Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

APA Quick Citation Guide

In general

  • You should be able to create a reference for your reference list by considering four elements and asking four questions (See section 9.4 in the Manual.). These questions are:
    • author (Who is responsible for this work?)
    • date: (When was the work published?)
    • title: (What is this work called?)
    • source: (Where can I retrieve this work?)

 

  • Your answers to the questions will dictate which reference form a reference should take.  See the templates in each of the four categories of references (textual works; datasets, software and tests; audiovisual media; and online media). They are on the sidebar where you can learn how to easily construct references for various sources.  These templates have been adapted from the Manual to demonstrate many of the major types of references out there.  

 

  • Textual works, by and large, have definite publication dates whether they are physical items or found in an online venue. They may have no or an unknown date (n.d.) but they are never in a state of flux while still being added to.  This is an important point when trying to distinguish them from online media.  

 

  • The creators of APA style believe that references can be created logically and that authors should have the latitude to do their best to compensate for missing information and other citation abnormalities.  Therefore, authors should strive to create accurate references in APA style but also should be able to wing it instead of constantly worrying about being correct. This goes for beginners as well as seasoned researchers.  Please be advised that reference creation may seem daunting at first but does improve with doing it and time.   

Periodicals

Periodicals are issued periodically and include journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and other online platformsThe individual items (i.e., articles) follow a typical pattern in reference lists.  When such characterizing information such as volume numbers, issues, or page ranges are missing from the items, omit them from the references. When authors are missing, the title takes the author position and the rest is filled in with what is left--date, periodical information and DOI or URL.  

Online news sources such as CNN or Bloomberg are handled as webpages and are located in the Online Media section in this guide on the sidebar.  

Create a reference citation quickly from this citation template:

 

For many different types of examples, be sure to see the "Reference Examples" in the Manual, section 10.1 Periodicals.  A selective few are offered below:

 

Journal Article with 2 authors and a DOI

 

 

Books and reference works

Books, often called monographs in the library trade, are non-periodical publications. They include authored books, edited books, and anthologies. Reference works are specialized books such as handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), and diagnostic manuals.  

Create a reference citation quickly from this template:

 

For many different types of examples, be sure and see the "Reference Examples" in the Manual, section 10.2. 

Books with Editor(s)

  • Editors names (Ed.). Year of publication. Title. Location of publisher. Publisher.
  • Begin with the name of the editor(s) followed by the abbreviation Ed. (or Eds.) in parentheses.

Example:

Simpson, A., & Burns, M. (Eds.). (1989). The flying hellfish. Cypress Creek, SD: Globex Press.

Electronic Book

  • Author's name(s). Year of publication. Title. Retrieved from URL
  • Use "Available from" instead of "Retrieved from" when the URL leads to information on how to obtain the cited material rather than to the material itself.

Example:

Wiggum, C. (1993). Big Daddy in the Big Easy. Retrieved from http://www.wiggumpi.com/pubs/bigeasy.asp?itemid3528

Edited book chapters and entries in reference works

 

Edited chapters include chapters in edited books and the individual works in anthologies.  Reference work entries include dictionary, encyclopedia and handbook entries.  

Create a reference citation quickly from this template: 

Article or Chapter in an Edited or Reference Book

  • Author's name(s). Year of publication. Chapter / entry title. In Editor(s) (Ed.).Title of book (pages). Location of publisher. Publisher.

Example:

Simpson, C., & Lumpkin, L. (1989). Country singin' ain't for me. In E. Winthrop (Ed.), Traveling Country (pp. 352-358). Washington, DC: Country Press.

 

Article or Chapter in an Edited or Reference Electronic Book

  • Author's name(s). Year of publication. Chapter / entry title. In Editor(s) (Ed.).Title of book Retrieved from URL
  • Use "Available from" instead of "Retrieved from" when the URL leads to information on how to obtain the cited material rather than to the material itself.

Example: 

Terwilliger, R. & Terwilliger, C. (1997). 'Dam' the hydroelectric blow up. In M. Szyslak (Ed.), 101 ways to kill Bart Simpson. Retrieved from http://www.simpsonsdirect.com/reference.

 

Electronic Book Chapter

  • Author's name(s). Year of publication. Title of chapter. In Editors names (Eds.), Book title (pp. xxx- xxx). Retrieved from URL
  • The database name is included in the reference to aid readers in finding an electronic version of the book because it may be difficult to find in print.

Example:

Frink, J. (2007). The flying motorcycle. In C.M. Burns (Ed.), Nuclear powered vehicles of tomorrow (pp.352-420).  Retrieved from http://nuclearebooks.com/frink/NPVT.html.

Reports and gray literature

 

Conference sessions and presentations

 

 

 

Proceedings

  • Author's name(s). Year of publication. Title of article. In Editor(s) (Eds.). Title of Proceedings (pp. xxx - xxx). Location of publisher. Publisher. doi: (if available).

Example with doi:

Simpson, M. (2009). Innovations in applications of salt and other pretzel toppings. In F. Ormand (Ed.),Proceedings of the 34th International Symposium on Stadium Food (pp. 12- 23). Vancouver, British Columbia: Fallout Press. DOI: 10.1145/2481492.2481506.

Example without doi:  

Van Houten, N., & Flanders, R. (1975).  Nachos Flanders style. In H. Krustofski (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Stadium Food (pp.123-157). Vancouver, British Columbia: Fallout Press.

Dissertations and theses

Dissertations and theses can be either published or unpublished.  APA style includes options for citing both possibilities.  

Reviews

Unpublished works and informally published works

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us