Using external sources without citing them is considered plagiarism. Authors must provide enough information so that readers can go to the original sources and review them. This involves two things: Citations and References.
Citations briefly identify the source of borrowed information, quotes, and figures in the text. The citation must be placed at the beginning, middle or end of the borrowed information. It must be clear what information is borrowed and where it comes from, including page references whenever possible. The brief citation matches the first word(s) in an entry in the reference list; the author(s) or title serves as a main entry in the reference list.
The reference list contains the full descriptions of only those sources that are cited in the paper. It enables the reader to find any source cited in the paper. The references are placed in alphabetical order at the end of the paper.
Guidelines for Citations and References
Citing Borrowed Material
Citations include the author’s last name, the year of publication, and a page number if available. If an author is not available, use the title of the work (or a short form of the title, if it is lengthy). Titles that are italicized in the reference list are italicized in text; titles that are not italicized in the reference list appear in quotation marks. Some examples follow. This is by no means an all- inclusive list. The APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, sections 6.01–6.21, pp. 169–179, provides more examples of citation style.
References and a bibliography are not the same.
In References, you list only the items you have actually cited.
In a Bibliography, you list all of the material you have consulted in preparing your essay whether or not you have actually cited the work.
Most Boise State College of Business and Economics disciplines use the references page to list the sources within the text of the report from which information was obtained. For more details about bibliographies, see Appendix A: Bibliography on the Style Guide References and Bibliography page.
Each citation in the text must correspond to an item in the reference list.
Each entry in references must be cited in the text in the proper way to easily lead the reader to the reference in the list (see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, Chapters 6 and 7 for an extensive discussion).
On the references page, arrange entries:
In alphabetical order by surname of first author. (If no author is given, alphabetize by first word of title.)
In order of date, with earliest first, for references by the same author.
With hanging indents, meaning the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented.
In double space with the word References appearing in uppercase and lowercase letters, centered.
A reference list includes only references that document the article and provide recoverable data. Don’t include personal communications such as letters, memos, and informational electronic communications. Instead, cite those online in text (see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, section 6.20 for format).
In all reference entries, certain pieces of information need to be included if at all possible. These include things like author(s), year of publication, title and pages. However, some specific pieces of information vary for different types of references.
Basic components and formats include the following:
Article: Author’s last name, First and Middle (if available) initials. (Publication date). Title of article. Title of Journal, Volume number (Issue number), start page-end page.
Book: Author’s last name, First and Middle (if available) initials. (Copyright date). Book title. Publisher’s city: Publisher’s name.
NOTE: APA does not use the words “Volume,” “Vol.,” or “Issue” in reference list entries, just the appropriate numbers. If no publication date is available, use (n.d.) to indicate that there is no publication date.
NOTE: The paragraph format for reference entries is a “Hanging Indent” where the first line is left flush and subsequent lines are indented. In MS WORD, use the FORMAT > PARAGRAPH > INDENTS and SPACING > INDENTATION > SPECIAL > HANGING style menu.
NOTE: Place the DOI at the end of the reference. If there is no DOI, cite the home page URL.
What is a digital object identifier, or DOI?
DOI: digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. The publisher assigns a DOI when your article is published and made available electronically.
Sample Citations and Reference List Entries
Examples of Citation Placement in Text
When one author is referred to in the middle of a sentence list the citation like this, “Kessler (2003) found that among epidemiological samples . . .”
When the citation is referenced without mentioning the author in the sentence list the citation like this, “Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course (Kessler, 2003).”
When two authors are referred to in the middle of a sentence list the citation like this, “. . . as Kurtines and Szapocznik (2003) demonstrated. . .”
When the citation is referenced without mentioning the authors in the sentence list the citation like this, “. . . as has been shown (Jeskog and Som, 2007). . .”
Three or more authors
Cite all the authors the first time the work is mentioned. After that use only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.” For example, Kisangau, Lyaruu, Hosea, and Joseph (2007) found [Use as first citation in text.] Kisangau et al. (2007) found [Use as subsequent first citation per paragraph thereafter.]
Multiple sources cited for the same piece of information
Order sources alphabetically as they are in the reference list. For example, “Kosslyn, Koenig, Barrett, Cave, Tang, and Gabrieli (996).”
List the direct quote in quotation marks followed by the citation including the author, year, and page. For example, “Behavior has been referred to as “blah blah” (Bradley, 1998, p. 276).”
Refer to both sources in the text, but only put the one source you used in the References list. For example, Allport’s diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003).
In this case, if Allport’s work is cited in Nicholson and you did not read Allport’s work, list the Nicholson reference in the reference list.
Use the title of the article, or part of the title, and the year. Make sure that the title or title part corresponds to the name in the Reference list. This often occurs with daily newspaper articles. For example, “It was recently reported that a new drug appears to cut the risk of heart failure (“New Drug,” 1993).”
Citing Personal Communication and Interviews
These include private letters, memos, some electronic communication (e.g., e-mails or electronic bulletin boards), personal interviews, and telephone conversation. For example, “T. K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001)” or “(V. G. Nguyen, personal communication, September 28, 1998).”
The citation of interviews depends on the nature of the interview.
If the interview is in a form that is recoverable (e.g., a recording, transcript, published Q&A), use the reference format appropriate for the source in which the interview is available.
If you have interviewed someone for information about your topic and that person has agreed to be identified as a source, cite the source as a personal communication (in text only). For example, “(G. Fink-Nottle, personal communication, April 5, 2011).”
Personal communications do not have reference list entries because they cannot be retrieved.
Interviews of research participants
No citation is needed for remarks made by participants in the research on which you’re reporting. Do not cite these as personal communications; this would breach the participants’ guarantee of confidentiality.
For more information on interviews, see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, section 1.11, pp. 16-17; section 6.20, p. 179; section 7.10, Examples 69 and 70, p. 214.
Citing Electronic Sources
Citing Electronic Sources
Given the rich and varied online publishing environment, APA Publication Manual, sixth edition recommends including the same elements, in the same order, as a reference to a fixed-media source and add as much electronic retrieval information as needed for others to locate the sources cited.
Here are basic guidelines of the APA Publication Manual, sixth edition for citing electronic sources in the reference list.
For a passing reference to a website in text, the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed. For example, “(http://gfnnfg.livejournal.com/).”
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. Basically, provide the following four pieces of information:
Title of document [Format description].
Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx
The in-text citation includes the author and date (Author, date), as with any other APA Style citation.
For more information see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, section 6.32, pp. 189–192; Chapter 7, Examples 29, 30, 54, 55, and 76, pp. 198–215.
The reference list entry for an e-book includes the author, date, title, and source (URL or DOI). For a chapter in an e-book, include the chapter title and page numbers (if available). The in-text citation includes the author and date, as with any other APA Style citation.
For a whole e-book
With DOI: Author, A. (date). Title of book. Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx
Without DOI: Author, A. (date). Title of book. doi:xxxxxxxxxxxx
For a chapter in an e-book
With DOI: Author, A. (date). Title of chapter. In E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx–xx). doi:xxxxxxxxxx
Without DOI: Author, A. (date). Title of chapter. In E. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx–xx). Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx
For more information see: APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, section 7.02, pp. 202–205.
Facebook and Twitter
Although the APA Publication Manual (sixth edition) does not include specific Facebook citation formats, you can adapt the basic reference format to fit. For more information see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, p. 193.
Here’s the general format for creating a reference for a video found on YouTube and other video-posting websites:
If both the real name of the person who posted the video and the screen name are known: Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx.
If only the screen name of the person who posted the video is known: Screen name. (year, month day). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx The in-text citations include the author name outside of brackets (whichever that may be) and the date.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique string of letters, numbers, and symbols assigned to a published work to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. The DOI is typically located on the first page of an electronic document near the copyright notice and on the database landing page for the document. When DOIs are available, include them in the reference information. Place the DOI at the end of the reference, and don’t add a period at the end of it. For example, “Author, A. (year). Title of article. Journal Title, X, xxx–xxx. doi:xxxxxx.”
How does this look in practice?
Brownlie, D. (2007). Toward effective poster presentations: An annotated bibliography. European Journal of Marketing, 41, 1245-1283. doi:10.1108/03090560710821161
Note: If there is no DOI, provide the URL for the journal homepage as the second choice. The retrieval date is not required in this type of reference
For more information see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, sections 6.31–6.32, pp. 187–192
No page numbers
For electronic sources that do not provide page numbers, use the paragraph number, if available, proceeded by the paragraph symbol (¶) or the abbreviation para. For example, “As Myers (2000, ¶ 5) aptly phrased it, “positive emotions are both an end…”
If neither paragraph nor page numbers are visible, cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following it to direct the reader to the location of the material. For example, “The current system of managed care and the current approach to defining empirically supported treatments are shortsighted” (Beutler, 2000, Conclusion section, para 1).”
When there is no author for a web page, the text citation would then just cite a few words of the title. For example, “…are most at risk of contracting the disease (“New Child,” 2001).”
When discussing—but not citing—an entire web site (but not a specific document on that site), it is sufficient to give the address of the site in just the text (no entry in the reference list is needed). For example, “Kidspsych, which can be found at http://www.kidspsych.org, is a wonderful interactive web site for children.”
Additional guidelines for citing electronic sources
Here are additional guidelines on citing electronic sources (APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, section 6.32):
You may need to do a quick web search to locate the website URL. Transcribe the URL correctly by copying it directly from the address window in your browser and pasting it into your working document.
Do not insert a hyphen if you need to break a URL across lines; instead, break the URL before most punctuation. Do not add a period after the URL, to prevent the impression that the period is part of the URL.
In general, it is not necessary to include database information. Journal coverage in a particular database may change over time; also, if using an aggregator such as EBSCO, OVID, or Pro Quest (each of which contain many discipline-specific databases, such as PsycINFO), it may be unclear exactly which database provided the full text of an article.
Some archival documents (e.g., discontinued journals, monographs, dissertations, or papers not formally published) can only be found in electronic databases such as ERIC or JSTOR. When the document is not easily located through its primary publishing channels, give the home or entry page URL for the online archive.
Do not include retrieval dates unless your instructor requires it and the source material may change over time (e.g., Wikis).
As with references to material in print or other fixed media, it is preferable to cite the final version (i.e., archival copy or version of record; see APA Publication Manual, sixth edition, section 6.24).
Examples of Reference List Entries
Journal article with DOI
The in-text citation for journal articles with a DOI is listed as authors (Year, found..). For example, “Herbst-Damm and Kulik (2005, found…”
Herbst-Damm, K.L., and Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229. doi: 10.1037/027S-6 1 184.108.40.206
Journal article with DOI more than seven authors
The in-text citation for journal articles with a DOI and more than seven authors is listed as the first author (et. al., year). For example, “… (Gilbert et al., 2004)…”
Gilbert, D.G., McClernon, J. F., Rabinovich, N.E., Sugai, C., Plath, L.C., Asgaard, G., Botros, N. (2004). Effects of quitting smoking on EEG activation and attention last for more than 31 days and are more severe with stress, dependence, DR D2 A1allele, and depressive traits. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 6, 249-267 Doi:10.1SO/14622200410001676305
Journal article without DOI (when DOI is not available)
Note: Give the URL of the home page if no DOI is assigned. No retrieval date is needed.
The in-text citation for journal articles without DOI is listed as the aauthors (year). For example, “Sillick and Schutte (2006) described…”
Sillick, T.J., and Schutte, N. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between perceived early parental love and adult happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48.
Light, M. A., and Light, I. H. (2008). The geographic expansion of Mexican immigration in the United States and its implications for local law enforcement. Law Enforcement Executive Forum Journal, 8(1), 73-82.
Abstract as original source
The in-text citation for abstracts as original sources is listed as the abstract title (year). For example, “According to the Society for Neuroscience (1991)…”
Woolf, N. J., Young, S. L., Fanselow, M. S., and Butcher, L. L. (1991). MAP-2 expression in cholinoceptive pyramidal cells of rodent cortex and hippocampus is altered by Pavlovian conditioning [Abstract]. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 17, 480.
The in-text citation for magazine articles is listed as author (year). For example, “Novotney and Price (2008) argue that…”
Chamberlin, J., Novotney, A., Packard, E., and Price, M. (2008, May). Enhancing worker well-being: Occupational health psychologists convene to share their research on work, stress, and health. Monitor on Psychology, 39(5), 26-2.
Online magazine article
The in-text citation for online magazine articles is listed as author (year). For example, “Clay (2008) finds…”
Clay, R. (2008, June). Science vs. ideology: Psychologists fight back about the misuse of research. Monitor on Psychology, 39(6).
Newsletter article with no author
The in-text citation for newspaper articles with no authors is listed as the title (hyperlink). For example, “Several…met at a comprehensive anti- gang conference (http://www. ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/ne wsacglance/216684/topstory.htm)…”
Six sites meet for comprehensive anti-gang initiative conference. (2006, November/December). OJJDP News @ a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/newsac glance/216684/topstory.html
The in-text citation for newspaper articles is listed as title (author, year). For example, “Obesity is found to
Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington Post, pp. A1, A4.
Online newspaper article
The in-text citation for online newspaper articles is listed as author (year). For example, “According to J.E. Brody (2007)…”
Author, A. A. (1967). Title of work. Location: Publisher.
Author, A. A. (1997). Title of work. Retrieved from http://www.xxxxxxx
Author, A. A. (2006). Title of work. doi:xxxxx
Editor, A. A. (Ed.). (1986). Title of work. Location: Publisher.
Chapter in a book or entry in a reference book
Author, A. A., and Author, B. B. (1995). Title of chapter or entry. In A Editor, B. Editor, & C. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Location: Publisher.
Author, A. A., and Author, B. B. (1993). Title of chapter or entry. In A Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). Retrieved from http ://www.xxxxxxx
Author, A. A., and Author, B. B. (1995). Title of chapter or entry. In A Editor, B. Editor, & C. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pp. xxx-xxx). doi:xxxxxxxx
Entire Book, print version
The in-text citation for entire printed book is listed as author (year). For example, “Shotton (1989) asserts ….”
Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency. London, England: Taylor and Francis.
Reference Entry Format and Components: Note carefully the use of italics and punctuation.
Author’s last name and initial(s). (Publication date). Book title in italics and using capital letters for the first word of the title and subtitle and for any proper nouns. City, state of publication: Publisher.
Electronic version of print book
The in-text citation for electronic version of a print book is listed as author (year). For example, “…as is mentioned by Shotton (1989)…”
Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addiction? A study of computer dependency [DX Reader Version]. Retrieved from http://www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk/ html/index.asp
Schiraldi, G. R. (2001). The post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: A guide to healing, recovery, and growth [Adobe Digital Editions version].doi: 10.1036/0071393722
Electronic only book
The in-text citation for electronic only books is listed as author (n.d). For example, “O’Keefe (n.d.) found…”
O’Keefe, E. (n.d.). Egoism & the crisis in Western values. Retrieved from http://www.onlineoriginals.com/showitem.asp??itemID=35
Book chapter, print version
The in-text citation for a chapter in a print version of a book is listed as author (year, pp. xx-xx). For example, “Haybron (2008, pp. 17-43) found…”
Haybron, D. M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well- being. In M. Eid and R. Larsen (Eds.). The science of subjective well-being (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Corporate author, government report
The in-text citation for government reports is listed as department (year) report. For example, “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (2003) report…”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2003). Managing asthma: A guide for schools (NIH Publication No. 02-2650). Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/asth_sch.pdf
Use this form for issue briefs, working papers, and other corporate documents, with the appropriate document number for retrieval in parentheses.
The in-text citation for issue briefs is listed as institute name (year). For example, “The Employee Benefit Research Institute (1992) report…”
Employee Benefit Research Institute. (1992, February). Sources of health insurance and characteristics of the uninsured (Issue Brief No.123). Washington, DC: Author.
Paper presentation or poster session
The in-text citation for paper presentations or poster sessions is listed as presenters name (year) presented… For example, “A.A. Presenter (year) presented…”
Presenter, A. A. (Year, Month). Title of paper or poster. Paper or poster session presented at the meeting of
Organization Name, Location.
The in-text citation for videos is listed as producer (year). For example, “According to the American Psychological Association (2000), …”
American Psychological Association (Producer). (2000). Responding therapeutically to patient expressions of sexual attraction [DVD]. Available from http://www.a pa.org/videos/
The in-text citation for podcasts is listed as date and podcast name. For example, “During a December 19, 2007 Shrink rap radio podcast, participants…”
Van Nuys, D. (Producer). (2007, December 19). Shrink rap radio [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/
Single episode from a television series
The in-text citation for an episode from a television series is listed as series name (year). For example, “In an episode of Failure to communicate (2005) …”
Egan, D. (Writer). and Alexander, J. (Director). (2005). Failure to communicate [Television series episode]. In D. Shore (Executive producer). House. New York, NY: Fox Broadcasting.
In text citations, include side and band or track numbers. For example, “Shadow and the Frame” (Lang, 2008, track 10).
Lang, K.D. (2008). Shadow and the frame. On Watershed [CD]. New York, N Y: Nonesuch Records.
Photographer, F.M. (Photographer). (Year, month date of publication). Title of photograph [photograph]. City, State of publication: Publisher/museum.
Photographer, F.M. (Photographer). (Year, Month Date of Publication). Title of Photograph [digital image].
Retrieved from URL
Cartier-Bresson, H. (Photograph). (1938). Juvisy, France [photograph]. New York, NY: The Museum of Modern Art
O’Shea, P. (Photographer). (2010, August 29). Rescued hedgehog [digital image]. Retrieved from http://flickr.com/photos/peteoshea/5 476076002/
Message posted to a newsgroup, online forum, or discussion group
The in-text citation for a message posted to a newsgroup, online forum, or discussion group is listed as author (year) or (F. L, year). For example, “J.R. Drake (2014) argues that. . . . ” OR “. . . to remain competitive (J.R. Drake, 2014).”
Author. A. [or Alias.] (Year, Month day). Title of discussion thread [Online forum comment]. Message posted to Web address
Drake, J.R. (2014 May 5). Re: Incidentals of XII Technologies [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from
Message posted to an electronic mailing list
The in-text citation for messages posted to an electronic mailing list is listed as author (year). For example, “Smith (2006) describes…”
Smith, S. (2006, January 5). Re: Disputed estimates of IQ [Electronic mailing list message]. Retrieved from http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ ForensicNetwork/message/670
The in-text citation for a blog post is listed as author (year). For example, “PZ Myers (2007) found…”
PZ Myers. (2007, January 22). The unfortunate prerequisites and consequences of partitioning your mind [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ 2007/01/theunfortunateprerequisites
A blog comment would be referenced as follows:
Middle Kid. (2007, January 22). Re: The unfortunate prerequisites and consequences of partitioning your mind [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ 2007/01/theunfortunateprerequisites.
Interview recorded and available in an archive
The in-text citation for interviews recorded and available in an archive is listed as the name and year. For example, “Smith (1989) describes…”
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.
The in-text citation for software is listed as software title, version number. For example, “…is calculated by… (Comprehensive Meta- Analysis, version 2).”
Personal communications may be private letters, memos, some electronic communications (e.g., e-mail or messages from nonarchived discussion groups or electronic bulletin boards), personal interviews, telephone conversations, and the like. Because they do not provide recoverable data, personal communications are not included in the reference list. Cite personal communications in text only. Give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.
T. K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001)
(V.-G. Nguyen, personal communication, September 28, 1 998)