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This guide is designed to assist PLuS Alliance student scholars taking courses through Arizona State University with identifying and locating library and information resources for assignments.

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Online Graduate Student Writing Support (Tutoring Center)

Learning APA Style

APA Quick Guides (ASU Library)

Using In-Text Citations

APA states that you should "cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories or research have directly influenced your work" (APA, 2010).

APA guidelines require citing sources within the text [or body] of the paper using an author-date citation system. Every resource cited in the text of your paper must be listed alphabetically in the reference list. Likewise every resource in the reference list must be cited in text with the exception of classical works such as the Bible and personal communications you've had. These are not listed in the reference list.


Format: APA style requires specific kinds of information be included in in-text citations. The author's last name and the work's date of publication must always appear & are all that is necessary when citing an idea, an entire book, article or other work. Example: (Smith, 2009). These must match exactly the corresponding entry in the references list. The page number appears only if it is a direct quotation. Example: (Smith, 2009, p. 195). Placement of the cite may vary within the body of your paper; There are several options of where to place the citation in text.

  • The name of the author can be incorporated into the narrative of the paper. Example: Smith in his study suggested .... (2009).
  • The name of the author and the date may be stated in the narrative without parentheses. Examples: In 2009 Smith found that children learn the alphabet in the following ways ... OR In his study of how children learn the alphabet Smith (2009) found ...
  • Both the name and date of the work cited appear. Example: Researchers studying how children learn the alphabet found that ..... (Smith, 2009).
Multiple Authors: Use the word 'and' when citing multiple authors in the narrative of the paper; use '&' when citing parentheses.
  • 2 authors - cite both names every time the reference occurs in the text. The same methods as above can be used. Example: (Smith & Jones, 2009).
  • 3 - 5 authors - Include all names in the first in text citation. Example: (Smith, Jones, Brown & Harris, 2009); in subsequent references include only the first author's name followed by 'et al.' and the date. Example: (Smith et al., 2009).
  • 6 or more authors: Use only the first author's name and date in the first and subsequent citations. Example: (Smith et al., 2009) OR Smith et al. found the following... (2009).

Groups as Authors: When the author is a group (e.g. association, corporation, government entity etc.) their name is generally spelled out each time it appears in a text citation. If the group's name is long and there is a well known abbreviation use it in subsequent in text citations. Examples: 1st time: (Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 2009); Subsequent uses: (MADD, 2009).

No Author: Use the first few words of the reference (usually the title) and the date. Use double quotations marks around the title of an article, a chapter or web page and italize the title of a journal, book or report. Examples: ("Comparing learning styles," 2009) OR (Learning the Alphabet, 2009).

Indirect Sources: When you use a source cited in another source, name the original source in the narrative. The secondary source [the one you used] should be listed in your reference list and cited in parentheses. Example: Roberts study of children found .... (as cited in Smith, 2009).

Electronic Sources: Generally electronic sources cited within the text should be treated the same as print sources by including the author's name (or brief title if there is no author) and date in parentheses.


Short Quotations: If you directly quote from a source and the quotation is 40 or fewer words include it in the text and enclose it with double quotation marks. There are several ways to handle this depending upon where in the sentence the quotation appears. Generally the source is cited in parentheses immediately after the quotation marks and includes the author's name, date and page number including 'p.'. Examples: (Smith, 2009, p. 195) OR Smith (2009) found that "children's learning included ..." (p. 78).

Long Quotations: When you quote directly from the source and the quotation is more than 40 words display it in a free standing block without quotations. Quotation block should appear on a new line indented at least 5 spaces from the left margin and be double-spaced.

Online Sources: Credit online sources using the authors' name, date and page numbers in the same manner as print sources. If there are no page numbers but paragraphs are visibly numbered use them in place of page numbers. Use the  symbol, or the abbreviation "para." in place of the page number. Examples: (Smith, 2009, ¶ 3) OR (Smith, 2009, para. 3).

If the paragraphs are not numbered but there are headings within the document or page list the appropriate heading and indicate the paragraph number under that heading. Include the author's name, date, heading title and indicate the paragraph under the heading.

Guidelines for Reference List

The following discusses general aspects of a reference list including formatting.

Order: Citations are listed alphabetically by author's last name. Sources without authors are inserted alphabetically by title within the list.

Capitalization: Capitalize only the first word of the title and the subtitle of books, articles and websites. EXCEPTIONS: Capitalize all proper names/words. Capitalize all words in the title of a journal, magazine, newspaper. Example: The Arizona Republic. Reference works such as an encyclopedia only the first word of the title is capitalized. ExampleConcise encyclopedia of special education.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): A unique DOI is assigned to journal articles and provides a persistent link to the article but not all have a DOI. Eliminates issues with URLs changing. All DOIs begin with a 10. If available, DOI should be shown at the end of the citation. DOIs are visible in some databases but "hidden" in others.

Spacing: Insert 1 space after commas, colons, semicolons, periods that separate parts of the citation and periods of the initials in a name. Example: Author, A. A. (2009). Title. Journal, volume, pages. Citations should be double-spaced in the reference list.

Date: Follows the author's name or title if there is no author. Use exact date when citing magazines, newspapers, newsletters and conference/symposium papers and proceedings. Example: (2009, May 10). Use only the year when citing journal articles. If possible, include date website was created or updated.

Indention: First line of each citation is flush with the left margin; subsequent lines of the citation are indented and double-spaced to form hanging indents.

Italics & Underlining: Titles of books and journals are italicized. Journal volume numbers are also italicized but issue numbers are not. Example: Journal of Special Education, 29(2), 79-98. Underlining is not used in citations in the reference list including URLs.

Pagination: Use p. or pp. to signify page numbers when citing magazines and newspapers that do not have volume numbers. They are also used to designate pages for articles in encyclopedias and chapters in edited books. These page number abbreviations are not used when citing journal articles with volume numbers. See journal example in "Italics" above.

Other punctuation: Ampersand [&] is used instead of 'and' when there are multiple authors. Examples: Author, A. A. & Author, B. B. OR Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C. & Author, D. D.

Editions: Cite edition of a book only if it is not the 1st edition. Edition is shown between title and location of publisher. Example: Title (3rd ed.). City, State: Publisher.

Publication information: Location of publisher should include city, state and name of publisher. Example: San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

URLs: Should not be underlined. URLs are used when a DOI is not used or found. If no DOI, use home page URL of the journal or book publisher. EX: Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxxx or in the case of government/technical reports - Retrieved from agency name website: http://www.xxxx

Websites: When making a "passing reference to a website in the text, the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed. However, when you are citing a particular document or piece of information from a website, include both a reference list entry and an in-text citation. The key to creating the reference list entry is to determine the type of content on the web page".  

Retrieved from: Use when there is no DOI for journal or magazine article and you retrieved the article electronically. Retrieved from

Retrieved date: No longer needed in citations unless the information may change over time [e.g. wikis].

Databases: No longer necessary to include a "retrieved from" statement with name of database from which online article was retrieved. Exception: Add database name used when citing materials with limited circulation.


No Author or Editor - Reference Book :
Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). (1993). Springfield, MA:  Merriam-Webster.

One Author:
Stot, J. C. (1995).  Native Americans in children's literature. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.

Two Authors:
Druin, A., & Solomon, C. (1996). Designing multimedia environments for children. New York, NY: J. Wiley & Sons.

Subsequent Edition:
Bace, L., & Cervantes, H. T. (2004). The bilingual special education interface (4thed.). Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Merrill Prentice


Edited Book:
Dunlap, L. L. (Ed.). (1997).  An introduction to early childhood special education.  Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Chapter in an Edited Book:
Greenberg, S. (1998). Collaborative interfaces for the web. In C. Forsythe & E. Grose (Eds.), Human factors and web development

(pp. 241-253). Mahweh, NJ: Erlbaum.

Electronic Book:
McCarver, P.L. (2001). History of New England honey bees.  Retrieved from

Corporate Author:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (2009).  Beyond boundaries: A year in review, 2008. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


Journals, Magazines and Newspapers

Magazine, No Author, from a Printed Source:
Unsnarling the I-way traffic jams. (1998, January 12). Business Week, p. 87.

Magazine from a Printed Source:
Sachs, A. (2010, March 8). The untold war: Inside the hearts, minds, and souls of our soldiers. Time, 175(9), 18.

Online Magazine Article:
Bower, B. (2008, Feb. 9). Dawn of the city: Excavations prompt a revolution in thinking about the earliest cities. Science News,

173(6), 90-92. Retrieved from

Journal Article from a Printed Source:
Gallegos, B., & Rillero, P. (1996). Bibliographic database competencies for preservice teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher

Education, 4(3/4), 231-246.

Journal Article with 8 or More Authors [also with doi]:
Witek, M., Węglarz, W. P., de Jong, L., van Dalen, G., Blonk, J. C. G., Heussen, P.,Van Duynhoven, J. (2010). The structural and

hydration properties of heat-treated rice studied at multiple length scales. Food Chemistry, 120(4), 1031-1040.

doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.11.043

Online Journal Article with DOI:
Humphrey, M., & Hourcade, J. J. (2010). Special educators and mathematics phobia: An initial qualitative investigation. Clearing

House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, 83(1), 26-30. doi: 10.1080/00098650903267743

Online Journal Article without DOI:
Villarreal, M. A. (2006). Finding our place: Reconstructing community through oral history.The Oral History Review, 33(2), 45-64.

Retrieved from

Online Newspaper Article :
Newton, C. (2010, Feb. 15). Driving-while-texting ban advances Senate. The Arizona Republic.

Retrieved from

Newspaper from Print Source:
Pearson, S. L. (1997, June 5). Why Johnny can't play. The Arizona Republic, p. HL1.

Other Types of Sources

ERIC Document:
Di Fatta, J., Garcia, S., & Gorman, S. (2009). Increasing student learning in mathematics with the use of collaborative teaching

strategies. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED504828).

Conference Paper
Gallegos, B., Allgood, T.,  &  Gondin, K. (2007, May). Quarantined: The Fletcher Library Game Project.  Paper presented at the

national conference of LOEX, San Diego.

Conference Proceedings
Gallegos, B., Allgood, T., Grondin, K. (2009). Quarantined: The Fletcher Library Game Project. In Sietz, B. & Valko, T. (Eds.).

Uncharted Waters: Tapping the Depths of Our Community to Enchance Learning. Thirty-fifth National LOEX Library

Instruction Conference Proceedings, San Diego, CA, May 3-5, 2007. (pp. 133-138). Ypsilanti. MI: LOEX Press.

Scorsese, M. (Producer), & Lonergan, K. (Writer/Director). (2000). You can count on me [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount


Hancock, M. (Producer/Director). (2008?). Imaging possibilities for public education [DVD]. Derry, NH: Chip Taylor Communications.

Music Recording:
Jackson, M. (1982).  Beat it. On Thriller [CD]. New York: Sony Music.

Entire Website:
If citing the entire website no entry is required in Reference List if you put the web address in the text of your paper:

The website Learn Spanish has a free translator, and tutorials to help you learn to speak and write Spanish.


Personal Communication (e.g. email, interview etc.):
Personal communications are not included in the Reference List but should be cited within the text of the paper: (S. Johnson,

personal communication, March 1, 2010).

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.