APA Basics (Download the Printer Friendly PDF)


Generally, APA citations follow the following format:

Structure: Contributors. (Date). Title (Secondary Contributors). Publication Information.

Contributor Information and Titles

The main contributors of the source, normally the author, are placed before the title. If there is more than one author, arrange the authors in the same order found in the source. Use the first and middle name initials and the entire last name. Inverse all names before the title.

One author: Smith, J. K. (Date). Title.
Two authors: Smith, J. K., & Sampson, T. (Date). Title.
Three authors: Smith, J. K., Sampson, T., & Hubbard, A. J. (Date). Title.
Eight or more: Smith, J. K., Sampson, T., Hubbard, A. J., Anderson, J., Thompson, T., Silva, P.,…Bhatia, N. (Date). Title.

Sometimes the main contributor is not an author, but another contributor type, such as an editor for a book or conductor for a musical piece. In this instance, follow the contributor by an abbreviation of the contributor type (i.e. Ed. or Cond.). If plural, then change the abbreviation accordingly.

One editor: Smith, J. K. (Ed.). (Date). Title.
Two editors: Smith, J. K., & Sampson, T. (Eds.). (Date). Title.
One conductor: Smith, J. K. (Cond). (Date). Title.

Many sources have secondary contributors – individuals who added to the work outside the main contributors. This can include editors and translators for books, and producers and screenplay writers for movies. Place secondary contributors after the title in parenthesis. List them in first initial, middle initial, last name format and follow this by the contributor type abbreviation. Separate different contributor types by semicolons.

One editor: Smith, J. (Date). Title (B. McCoy, Ed.).
Two editors: Smith, J. (Date). Title (B. McCoy & T. Thomas, Eds.).
One editor, two translators: Smith, J. (Date). Title (B. McCoy, Ed.; B. Smith & P. R. Silva, Trans.).

Some sources may have corporate or group authors. Write these organizations where you would write the author. If the organization is also the publisher of the source, write “Author” instead of repeating the publisher name.

Corporate author: American Psychological Association. (Date). Title.
Government author: Illinois Department of Industrial Relations. (Date). Title.

Sometimes you will come across sources with no contributor information. In this instance, do not write the date first. Instead, write the name of the title and then the date, then followed by the remaining appropriate bibliographic data.

Webster’s dictionary. (1995). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Some sources are found within other sources, such as a chapter in a book or an article in a periodical. These rules apply both to the contributors of the chapter and book or to the article.

Chapter author and translator, and book editor and translator: Smith, J. (Date). Chapter title (B. McCoy, Trans.). In R. Engels (Ed.) & S. Simpson (Trans.), Title.
Author and translator of an article: Smith, J. (Date). Article title (B. McCoy, Trans.). Periodical Title.
*Note: When citing a chapter, the book contributors are preceded by “In.”

Title Rules

Article titles and works within larger works, such as chapters, as well as informally published material are not italicized. Main titles, such as those for books and journals, are italicized. Generally, capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title or any subtitles, and the first letter of any proper nouns. For titles of periodicals, such as journals and newspapers, capitalize every principal word.

Publication Information

After the contributor information and title comes the publication information. Below are different publication information templates.

Book: Last, F. M. (Date Published). Title. City, State: Publisher.
Journal: Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Title, Volume(Issue), Page(s).
Magazine: Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Title, Volume, Page(s).
Newspaper: Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Title, Page(s).

Include as much detail regarding the date as possible. See the below examples:

(2002, February 12), (2002, February), (2002, February-March), (2002).
*Note: If there is no date, use “n.d” instead, which means “no date.”

For any information unavailable, exclude the data point, and adjust the punctuation accordingly. EasyBib will properly format your citation based on the information entered.

*Note: Page numbers for chapters of books and newspapers are preceded by “p.” or “pp.” [plural], while those of magazines and journals are only written with numbers.

Additional information

For less conventional source types, you can add descriptions about the source after the title in brackets immediately after the title. For example, you can add “[Brochure]” after the title of a brochure (separated by a space) to clarify what type of source you are citing.

When citing non-periodical sources, advanced information such as the edition, series, and page information comes before the publication information and after the title grouped in the same parenthesis. See the fictional example below:

Smith, J. (2002). Power (5th ed., Vol. 12, Ser. 3) (T. Riley, Ed.). New York, NY: Random.

Web Sources

See our web resources guides to learn how to properly cite sources found online.



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