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Writing Center

Correctly Citing Sources in APA Style

by Jen Borton, associate professor of psychology

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Citing Sources Within the Body of Your Paper

In APA style, footnotes are not used to cite sources. Instead, you provide the authors’ last names and publication dates within the body of your paper. Here are some examples.

1. One work by one author

Example: Leary (2008) argued that…
Example: …self-motives are actually interpersonal motives (Leary, 2008).


2. One work by multiple authors

a) Use of “&” versus “and”
When citing authors’ names in parentheses within a sentence, use the ampersand (&) sign to connect authors’ names. For example: as demonstrated in one study (Kimble & Hirt, 2005)....

When citing authors’ names as part of the sentence, use the word “and” to connect the authors’ names. For example: as Kimble and Hirt (2005) demonstrated...

b) Two authors
Cite both names every time the reference occurs in the text.

Cite all authors the first time the reference occurs; after that, include only the first author’s surname followed by “et al.” (not italicized and with a period after “al”) and the year.  Examples:
Zhou, Vohs, and Baumeister (2009) found.... [Use as first citation in text.]
Zhou et al. (2009) found.... [Use each time you cite thereafter.]
Or: …receiving money can reduce distress over social exclusion (Zhou et al., 2009).

Cite only the surname of the first author followed by et al. and the year for all citations, including the first one.

3. Two or more works within the same parentheses

List two or more works by different authors who are cited within the same parentheses in alphabetical order by the first author’s surname. Separate the citations with semicolons. 
For example:
Several studies have shown negative correlates of fragile self-esteem (Jordan, Spencer, & Zanna, 2005; Kernis, Lakey, & Heppner, 2008; McGregor & Marigold, 2003; Sandstrom & Jordan, 2008).


4. Quoting directly

When you use the exact words of another author, put quotation marks around the words, and cite not only the author’s name and date, but also the page number from which the quotation was taken. For example:
“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion” (Snow, 1961, p. 24). 

Note that the period FOLLOWS the parentheses.

Do not quote extensively from other sources. Instead, put the material into your own words.


5. Citing a secondary source

Let’s say you’re reading an article by Jones, and Jones cites something Smith said. Further imagine that you have not read the original article by Smith, but the information is relevant to your paper and you want to discuss it. In the reference section (assuming you have not read and do not have the Smith paper), cite ONLY the secondary source (the Jones paper).

In the text, use the following format for citation:
Smith (2006, as cited in Jones, 2010) found that…

In general, however, you should avoid relying on secondary sources. If the information is relevant, you should find the original article and read it.


Reference List

Note that references cited in the text of your paper MUST appear in the reference list; conversely, each entry in the reference list MUST be cited in the text. Adding something to your reference list means that you have read it and have cited it somewhere in the body of your paper.

As per the 6th edition of the APA Manual (see pp. 188-191 and 198-206), you need to provide the DOI (digital object identifier) for each reference, which is typically located in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of recent articles. (Older articles may not have DOIs listed on the actual article, but you can find them in PsycInfo.)

Examples of references:

1. Journal article

Horberg, E. J., & Chen, S. (2010). Significant others and contingencies of self-worth: Activation and consequences of relationship-specific contingencies of self-worth. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 77 – 91. doi: 10.1037/a0016428.
[Note that only the first initials of the authors’ first names are used. Commas are used to separate names. The “&” is used prior to the last author’s name. A period follows the year. In the journal article title, only the first letter of the first word and the first letter of the first word following a colon are capitalized. The journal name and volume number are italicized. Everything is double-spaced. The second line of each reference is indented using a hanging indent. The DOI is included.]

2. Article or chapter in an edited book

Chang-Schneider, C., & Swann, W. B. The role of uncertainty in self-evaluative processes: Another look at the cognitive-affective crossfire. In R. M. Arkin, K. C. Oleson & P. J. Carroll (Eds.), Handbook of the uncertain self (pp. 216-231). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
[Note that the author’s name is still listed surname first, followed by initials, but that the editors’ names are listed with their first initials and THEN their surnames. In the chapter title and the book title, only the first letter of the first word and first letter of the first word following a colon are capitalized. Book title is italicized. Page numbers of entire chapter appear in parentheses. Citation ends with location of publisher: name of publisher. No DOIs for book chapters.]

3. Entire authored book

Gilovich, T., Keltner, D., & Nisbett, R. E. (2011). Social psychology (2nd ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.

4. Entire edited book

Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (Eds.). 2011. Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications. New York, NY: Guilford.

For how to cite other types of sources, consult the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) or the online resources listed in your syllabus.

January, 2012