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APA Citation Style and Other Citation Styles Explained
In academia and other professional fields, much of the work that goes on is strictly intellectual. In such areas, ideas matter, and copying another’s ideas without acknowledging the source can land the practitioner in trouble. This has happened to many unsuspecting academics.
Sometimes, failure to use citations constitutes academic fraud. The consequences of academic fraud are dire, including academic sanctions, penalties, or worse. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Citation systems like the APA one or the Chicago style can help you easily bring your papers or professional writings up to standard.
Below, we explore the APA type of citation and other alternatives that you can use to make your work free of plagiarism.
What is APA Citation Style?
The APA citation style is one of three citation styles which are in wide use in universities and other professional communities. These three are:
- APA Style – A type of citations by the American Psychological Association
- Chicago Manual Style – Citation style from the Chicago University Press
- MLA Style – Citation guidelines by the Modern Language Association
APA Style contains guidelines for references to academic works, as well as stylistic idioms for the composition of academic work. The style began in the 1920s, and has since been adopted by leading academics in the social sciences.
Using APA Citations in the Body of a Text
Proper citation begins with in-text citations. These are references to source materials which you have chosen to include in the body of your paper or text.
In APA Style, you must reference the author’s last name and the source material’s publication year when making reference to a secondary source. Such a secondary source could be, for example, a book, guide, newspaper article, published report, or other publication.
References to earlier research, for example from academic journals, must use the past tense. For example, when referring to a work from 1960 by the psychologist Abraham Maslow, we would write:
Maslow (1960) found that “the highest stage of human psychological health occurs in the state of self-actualization” (p. 330).
As you can see, we also need to include a page number if directly quoting the work, otherwise, the author’s name and the work’s publication year suffice.
APA Reference List
At the end of an academic work, journal writing, or other such professional work, it is necessary to include a list of all works that have been referenced in the body.
The reference list must begin on a separate page from the body of your test. You should title it “References” so that it’s clear that the main arguments have ended and you are now listing references.
In the reference list, you should follow APA Style rules, including the following:
- Arrange author listings in alphabetical order
- Invert the authors’ names so that the last name is read first
- Titles for works cited should be given in full, whether books, journals, or other sources
- Specify the publisher and location where the work was published
Observing these rules, we can list a book by the social scientist Carl Jung as follows:
Jung, C. (1933). Modern Man in Search of a Soul . London: Trubner & Co.
Why APA Is Not Always the Right Citation Type
APA Style works well for the following disciplines:
Other, related, disciplines also use APA Style.
There are, however, disciplines where alternative citation styles are more appropriate. These include the Chicago Manual Style, and MLA Style. The exact citation style you need to use will depend on the field of study for which you are writing. If in doubt, you can check with the publisher or editor of the journal or other publication for which you are writing.
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On This Page
Citing a part of a book vs citing the whole book, book with one author (print or ebook from library database), book with two to twenty authors (print or ebook from library database).
- Book with a Group or Corporate Author
Book with Editor(s), but no Author(s)
Chapters, short stories, essays, or articles from a book (anthology or collection), ebook from a website with one author, ebook from a website with two to twenty authors, open textbook (free online textbook).
- In-text Citation for Two or More Authors
Two or More Works by the Same Author With the Same Year
- In-text Citation for Group or Corporate Authors
All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference List.
A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.
It is acceptable for hyperlinks to be blue and underlined (live) or black without underlining.
All hyperlinks must include https://
Do not put a period after DOIs or hyperlinks.
How Can I Tell if it's a Book in Print or an eBook?
A print book means it's printed on paper. If you checked the book out of a library or bought it from a bookstore, it's print.
An eBook is a book you can read entirely online.
Note that most of the time, references are exactly the same for a print copy of a book and an eBook copy of the same book from a library database.
Editions - What to do when a book has an edition
Some books have specific editions listed. Include the edition after the title of the book in the reference list. You do not have to include the edition if it is the first edition. Shorten the word "edition" to "ed.".
Gasher, M., Skinner, D., & Lorimer, R. (2016). Mass communication in Canada (8th ed.). Oxford University Press.
An author won't necessarily be a person's name. It may be an organization or company, for example Health Canada. These are called group or corporate authors.
If a book has no author or editor, begin the citation with the book title, followed by the year of publication in round brackets.
If an author is also the publisher, put the word "Author" where you'd normally put the publisher name. This happens most often with corporate or group authors.
When a book has one to twenty authors or editors, all authors' names are cited in the Reference List entry. When a book has twenty-one or more authors or editors, list the first nineteen authors followed by three spaced ellipse points (. . .) , and then the last author's name. Rules are different for in-text citations; please see the examples provided.
Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title. If there is a colon (:) in the title, also capitalize the first letter of the first word after the colon.
Capitalize the first letter of proper names in titles, such as names of places or people. Example: Canada
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher Name often shortened.
Place of publication is not required when using APA 7th edition.
For eBooks, the database is not required.
If the book is a numbered edition (for example many textbooks) include this information. See the "Tips" box on this page for an example.
Last Name of First Author, First Initial. Second Initial if Given, & Last Name of Second Author, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher Name often shortened.
Authors' names are separated by commas. Put a comma and an ampersand (&) before the name of the last author cited.
Must include ALL names in the reference list for publications with up to 20 authors.
For library eBooks, the database is not required.
Book With Group or Corporate Author
Name of Corporate Author. (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher Name often shortened.
If the Corporate Author is also the publisher of the book, omit the Publisher Name.
Editor's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Ed.). (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher Name often shortened.
For a book with more than one editor, follow name conventions for a Book with Two to Twenty Authors
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of chapter, article, essay or short story. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if Given. Editor's Last Name (Ed.), Title of book (pp. first page number-last page number). Publisher Name often shortened.
If you have more than one editor list their name(s) after the first editor listed in the book, giving their initials and last name. Put an ampersand (&) before the last editor's name.
When you have one editor the short form (Ed.) is used after the editor's name. If you have more than one editor use (Eds.) instead.
Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher. URL
Last Name of First Author, First Initial. Second Initial if Given, & Last Name of Second Author, First Initial. Second Initial if given. (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher. URL
No place of publication is required when using APA 7th edition.
Last Name of First Author, First Initial. Second Initial if Given, & Last Name of Second Author, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of book: Subtitle if given . Publisher. URL
APA style does not require you to identify the format of an eBook (PDF, Kindle, ePUB). However, be sure to read your assignment guidelines carefully in case your instructor would like you to include this or any other extra information.
In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors
If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing instead. Follow the title/name of the item with the date of publication, and the continue with other citation details.
Remember : an author/creator may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada. If you don't have a person's name as the author, but do have the name of an organization or corporation, put that organization/corporation's name as the author.
If and only if an item is signed as being created by Anonymous, use "Anonymous" where you'd normally put the author's name.
When you have no author, use a shortened version of the title where you'd normally put the author's name.
If you're citing something which is part of a bigger work, like an article from a magazine, newspaper, journal, encyclopedia, or chapter/short story from a book, put the shortened title in quotation marks in your in-text citation:
Example, paraphrase: ("A few words," 2014)
If you're citing an entire work, like a book, website, video, etc., italicize the shortened title in your in-text citation:
Example, paraphrase: ( A few words , 2014)
When you are citing two different sources that share the same author and year of publication, assign lowercase letters after the year of publication (a, b, c, etc.). Assign these letters according to which title comes first alphabetically. Use these letters in both in-text citations and the Reference list.
Example In-Text :
This is paraphrased content from the first source by this author (Daristotle, 2015a). "Now I am quoting from the second source by the same author" (Daristotle, 2015b, p. 50).
Example Reference List entries:
Daristotle, J. (2015a). Title of book used as first source . Toronto, ON: Fancy Publisher.
Daristotle, J. (2015b). Title of book used as second source . Toronto, ON: Very Fancy Publisher.
In-Text Citation for Group or Corporate Authors
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- How to Cite a Journal Article | APA, MLA, & Chicago Examples
How to Cite a Journal Article | APA, MLA, & Chicago Examples
Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022.
To cite an article from an academic journal, you need an in-text citation and a corresponding reference listing the name(s) of the author(s), the publication date, the article title and journal name, the volume and issue numbers, the page range, and the URL or DOI .
Different citation styles present this information differently. The main citation styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago style .
You can use the interactive example generator to explore the format for APA and MLA journal article citations.
Table of contents
Citing an article in apa style, citing an article in mla style, citing an article in chicago style, frequently asked questions about citations.
In an APA Style journal article reference , the article title is in plain text and sentence case, while the journal name appears in italics, in title case.
The in-text citation lists up to two authors; for three or more, use “ et al. ”
When citing a journal article in print or from a database, don’t include a URL. You can still include the DOI if available.
You can also cite a journal article using our free APA Citation Generator . Search by title or DOI to automatically generate a correct citation.
Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr
The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless APA citation
In an MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article , the article title appears in quotation marks, the name of the journal in italics—both in title case.
List up to two authors in both the in-text citation and the Works Cited entry. For three or more, use “et al.”
A DOI is always included when available; a URL appears if no DOI is available but the article was accessed online . If you accessed the article in print and no DOI is available, you can omit this part.
You can also use our free MLA Citation Generator to create your journal article citations.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless MLA citation
Scribbr Citation Checker New
The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:
- Missing commas and periods
- Incorrect usage of “et al.”
- Ampersands (&) in narrative citations
- Missing reference entries
In Chicago notes and bibliography style, you include a bibliography entry for each source, and cite them in the text using footnotes .
A bibliography entry for a journal article lists the title of the article in quotation marks and the journal name in italics—both in title case. List up to 10 authors in full; use “et al.” for 11 or more.
In the footnote, use “et al.” for four or more authors.
A DOI or URL (preferably a DOI) is included for articles consulted online; for articles consulted in print, omit this part.
Chicago also offers an alternative author-date style of citation. Examples of how to cite journal articles in this style can be found here .
The elements included in journal article citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the name(s) of the author(s), the title of the article, the year of publication, the name of the journal, the volume and issue numbers, the page range of the article, and, when accessed online, the DOI or URL.
In MLA and Chicago style, you also include the specific month or season of publication alongside the year, when this information is available.
The DOI is usually clearly visible when you open a journal article on an academic database. It is often listed near the publication date, and includes “doi.org” or “DOI:”. If the database has a “cite this article” button, this should also produce a citation with the DOI included.
If you can’t find the DOI, you can search on Crossref using information like the author, the article title, and the journal name.
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (Latin for “and others”) is used to shorten citations of sources with multiple authors.
“Et al.” is used in APA in-text citations of sources with 3+ authors, e.g. (Smith et al., 2019). It is not used in APA reference entries .
Use “et al.” for 3+ authors in MLA in-text citations and Works Cited entries.
Use “et al.” for 4+ authors in a Chicago in-text citation , and for 10+ authors in a Chicago bibliography entry.
Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.
- APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
- MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
- Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
- Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.
Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.
The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, August 23). How to Cite a Journal Article | APA, MLA, & Chicago Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/citing-sources/cite-a-journal-article/
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APA 7th Referencing: Journal Articles
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On this page
- APA Referencing: journal articles (video)
Basic format to reference journal articles
- Referencing journal articles: Examples
Related links within this guide
- What is a DOI? Information about digital object identifiers.
- In-text referencing The basics of an in-text reference in APA
- Quotes in APA 7th How to include quotes within the text of your work.
- The Reference List Compiling a Reference List using APA Style.
- Secondary sources Referring to the ideas or words of an author who has been cited in another authors work.
APA Referencing: journal articles
APA Referencing: journal articles from Victoria University Library on Vimeo .
Select the 'cc' on the video to turn on/off the captions.
A basic reference list entry for a journal article in APA must include:
- Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
- Year of publication of the article (in round brackets).
- Article title.
- Journal title (in italics ).
- Volume of journal (in italics ).
- Issue number of journal in round brackets (no italics).
- Page range of article.
- DOI or URL
- The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.
Ruxton, C. (2016). Tea: Hydration and other health benefits. Primary Health Care , 26 (8), 34-42. https://doi.org/10.7748/phc.2016.e1162
Referencing journals articles: Examples
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As anyone who has ever written a paper for a college class knows, there are certain style rules and guidelines to be followed depending on which discipline you are in. For many college students, learning APA style can be tricky.
In academia and other professional fields, much of the work that goes on is strictly intellectual. In such areas, ideas matter, and copying another’s ideas without acknowledging the source can land the practitioner in trouble. This has happ...
To write an article review in APA format, start by formatting the citation of the article. Read through the article and identify the standard APA sections, such as the abstract, introduction, method, study and results. An APA article ends w...
Basic introduction into AMA, APA, Chicago, MLA and Turabian citation ... There are different rules for books, journals, websites, music
Reference Guide for Journal Articles,. Books, and Edited Book Chapters. Journal. Article. Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of the article.
APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Journal Articles. This guide shows you how to cite using APA 7th edition.
Citing a Part of a Book vs Citing the Whole Book.
Citation Styles: A Brief Guide to APA, MLA and Turabian. Home · Books · Journal Articles. Citing Journal Articles.
About Citing Books · In-Text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or
... to distinguish one kind of citation from another (a book from a journal article, for example). The citations below are in the APA style
An APA journal citation includes the author, article title, journal name, year, volume and issue number, page range, and DOI (if available).
Search by title or DOI to automatically generate a correct citation. Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr. Webpage Book Video Journal
video link for How to cite Articles using APA style ... Journal Title in Italics, volume#(issue#), pg#-pg#. https://doi.org/10.xxxxxxxx.
Issue number of journal in round brackets (no italics). Page range of article. DOI or URL; The first line of each citation is left adjusted.