of film , Year)

Reference list:  Fahrenheit 9/11  (2004) Directed by M. Moore. [Feature film]. Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate Films.

In-text citation:  ( Fahrenheit 9/11 , 2004)

For examples of how to cite Films in different formats, please see the examples in the Cite them right e-book in the Harvard Referencing chapter, under "Audiovisual recordings...";

  • Available at: DOI or Name of service or URL

Reference list:  Fatherhood  (2021) Directed by P. Weitz. Available at: Netflix (Accessed: 28 June 2021).

In-text citation: ( Fatherhood , 2021)

For examples of how to cite Films in different formats like Blu-ray, DVD, Video Cassette, broadcast and TV series, please see the examples in the Cite them right e-book in the Harvard Referencing chapter, under "Audiovisual recordings...";

See our section on YouTube videos:

  • Citing YouTube videos

Figures such as graphs, charts and diagrams that you have used from other sources should be referenced in the same way that you would any other material.

Each one should have a caption below it labelled as 'Figure', sequentially numbered, and given a title. When you refer to it in your writing, use the figure number. Give a full citation in the reference list for the source of the image. See the following example:

Example of citing a diagram with the Figure number and legend below.

Example of referring to a figure in a sentence:

The prebiotics can induce direct or indirect effect on the gut-associated epithelial and immune cells (Figure 3).

Full details for reference list:

Pujari, R. and Banerjee, G. (2021) 'Impact of prebiotics on immune response: from the bench to the clinic'.  Immunology and Cell Biology , 99(3), pp. 255-273.

  • Name of issuing body
  • Place of publication (if in print)
  • Publisher (if in print)
  • Series (in round brackets) - if applicable

If accessed online:

DOI  or  Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Print publication:

Reference list: Environment Agency (2020)  The flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy action plan 2021.  Bristol: Environment Agency.

In-text citation:  (Environment Agency, 2020)

Publication accessed online:

Reference list: Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (2016)  Vitamin D and health.  Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/537616/SACN_Vitamin_D_and_Health_report.pdf (Accessed: 25 August 2021)

In-text citation:  (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, 2016)

  • Image from a book
  • Image from an internet collection / social media
  • Image you created yourself
  • Image used purely for decoration

Images and photographs that you have seen in books, articles and other published material should be cited in the same way you would cite the source of the image. Add the page number and figure / illustration number if there is one from the source item to your in-text citation (use the same terminology they do to number their illustrations, eg. illus., fig., diagram, table, plate etc.) 

  • Year of publication
  • Page number and illustration / figure / plate number from the source book or article if they use one.)

You may wish to use the title / subject matter of the image in your sentence or caption for the image;

Reference list: Glaser, M. and Ilić, M. (2017) The design of dissent . Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers.

In-text citation: The We Are Bullet Proof poster by Jon Key created a narrative of strength during Black Lives Matter (Glaser and Ilić, 2017, p. 261)

Any image or photograph from a social media site, online image collection or website can be referenced in this way.

  • Photographer (if available)
  • (Year of publication) in round brackets
  • Title of photograph or collection  in italics
  • Available at: DOI or URL 

Reference list:  stanitsa_dance (2021)  Cossack dance ensemble . Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/COI_slphWJ_/ (Accessed: 13 June 2021).

In-text citation:  (stanitsa_dance, 2021)

If the image is one you have created yourself, give it a figure number and title in the caption and add (Source: the author) to show that it is your own work. The image below shows how you would do this;

You do not need to include it in the reference list.

citation sentence examples

If you have reproduced an image in your work and it is purely decorative you should still acknowledge the creator and source but there is no need to include a full reference.

Underneath the image add the caption:

'Image: [creator] via [website image captured from]'.

For example:    Image: Steve Buissine via Piaxabay

If it is a picture you have taken use this format:

'Image by author'.

  • General guidance
  • Command papers
  • Law reports
  • Official records published in Hansard
  • Papers (House of Commons/House of Lords)
  • Statutes (Acts of Parliament)
  • Statutory Instruments

Students studying Law

If you are studying Law, you will be expected to use the OSCOLA system of referencing . You will have advice on this from your School, and can find support on the Law guide:

  • Referencing guidance for Law students

Students studying other subjects

If you are not studying Law, but need to refer to legal or Parliamentary documents, the examples in this box give acceptable citation formats for commonly used materials in the Harvard style. We have concentrated on key UK legislative sources here. For guidance on citing other materials, and those from other jurisdictions, see the Cite Them Right guide:

For Bills from the House of Commons and House of Lords you should include the following elements:

  • Publication year (in round brackets)
  • Parliament: House of Commons or Lords
  • Place of publication
  • If viewed online replace 5 & 6 with Available at: URL (Accessed: date).

Reference list:

Agriculture Bill  (2019) Parliament: House of Commons, Bill no. 2292. London: The Stationery Office.

Agriculture Bill  (2019) Parliament: House of Commons, Bill no. 2292. Available at: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2292 (Accessed: 12 July 2022)

In-text citation:

Mr Gove introduced the Agriculture Bill (2019)...

For Command Papers (including Green and White papers) you should include the following elements:

  • Title of report of consultation paper (in italics)
  • Command Paper number (in round brackets) preceeded by Cmnd:
  • If accessed online replace 5 & 6 with DOI or Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Papers accessed online

Department for Work and Pensions (2021) Shaping Future Support: the Health and Disability Green Paper  (Cmnd. 470). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/shaping-future-support-the-health-and-disability-green-paper (Accessed: 30 July 2021)

(Department for Work and Pensions, 2021)

Papers accessed in print

Department of Social Security (2000) The Pension Credit: Consultation Paper  (Cmnd. 4900). London: HMSO.

(Department of Social Security, 2000)

Law reports (cases) before 2002

Include the following elements:

  • Name of case (in single quotation marks)
  • Title of law report (in italics)
  • Page numbers

'Bibby Cheshire v. Golden Wonder Ltd' (1972) Weekly Law Reports , 1, pp. 1487-1492.

('Bibby Cheshire v. Golden Wonder Ltd', 1972)

Law reports (cases) from 2002

From 2002 cases have been given a neutral citation. This means that it isn't necessary to include details of the printed law report series in which it was published. When using this type of citation you must give details of the publication in which the case was reported or the database/website you used.

  • Name of the parties involved in the case (in single quotation marks)
  • Court and case number
  • Name of database or website (in italics)
  • DOI or Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

'Rees v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis' (2021) Court of Appeal (Civil Division), case 49.  BAILII . Available at: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2021/49.html (Accessed: 30 July 2021) 

('Rees v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis', 2021)

Hansard is the official record of the business of the Houses of the UK Parliament. This includes databases, speeches, answers and statements. References to Hansard follow a similar pattern to journal articles. Include the following:

  • Name of speaker/author
  • Subject of debate or speech (in single quotation marks)
  • Hansard: Name of House of Parliament (in italics)
  • Debates/written statement/Westminster Hall or petitions (in italics)
  • Day and month
  • Volume number, column number or page number

Bonnar, S. (2021) ' Ethics and human rights: climate change ', Hansard: House of Commons debates , 14 July, 699, c. 355. Available at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-07-14/debates/FED21B9A-F4C2-4437-8CFD-3A08E5929C48/EthicsAndHumanRightsClimateChange (Accessed: 30 July 2021)

Steve Bonnar MP (2021) asked if the UK Government would create a climate justice fund.

To cite papers from the House of Parliament or House of Lords include the following elements:

  • Parliament, House of...
  • Title (in italics) including the Session dates if appropriate.
  • Session dates and Paper number (in round brackets) preceeded by HC or HL as appropriate. Note that to distinguish House of Lords papers from the House of Commons paper with the same number the Paper number is enclosed in an extra set of round brackets e.g. (HL 2002-2003, (254))
  • Place of publication:

Parliament, House of Commons (2004) The English national stadium project at Wembley, Session 2003-2004. (HC 2003-2004, 254). London: The Stationery Office.

(Parliament, House of Commons, 2004) 

When referencing Acts of Parliament you should use the short title of the Act and year it was enacted. It is not necessary to include the year in brackets as it would duplicate the year in the title. Include the following elements:

  • Title of Act - including year and chapter (in italics)
  • Country/Jurisdiction (only required if referencing legislation from more than one country)

Food Safety Act 1990, c. 16 . Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/16/contents (Accessed: 20 July 2021)

As stipulated in the Food Safety Act 1990...

When citing Statutory Instruments (SIs) include the following information:

  • Name/Title and year  (in italics)
  • SI year and number (in round brackets)

Children (Performances and Activities) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1757). Available at:  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2015/1757/contents/made (Accessed: 23 July 2021)

Referring to the  Children (Performances and Activities) (Wales) Regulations 2015...

  • Lines within plays
  • Line of a poem within an anthology

These examples use Harvard style. If you are studying in English Literature , you will have separate guidance from your department on using MHRA style for referencing. See the link below for more information:

  • English Literature citing references guidance Guidance on using the MHRA style for students studying English literature.

To cite a novel use the same format as for an authored book

  • Citing an authored book
  • Title  (in italics)
  • Edition information 

Reference list: Shakespeare, W. (2008) Twelth night or what you will. Edited by K. Elam. London: Cengage.

In-text citation: (Shakespeare, 2008, 1.3: 13).

  • Author of the poem
  • Title of poem in single quotation marks
  • 'in' followed by book author(s)/editor(s)/compiler(s) 
  • Book title  (in italics)
  • Poem pagination

Include the page extent of the whole poem when writing your full citation. Put just the pages you have referred to in the in-text citation.

Reference list: Orr, J. (2002) 'The dying African', in Basker, J. (ed.) Amazing grace: an anthology of poems about slavery, 1660-1810 . New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 533-535.

In-text citation: (Orr, 2002, p. 533)

  • Name of author or issuing body
  • Title of map (in italics)
  • Sheet number or tile (if applicable)
  • Scale (if available)
  • Series or section in Digimap if appropriate (in round brackets)

Available at DOI  or URL (Accessed: date)

Reference list: Ordnance Survey (2012)  Reading & Windsor: Henley-on-Thames & Bracknell , sheet   175, 1:50 000. Southampton: Ordnance Survey (Landranger series).

In-text citation: (Ordnance Survey, 2012)

Reference list:  Dower, J. (1832)  A map shewing the parliamentary representation of England & Wales, according as the same are settled by the Reform Act passed 7th June 1832,  1 inch to 35 miles. London: J. Gardner.

In-text citation: (Dower, 1832)

Reference list:  Ordnance Survey (2020)  Whiteknights , Reading,  1:10 000. (Digimap Ordnance Survey) Available at http://edina.ac.uk/digimap/ (Accessed: 20 June 2021)

In-text citation:  (Ordnance Survey, 2020)

If you have any queries about citing maps, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian

  • Organisation / author.
  • Title of report (in italics)
  • Available at: URL (if you have to login with a username and password to access the report, then use the homepage of the database or a permalink) (Accessed: date)

Reference list: Mintel (2019)  Sports and energy drinks - UK.   Available at: http://www.academic.mintel.com (Accessed: 5th July 2021).

In-text citation: (Mintel, 2019)

  • Articles with an author (byline)
  • Articles without an author
  • Author’(s) surname and initials
  • Title of article (in single quotation marks)
  • Title of newspaper (in italics - capitalize first word of each word in title except for linking words such as and, of, the, for)
  • Edition if required (in round brackets)
  • Section and Page reference if available

If accessed online: DOI or  Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Printed article:

Reference list: Graham, K. (2020) 'The biggest tree and the smallest axe',  The Guardian , 31 August, pp.21-22.

In-text citation: (Graham, 2020)

Online article:

Reference list: Pinkstone, J. (2021) 'Mountains set the pace of evolution, not climate change, say scientists', The Daily Telegraph , 2 September. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/09/02/mountains-set-pace-evolution-not-climate-change-say-scientists/ (Accessed: 3 September 2021)

In-text citation: (Pinkstone, 2021)

  • Title of newspaper  (in italics - capitalize first word of each word in title except for linking words such as and, of, the, for)
  • Page reference if available

Note: if you are using the online version of a newspaper, which often varies from the print edition, you would omit page reference and instead include Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Reference list: The Daily Telegraph (2021) 'Walking on wooden floors could help to generate power', 2 September, p. 12.

In-text citation: ( The Daily Telegraph , 2021, p. 12)

Reference list: The Guardian  (2021) 'We cannot allow inequality to increase within the education system', 2 September. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/inequality-education-exams-schools-private-b1900252.html (Accessed: 4 September 2021)

In-text citation: ( The Guardian , 2021)

  • Inventor(s)
  • Authorising organisation e.g. UK Intellectual Property Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Patent number
  • If online - Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Online patent

Reference list: Cox, A. and Lee, J. (2021) Water remediation system.  UK Intellectual Property Office Patent no. GB2591282A. Available at: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/ (Accessed: 2 September 2021)

In-text citation: (Cox and Lee, 2021)

Printed patent

Reference list: Kruger, L.H. (1989)  Degradation of granular starch.  US Patent no.: US4838944.

In-text citation: (Kruger, 1989)

If you have obtained information which is not publically accessible you should cite it as a personal communication. This can include conversations taking place in person, by phone or by online means (such as Zoom, Teams, Skype). It can also be written communications such as letters, email, text messages, WhatsApp messages, SnapChat messages etc.

Include the following information:

  • Sender / speaker / author
  • Year of communication (in round brackets)
  • Medium of communication.
  • Receiver of communication.
  • Day / month of communication.

Reference list: Chen , B. (2022) Conversation with Lucy Atkins, 30 July

In-text citation: (Chen, 2022)

Reference list: Garcia, C. (2022) WhatsApp message to Anna Jaworska, 12 July

In-text citation: (Garcia, 2022)

  • Radio programme online
  • Title of programme (in italics)
  • Year of broadcast (in round brackets)
  • Radio station
  • Date of transmission (DD Month) and time

In-text citation: ( Programme title , Year)

Reference list: Kermode and Mayo's Film Review  (2021) BBC Radio 5 Live, 25 June, 14:30.

In-text citation:   Presenters and Wittertainees say hello to Jason Isaacs ( Kermode and Mayo's Film Review , 2021)

  • Year of original broadcast (in round brackets)
  • Day and month of original transmission (if available)
  • Available at: DOI or URL (Accessed: date)

Bibliography:  Elvenquest  (2011) BBC Radio 4, 7 November. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016vn8f (Accessed: 2 July 2021).

In-text citation: ( Elvenquest, 2011)

  • Title (not in italics)
  • Translator and edition, if required (in round brackets)
  • publisher (if in print)

Reference list: The Holy Bible: new international version (1981) London: Hodder and Stoughton,

In-text citation:  (The Holy Bible, 1981, John 14: 27)

Reference list: The Qur'an: a new translation (2015) (Translated by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem.) Oxford: Oxford University Press

In-text citation: (The Qur'an, 2015, 20: 26)  

Reference list: The Torah: the five books of Moses (1962) Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America.

In-text citation: (The Torah,1962, Devarim 4: 2)

  • General guidance: posts
  • General guidance: pages

There are many different forms of social media.  Here is some general guidance for citing specific social media posts.

Author of post  

Year posted (in round brackets)  

Title or description of post (in single quotation marks) 

[Name of platform]  

Day/month posted  

Available at: URL (Accessed: date) 

Reference list: Financial Times (2021) ‘The London luxury property market was slowed down by the pandemic, but it is likely to bounce back soon’. [Facebook] 2 July. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/financialtimes/posts/10159435194305750 (Accessed: 6 July 2021). 

In-text citation: (Financial Times, 2021) 

There are many different forms of social media.  Here is some general guidance for citing a social media page, rather than an individual post.

Author (if available; if not use title)  

Year site was last updated (in round brackets)  

Title of site (in italics)  

Reference list: University of Reading Library (2022) [Facebook]. Available at:  https://www.facebook.com/universityofreadinglibrary (Accessed: 20 July 2022). 

In text: (University of Reading Library, 2022) 

  • Year tweet posted (in round brackets)
  • Title or description of Tweet
  • Day/month tweet posted

Reference list: Harvard Business Review (2021) ‘In this large-scale study of military performance measures, negative words — like selfish, passive, and scattered — were much more frequently applied to women’. [Twitter] 4 July.  Available at: https://twitter.com/HarvardBiz/status/1411692276888317952 (Accessed: 6 July 2021). 

In-text citation: (Harvard Business Review, 2021) 

When citing an Instagram Post, please use the guidance below.  When citing a photograph or image specifically, please see our citing an image from social media guidance .

  • Author (Instagram account/poster)
  • Year posted (in round brackets)
  • Title of post in single quotation marks
  • [Instagram]
  • Day/month of posted message

Reference list:  University of Reading (2022) 'Say hello to Reading's Climate Stripes bus!' [Instagram] 27 July. Available at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CghAmV4Mre-/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link (Accessed: 2 August 2022). 

In-text citation: (University of Reading, 2022)

Table taken directly from another source

Tables should be sequentially numbered in your work with the title above the table - as in the following example in the Harvard referencing style. When referring to the table in your writing use the table number. 

A citation should be included at the end of the table title and a full citation added to your reference list for the source. 

Example of citing a table showing the table legend containing a citation

Example of referring to a table in a sentence:

The macronutrient content of the diets used in the study is shown in Table 2. 

Mitchell, N.S. and Ard, J.D. (2021) 'Weight loss, lifestyle, and dietary factors in cardiovascular diseases in African Americans and Hispanics', in Ferdinand, K.C., Taylor, H.A. and Rodriguez, C.J. (eds)  Cardiovascular disease in racial and ethnic minority populations . Cham: Humana Press, pp. 167-182.

Table you have compiled yourself from multiple sources

If you are taking information from multiple sources and compiling your own table you still need to acknowledge those sources. 

Once again your table will need to be numbered in sequence with other tables in your work and have a title. For example:

Table 1: Turnover of Tesco PLC 2017-2021

You can then add a, b, c etc next to the statistics in the table (or the columns depending on how your data is arranged, see the example linked below) and then add a matching lettered list of citations for the sources at the bottom of the table:

Sources: a Tesco PLC (2017); b Tesco PLC (2018) etc

 Then in your reference list the end of your work, you would add the full reference for each source. For example:

Tesco PLC (2017)  Annual report and financial statement . Available at:  https://www.tescoplc.com/investors/reports-results-and-presentations/reports-archive/  (Accessed: 10 November 2022).

Tesco PLC (2018) Annual report and financial statement . Available at:  https://www.tescoplc.com/investors/reports-results-and-presentations/reports-archive/  (Accessed: 10 November 2022).

 See the following example where a & b has been added to the columns, as everything in that column has come from the same source:

  • Example of citing multiple sources used in a table

The other option is to arrange it with the brief citations in the table. See Table 1 in the following example. The full references would go into your reference list at the end of the work in the same way as Method 1.

  • How to cite sources in a table (Method 2) This example is in the APA referencing style but the same approach would work with Harvard.

It is strongly recommended that you use published sources such as books and journal articles in your assignments instead of materials posted by academics on Blackboard. Always check with the academic who has set the assignment whether you are allowed to include citations for their materials in your work.

PowerPoint presentations

  • Author or lecturer
  • Title of presentation (in single quotation marks)
  • [Presentation slides]
  • Module code: module title (in italics)
  • Institution name
  • Available at: https://bb.reading.ac.uk (Accessed: date)

Reference list: Hartl, F. (2022) 'Advanced electrochemical and electroanalytical methods' [Presentation slides]. CH4AN1: Advanced analytical techniques for the molecular sciences . University of Reading. Available at: https://bb.reading.ac.uk (Accessed: 6 July 2022)

In-text citation: (Hartl, 2022)

Recorded lecture

  • Year (in round brackets)
  • Title of lecture (in single quotation marks)
  • Medium [in square brackets]
  • Institution

Reference list: Bull, S. (2021) 'Anatomy of taste' [Recorded lecture]. FB3QSF: Advanced food quality and sensory . University of Reading. 21 February. Available at: https://bb.reading.ac.uk (Accessed: 1 July 2021)

In-text citation: (Bull, 2021)

  • Name of authorising organisation
  • Number and title of standard (in italics)
  • Available at: URL (if online)
  • Accessed: date (if online)

Print standard:

Reference list: British Standards Institution (2020)  BS ISO 21543:2020: Milk and milk products - guidelines for the application of near infrared spectroscopy.  London: British Standards Institution.

In-text citation: (British Standards Institution, 2020)

Online standard

Reference list: British Standards Institution (2020)  BS ISO 21543:2020: Milk and milk products - guidelines for the application of near infrared spectroscopy. Available at: https://bsol.bsigroup.com (Accessed: 6 July 2021)

In-text citation:  (British Standards Institution, 2020)

  • Name of author
  • Year of submission (in round brackets)
  • Title of thesis (in Italics)
  • Degree statement (eg PhD thesis, MSc thesis, MA thesis)
  • Name of the University or degree awarding body
  • If accessed online: DOI or Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Print thesis

Reference list: Lalani, B. (201 7)  Economics and adoption of conservation agriculture in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.  PhD thesis. Reading University.

In-text citation: (Lalani, 2017)

Online thesis

Reference list:  Alarifi, S.N.M. (2017)  In vitro studies on gum acacia and its potential as a prebiotic in an elderly population.  PhD thesis. University of Reading. Available at: https://centaur.reading.ac.uk/76135/ (Accessed: 11 July 2022)

In-text citation:  (Alarifi, 2017)

  • Author (name or person/organisation posting the video)
  • Year video posted (in round brackets)
  • Title of film or programme (in italics)
  • Date uploaded (if available)

If you need to refer to a specific point in a video, use the format minutes:seconds in your in-text citation to note the time code e.g. (TEDx Talks, 2018, 2:34).

Reference list:  TEDx Talks (2018)  The Power of an entrepreneurial mindset: Bill Roche.  20 March. Available at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihs4VFZWwn4  (Accessed: 5 July 2021).

In-text citation:  (TEDx Talks, 2018)

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Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

  • The Honor Code
  • In-Text Citation Examples
  • When neither the author nor the page number is mentioned in the body of the sentence, you should include both the author’s last name and the page number in the parenthetical citation.

Colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students (Jack 24).

  • When the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, you should include only the page number in your parenthetical citation.

As Anthony Jack argues, colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students (24).

  • If the source you are writing about does not have page numbers, or if you consulted an e-book version of the source, you should include only the author’s name in the parenthetical citation:

Colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students (Jack).

  • If you mention the author in the body of the sentence and there is no page number in the source, you should not include a parenthetical citation.

As Anthony Jack argues, colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students.

  • If you are referring to an entire work rather than a specific page, you do not need to include a page number.

In The Privileged Poor, Anthony Jack describes many obstacles that low-income students face at selective colleges and universities.

  • If you are referring to a source that has no listed author, you should include the title (or a shortened version of the title) in your parenthetical citation.

Harvard College promises “to educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society” (“Mission, Vision, & History”).

  • If you are referring to a source that has two authors, you should include both authors in your parenthetical citation.

The researchers tested whether an intervention during the first year of college could improve student well-being (Walton and Cohen 1448).

  • If you refer to a source that has more than two authors, you should include the first author’s name followed by et al. ( Et al. is an abbreviation for et alia which means “and others” in Latin.) When you use et al. in a citation, you should not put it in italics.

The researchers studied more than 12,000 students who were interested in STEM fields (LaCosse et al. 8).

  • If you refer to more than one source by the same author in your paper, you should include the title (or a shortened version of the title) in your parenthetical citation so that readers will know which source to look for in your Works Cited list. If you mention the author’s name in the sentence, you only need to include the title and page number. If you mention the author and title in the sentence, you only need to include the page number.

Colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students (Jack, Privileged Poor 24).

According to Anthony Jack, colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students ( Privileged Poor 24).

As Anthony Jack writes in Privileged Poor, colleges and universities need to create policies that foster inclusion for low-income students (24).

  • If you want to credit multiple authors for making the same point, you can include them all in one parenthetical citation. 

Students who possess cultural capital, measured by proxies like involvement in literature, art, and classical music, tend to perform better in school (Bourdieu and Passeron; Dumais; Orr).

  • If you refer to a source that includes line numbers in the margins, numbered paragraphs, numbered chapters, or numbered sections rather than page numbers, you should include the number in your parenthetical citation, along with “line,” “ch./ chs.,” or “sec./secs.”   You can include stable numbering like chapters even when there are no stable page numbers (as in an e-book). You should separate “line” or other designation from the work’s title or author’s name with a comma.  If the source does not include this type of numbering, you should not include it either.

We learn that when he went to the store to buy clothes for his son, “a frantic inspection of the boys’ department revealed no suits to fit the new-born Button” (Fitzgerald, ch.2).

  • If you are citing a play, you should include the act and scene along with line numbers (for verse) or page numbers, followed by act and scene, (for prose).

Guildenstern tells Hamlet that “there has been much throwing about of brains” (Shakespeare, 2.2. 381-382).

Chris is in this mindset when he says, “a couple minutes, and your whole life changes, that’s it. It’s gone” (Nottage, 13; act 1, scene1).

  • If you are referring to a video or audio recording that contains time stamps, you should include the time in your parenthetical citation to make it easy for your readers to find the part of the recording that you are citing.

In the Stranger Things official trailer, the audience knows that something unusual is going to happen from the moment the boys get on their bicycles to ride off into the night (0:16).

  • Citation Management Tools
  • In-Text Citations
  • Works Cited Format
  • Examples of Commonly Cited Sources
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Citing Sources in MLA Format
  • Sample Works Cited List

PDFs for This Section

  • Citing Sources
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MLA Citation Examples

  • Volume and Issue Numbers
  • Page Numbers
  • Citing a Source within a Source
  • DOIs and URLs

The entire work (or a work that has no page numbers)

A specific page or page range, if the author's name is included in the text of the sentence where the citation takes place, a source with no page numbers, citing multiple authors, a source with no author, audio and video sources.

  • Academic Journals
  • Encyclopedia Articles
  • Book, Film, and Product Reviews
  • Online Classroom Materials
  • Conference Papers
  • Technical and Research Reports
  • Dissertations and Theses
  • Interviews and E-mail Messages

In his article "Allston Gothic," local historian Forman Jackson demonstrates how completely the neighborhood's gruesome past has been forgotten by its residents.

A recent newspaper article demonstrated just how thoroughly the neighborhood's gruesome past has been forgotten by its residents (Jackson).

(Cortois 70)

(Cortois 70-1)

Jacobs has argued this point (190-210).

If there no page numbers, but there is an alternate part number to use such as chapter numbers, line numbers, or section numbers, use and label those numbers in a parenthetical citation, otherwise the number will be assumed to be a page number.

(Smith, ch. 2)

(Zhang, ch. 1, sec. 3)

(Kim, line 10)

(Shakespeare 1.5.17)

If the work is only one page or there is no page numbers or other kind of part number, no number should be given in a parenthetical citation. Do not count unnumbered paragraphs or other parts.

See Authors ,

("Hints and Notions" 61)

Use the title in quotes or italics depending on the type of source, in cases where the title is long, shorten the title to the noun phrase and exclude articles (a, an, the). For example:

(Green 03:02-33)

For audio or video media, use the relevant time or timespan if it is displayed. Give the numbers of hours, minutes, and second as displayed in the media player.

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APA Citation Style

Citation examples.

  • Paper Format
  • Style and Grammar Guidelines
  • Citation Management Tools
  • What's New in the 7th Edition?
  • APA Style References Guidelines from the American Psychological Association
  • APA Style (OWL - Online Writing Lab, Purdue University)
  • Common Reference Examples Handout
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Edited Book Chapter
  • Dictionary Entry
  • Government Report
  • YouTube Video
  • Facebook Post
  • Webpage on a Website
  • Supplemental Reference Examples
  • Archival Documents and Collections

Parenthetical citations:  (Grady et al., 2019; Jerrentrup et al., 2018)

Narrative citations:  Grady et al. (2019) and Jerrentrup et al. (2018)

  • If a journal article has a DOI, include the DOI in the reference.
  • If the journal article does not have a DOI and is from an academic research database, end the reference after the page range (for an explanation of why, see the  database information  page). The reference in this case is the same as for a print journal article.
  • Do not include database information in the reference unless the journal article comes from a database that publishes original, proprietary content, such as UpToDate (see an example on the  database information  page).
  • If the journal article does not have a DOI but does have a URL that will resolve for readers (e.g., it is from an online journal that is not part of a database), include the URL of the article at the end of the reference.
  • If the journal article has an article number instead of a page range, include the article number instead of the page range (as shown in the Jerrentrup et al. example).

Parenthetical citations:  (Rabinowitz, 2019; Sapolsky, 2017)

Narrative citations:  Rabinowitz (2019) and Sapolsky (2017)

  • If the book includes a DOI, include the DOI in the reference after the publisher name.
  • Do not include the publisher location.
  • If the book does not have a DOI and comes from an academic research database, end the book reference after the publisher name. Do not include  database information  in the reference. The reference in this case is the same as for a print book.

Parenthetical citations:  (Schaefer & Shapiro, 2019; Schulman, 2019)

Narrative citations:  Schaefer and Shapiro (2019) and Schulman (2019)

  • If a magazine article has a DOI, include the DOI in the reference.
  • If the magazine article does not have a DOI and is from an academic research database, end the reference after the page range. Do not include  database information  in the reference. The reference in this case is the same as for a print magazine article.
  • If the magazine article does not have a DOI but does have a URL that will resolve for readers (e.g., it is from an online magazine that is not part of a database), include the URL of the article at the end of the reference.
  • If the magazine article does not have volume, issue, and/or page numbers (e.g., because it is from an online magazine), omit the missing elements from the reference (as in the Schulman example).

Parenthetical citation:  (Carey, 2019)

Narrative citation:  Carey (2019)

  • If the newspaper article is from an academic research database, end the reference after the page range. Do not include  database information  in the reference. The reference in this case is the same as for a print newspaper article.
  • If the newspaper article has a URL that will resolve for readers (e.g., it is from an online newspaper), include the URL of the article at the end of the reference.
  • If the newspaper article does not have volume, issue, and/or page numbers (e.g., because it is from an online newspaper), omit the missing elements from the reference, as shown in the example.
  • If the article is from a news website (e.g., CNN, HuffPost)—one that does not have an associated daily or weekly newspaper—use the format for a  webpage on a website  instead.

Parenthetical citation:  (Aron et al., 2019)

Narrative citation:  Aron et al. (2019)

  • If the edited book chapter includes a DOI, include the chapter DOI in the reference after the publisher name.
  • If the edited book chapter does not have a DOI and comes from an academic research database, end the edited book chapter reference after the publisher name. Do not include  database information  in the reference. The reference in this case is the same as for a print edited book chapter.
  • Do not create references for chapters of authored books. Instead, write a reference for the whole book and cite the chapter in the text if desired (e.g., Kumar, 2017, Chapter 2).

Parenthetical citation:  (Merriam-Webster, n.d.)

Narrative citation:  Merriam-Webster (n.d.)

  • Because entries in  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary  are updated over time and are not archived, include a  retrieval date  in the reference.
  • Merriam-Webster is both the author and the publisher, so the name appears in the author element only to avoid repetition.
  • To quote a dictionary definition, view the pages on quotations and  how to quote works without page numbers  for guidance. Additionally, here is an example:  Culture  refers to the “customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group” (Merriam-Webster, n.d., Definition 1a).

Parenthetical citation:  (National Cancer Institute, 2019)

Narrative citation:  National Cancer Institute (2019)

The specific agency responsible for the report appears as the author. The names of parent agencies not present in the  group author name  appear in the source element as the publisher. This creates concise in-text citations and complete reference list entries.

Parenthetical citation:  (Harvard University, 2019)

Narrative citation:  Harvard University (2019)

  • Use the name of the account that uploaded the video as the author.
  • If the account did not actually create the work, explain this in the text if it is important for readers to know. However, if that would mean citing a source that appears unauthoritative, you might also look for the author’s YouTube channel, official website, or other social media to see whether the same video is available elsewhere.

Parenthetical citations:  (APA Databases, 2019; Gates, 2019)

Narrative citations:  APA Databases (2019) and Gates (2019)

  • Present the name of the individual or group author the same as you would for any other reference. Then provide the Twitter handle (beginning with the @ sign) in square brackets, followed by a period.
  • Provide the first 20 words of the tweet as the title. Count a URL, a hashtag, or an emoji as one word each, and include them in the reference if they fall within the first 20 words.
  • If the tweet includes an image, a video, a poll, or a thumbnail image with a link, indicate that in brackets after the title: [Image attached], [Video attached], [Thumbnail with link attached].
  • The same format used for Twitter is also used for Instagram.  

Parenthetical citation:  (News From Science, 2019)

Narrative citation:  News From Science (2019)

  • Provide the first 20 words of the Facebook post as the title. Count a URL or other link, a hashtag, or an emoji as one word each, and include them in the reference if they fall within the first 20 words. 
  • If a status update includes images, videos, thumbnail links to outside sources, or content from another Facebook post (such as when sharing a link), indicate that in square brackets.

Parenthetical citations:  (Fagan, 2019; National Institute of Mental Health, 2018; Woodyatt, 2019; World Health Organization, 2018)

Narrative citations:  Fagan (2019), National Institute of Mental Health (2018), Woodyatt (2019), and World Health Organization (2018)

  • Provide as specific a  date  as is available on the webpage. This might be a year only; a year and month; or a year, month, and day.
  • Italicize the title of a webpage.
  • When the author of the webpage and the publisher of the website are the same, omit the publisher name to avoid repetition (as in the World Health Organization example).
  • When contents of a page are meant to be updated over time but are not archived, include a  retrieval date  in the reference (as in the Fagan example).
  • Use the webpage on a website format for articles from news websites such as CNN and HuffPost (these sites do not have associated daily or weekly newspapers). Use the  newspaper article category  for articles from newspaper websites such as  The New York Times  or  The Washington Post .
  • Create a reference to an open educational resources (OER) page only when the materials are available for download directly (i.e., the materials are on the page and/or can be downloaded as PDFs or other files). If you are directed to another website, create a reference to the specific webpage on that website where the materials can be retrieved. Use this format for material in any OER repository, such as OER Commons, OASIS, or MERLOT.
  • Do not create a reference or in-text citation for a whole website. To mention a website in general, and not any particular information on that site, provide the name of the website in the text and include the URL in parentheses. For example, you might mention that you used a website to create a survey.

The following supplemental example references are mention in the  Publication Manual:

  • retracted journal or magazine article
  • edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
  • edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD)
  • religious work
  • annotated religious work

Archival document and collections are not presented in the  APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition . This content is available only on the APA Style website .  This guidance has been expanded from the 6th edition.

Archival sources include letters, unpublished manuscripts, limited-circulation brochures and pamphlets, in-house institutional and corporate documents, clippings, and other documents, as well as such nontextual materials as photographs and apparatus, that are in the personal possession of an author, form part of an institutional collection, or are stored in an archive such as the Archives of the History of American Psychology at the University of Akron or the APA Archives. For any documents like these that are available on the open web or via a database (subscription or nonsubscription), follow the reference templates shown in Chapter 10 of the Publication Manual.

The general format for the reference for an archival work includes the author, date, title, and source. The reference examples shown on this page may be modified for collections requiring more or less specific information to locate materials, for different types of collections, or for additional descriptive information (e.g., a translation of a letter). Authors may choose to list correspondence from their own personal collections, but correspondence from other private collections should be listed only with the permission of the collector.

Keep in mind the following principles when creating references to archival documents and collections:

  • As with any reference, the purpose is to direct readers to the source, despite the fact that only a single copy of the document may be available and readers may have some difficulty actually seeing a copy.
  • Include as much information as is needed to help locate the item with reasonable ease within the repository. For items from collections with detailed finding aids, the name of the collection may be sufficient; for items from collections without finding aids, more information (e.g., call number, box number, file name or number) may be necessary to help locate the item.
  • If several letters are cited from the same collection, list the collection as a reference and provide specific identifying information (author, recipient, and date) for each letter in the in-text citations (see Example 3).
  • Use square brackets to indicate information that does not appear on the document.
  • Use “ca.” (circa) to indicate an estimated date (see Example 5).
  • Use italics for titles of archival documents and collections; if the work does not have a title, provide a description in square brackets without italics.
  • Separate elements of the source (e.g., the name of a repository, library, university or archive, and the location of the university or archive) with commas. End the source with a period.
  • If a publication of limited circulation is available in libraries, the reference may be formatted as usual for published material, without the archival source.
  • Note that private letters (vs. those in an archive or repository) are considered personal communications and cited in the text only.

1. Letter from a repository

Frank, L. K. (1935, February 4). [Letter to Robert M. Ogden]. Rockefeller Archive Center (GEB Series 1.3, Box 371, Folder 3877), Tarrytown, NY, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Frank, 1935)
  • Narrative citation: Frank (1935)
  • Because the letter does not have a title, provide a description in square brackets.

2. Letter from a private collection

Zacharius, G. P. (1953, August 15). [Letter to William Rickel (W. Rickel, Trans.)]. Copy in possession of Hendrika Vande Kemp.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Zacharius, 1953)
  • Narrative citation: Zacharius (1953)
  • In this example, Hendrika Vande Kemp is either the author of the paper or the author of the paper has received permission from Hendrika Vande Kemp to cite a letter in Vande Kemp’s private collection in this way. Otherwise, cite a private letter as a  personal communication .

3. Collection of letters from an archive

Allport, G. W. (1930–1967). Correspondence. Gordon W. Allport Papers (HUG 4118.10), Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Allport, 1930–1967)
  • Narrative citation: Allport (1930–1967)

To cite specific letters in the text, provide the author and range of years as shown in the reference list entry, plus details about who wrote the specific letter to whom and when the specific letter was written.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Allport, 1930–1967, G. Boring to Allport, December 26, 1937)
  • Narrative citation: Allport (1930–1967, Allport to G. Boring, March 1, 1939)
  • Use the parenthetical citation format to cite a letter that E. G. Boring wrote to Allport because Allport is the author in the reference. Use either the parenthetical or narrative citation format to cite letters that Allport wrote.

4. Unpublished papers, lectures from an archive or personal collection

Berliner, A. (1959). Notes for a lecture on reminiscences of Wundt and Leipzig. Anna Berliner Memoirs (Box M50), Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Berliner, 1959)
  • Narrative citation: Berliner (1959)

5. Archival/historical source for which the author and/or date is known or is reasonably certain but not stated on the document

Allport, A. (presumed). (ca. 1937). Marion Taylor today—by the biographer [Unpublished manuscript]. Marion Taylor Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Allport, ca. 1937)
  • Narrative citation: Allport (ca. 1937)
  • Because the author is reasonably certain but not stated on the document, place the word “presumed” in parentheses after the name, followed by a period.
  • Because the date is reasonably certain but not stated on the document, the abbreviation “ca.” (which stands for “circa”) appears before the year in parentheses.

6. Archival source with group author

Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs. (1949, November 5–6). Meeting of Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs. David Shakow Papers (M1360), Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs, 1949)
  • Narrative citation: Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs (1949)

7. Interview recorded and available in an archive

Smith, M. B. (1989, August 12). Interview by C. A. Kiesler [Tape recording]. President’s Oral History Project, American Psychological Association, APA Archives, Washington, DC, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Smith, 1989)
  • Narrative citation: Smith (1989)
  • For interviews and oral histories recorded in an archive, list the interviewee as the author. Include the interviewer’s name in the description.

8. Transcription of a recorded interview, no recording available

Sparkman, C. F. (1973). An oral history with Dr. Colley F. Sparkman/Interviewer: Orley B. Caudill. Mississippi Oral History Program (Vol. 289), University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Sparkman, 1973)
  • Narrative citation: Sparkman (1973)

9. Newspaper article clipping, historical, in personal collection

Psychoanalysis institute to open. (1948, September 18). [Clipping from an unidentified Dayton, OH, United States, newspaper]. Copy in possession of author.

  • Parenthetical citation: (“Psychoanalysis Institute to Open,” 1948)
  • Narrative citation: “Psychoanalysis Institute to Open” (1948)
  • Use this format only if you are the person who is in possession of the newspaper clipping.

10. Historical publication of limited circulation

Sci-Art Publishers. (1935). Sci-Art publications [Brochure]. Roback Papers (HUGFP 104.50, Box 2, Folder “Miscellaneous Psychological Materials”), Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (Sci-Art Publishers, 1935)
  • Narrative citation: Sci-Art Publishers (1935)

11. Archived photographs, no author and no title

[Photographs of Robert M. Yerkes]. (ca. 1917–1954). Robert Mearns Yerkes Papers (Box 137, Folder 2292), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, New Haven, CT, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: ([Photographs of Robert M. Yerkes], ca. 1917–1954)
  • Narrative citation: [Photographs of Robert M. Yerkes] (ca. 1917–1954)
  • Because the archived photographs do not have a title, provide a bracketed description instead.
  • Because the archived photographs do not have an author, move the bracketed description to the author position of the reference.

12. Microfilm

U.S. Census Bureau. (1880). 1880 U.S. census: Defective, dependent, and delinquent classes schedule: Virginia [Microfilm]. NARA Microfilm Publication T1132 (Rolls 33–34), National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, United States.

  • Parenthetical citation: (U.S. Census Bureau, 1880)
  • Narrative citation: U.S. Census Bureau (1880)

Read the full APA guidelines on citing ChatGPT 

OpenAI. (2023).  ChatGPT  (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].  https://chat.openai.com/chat

  • Parenthetical citation:  (OpenAI, 2023)
  • Narrative citation:  OpenAI (2023)

Author:  The author of the model is OpenAI.

Date:  The date is the year of the version you used. Following the template in Section 10.10, you need to include only the year, not the exact date. The version number provides the specific date information a reader might need.

Title:  The name of the model is “ChatGPT,” so that serves as the title and is italicized in your reference, as shown in the template. Although OpenAI labels unique iterations (i.e., ChatGPT-3, ChatGPT-4), they are using “ChatGPT” as the general name of the model, with updates identified with version numbers.

The version number is included after the title in parentheses. The format for the version number in ChatGPT references includes the date because that is how OpenAI is labeling the versions. Different large language models or software might use different version numbering; use the version number in the format the author or publisher provides, which may be a numbering system (e.g., Version 2.0) or other methods.

Bracketed text  is used in references for additional descriptions when they are needed to help a reader understand what’s being cited. References for a number of common sources, such as journal articles and books, do not include bracketed descriptions, but things outside of the typical peer-reviewed system often do. In the case of a reference for ChatGPT, provide the descriptor “Large language model” in square brackets. OpenAI describes ChatGPT-4 as a “large multimodal model,” so that description may be provided instead if you are using ChatGPT-4. Later versions and software or models from other companies may need different descriptions, based on how the publishers describe the model. The goal of the bracketed text is to briefly describe the kind of model to your reader.

Source:  When the publisher name and the author name are the same, do not repeat the publisher name in the source element of the reference, and move directly to the URL. This is the case for ChatGPT. The URL for ChatGPT is  https://chat.openai.com/chat . For other models or products for which you may create a reference, use the URL that links as directly as possible to the source (i.e., the page where you can access the model, not the publisher’s homepage).

What to include and what to exclude

Works included in a reference list.

The reference list provides a reliable way for readers to identify and locate the works cited in a paper. APA Style papers generally include reference lists, not  bibliographies.

In general, each work cited in the text must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text. Check your work carefully before submitting your manuscript or course assignment to ensure no works cited in the text are missing from the reference list and vice versa, with only the following exceptions.

Works Excluded From a Reference List

There are a few kinds of works that are not included in a reference list. Usually a work is not included because readers cannot recover it or because the mention is so broad that readers do not need a reference list entry to understand the use.

Information on works included in a reference list is covered in Sections 2.12 and 8.4 of the  APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

*This guidance has been expanded from the 6th edition.*

  • Personal communications  such as emails, phone calls, or text messages are cited in the text only, not in the reference list, because readers cannot retrieve personal communications.
  • General mentions of whole websites, whole periodicals, and common software and apps in the text do not require in-text citations or reference list entries because the use is broad and the source is familiar.
  • The source of an epigraph does not usually appear in the reference list unless the work is a scholarly book or journal. For example, if you open the paper with an inspirational quotation by a famous person, the source of the quotation does not appear in the reference list because the quotation is meant to set the stage for the work, not substantiate a key point.   
  • Quotations from research participants in a study you conducted can be presented and discussed in the text but do not need citations or reference list entries. Citations and reference list entries are not necessary because the quotations are part of your original research. They could also compromise participants’ confidentiality, which is an ethical violation.
  • References included in a meta-analysis, which are marked with an asterisk in the reference list, may be cited in the text (or not) at the author’s discretion. This exception is relevant only to authors who are conducting a meta-analysis.

DOIs and URLs

The DOI or URL is the final component of a reference list entry. Because so much scholarship is available and/or retrieved online, most reference list entries end with either a DOI or a URL.

  • A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies content and provides a persistent link to its location on the internet. DOIs can be found in database records and the reference lists of published works.
  • A URL specifies the location of digital information on the internet and can be found in the address bar of your internet browser. URLs in references should link directly to the cited work when possible.

Follow these guidelines for including DOIs and URLs in references:

  • Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless of whether you used the online version or the print version.
  • If a print work does not have a DOI, do not include any DOI or URL in the reference.
  • If an online work has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI.
  • For works without DOIs from websites (not including academic research databases), provide a URL in the reference (as long as the URL will work for readers).
  • For works without DOIs from most  academic research databases , do not include a URL or database information in the reference because these works are widely available. The reference should be the same as the reference for a print version of the work.
  • For works from databases that publish original, proprietary material available only in that database (such as the UpToDate database) or for works of limited circulation in databases (such as monographs in the ERIC database), include the name of the database or archive and the URL of the work. If the URL requires a login or is session-specific (meaning it will not resolve for readers), provide the URL of the database or archive home page or login page instead of the URL for the work. See the page on including  database information in references  for more information. 
  • If the URL is no longer working or no longer provides readers access to the content you intend to cite, follow the guidance for works with  no source .
  • Other alphanumeric identifiers such as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) are not included in APA Style references.

Follow these guidelines to format DOIs and URLs:

  • Present both DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks (i.e., beginning with “http:” or “https:”).
  • Because a hyperlink leads readers directly to the content, it is not necessary to include the words “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” before a DOI or URL.
  • It is acceptable to use either the default display settings for hyperlinks in your word-processing program (e.g., usually blue font, underlined) or plain text that is not underlined.
  • Leave links live if the work is to be published or read online.
  • Follow the current recommendations of the International DOI Foundation to format DOIs in the reference list, which as of this publication is as follows:

https://doi.org/ xxxxx

  • The string “https://doi.org/” is a way of presenting a DOI as a link, and “xxxxx” refers to the DOI number.
  • The preferred format of the DOI has changed over time. Although older works use previous formats (e.g., “http:/dx.doi.org/” or “doi:” or “DOI:” before the DOI number), in your reference list, standardize DOIs into the current preferred format for all entries. For example, use  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0040251  in your reference even though that article, published in 2016, presented the number in an older format.
  • Copy and paste the DOI or URL from your web browser directly into your reference list to avoid transcription errors. Do not change the capitalization or punctuation of the DOI or URL. Do not add line breaks manually to the hyperlink; it is acceptable if your word-processing program automatically adds a break or moves the hyperlink to its own line.
  • Do not add a period after the DOI or URL because this may interfere with link functionality.

When a DOI or URL is long or complex, you may use shortDOIs or shortened URLs if desired.

  • Use the  shortDOI service  provided by the International DOI Foundation to create shortDOIs. A work can have only one DOI and only one shortDOI; the shortDOI service will either produce a new shortDOI for a work that has never had one or retrieve an existing shortDOI.
  • Some websites provide their own branded shortened URLs, and independent URL shortening services are available as well. Any shortened URL is acceptable in a reference as long as you check the link to ensure that it takes you to the correct location.
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Citation Style: APA 7th Edition: Reference Citation Examples

  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • APA Style Guides
  • Basic Formatting
  • Title Page & Abstract
  • The Main Body
  • The References Page

Reference Citation Examples

  • Citation Generation Tools
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • 7th Edition vs. 6th Edition

Basic Reference Citation Rules

Authors, editors, creators.

Authors, editors, and creators are listed at the beginning of the citation with the last name first, followed by the first initial and the middle initial. If no middle initial is provided, then leave it out. The first and middle initial should each have a period, and there should be a space between them.

Last, F. M.

If the name of an author, editor, or creator is listed in the middle of the citation (such as with the "Book with An Editor and an Author" example), then the first and middle initial are first, followed by the last name.

(F. M. Last, Ed.).

Multiple authors are listed with commas in between them, even if there are only two. The last two authors have an ampersand (&) between them.

Last, F. M., & Last, F. M.

There is more information about citing authors on the Purdue OWL APA Guide .

Titles of books are italicized and in sentence case. Titles of articles are not italicized and in sentence case. Titles of journals (or periodicals) are italicized and in title case.

This is a title of a book.

This is a title of an article.

This is a Title of a Journal.

Subtitles occur after colons or dashes; use whichever one the source uses. The first word of the subtitle is capitalized.  Some sources do not have subtitles. 

This is an article title: With a subtitle.

Punctuation

Each major portion of the citation should end with a period. The end of the citation should also have a period, unless the citation ends with a URL or a DOI. Use the examples below to guide you in your use of punctuation in your citations.

Mix & Match Reference Citation Rules

The reference citation examples below are provided to demonstrate the various citation rules in APA (7th edition) style. You may not find a citation that matches your source exactly. For example, you may have a 5th edition textbook with three authors and an editor that you need to cite. You can mix the corresponding portions of the examples for "A Book with Three to Twenty Authors", "A Book with an Editor and an Author", and "Edition Other Than the First" to get the right citation format for the particular book you have in hand.

Where to Find Citation Information

For books, citation information is contained in three main places: the cover, the title page, and the back of the title page.

Click on the type of source below to see the correct citation example. Plug in the information for your book using the formatting in these examples. Pay special attention to capitalization, punctuation, and italicization.

Note: You can use the author portions of these examples as guidance for citing Journal Articles or Web Resources with multiple authors.

A Book with One Author

Last, F. M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized. Publisher.

A Book with Two Authors

Last, F. M., & Last, F. M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Publisher.

A Book with Three to Twenty Authors

Last, F. M., Last, F. M., & Last, F. M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Publisher.

A Book with More Than Twenty Authors

Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., Last, F. M., ... Last, F. M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Publisher.

(List the first 19 authors, then an elipsis, followed by the final author's name.)

A Book with an Editor and No Author

Last, F. M. (Ed.). (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Publisher.

Last, F. M., & Last, F. M. (Eds.). (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Publisher.

A Book with an Editor and an Author

Last, F. M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  (F. M. Last, Ed.). Publisher.

Edition Other Than the First

Last, F. M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized (3rd ed.) .  Publisher.

A Chapter from a Book

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of chapter. In F. M. Last & F. M. Last (Eds.),  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized  (pp. xx-xx). Publisher.

Last, F.M. (xxxx).  Title of book in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Publisher. https://www.url.org

(Do not include the URL at the end if you retrieved the book from a library database.)

Journal Articles

Basic rules for citing journal articles in your references.

After the title of the journal, use a comma followed by the volume number and the issue number. The volume number is italicized and the issue number with parentheses is not. There is no space between them.

This is a Journal Title, 43 (2)

For newspaper articles or any type of publication that is published very frequently, use the month and the day in addition to the year. Spell out the whole month (don't use an abbreviation).

( xxxx , Month XX)

For articles, the citation information is usually found on the details page for the article in the database where you found the article. Some articles also list the citation information on the article itself.

For scholarly articles, it is preferred that you use a DOI whenever possible. Almost all scholarly articles have a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). If you cannot find it, you can  use this website to look up the DOI  for your article.  A DOI number can be transformed into a DOI link by visiting  doi.org . DOI links are very useful because they never break and will always lead the user to the correct resource on the web for that article.

For popular articles (newspapers, magazines, trade journals), use the URL (web address). If you are using a library database, it is not necessary to include the URL (unless you are using CQ Researcher, ERIC, or UpToDate).

See the  Frequently Asked Questions  tab for situations in which you cannot find all of the information you need to cite.

Click on the type of source below to see the correct citation example. Plug in the information for your journal article using the formatting in these examples. Pay special attention to capitalization, punctuation, and italicization.

An Article from a Scholarly Journal Retrieved from a Library Database

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Journal, XX (XX), xx-xx. https://doi.org/xxxxx

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Journal, XX (XX), xx-xx.

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Journal, XX (XX), xx-xx. Retrieved Month XX, xxxx from https://www.url.org

An Article from a Newspaper Retrieved from a Library Database (or In Print)

Last, F. M. (xxxx, Month XX). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Newspaper. 

An Article from a Magazine Retrieved from a Library Database (or In Print)

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Magazine, XX (XX).

Web Resources

How to identify types of web resources.

Web resources are really tricky sometimes, but you can usually use the clues provided to determine whether the website is an online magazine, online newspaper, a blog, or just a general website.

  • The first place to look is the "About" section, which almost every website has. On that page, they will usually tell you what it is.
  • Look at the title of the webpage, then Google that title. If it is a newspaper or magazine, it is likely there will be a Wikipedia article about it.
  • Look at the web address and the headings on the webpage. Do you see the word "blog" anywhere? If so, does your article fall under that heading or web address?
  • If all else fails, cite the source as "A Website or Web Document."

For more information about citing sources on the web, visit the Purdue OWL APA Guide .

Where to Find the Citation Information

  • The author and date is usually listed near the title of the article or page or at the bottom of the page.
  • If you use a copyright date, check to see if it is the same on every page of the site. If so, don't use it. Use "n.d." for "no date" instead.
  • If no one's name is listed, check to see if you can find an organization name. You may need to visit the "About" or "Contact" page to find this.
  • The URL portion of your citation can be copied and pasted from the address bar at the top of your browser.

See the Frequently Asked Questions tab for situations in which you cannot find all of the information you need to cite.

Click on the type of source below to see the correct citation example. Plug in the information for your web resource using the formatting in these examples. Pay special attention to capitalization, punctuation, and italicization.

Newspaper Article found on the web

Last, F. M. (xxxx, Month XX). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Newspaper. https://www.url.org

Magazine Article found on the web

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of the article in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized.  Title of Magazine . https://www.url.org

A Blog Post

Last, F. M. (xxxx, Month XX). Title of the post in sentence case: First word of subtitle capitalized [Blog post]. https://www.url.org

A Website or Web Document (Stands Alone)

Last, F. M. (xxxx). Title of the webpage: First word of subtitle capitalized. https://www.url.org

A Website or Web Document (Part of a Greater Whole)

Last, F. M. ( xxxx ). Title of the webpage: First word of subtitle capitalized. https://www.url.org

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citation sentence

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A citation sentence is a sentence consisting entirely of one or more citations . A citation sentence is used to cite sources and legal authorities that refer to the entire preceding sentence. Citation sentences always begin with a capital letter and end with a period. Semicolons divide multiple sources in a citation sentence. The sentence may or may not begin with a  signal .

An example of a citation sentence consisting of three different citations: 

United States v. Dodd, 538 F.2d 980, 984 (7th Cir. 1996); Parker v. Marpoe, 789 So. 2d 86, 91 (Al. 2000); Smith v. Fulton, 390 A.2d 72, 78 (Pa. 1999).

See also: order of signals ,  order of authorities , and   Introduction to Basic Legal Citation .

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APA in-text citations

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In-text citations are a brief version of citations that are used to provide information about the sources being referred to by the author. They are used in the text to indicate to the reader that complete information of the citations referred to is available in the reference list, which will enable the reader to locate or access the sources being cited. To provide in-text citations, you must have the following two important elements:

Name of the author or organization

Publication year

Types of in-text citations

APA citation follows the author–date system. Two types of in-text citations are used in APA style. However, it is not necessary to follow the same type of citation throughout the paper. You must choose the appropriate type depending upon how you construct your sentence. There are two types of in-text citations:

Narrative citations

Parenthetical citations

Narrative citation

This type of citation is used when the name of the author or the organization and the year of publication are incorporated into the text and act as a part of the sentence. See the below examples:

With the author

Sivasankar (2007) argues that education for women is important to develop a nation.

Organization functioning as the author

IPIECA (2007) released the oil and natural gas industry guidelines.

Notice that only the publication year is enclosed in parenthesis for narrative citations.

Parenthetical citation

Parenthetical citations are used when both the name of the author or the organization and the year of publication appear inside parenthesis. In parenthetical citations, a comma separates the author from the publication year.

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (Sivasankar, 2007).

It was concluded to release the oil and natural gas industry guidelines (IPIECA, 2007).

If you want to add any additional information in a parenthetical citation, provide the information after the year with a comma as a separator. Phrases or words such as “for more information, see,” “see,” and “e.g.,” can also be used in parenthetical citations. These are illustrated in the below examples:

With author

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (Sivasankar, 2007, p. 7).

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (see Sivasankar, 2007, p. 7).

However, when a citation appears along with some text in parenthesis, use a semicolon as a separator.

It is argued that education for women is important to develop a nation (e.g., the significance of Indian women; Sivasankar, 2007, p. 7).

Examples of in-text citations:

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year)

Narrative: Hannula (2006)

Parenthetical: (Hannula, 2006)

Two authors

The surnames of the first author and the second author are separated by “and” in narrative citations. However, use an ampersand symbol in parenthetical citations.

Narrative: Author Surname1 and Author Surname2 (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname1 & Author Surname2, Publication Year)

Narrative: Kleanthous and Williams (2013)

Parenthetical: (Kleanthous & Williams, 2013)

Three or more authors

If the number of authors is three or more, use the first author’s surname followed by “et al.” in both narrative and parenthetical citations.

Narrative: Author Surname1 et al. (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname et al., Publication Year)

Narrative: Towers et al. (2018)

Parenthetical: (Towers et al., 2018)

Group author

If the reference has a group author, use it in place of the author’s name. The group author can be abbreviated. Note that there is a difference in using the abbreviation between a narrative and a parenthetical citation.

If the first occurrence appears in a narrative citation, include the abbreviation along with the year in parenthesis. If the first occurrence appears in a parenthetical citation, you need to include the abbreviation inside square brackets, as the citation is already inside parenthesis.

Narrative: Group author (Abbreviation, Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (Group author [Abbreviation], Publication Year)

Narrative: American Psychological Association (APA, 2008)

Parenthetical: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2018)

No author/Anonymous author

If a reference does not have an author, add the title of the work in in-text citations in place of the author’s name. In general, citations for no author reference appear parenthetical. You need to write the title according to how it is listed in the reference list entry. If the title in the reference list entry is italicized, you need to italicize the title in the in-text citation too. If formatting is not used in the list, use double quotes around the title and capitalize significant words.

Parenthetical: (“Title of the Work,” Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (“The Surrogate Mother,” 2018)

If the author of a work is openly mentioned as “Anonymous,” use “Anonymous” as the author.

Parenthetical: (Anonymous, 2004)

Other citations

Multiple citations in one sentence.

If multiple in-text citations appear together, arrange them in alphabetical order in parenthetical citations. Use semicolons to separate citations.

(Anand, 2017; Burner & Amit, 2012; Pitchard, 2004)

If multiple references by the same author group are cited, arrange them chronologically with a comma separator. Note that the chronological citation for the same author group takes the order mentioned in the below example, i.e., n.d., 2006, in press. Here, “n.d.” stands for “no date.”

(Albert, 2012, 2014a, 2014b; Ben & Bell, 2012, in press; Pitchard, n.d., 2004)

Note that the alphabetical arrangement of in-text citations should not be done in narrative citations.

Same surname, same publication year, different initials

If two or more entries in the reference list have the same surname and publication year, but different initials, add initials to the in-text citations to distinguish each author. This will help the reader locate the correct source of the citation. A few examples for your understanding are given below. The letters “F” and “M’ denote the authors’ initials.

Narrative: F. Author Surname (Publication Year)

Narrative: M. Author Surname (Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (F. Author Surname, Publication Year)

Parenthetical: (M. Author Surname, Publication Year)

Narrative: T. Lange (2016)

Narrative: K. Lange (2016)

Parenthetical: (T. Lange, 2016)

Parenthetical: (K. Lange, 2016)

Same surname, same initials, same publication year

If two or more entries in the reference list have the same surname and initials and same publication year, add a lowercase letter after the year to distinguish the citations. This will help the reader locate the correct source of a citation. A few examples for your understanding are given below.

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year followed by a suffix)

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year followed by a different suffix)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year followed by a suffix)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year followed by a different suffix)

Narrative: Sullivan (2014a)

Narrative: Sullivan (2014b)

Parenthetical: (Sullivan, 2014a)

Parenthetical: (Sullivan, 2014b)

Translated work

Translated titles contain two publication years (original work publication year and the translated work publication year). Include both years in in-text citations with the original work’s publication year first and the translated work’s publication year next. Separate them with a slash.

Narrative: Author Surname (Publication Year of the original work/Publication Year of the translated work)

Parenthetical: (Author Surname, Publication Year of the original work/Publication Year of the translated work)

Narrative: Herman (1997/2007)

Parenthetical: (Herman, 1997/2007)

Personal communication

Works such as personal interviews, emails, chats, text messages, and conversations on the telephone do not have any source. Such works are cited under personal communication. As the information cannot be retrieved, there will not be a citation for such references in the reference list. When citing personal communication, use initials as well. Try to give the exact date when citing personal communication.

Narrative: Communicator’s name (personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Parenthetical: (Communicator’s name, personal communication, Month Day, Year)

Narrative: K. Sethusankar (personal communication, December 2, 1996)

Parenthetical: (K. Sethusankar, personal communication, December 2, 1996)

For additional information on APA format, select from one of the source types below. For help creating APA citations, check out the BibMe APA citation generator.

Source Types:

  • How to cite a Book in APA
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  • How to cite an Interview in APA
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  • How to cite a TV Show / Radio Broadcast in APA
  • How to cite an Encyclopedia in APA
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  • How to Write Topic Sentences | 4 Steps, Examples & Purpose

How to Write Topic Sentences | 4 Steps, Examples & Purpose

Published on July 21, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 5, 2023.

How to Write Topic Sentences

Every paragraph in your paper needs a topic sentence . The topic sentence expresses what the paragraph is about. It should include two key things:

  • The  topic of the paragraph
  • The central point of the paragraph.

After the topic sentence, you expand on the point zwith evidence and examples.

To build a well-structured argument, you can also use your topic sentences to transition smoothly between paragraphs and show the connections between your points.

Table of contents

Writing strong topic sentences, topic sentences as transitions between paragraphs, topic sentences that introduce more than one paragraph, where does the topic sentence go, frequently asked questions about topic sentences.

Topic sentences aren’t the first or the last thing you write—you’ll develop them throughout the writing process. To make sure every topic sentence and paragraph serves your argument, follow these steps.

Step 1: Write a thesis statement

The first step to developing your topic sentences is to make sure you have a strong thesis statement . The thesis statement sums up the purpose and argument of the whole paper.

Thesis statement example

Food is an increasingly urgent environmental issue, and to reduce humans’ impact on the planet, it is necessary to change global patterns of food production and consumption.

Step 2: Make an essay outline and draft topic sentences

Next, you should make an outline of your essay’s structure , planning what you want to say in each paragraph and what evidence you’ll use.

At this stage, you can draft a topic sentence that sums up the main point you want to make in each paragraph. The topic sentences should be more specific than the thesis statement, but always clearly related to it.

Topic sentence example

Research has consistently shown that the meat industry has a significant environmental impact .

Step 3: Expand with evidence

The rest of the paragraph should flow logically from the topic sentence, expanding on the point with evidence, examples, or argumentation. This helps keep your paragraphs focused: everything you write should relate to the central idea expressed in the topic sentence.

In our example, you might mention specific research studies and statistics that support your point about the overall impact of the meat industry.

Step 4: Refine your topic sentences

Topic sentences usually start out as simple statements. But it’s important to revise them as you write, making sure they match the content of each paragraph.

A good topic sentence is specific enough to give a clear sense of what to expect from the paragraph, but general enough that it doesn’t give everything away. You can think of it like a signpost: it should tell the reader which direction your argument is going in.

To make your writing stronger and ensure the connections between your paragraphs are clear and logical, you can also use topic sentences to create smooth transitions. To improve sentence flow even more, you can also utilize the paraphrase tool .

A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper

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citation sentence examples

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As you write each topic sentence, ask yourself: how does this point relate to what you wrote in the preceding paragraph? It’s often helpful to use transition words in your topic sentences to show the connections between your ideas.

Emphasize and expand

If the paragraph goes into more detail or gives another example to make the same point, the topic sentence can use words that imply emphasis or similarity (for example, furthermore , indeed , in fact , also ).

Indeed , cattle farming alone is responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions.

Summarize and anticipate

If the paragraph turns to a different aspect of the same subject, the topic sentence can briefly sum up the previous paragraph and anticipate the new information that will appear in this one.

While beef clearly has the most dramatic footprint, other animal products also have serious impacts in terms of emissions, water and land use.

Compare and contrast

If the paragraph makes a comparison or introduces contrasting information, the topic sentence can use words that highlight difference or conflict (for example, in contrast , however , yet , on the other hand ).

However , the environmental costs of dietary choices are not always clear-cut; in some cases, small-scale livestock farming is more sustainable than plant-based food production.

You can also imply contrast or complicate your argument by formulating the topic sentence as a question.

Is veganism the only solution, or are there more sustainable ways of producing meat and dairy?

Sometimes you can use a topic sentence to introduce several paragraphs at once.

All of the examples above address the environmental impact of meat-eating versus veganism. Together, they make up one coherent part of a larger argument, so the first paragraph could use a topic sentence to introduce the whole section.

In countries with high levels of meat consumption, a move towards plant-based diets is the most obvious route to making food more sustainable. Research has consistently shown that the meat industry has significant environmental impacts.

The topic sentence usually goes at the very start of a paragraph, but sometimes it can come later to indicate a change of direction in the paragraph’s argument.

Given this evidence of the meat industry’s impact on the planet, veganism seems like the only environmentally responsible option for consumers. However, the environmental costs of dietary choices are not always clear-cut; in some cases, small-scale livestock farming is more sustainable than plant-based food production.

In this example, the first sentence summarizes the main point that has been made so far. Then the topic sentence indicates that this paragraph will address evidence that complicates or contradicts that point.

In more advanced or creative forms of academic writing , you can play with the placement of topic sentences to build suspense and give your arguments more force. But if in doubt, to keep your research paper clear and focused, the easiest method is to place the topic sentence at the start of the paragraph.

View topic sentences in an example essay

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citation sentence examples

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

Topic sentences help keep your writing focused and guide the reader through your argument.

In an essay or paper , each paragraph should focus on a single idea. By stating the main idea in the topic sentence, you clarify what the paragraph is about for both yourself and your reader.

The topic sentence usually comes at the very start of the paragraph .

However, sometimes you might start with a transition sentence to summarize what was discussed in previous paragraphs, followed by the topic sentence that expresses the focus of the current paragraph.

Let’s say you’re writing a five-paragraph  essay about the environmental impacts of dietary choices. Here are three examples of topic sentences you could use for each of the three body paragraphs :

  • Research has shown that the meat industry has severe environmental impacts.
  • However, many plant-based foods are also produced in environmentally damaging ways.
  • It’s important to consider not only what type of diet we eat, but where our food comes from and how it is produced.

Each of these sentences expresses one main idea – by listing them in order, we can see the overall structure of the essay at a glance. Each paragraph will expand on the topic sentence with relevant detail, evidence, and arguments.

Cite this Scribbr article

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McCombes, S. (2023, June 05). How to Write Topic Sentences | 4 Steps, Examples & Purpose. Scribbr. Retrieved October 31, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/topic-sentences/

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