APA Citation Basics


This document provides an overview of APA citations, including in-text citations and formatting guidelines for the reference page. It explains how to cite sources in academic writing, avoid plagiarism, and properly list references in alphabetical order. It also discusses the use of parenthetical and narrative citations and offers tips on font, spacing, and indentation for the reference page. Links to resources are included. 

APA in-text citations 

In-text citations are brief references in academic writing that point readers to the complete reference entry at the end of a paper. They are used when quoting or paraphrasing others' ideas to avoid plagiarism.  

In the APA style, in-text citations consist of the author's last name and the publication year. If citing a specific part of a source, such as a page number, it should be included as well. For example, (Jack, 2023, p. 169). 

There are two forms of in-text citations: parenthetical and narrative. When using APA Citation Generator, both types are automatically generated for citing sources. 

  • Parenthetical citation: Recent research indicates... (Jack, 2023).  

  • Narrative citation: Jack (2023) highlights... 

Multiple Authors / Corporate as the Author:

In cases where there are multiple authors or an organization as the author, the in-text citation format slightly changes. Pay attention to punctuation and the use of the ampersand (&) symbol. 

Author type 

Parenthetical citation 

Narrative citation 

One Author  

(Jack, 2023) 

Jack (2023) 

Two Authors 

(Jack & Jones, 2023) 

Jack and Jones (2023) 

Three or more Authors 

(Jack et al., 2023) 

Jack et al. (2023) 

Organization as the Author 

(American Psychological Association [APA], 2023) - First appearance in text 

(APA, 2023) - Second appearance in same text. 

American Psychological Association (APA), (2023) - First appearance in text 

APA (2023) - Second appearance in same text. 

Missing information:

In cases where there is missing information, follow these steps: 

Missing information 

What to do 

Parenthetical citation 


Use the source title. 

(Source Title, 2023) 


Write “n.d.” for “no date”. 

(Jack, n.d.) 

Page number  

Either use an alternative locator or 
omit the page number. 

(Jack, 2023, Chapter 6) or 
(Jack, 2023) 

APA References 

APA references typically contain essential details such as the author's name, publication date, title, and source information. Additional information may be required for certain source types to aid readers in locating the specific source. 

Missing information:

In situations where specific information is unknown or missing, which is often the case with online sources, slight adjustments are made to the reference. 

Missing information 

What to do 

Reference format 


Start the reference entry with the source title. 

Title. (Date). Source. 


Write “n.d.” for “no date”. 

Author. (n.d.). Title. Source. 


Describe the work in square brackets. 

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

Tip: The University Library has resources for citing sources. 

Create a properly formatted APA reference page 

The reference page is positioned immediately after the main body of your paper and before any appendices. Begin the page with the centered and bolded section label "References." Start listing your references in alphabetical order from the second line. 

Here are the formatting guidelines for the APA reference page: 

  • Double spacing should be used both within and between references. 

  • Apply a hanging indent of ½ inch for each reference. This means that the first line of each reference should begin at the left margin, while the subsequent lines are indented. 

  • Utilize a legible font such as Times New Roman (12-point) or Arial (11-point). 

  • Include the page number in the top right header of the reference page. 


Purdue.edu (n.d.). Cite your source automatically in APA.  

St. Cloud State University (n.d.). SCSU Library Guides: Research guides: Citation and academic integrity: Overview.  

Scribbr.com (n.d.). How to Cite in APA Format (7th edition) | Guide & Generator.   

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Article ID: 147636
Wed 10/11/23 8:54 AM
Mon 5/20/24 10:57 AM