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How to Write a Bibliography in APA Format

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

writing apa style bibliography

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

writing apa style bibliography

  • APA Bibliography
  • How to Create One
  • Why You Need It

Sample Bibliography

An APA format bibliography lists all of the sources that might be used in a paper. A bibliography can be a great tool to help you keep track of information during the research and writing process. In some cases, your instructor may require you to include a bibliography as part of your assignment.

At a Glance

A well-written APA format bibliography can help you keep track of information and sources as you research and write your psychology paper. To create a bibliography, gather up all of the sources that you might use in your paper. Create an APA format reference for each source and then write a brief annotation. Your annotation should be a brief summary of what each reference is about. You can quickly refer to these annotations When writing your paper and determine which to include.

What Is an APA Format Bibliography?

An APA format bibliography is an alphabetical listing of all sources that might be used to write an academic paper, essay, article, or research paper—particularly work that is covering psychology or psychology-related topics. APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA). This format is used by many psychology professors, students, and researchers.

Even if it is not a required part of your assignment, writing a bibliography can help you keep track of your sources and make it much easier to create your final reference page in proper APA format.

Creating an APA Bibliography

A bibliography is similar in many ways to a reference section , but there are some important differences. While a reference section includes every source that was actually used in your paper, a bibliography may include sources that you considered using but may have dismissed because they were irrelevant or outdated.

Bibliographies can be a great way to keep track of information you might want to use in your paper and to organize the information that you find in different sources. The following are four steps you can follow to create your APA format bibliography.

Start on a New Page

Your working bibliography should be kept separate from the rest of your paper. Start it on a new page, with the title "Bibliography" centered at the top and in bold text. Some people use the title "References" instead, so it's best to check with your professor or instructor about which they prefer you to use.

Gather Your Sources

Compile all the sources you might possibly use in your paper. While you might not use all of these sources in your paper, having a complete list will make it easier later on when you prepare your reference section.

Gathering your sources can be particularly helpful when outlining and writing your paper.

By quickly glancing through your working bibliography, you will be able to get a better idea of which sources will be the most appropriate to support your thesis and main points.

Reference Each Source

Your references should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, and they should be double-spaced. The first line of each reference should be flush left, while each additional line of a single reference should be a few spaces to the right of the left margin, which is known as a hanging indent.

The format of each source is as follows for academic journals:

  • Last name of first author (followed by their first initial)
  • The year the source was published in parentheses
  • The title of the source
  • The journal that published the source (in italics)
  • The volume number, if applicable (in italics)
  • The issue number, if applicable
  • Page numbers (in parentheses)
  • The URL or "doi" in lowercase letters followed by a colon and the doi number, if applicable

The following examples are scholarly articles in academic journals, cited in APA format:

  • Kulacaoglu, F., & Kose, S. (2018). Borderline personality disorder (BPD): In the midst of vulnerability, chaos, and awe.  Brain sciences ,  8 (11), 201. doi:10.3390/brainsci8110201
  • Cattane, N., Rossi, R., & Lanfredi, M. (2017). Borderline personality disorder and childhood trauma: exploring the affected biological systems and mechanisms.  BMC Psychiatry,   18 (221). doi:10.1186/s12888-017-1383-2

Visit the American Psychological Association's website for more information on citing other types of sources including online media, audiovisual media, and more.

Create an Annotation for Each Source

Normally a bibliography contains only references' information, but in some cases you might decide to create an annotated bibliography. An annotation is a summary or evaluation of the source.

An annotation is a brief description of approximately 150 words describing the information in the source, your evaluation of its credibility, and how it pertains to your topic. Writing one of these for each piece of research will make your writing process faster and easier.

This step helpful in determining which sources to ultimately use in your paper. Your instructor may also require it as part of the assignment so they can assess your thought process and understanding of your topic.

Reasons to Write a Bibliography

One of the biggest reasons to create an APA format bibliography is simply to make the research and writing process easier.

If you do not have a comprehensive list of all of your references, you might find yourself scrambling to figure out where you found certain bits of information that you included in your paper.

A bibliography is also an important tool that your readers can use to access your sources.

While writing an annotated bibliography might not be required for your assignment, it can be a very useful step. The process of writing an annotation helps you learn more about your topic, develop a deeper understanding of the subject, and become better at evaluating various sources of information.

The following is an example of an APA format bibliography by the website EasyBib:

There are many online resources that demonstrate different formats of bibliographies, including the American Psychological Association website . Purdue University's Online Writing Lab also has examples of formatting an APA format bibliography.

Check out this video on their YouTube channel which provides detailed instructions on formatting an APA style bibliography in Microsoft Word.

You can check out the Purdue site for more information on writing an annotated APA bibliography as well.

APA Style Guide – 7th Edition

Click here to download a .pdf copy of our APA Style Guide !

Last updated : October 7, 2023

Consider keeping a printed copy to have when writing and revising your resume!  If you have any additional questions, make an appointment or email us at [email protected] !

Source Attribution : Information in this handout is adapted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (2020).

Reference Entry : Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

APA Style Guide - 7th Edition

Basics of formatting with apa style.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a system of documentation generally used in the social sciences. It is published in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition (2020). Fields that use APA style regularly emphasize paraphrasing over direct quotes. Much of the research in these disciplines is supported by lengthy analysis and multiple studies: directly quoting every source can become tedious for authors and readers. Instead, it is common for writers to summarize an idea and then credit multiple sources.

Margins are 1 inch on all sides of the page.

Common fonts used in APA are 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 12-point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia. Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.

Paragraph and line spacing:

Indent the first line of each paragraph 0.5 in. Text is double-spaced. No blank space before or after headings or between paragraphs.

Title page:

Each paper begins with a title page. Student papers include page title, author name, affiliation, course name and number, professor’s name, and the date formatted Month Day, Year. Bold title and add empty line between title and author. Start a new page following the title page; the start of page one will repeat the title in bold, centered.

Headers and footers:

List the page number in the top right corner of every page. Student papers no longer require a running head. Running heads for professional papers include a short version of the paper’s title.

In-text citations are used to credit any external sources back to your References page. Parenthetical citations include author name, date of publication, and page numbers for direct quotes. Enclose citations in parentheses and follow by a period.


Begin a new page. “References” header center aligned and bolded. List all sources used alphabetically.

Sample APA Student Title Page

Sample Title page, text description on page

APA has two types of title pages: student title pages and professional title pages. Student title pages are more commonly requested by instructors than professional title pages. The example above depicts a common APA title page and a description of the elements within.

  • Header: The header lists the page number beginning on the title page. Align to the right.
  • Title: Title is placed three to four lines down from the top of the page. Major words are capitalized. Title length may be one or two lines. Avoid abbreviations or non-essential words. A focused title is key!
  • Author : Author name(s) includes the first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Two authors are joined with an “and.” Three or more authors are formatted as a list, placing commas between author names, and an “and” before the final author’s name.
  • Affiliation: Author’s affiliation lists where the student studies and what school their discipline is within.
  • Class: List the course number as abbreviated on course materials, followed by a colon, and spell out the course’s name.
  • Instructor: Instructor name(s) include the first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Professional titles such as Dr. or degrees such as Ph.D. are appropriate here.
  • Date: Format the date as Month Day, Year. List the assignment due date, not when it was originally created.

APA Level Headings

Headings visually delineate organizational structure and help highlight key ideas within sections. Topics of equal importance share the same level heading throughout the document. The heading style recommended by APA consists of five possible formatting arrangements, which are listed below in Table 1.

APA Level Headings

More information:

  • Ordering : Begin with the first level of headings, using only the heading levels necessary to differentiate.
  • Subsections : APA suggests avoiding having only one subsection within a larger section. For instance, Section 1 can be divided into subsections A and B, but not A alone.
  • Numbering : Numbering or lettering is not appropriate for headings.
  • Spacing : Do not add an extra space before or after headings.

APA In-text Citations

Citing in the text.

In APA, every time you use the work or thoughts of another, you must cite the original author. Use of others’ ideas include summarizing, paraphrasing, and directly quoting. To cite the source, you will need an in-text citation to supplement your references page, typically consisting of the author’s last name and the date when the material was published. Page numbers are added for direct quotes. All of this information is enclosed in parentheses, separated by commas, and followed by a period.

Single Author:

List author’s last name followed by date, adding page numbers for direct quotes. For example, this quotation from Jim Dougan is found on page twenty-nine of his 2017 article:

Single Author Example

After the release of their first album, The Cows were “roundly derided as a talentless, tasteless joke” (Dougan, 2017, p. 29).

Two Authors

Two authors last names are joined by an ampersand as in:

Two Authors Examples

Hansel said goodbye to the white cat, but it was only the morning sun shining upon the chimney (Grimm & Grimm, 1812).

Three or More Authors

List the first author’s last name followed by the abbreviation “et al.” (and others). In this example by John Ramage, John Bean, and June Johnson in their 2012 article, John Ramage is listed as the first author:

Three or More Authors Example

A key component of Aristotle’s classical argument was the rhetorical triangle: the message, writer or speaker, and audience (Ramage et al., 2012).

Organization or Group Author

If no author is listed and or the source is published by an organization or group, list the group’s full name in the text or citation, followed by the abbreviation if well known. Use the acronym for every subsequent citation.

Organization or Group Author Example

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), abbreviations are ok if the abbreviation is well known (2019). After introducing the abbreviation, they recommend using it for every other in-text citation (APA, 2019).

Narrative Citation

If the author’s name, publication date, and or page numbers are given in the sentence, omit them from the following in-text citation. For example: if you introduce the author and date before quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing, then only the page numbers are included at the end of the sentence.

Narrative Citation Example

According to music critic Mark Prindle (2017), Minneapolis rock combo The Cows are an acquired taste (p. 29).

Unknown Author

If the author’s name is unknown, include a shortened version of the publication title in quotations:

Unknown Author Example

Minneapolis rock combo The Cows are widely considered to be an acquired taste (“All Music Guide,” 2017).

Block Quotations

A direct quotation of 40 or more words is introduced by a colon, started on a new line, and indented a half-inch from the left margin. Do not indent the first line, add quotation marks, or adjust line spacing. Include the parenthetical citation after the final period or punctuation mark of the block quote.

Block Quotations Example

Peterson and Poulsen’s (1998) study found the following:

Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration. (p. 199)

Omissions or Alterations to Quotations

Place an ellipsis (…) where parts of a quote were omitted in the middle of the sentence (e.g. “Grammar… is the study of writing techniques”). Ellipses are not necessary to indicate the first part of a phrase was omitted. Put brackets [text] around necessary alterations made to quotations for clarity, as in “[They] said…”

Common Knowledge

Facts or information that you already know, is widely available, and undisputed is considered common knowledge, which does not require an in-text citation. Common knowledge includes biographical information, dates of historical events, and other information that reasonable readers would accept as fact.

Common Knowledge Example

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.

More Information for In-Text Citations

Primary and secondary sources:.

To cite a primary source referenced in a secondary source, cite the primary source as cited in the secondary source (e.g. Gilman, 1898, as cited in Eddles & Appelrouth, 2015). Reference the primary source (e.g. Gilman, 1898) directly when possible.

Timed media:

For timed media such as videos or songs, cite the time in parentheses (e.g. Knowles, 2016, 56:37).

Multiple sources:

In-text citations with multiple sources are separated by a semicolon and listed alphabetically (e.g. Smith, 2012; Williams, 2003). However, if delineating the specific attribution is needed, avoid combining the citations and instead separate each source into its own sentence.

Multiple works by one author:

Multiple works by one author are listed chronologically, following the author’s name, separated by commas. Works without dates are placed first (e.g. Smith, n.d., 2007, 2012). If the citations are identical, delineate them by year-letter combination (e.g. Foster, 2011a or Foster, 2011b) in-text and in the References list.

Consecutive use of one or more sources:

When referencing one source multiple times consecutively, you can avoid multiple parenthetical citations by first introducing the source. Refer to the author in text using the known-new contract, adding page numbers for quotes where needed.

Personal communication:

Interviews, letters, emails, and other forms of personal communication are cited in-text only. Cite the communicator’s initials and last name and list the date (e.g. M. Keith, personal communication, August 5, 2022). Where possible, include the author’s name in a narrative citation to avoid the long parenthetical entry.

Reference Entries

Writing bibliography entries.

Disclaimer :  Our WordPress does not allow for “hanging indents,” therefore the bibliography entries below are not  formatted with hanging indents. Check out the .pdf guide for a more accurate view!

To credit sources, APA style requires a reference page that includes full citation information for each source. Begin by starting on another page titled “References,” centered and bolded. Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author listed. Additionally, each entry should be indented by a half inch after the first line, called a hanging indent. APA style customizes entries for each type of source, meaning that each citation will be unique.

Webpage from a Website

Website citations follow a basic format for all types of websites. For sources without authors, list the group or organization as author. If no group or organization is given, move the website name to the author position.

Webpage from a Website Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year, Month Day). Title of Page . Website Name. URL.

Boise State University Writing Center. (n.d.). Welcome to the Writing Center . Boise State University. https://www.boisestate.edu/writingcenter/

Books follow a standard format for print and electronic sources. For edited works add the editor’s name following the book title. If no author is listed, substitute for the editor instead. Include DOI for print and electronic sources (if available).

Book Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year). Book Title . Publisher. DOI (if available)

Jimenez, J. (2003). Latin culture in the United States . Harper Collins.

Work from a Collection

Chapters in a wider collection or anthology can be cited in two ways: citing the whole anthology as a book, or citing a single source in the anthology. An example of the latter is shown.

Work from a Collection Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year). Chapter Title. Editor. Book Title (pages). Publisher.

Shonagon, S. (1988). Hateful things. In P. Lopate (Ed.), The art of the personal essay (pp. 273- 278). Norton.

Journal Article

Journal articles, or periodicals, are print and electronic sources issued within larger journals.

Journal Article Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year). Article Title. Journal Title, Volume Number (Issue Number), pages. DOI (if available)

Lorca, R. & Rose, M. (1997). Best practices for scaling up a basic writing program. Teaching English in a Two-Year College, 33 (2), 33-74. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Newspaper Article

Newspaper and magazine articles are two other types of periodicals. Include volume, issue, and/or page number(s) if available. Unlike other citations, do not list the abbreviation “p.” or “pp.” before the page number(s).

Newspaper Article Example

Last Name, F. M. (Year, Month Day). Article Title. Newspaper Title , pages (if print). URL (if digital)

Brody, A. J. (2001, Dec. 18). The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. The Washington Post , A1, A5.

Government Report

Government reports and other legal documents fall under The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation style. List the agency as author and parent agencies as publisher for reports by government agencies.

Government Report Example

Name of Government Agency. (Year). Report Title (Report No.). Publisher. URL (if available)

National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/asth_sch.pdf

YouTube Video

Videos from YouTube or other user-generated video websites list the person or group as author. If both the author and username are the same, list the username as author.

YouTube Video Example

Last Name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Day). Video Title [Video]. Streaming Service. URL

Scientific America. (2010, Oct. 4). Powering the cell: Mitochondria [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrS2uROUjK

More Information for Reference Entries

Authors with the same last name:.

If a reference list includes authors with the same last name, arrange entries alphabetically by first initial. If both last name and initials are identical, organize chronologically.

Multiple authors:

With sources that have three or more authors, follow the first author’s name with a comma and the abbreviation ‘et al.’ (“and others”).

Organization or group author:

In instances where an organization or group authored the work, spell out the full name of the group but omit initial articles (e.g. a, an, the). If the author is the publisher, skip the author element and begin the entry with the title.

In a reference entry for a work with no author, move the title of the work to the author position.

If no date is available, insert the abbreviation “n.d.” (no date) in the date position. For undated, unarchived sources designed to change over time, add a retrieval date, e.g. Retrieved November 7, 2023, from https://www.boisestate.edu/writingcenter/

Publishers’ names are given in full; however, do not give words indicating business structure, like Ltd. or LLC. Terms like Press and Books should be included.

Sample APA References Page

APA references begin on a new page. “References” title is bold and centered. Callouts on the left-hand margin denote the type of citation cited in the corresponding reference entry. All entries are alphabetized and formatted with a hanging indent.

writing apa style bibliography

Download a PDF of APA Style Guide – 7th Edition

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Citation Help

  • About Citing and Citation Styles
  • Other Citation Styles
  • Citing Artificial Intelligence Tools
  • Citation Managers

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is most commonly used in the  social and behavioral sciences.

  • APA General Format The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create another kind of work (e.g., a website, conference poster, or PowerPoint presentation), you may need to format your work differently in order to optimize its presentation, for example, by using different line spacing and font sizes. Follow the guidelines of your institution or publisher to adapt APA Style formatting guidelines as needed.
  • In-text Citations In scholarly writing, it is essential to acknowledge how others contributed to your work. By following the principles of proper citation, writers ensure that readers understand their contribution in the context of the existing literature—how they are building on, critically examining, or otherwise engaging the work that has come before.
  • Reference List Check each reference carefully against the original publication to ensure information is accurate and complete. Accurately prepared references help establish your credibility as a careful researcher and writer. Consistency in reference formatting allows readers to focus on the content of your reference list, discerning both the types of works you consulted and the important reference elements (who, when, what, and where) with ease. When you present each reference in a consistent fashion, readers do not need to spend time determining how you organized the information. And when searching the literature yourself, you also save time and effort when reading reference lists in the works of others that are written in APA Style.
  • Sample Paper This page contains several sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style.
  • DOI Lookup: Crossref Search "Metadata". Crossref makes research outputs easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse. We’re a not-for-profit membership organization that exists to make scholarly communications better.
  • Basics of APA Tutorial This tutorial is designed for writers new to APA Style. Learn the basics of seventh edition APA Style, including paper elements, format, and organization; academic writing style; grammar and usage; bias-free language; mechanics of style; tables and figures; in-text citations, paraphrasing, and quotations; and reference list format and order. The Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style tutorial will permanently stay on this site for free.

APA Style from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL)

  • APA 7th Handout Two page PDF covering common citation and reference types in APA.
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In this section

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)

What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.

An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?

While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, website, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  • Provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
  • Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
  • Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
  • Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic

There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.

For example:

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.

An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.

Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.

Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.

  • Choose your sources - Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
  • Review the items - Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
  • The purpose of the work
  • A summary of its content
  • Information about the author(s)
  • For what type of audience the work is written
  • Its relevance to the topic
  • Any special or unique features about the material
  • Research methodology
  • The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material

Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.

Please see the  APA Examples page  for more information on citing in APA style.

  • Last Updated: Aug 8, 2023 11:27 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.umgc.edu/annotated-bibliography-apa

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Other helpful resources

  • APA Style & Grammar Guidelines Look here for answers to tricky questions like how to cite obscure source types and for explanations of APA rules. This is a good place to go if you have consulted the APA manual and still have questions.
  • Basic Guide to APA Style A printable two page guide that gives you example citations for common source types.
  • Excelsior OWL APA Guide Another handy online guide- includes example formatted bibliographies and research papers.

This section is a general overview of how to cite common types of sources using APA style. For more complex APA style questions, please consult the official APA formatting rules found in  The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7 th  ed. 

There is one copy available at each library branch for in-use only. The citation manual cannot be checked out to use outside the library.

writing apa style bibliography

Guidelines for Journals

General Rule: 

Last-name, First-initial. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, Volume (Issue), Pages. DOI link

Madigan, R., Johnson, S., & Linton, P. (1995). The language of psychology: APA style as

epistemology.  American Psychologist,  50 (6), 428-436.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.50.6.428

What is a DOI, and where do I find it?

DOI stands for digital object identifier. It is a unique ID number ideally given to all digitized journal articles and ebooks. The DOI is listed along with the article citation in many databases. DOI numbers are also sometimes found on the first page of an article PDF. Alternately, DOI numbers can be found by searching the Crossref website http://www.crossref.org/guestquery/      

What if I can’t find a DOI?

If no DOI is available for an article that is widely available, such as an article found in a academic research database or in a print journal, end the citation with the page numbers. If the article does not have a DOI but is freely available on a website, include the URL for the work.    

Example of an article citation without a DOI from a database or in print:

Cuddy, C. (2002). Demystifying APA style.  Orthopedic Nursing, 21 (5), 35-42. 

Example of an article without a DOI from a website:

Akin, E. (2014). In Defense of "Mindless Rote."  Nonpartisan Education Review, 10 (2), 1-13.


Book Guidelines

General Rule:

Last-name, First-initial. (Year). Title of book . Publisher Name. DOI Link or URL

  • No need to include the DOI if referring to a print copy of a book, or an ebook from a database that does not include a DOI.
  • If the author and publisher are the same leave off the publisher name. 

Gelfand, H., Walker, C. J., & American Psychological Association. (2002). Mastering APA style: Student's

workbook and training guide . ​

Moed, H. (2005) Citation analysis in research evaluation . Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3714-7

Reagan, R. (2005).  Citing unpublished opinions in federal appeals.   Federal Judicial Center. 


Book Chapter Guidelines

Last-name, First-initial. (Year). Title of chapter. In First-initial. Last-name-of-editor (Ed.),  Title of book  (pp. pages of chapter). Publisher Name. DOI or URL link

  • For a chapter in an authored book, create a reference for the whole book and provide the chapter number in the text.

Folman, S. & Connor, U. (2005) Writing from sources in two cultural contexts. In T. Kostouli (Ed.),  Writing in context(s): Textual practices and learning processes in sociocultural settings . (pp. 165-184) Springer.

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  • How to cite a website in APA Style

How to Cite a Website in APA Style | Format & Examples

Published on November 5, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on January 17, 2024.

APA website citations usually include the author, the publication date, the title of the page or article, the website name, and the URL. If there is no author, start the citation with the title of the article. If the page is likely to change over time, add a retrieval date.

If you are citing an online version of a print publication (e.g. a newspaper , magazine , or dictionary ), use the same format as you would for print, with a URL added at the end. Formats differ for online videos (e.g. TED Talks ), images , and dissertations .

Use the buttons below to explore the format, or use our free APA Citation Generator to automatically create citations.

Cite a website in APA Style now:

Table of contents, citing an entire website, how to cite online articles, websites with no author, websites with no date, how to cite from social media, frequently asked questions about apa style citations.

When you refer to a website in your text without quoting or paraphrasing from a specific part of it, you don’t need a formal citation. Instead, you can just include the URL in parentheses after the name of the site:

One of the most popular social media sites, Instagram (http://instagram.com), allows users to share images and videos.

For this kind of citation, you don’t need to include the website on the reference page . However, if you’re citing a specific page or article from a website, you will need a formal in-text citation and reference list entry.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Various kinds of articles appear online, and how you cite them depends on where the article appears.

Online articles from newspapers, magazines, and blogs

Articles appearing in online versions of print publications (e.g. newspapers and magazines) are cited like their print versions, but with an added URL.

The same format is used for blog posts. Just include the blog name where you would usually put the name of the magazine or newspaper.

Articles from online-only news sites

For articles from news sites without print equivalents (e.g. BBC News, Reuters), italicize the name of the article and  not  the name of the site.

When a web page does not list an individual author, it can usually be attributed to an organization or government . If this results in the author name being identical to the site name, omit the site name, as in the example below.

If you can’t identify any author at all, replace the author name with the title of the page or article.

In the in-text citation , put the title in quotation marks if it is in plain text in the reference list, or in italics if it is in italics in the reference list. Note that title case is used for the title here, unlike in the reference list. Shorten the title to the first few words if necessary.

When a web page or article does not list a publication or revision date, replace the date with “n.d.” (“no date”) in all citations.

If an online source is likely to change over time, it is recommended to include the date on which you accessed it.

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As social media posts are usually untitled, use the first 20 words of the post, in italics, as a title. Also include any relevant information about the type of post and any multimedia aspects (e.g. videos, images, sound, links) in square brackets.

On some social media sites (such as Twitter ), users go by usernames instead of or in addition to their real names. Where the author’s real name is known, include it, along with their username in square brackets:

In some cases, you’ll want to cite a whole social media profile instead of a specific post. In these cases, include an access date, because a profile will obviously change over time:

When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).

If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:

  • Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
  • Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
  • Abbreviated heading:  ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)

When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:

(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).

Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.

If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.

When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .

When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.

APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.

However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-the-university.html

Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.

No publication date

If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2024, January 17). How to Cite a Website in APA Style | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-examples/website/

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Looking to format your paper in Chicago style and not sure where to start? Our guide provides everything you need! Learn the basics and fundamentals to creating references and footnotes in Chicago format. With numerous examples and visuals, you’ll be citing in Chicago style in no time.

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🤔 What is an APA Citation Generator?

An APA citation generator is a software tool that will automatically format academic citations in the American Psychological Association (APA) style.

It will usually request vital details about a source -- like the authors, title, and publish date -- and will output these details with the correct punctuation and layout required by the official APA style guide.

Formatted citations created by a generator can be copied into the bibliography of an academic paper as a way to give credit to the sources referenced in the main body of the paper.

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College-level and post-graduate students are most likely to use an APA citation generator, because APA style is the most favored style at these learning levels. Before college, in middle and high school, MLA style is more likely to be used. In other parts of the world styles such as Harvard (UK and Australia) and DIN 1505 (Europe) are used more often.

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In academia, bibliographies are graded on their accuracy against the official APA rulebook, so it is important for students to ensure their citations are formatted correctly. Special attention should also be given to ensure the entire document (including main body) is structured according to the APA guidelines. Our complete APA format guide has everything you need know to make sure you get it right (including examples and diagrams).

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Our APA generator was built with a focus on simplicity and speed. To generate a formatted reference list or bibliography just follow these steps:

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  • Repeat for each citation, then download the formatted list and append it to the end of your paper.

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  • APA Style Common Reference Examples Guide From APA Style, this guide provides examples for formatting references.
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    Basic Rules Basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper Author/Authors Rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors that apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.) Articles in Periodicals

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  20. How to Cite a Website in APA Style

    Published on November 5, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on January 17, 2024. APA website citations usually include the author, the publication date, the title of the page or article, the website name, and the URL. If there is no author, start the citation with the title of the article.

  21. EasyBib®: Free Bibliography Generator

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