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Waidner-Spahr Library

Citing Sources: Sample Reference List Citations

APA Style

When formatting a citation in APA style, pay particular attention to italics, punctuation, indentation, and capitalization.

Many more samples of citations presented in the APA style can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Please consult this book or a librarian for help with unusual resources.


The following examples are all taken from:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association.

(In the above sample, the name of the organization is the author. Note that only proper names are capitalized in the title, and the edition number follows the title.)


Sapolsky, R. M. (2017). Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst. Penguin Books.

Book with editor(s):

Subotnik, R.F., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Worrell, F.C. (Eds.). (2019). The psychology of high performance: Developing human potential into domain-specific talent. American Psychological Association.

Chapter from an edited book or anthology:

Aron, L., Botella, M., & Lubart, T. (2019). Culinary arts: Talent and their development. In R. F. Subotnik, P. Olszewski-Kubilius, & F. C. Worrell (Eds.), The psychology of high performance: Developing human potential into domain-specific talent (pp. 345–359). American Psychological Association.

Note: Do not create references for individual chapters of authored books (i.e., books where the author(s) wrote all of the chapters); only do this when dealing with an edited volume where different authors wrote different chapters. For authored books, simply write one reference for the whole book. 

Journal article with page numbers:

Grady, J. S., Her, M., Moreno, G., Perez, C., & Yelinek, J. (2019). Emotions in storybooks: A comparison of storybooks that represent ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 8(3), 207–217.

Note: If the journal article has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), include it as the last item in the reference. If the article does not have a DOI but is from an academic database, end the reference after the page range. If the article does not have a DOI but you found it on a journal's website, include the URL. (In general, you should not provide the often lengthy URL that results when you find an article through a database search. An exception is databases that publish original material or material of limited circulation; in those cases you should include the name of the database and the URL of the work.) If you are unsure of whether to include the URL for a specific source, you can always ask a librarian!

In APA 7th Edition, issue numbers are always included for periodicals that have them.

Journal article with an article number or eLocator:

Burin, D., Kilteni, K., Rabuffetti, M., Slater, M., & Pia, L. (2019). Body ownership increases the interference between observed and executed movements. PLOS ONE, 14(1), Article e0209899.

Note: Articles that are published only online may not include a page range and may instead include an article number (sometimes called an eLocator). For these, write the word "Article" after the volume and issue numbers, and then provide the article number. The DOI should still be the final element in the citation, as usual.

Magazine article:

Schulman, M. (2019, September 9). Superfans: A love story. The New Yorker.

Note: If a magazine article has a volume, issue, or page numbers, include those elements in the reference as you would for the journal article in the previous example. 

Additionally, even if an article has an exact date (September 9, 2019, in this case), only include the year in the in-text citation. In this case the proper in-text citation would be: (Schulman, 2019).

Newspaper article:

Carey, B. (2019, March 22). Can we get better at forgetting? The New York Times.

Note: If the article is from a news website (e.g., CNN, HuffPost) that does not have an associated daily or weekly print newspaper, use the format for a webpage, as shown in the next example.

Webpage on a website:

Woodyatt, A. (2019, September 10). Daytime naps once or twice a week may be linked to a healthy heart, researchers say. CNN.

Fagan, J. (2019, March 25). Nursing clinical brain. OER Commons. Retrieved September 17, 2019, from

World Health Organization. (2018, May 24). The top 10 causes of death.

Note: In the Woodyatt example, CNN is the publisher of the website; in the Fagan example, OER Commons is the publisher. For the World Health Organization (WHO) example, WHO is the author and the publisher, so the publisher name is omitted in order to avoid repetition. A retrieval date is included for the Fagan example because the contents of the page may be updated over time but not archived. 

Do not create a reference for a whole website. If you mention a website in general and not specific information, provide the name of the website in the text with the URL in parentheses.

Dictionary entry:

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Culture. In dictionary. Retrieved September 9, 2019, from

Note: Because no date is given for the dictionary entry, n.d. is placed in the slot where the date normally goes to indicate this. For more information on quoting works without page numbers, see the APA Style website.

Government report:

National Cancer Institute. (2019). Taking time: Support for people with cancer (NIH Publication No. 18-2059). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Note: The specific agency responsible for the report is listed as the author (National Cancer Institute, in this case). The names of the parent agencies (here, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health) are listed as the publisher. 

Gray literature (such as technical reports, or industry and market research reports):

MarketLine. (2018, December). Textile mills in the United States [Industry profile].

McGinley, D. (2019, December). Video postproduction services in the US [Industry report]. IBISWorld.

Note: "When the publisher is the same as the author, which is often the case for group authors [as in the MarketLine example above] ... omit the publisher from the source element" (p. 329).

YouTube video:

Harvard University. (2019, August 28). Soft robotic gripper for jellyfish [Video]. YouTube.

Note: Use the name of the account that uploaded the video as the author.

Twitter and Instagram posts:

APA Databases [@APA_Databases]. (2019, September 5). Help students avoid plagiarismWeb emoji of crossing hands and researchers navigate the publication process. More details available in the 7th edition @APA_Style table [Tweet]. Twitter.

Note: Provide the name of the author as you normally would and include the handle (with the @ sign) in square brackets; for in-text citations only use the name of the author, without their handle. The first 20 words of the tweet or Instagram caption are used as the title. If the tweet includes an image, video, or poll, indicate that after the title in square brackets: [Image attached], [Video attached], etc.

For an Instagram post, rather than including [Tweet] after the title, use [Instagram photo] or [Instagram video].

Facebook posts:

News From Science. (2019, June 21). Are you a fan of astronomy? Enjoy reading about what scientists have discovered in our solar system—and beyond? This [Image attached] [Status update]. Facebook.

Note: As for Instagram and Twitter posts, the first 20 words of the post act as the title and images, videos, and content shared from another page should be indicated in square brackets. 

Examples - Archival & Primary Source Documents

General guidelines:

  • An estimated date is indicated with "ca." (circa).
  • Include as much information as is needed to help someone locate an item within a repository or archive. This may include the name of a collection, call number, box number, or file name/number.
  • If an item does not have a title, use a description of that item in square brackets in the position where a title would go.
  • For items found in a repository, include the repository's name as well as the city, state (if applicable), and country where it is located.
  • Private letters not found in an repository are considered personal communication. As such, they should be cited in the text only.

See selected examples below, and for more information and additional examples, visit the APA Style website.

Letter from an archive:

Frank, L. K. (1935, February 4). [Letter to Robert M. Ogden]. Rockefeller Archive Center (GEB Series 1.3, Box 371, Folder 3877), Tarrytown, NY, United States.

Note: Because this letter does not have a title, the description, "Letter to Robert M. Ogden," is provided.

Collection of letters from an archive:

Allport, G. W. (1930–1967). Correspondence. Gordon W. Allport Papers (HUG 4118.10), Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA, United States.

Note: To cite specific letters from the collection in the text, provide the author's name and the range of years from the reference list entry, as well as who wrote the specific letter, to whom it was written, and when the specific letter was written.

Unpublished papers:

Berliner, A. (1959). Notes for a lecture on reminiscences of Wundt and Leipzig. Anna Berliner Memoirs (Box M50), Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH, United States.

Recorded interview available in an archive:

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, United States.

Note: The interviewee should be listed as the author.

Transcription of an interview with no recording available:

Sparkman, C. F. (1973). An oral history with Dr. Colley F. Sparkman/Interviewer: Orley B. Caudill. Mississippi Oral History Program (Vol. 289), University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, United States.

Online Resources

More examples and samples of papers written using the APA style can be found at the following websites:

Missing Information

What do you do when some information that is normally included in a reference entry just isn't there? This could include a source with no author, no date, or even no title. For a complete guide on how to handle missing information, see the APA Style website.

No Date

Write "n.d." for "no date," and provide the rest of the information.

In the reference list:

Author. (n.d.) Title. Source.

In-text citation: (Author, n.d.)

No Author

Start the reference entry with the title of the work instead.

In the reference list:

Title. (Date). Source.

In-text citation: (Title, year)

No Title

This is much rarer than having a source with no author or date, but occasionally you might fight a work with no title. In these instances, describe the work in square brackets, then provide the date and source. An example of a description could be: [Photograph of a man with an umbrella].

In the reference list:

Author. (Date). [Description of work]. Source.

In-text citation: (Author, year)

Note: These rules are cumulative. So, for example, if a source has no date and no author--not uncommon for web pages--apply the rules for both and put the title in place of the author and use "n.d."