APA Style Citation

APA style citation follows the official guidelines set by the American Psychological Association for listing the sources used in a research paper. It has found widespread use in various disciplines, especially papers of social and behavioral sciences.

A paper with APA style citation should include in-text citations with a corresponding reference list, commonly known as the Reference section. In a research paper, the in-text citations are used in the main body of the paper when you refer to other studies relevant to your topic. The Reference section at the end of your paper should include all the in-text citations that you have used in your main paper. You need to keep in mind that, if you have cited a source in text, it must be included in the reference list.

Advantages of APA Style Citation

  • Its format is standardized in such way that the reader can understand it easily. The in-text citations help the reader to identify the source while reading the sentence/paragraph itself.
  • It does not use footnotes and endnotes. Therefore, the reader does not get distracted while going through the paper.
  • Its format undergoes periodic updations keeping in mind the current research trends.

Guidelines for Using APA Style Citation

Citing references in APA format may seem to be complex for beginners. So, we will discuss a few of the most commonly used APA style citations, which will help to form a basic understanding of this format.

APA Style Citation – In-text

Direct quotes

Example 1: Freud (1927) stated that “religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis” (p. 78).

Example 2: “Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis” (Freud, 1927, p.78).

Note: In case the quote is longer than 40 words, it should be set as a separate block of text with an indent of half inch from the left margin. Do not use quotation marks.

Two authors

Example 1: Optimization of anticoagulation therapy along with the platelet antiaggregation therapy is necessary for the effective management of stroke in TAH patients (Hart & Sherman, 1987).

Example 2: Hart and Sherman (1987) reported that optimization of anticoagulation therapy along with the platelet anti-aggregation therapy is necessary for the effective management of stroke in TAH patients.

Note: ‘and’ is used when the author names are part of the paragraph; ‘&’ is used when the author names are given in parenthesis.

Two to five authors

In first citation, all the names are listed. In subsequent citations, ‘et al.’ is used.

Example: …suffered from serious infection and sepsis (Rose, Moskowitz, & Packer, 1999).

In subsequent citations of the same source, use (Rose et al., 1999).

Six or more authors

In this case, cite the first author’s name followed by et al. for all occurrences.

Example: … for treatment of several diseases (Williams et al., 2002).

Multiple studies cited together

They should be sorted alphabetically with first author name.

Example: Numerous studies (Freud, 1927; Kamil, 1988; Rose et al., 1999; Williams et al., 2002)…

APA Style Citation – References

Two to six authors

Maliranta, M., Mohnen, P., & Rouvinen, P. (2009). Is inter-firm labor mobility a channel of knowledge spillovers? Evidence from a linked employer–employee panel. Industrial and Corporate Change18(6), 1161-1191.

More than six authors

Wolchik, S. A., West, S. G., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J., Coatsworth, D., Lengua, L., et al. (2000). An experimental evaluation of theory-based mother and mother-child programs for children of divorce. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 843-856.


Alchian, A. A. (1950). Uncertainty, evolution, and economic theory. Journal of Political Economy58(3), 211-221.

Note: The issue number should be used only if each issue of that particular journal starts with page one.


Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (1996). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Book chapter

Stinchcombe, A. L. (1965). Social structure and organizations. In J. G. March (Ed.), Handbook of organizations (pp. 142-193). Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.

Edited book

Brown, J. E., & Stephens, E. C. (Eds.). (1998). United in diversity: Using multicultural young adult literature in the classroom. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

We have listed a few of the most commonly used APA style citations. For more examples and additional information, you can refer the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.