APA Style Guide

This guide serves to assist CSN students in formatting citations based on the Sixth Edition of the APA Handbook. Always check with your instructors that the guidelines meet their requirements. Revised August, 2014.

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citation manualsAPA is a particular style or format (a set of rules, essentially) for structuring an essay or a research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The style helps your professor see exactly where you found the research that you add to the paper and lays out exactly how the paper should look (margins, titles, page numbers, etc.).

If you have never used APA before, we recommend that you speak with your professor or visit the Writing Center or Library for one-on-one assistance. There is a library and writing center on each CSN campus. To contact a librarian, see Ask A Librarian. To contact the Writing Center, visit their website.

Step 1 – Set up the paper’s format for an APA paper before you start to write. Word 2013 can help set your paper up in the APA format. To do this:

  1. Click “File”
  2. Click “New”
  3. Type “APA” in the Office.com templates search box and hit Enter.

Example APA formatted paper

Step 2 – Write a rough draft of the essay and mark where you used information (ideas, quotations, or paraphrasing) from a resource. This is called in-text citation. See examples below.

Step 3 – On a separate page, write the resources in a list as the last page of the paper. This page is called the References page. View an example references page or see a specific cited references examples below.

When you quote, summarize or paraphrase information you found in a source (book, article, etc.), you use in-text citations to give credit to the creator of the information. The purpose of the in-text citation is to give the reader the information needed to find the source in your references list. The in-text citation goes directly after the piece of information you included.  

The references page lists the long citations for all the sources you cited in your paper and is included at the end of your paper. The purpose of a references page is to give the reader all the information needed to find the sources that you used. All citations are listed alphabetically, by the first piece of information (usually the author).

example references page

When you quote, summarize or paraphrase information you found in a source (book, article, etc.), you use in-text citations to give credit to the creator of the information. The purpose of the in-text citation is to give the reader the information needed to find the source in your References list. The parenthetical in-text citation goes directly after the piece of information you included.

Basic Format

(Author’s Last Name, year of publication)

Example: In 1861, settlers flowed West (Highman, 2013).

Common Exceptions

If there are 2 authors, include both names.
Example: (Highman & Smith, 2013)

If there are 3 to 5 authors, use all authors’ names the first time you cite them, and the first author’s last name followed by et al. for any following citations of the same source.
Example: (Highman, Smith, Heart, Jones, & Williams, 2013)
Example subsequent citation: (Highman et al., 2013)

If there are 6 or more authors, use the first author’s last name followed by et al.
Example: (Highman et al., 2013)

If you mention the author’s name in the sentence, you do not need to repeat it in the in-text citation at the end.
Example: Highman (2013) notes that settlers flowed West.

For some websites, you will not have an author. Instead, use the first piece of information you have from the citation on your References page. For information from an organization’s website, use the organization’s name.
Example: (American Diabetes Association, 2014)

For news and magazine articles with no author, use the first few words of the article’s title in quotation marks.
Example: (“All 33 Chile miners,” 2010)

If you have two or more authors in your References list have the same last name, include the first initials in the in-text citations to distinguish between the two.
Example: (C. Highman, 2013)

For magazines, add the page number.
Example: (Tremoglie, 2003, 52)

Personal communications should include person, type of communication and date.
Example: (G. Thompson, personal communication, September 9, 2014).

The References page lists the long citations for all the sources you cited in your paper and is included at the end of your paper. The purpose of a References page is to give the reader all the information needed to find the sources that you used. All citations are listed alphabetically, by the first piece of information (usually the author).

Items found using an online database (such as those provided by the CSN Library), items found on the free web (such as those you found using a search engine like Google), and items found in print are cited differently.

Choose type of material you want to cite from the list to see examples.

 

Select the type of material you want to cite from the list on the left to get started.