How to cite a research paper in apa

Writing a paper, especially a research paper, requires you to cite your source for any information or thoughts that are not your own. If you do not, you risk being accused of plagiarism. It is easy to cite your source in-text and there are many ways to do it. It all depends on how many authors or creators the source has or even if you know the name of the author. One effective rule of thumb is that you must always use last names.

In-text Citation for Printed Source with One Author

Put the author’s name in the sentence leading up to the quote or data cited.

Write out the quote. If you are using the exact wording, use quotation marks. If you are paraphrasing, you do not need to add quotations.

Put the page number where the quote or information comes from in parenthesis with the period to end the sentence afterward. If you do not use the author’s name in the sentence leading up to the quote or data, then you must put the author’s name in the parenthesis before the page number.

When You Do Not Know the Name of the Author

Mention the name of the work with a shortened version of the title leading up to your data or quote.

Write out the quote or data that you wish to use.

Add a period outside the parenthesis to end the sentence. Place a shortened version of the title of the work in parenthesis along with the page number if you did not mention it earlier. Then, add the period on the outside of the parenthesis to end the sentence.

Citing an Internet Website or Non-printed Source

Use the first title that the source has listed in your bibliography when you mention it leading up to the quote or data.

Write out the quote or data that you wish to use.

Add a period outside the parenthesis to end the sentence. If you haven’t already, place the first thing that this source lists in your bibliography in parenthesis. For websites do not put full URLs. You can use the format “” or “,” for example. There is no need for page numbers or paragraph numbers.

Citing a Printed Work with Multiple Authors

Mention the names of the authors leading up to the quote or data. If there are more than three you are allowed to use the first name listed in your bibliography plus “et al.” instead.

Write out the quote or data that you wish to use in your paper.

Add a period outside the parenthesis to end the sentence. Place each of the last names of the authors in parenthesis along with the page number if you did not mention them. If there are more than three, you are allowed to put the first name listed in your bibliography plus “et al.” If you do either of these things before the quote or data, then all you need is a page number.

Depending on the subject of your paper, you will need to adhere to specific format guidelines. For example, English-based papers generally use the MLA format, while science-based papers utilize APA format. In some instances, a university will have guidelines specific to their school. Always check with your professor or teacher to ensure you use the proper formatting guidelines.

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APA stands for American Psychological Association, and the formatting style was first introduced in 1929 by a number of psychologists, businessmen, and anthropologists so there would be some rules for scientific writing that would help others read and understand text better.

It consists of conventions, which ensure readers understand presented material, and it makes documentation in different fields easier. This editorial style includes:

  1. selection of headings, tone, and length;
  2. punctuation and abbreviations;
  3. presentation of numbers and statistics;
  4. construction of tables and figures;
  5. citation and references, etc.

As a result, many universities require students to use this style of formatting, and undergraduates start wondering about how to cite an APA style paper.

Short quotations in APA research papers

Apart from writing a title page in APA format, you should also know how to use short quotations and how to cite text in paper APA style. This helps prove your point or include some additional information. Short quotations are usually no longer than 40 words. The best way to include them in your text is to use introductory words and phrases that provide some context and are surrounded by a paragraph. A quotation should be inserted between quotation marks. The author’s details about a quotation should be placed before it in a signal phrase:

However, Jones (1950) points out, “knowledge is a value” (p. 236).

You can also place all the details afterward:

However, it was pointed out, “knowledge is a value” (Jones, 1950, p.236).

Need help with writing in an APA style in a paper

Long quotations in APA style

Long quotations are more than 40 words and are also called block quotations. Their usage has a set of unique rules:

  1. long quotations are not surrounded by quotation marks;
  2. they start from their own line;
  3. the long quotation is indented 0.5 inches and has double spacing as a new paragraph;
  4. the ending citation is included after the last line of long quotation, and the punctuation goes before the citation.

Look at the example of a long quotation below. She explained by saying that

Macs are often the best option for users who wish to work with video or picture manipulation. Macs are also very user-friendly, which may benefit consumers who are new to computers. PCs, however, run Microsoft Office Suite the best. (Oyler, 2010, p. 48)

How to Cite Authors in APA paper?

You may be wondering how to cite in APA style paper. Most of the time, citing authors in your essay is an easy task if you already know how to create a research paper outline APA. Overall, the information includes the author’s surname, year of publication, and a page number if it’s a direct citation. You need to use an in-text citation meaning it usually appears before the period and has other rules. If the name of the author is not included in the sentence, state their name after it. Work that includes two writers needs an in-text citation with both their names, separated by an ampersand. In case there are three or more authors, include all of them in the beginning citation, separated by commas and the final two by an ampersand. For all later in-text citations use only the first author, followed by “et al.” and the year of publication.

Main Tips How Cite different sources in APA paper?

Main points to include while citing sources in a paper are the writer’s name and initials, the title of the work, and year published. You can find more detailed structures below. It may be challenging to cope with the challenge of how to cite text in a paper APA style. If you need help with citation or title page, you can visit online citation generators or buy an apa research paper.

  1. Print books. Here are expanded how to write a title in an essay in popular citations. For APA style thew are next. One author: Author’s Last name, First and Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work. Location: Publisher. Two or more authors: Last name, First and Middle initial., Last name, First initial. Middle initial., & Last name, First. and Middle initial. (Date). Title. Location: Publisher.
  2. E-books. Author’s Last Name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of work [E-reader version]. or Retrieved from http://xxxx
  3. Journal articles. Author’s Last name, First. Middle initial. (Year Published). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume(Issue), page range.
  4. Newspaper articles. Author’s Last name, First. Middle initial. (Year, Month Day Published). Title of article. Title of Newspaper, page range.
  5. Magazine articles. Author’s Last Name, First and Middle initial. (Year, Month Published). Title of article. Title of Magazine, Volume(Issue), page range.
  6. Websites. Author’s Family name, First initial. (Year, Month Date Published). Title of a webpage. Retrieved from URL
  7. Interviews. Personal interviews should have an in-text format instead. The structure for it is: (Interviewee First initial., Last Name, personal communication, Date Interviewed). In the reference list, it would look like this: Last Name, First and Middle initial. of Individual being interviewed (Year, Month Day Interviewed). Interview by 1st initial, Family name [Format of interview]. Published interviews should be cited like it’s set in article, magazine or film etc.

APA style is often used in fields like education, economics, business, social sciences, and more. However, it’s used in college writing for various reasons. Not many students know how to cite APA style in a research paper. It ensures all the sections of a paper have a standard form and sources are cited by official and standard guidelines. It’s important to cite a paper, acknowledging references to the other authors and work because it ensures you don’t plagiarize.

Table of Contents

How do you cite a research paper in APA format?

How to Cite a Research Paper in APA

  1. Book: Author, A.A.. (Year of Publication). The Title of work.
  2. Example: Finney, J. (1970).
  3. Magazine: Author, A.A.. (Year, a month of Publication).
  4. Example: Tumulty, K.
  5. Newspaper: Author, A.A.. (Year, Month Date of Publication).
  6. Website: Author, A.A.. (
  7. Example: Simmons, B. (

How do I cite an online research paper in APA?

How to Cite Online Material from a Computer Network in APA

  1. author’s name (if known)
  2. date of publication or last revision (if known), in parentheses (year, month, day)
  3. title of document.
  4. title of complete work (if applicable), in italics.
  5. the word “Retrieved” followed by the date you accessed the source (month, day, year)

How do you cite within a research paper?

Include a parenthetical citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your Works Cited list. MLA parenthetical citation style uses the author’s last name and a page number; for example: (Field 122).

How do you cite in-text mla8?

In-text citations include the last name of the author followed by a page number enclosed in parentheses. “Here’s a direct quote” (Smith 8). If the author’s name is not given, then use the first word or words of the title.

How do you in-text cite a paraphrase in APA?

Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list. APA in-text citation style uses the author’s last name and the year of publication, for example: (Field, 2005)….

Do you have to cite a paraphrase?

Paraphrasing ALWAYS requires a citation. Even if you are using your own words, the idea still belongs to someone else.

Do I have to cite every sentence when paraphrasing?

In order to make it clear that quoted or paraphrased information is not your own work, cite every quotation and every new instance of paraphrased information in your paragraphs….

Can you cite an entire website in APA?

Entire Website According to the APA manual (7th ed.), you do not need to cite entire websites in the reference list. In the body of the paper, provide the name of the site and URL….

How do you in-text cite Ibid in APA?

No. APA never uses ibid. Instead, give each citation using author names as usual. To learn about how APA uses Latin abbreviations in the APA official blog….

What two items are included in an in-text citation?

In-text citations typically include the first element from the Works Cited entry (usually the first author’s last name, but occasionally an abbreviated title) and a location (usually the page number)….

How do you cite the same source multiple times in endnotes?

When citing the same source in multiple footnotes one after the other, cite the source in full the first time, and then use the abbreviated form for all subsequent citations until another source is cited (p. 759-760)….

How do you cite the same author twice in APA?

To cite two works by the same author and the same year, differentiate the two works with small lowercase letters.

  1. For example, use in-text citations like (Smith, 2019a, p. 78) and (Smith, 2019b, p. 24).
  2. On the References page, sort the two entries in alphabetical order by the title, since the names will be identical.

Can you cite the same source twice Harvard?

If you need to refer to two or more sources by the same author in different years, there is no need to keep repeating the author’s surname in the citation.

How do you cite the same source multiple times footnotes in APA?

When you are referencing the same source in two (or more) footnotes the second and subsequent references should be entered as “Ibid.” and the page number for the relevant footnote. Use “Ibid.” without any page number if the page is the same as the previous reference….

How do you repeat in-text citations APA?

When repeating a citation, show the entire citation; do not, for example, include only a page number (the abbreviation “ibid.” is not used in APA Style). Instead, use the following guidelines: Include the author(s) and year for every parenthetical in-text citation.

What three elements are included in an APA in-text citation?

APA style requires three basic elements for in-text citations of sources: the author’s name, the year of publication and the page number referenced.

Where does an in-text citation go APA?

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author’s last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, like, for example, (Jones, 1998). One complete reference for each source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

When a student is writing a paper, there are times when the most useful information can be found in the papers of other students. Writing American Psychological Association (APA) style reference lists can be complicated when using non-traditional information sources. A way to list the reference of another student’s paper is to add each component of the entry one by one.

List the author by her last name, followed by a comma and a space.

Write the first initial of the author’s first name, followed by a period and a space. If a middle initial is given, place it after the first-name initial, followed by a period. If there are two authors, place a comma after the period, followed by a space, an ampersand and another space before beginning the name of the second author. For example, if the authors of the paper being referenced are Kate Smith and Donald J. Rose, the correct APA format would be Smith, K., & Rose D.J. If there are more than two authors, reserve the use of the ampersand until just before the last author is listed.

Put the year of the publication in parentheses, then add a period and a space. For example, if a report was published in 2001, the citation would read: Smith, K., & Rose D.J. (2001).

Write the report title, capitalizing only the first letter of the title.

List the issuing organization — also known as the publisher — in parentheses after the report title. If there is a number assigned by the issuing organization, add a space after the issuing organization, then write “No.” followed by a space and the number. If there is no issuing organization, place a period after the report title.

Conclude your reference by adding publication information. If you are referencing a paper found online, write “Retrieved from,” followed by the website description and its full address (for example, “Retrieved from University ‘X’ website”:

List the state in which the report was written, followed by a comma, a space and the country of the college or university where the paper was written.

Add a colon and name the college or university the student attended when the report was written.

Follow the name of the university with a comma and a space.

Write the name of the department under which the report was written. For example, the full entry would read: Smith, K., & Rose D.J. (2001). The basics of APA writing (College Board No. 20-25). Texas, United States: University of Texas, Writing Center.

Kay Bell has been freelance writing newsletters, guides and Internet content since 2003 for micro-business owners and independent contractors. Bell has an Associate of Business Science with a dual major in communications and public relations and radio and video production from Hesser College.

APA format is the official style used by the American Psychological Association.

APA 7 th edition establishes different expectations for student papers versus professionally published papers. This handout presents the official APA guidelines for student papers. If your Columbia College instructor prefers that you follow the guidelines for professional papers, visit for guidance.

APA Style

Used primarily in the social sciences and communicates data in a concise style that precisely describes material, makes the relationship between ideas or data as clear as possible, is generally in the active voice, and utilizes the past tense. In addition to being scientific and precise, you must use bias-free and inclusive language when writing in APA style. Your role is to be objective, to be conscious of word choice, and to avoid discriminatory language.


Is an important element of APA papers. The consistency of structure increases the readability of the paper’s content.

Should be the same throughout the paper. Options include 11-point sans-serif fonts, such as Calibri or Arial, and 12-point serif fonts, such as Times New Roman. Ultimately, check with your instructors about their font preferences. All text, including block quotes and the references section, is double spaced.


Margins should be 1 inch from top, bottom, right, and left edges of the paper.


Includes only a page number at the top right-hand corner of the page. Student papers usually don’t require a running head, as seen in professional APA papers, unless requested by the instructor. For information on running heads, see

Title Page

Includes the paper title (in bold) followed by an extra space, the author (your name), affiliation (department and college), course number and name, instructor, and due date. For an example of a student title page, visit

B ody

May be divided into sections and subsections; following the body is the reference section and any end materials such as appendices.

Crediting Sources

Ensures that students avoid plagiarism. Whenever you use words, facts, statistics, diagrams, charts, drawings, or ideas that are not your own within your paper, you must cite the source. Whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize a single phrase or a whole chapter, you must acknowledge the original author no matter how much of the source you use or how often you use it.

In-text Citations

Are included in the body of the paper. They identify the source by the author and its date of publication. Citations always correspond with an entry in the references section at the end of the paper. The two types of in-text citations, narrative and parenthetical, are shown below in the paraphrase and direct quotation examples.


Summarizes relevant information from a source. This method of borrowing is more commonly used in APA papers than quotations because it allows a writer to maintain their objective voice and combine the source’s ideas with their own. Paraphrases are always cited both in the text of the paper and in the reference page.

Paraphrase example using the narrative citation method

The author’s last name is built into the sentence and the year of publication is shown in parentheses.

Rogers (1994) compared younger and older adults’ perceptions of economic stress.

Paraphrase example using the parenthetical citation method

The citation information is included at the end of the paraphrase in parenthesis.

In some instances, the hierarchical level at which employees worked significantly impacted their behavior in work groups (Mellers, Ortiz, & Smoot, 2006).

Direct quotations

Are limited in APA style papers. Instead, you should paraphrase whenever possible to blend borrowed information with your context and voice. The APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition notes that a writer should use direct quotations “when reproducing an exact definition, when an author has said something memorably or succinctly, or when you want to respond to exact wording.” The author, years, and page number (or section identifier) is always paired with quoted material through the narrative or parenthetical citation format.

Short quotation example

This example uses the parenthetical in-text citation format.

In several double-blind experiments, “‘the placebo effect’ . . . disappeared when behaviors were studied in this manner” (Miele, 1993, p. 276).

For information on formatting block quotations of more than 40 words, visit


Reference(s) section is included in every APA paper that contains cited sources. This section makes it possible for readers to retrieve the actual sources that you’ve cited throughout your paper. The format of a reference entry depends on the type of source it is. For a detailed explanation of the four elements of a reference, see .

For more examples of reference entries by various types of sources, see .

Reference example – Journal article with a DOI (APA Publication Manual, 7 th Edition)

McCauley, S. M., & Christiansen, M. H. (2019). Language learning as language use: A

cross-linguistic model of child language development. Psychological Review, 126(1), 1-51.

Parenthetical citation: (McCauley & Christiansen, 2019)

Narrative citation: McCauley and Christiansen (2019)

Did you know that you can cite unpublished works, such as in-progress research papers or manuscripts, in an essay? Well, you can! The key is citing them correctly. And in this post, we will look at how to cite an unpublished paper or manuscript in APA referencing.

How to Cite an Unpublished Paper in APA referencing

In APA referencing, you can cite an unpublished work in the same way as you would a published one. This means giving an author’s name and a date in brackets. The only difference is that you give a year of production (i.e., when the paper was written) rather than a year of publication:

Few fully understand the publication process (Clarke, 2020).

Like other sources, if you name the author in the text, you do not need to repeat it in the brackets. And if you quote an unpublished paper, you should give page numbers. For example:

According to Clarke (2020), publication “is a complex process” (p. 20).

When a paper has been accepted for publication but not yet published, however, you should use the term “in press” in place of a year in citations:

Few fully understand the publication process (Clarke, in press).

How to Reference an Unpublished Work in APA Referencing

When adding an unpublished paper to an APA reference list, the correct format will depend on where it is in the publication process. But let’s start with works that will not be published at all (e.g., a paper that the author never submitted or that the publisher rejected).

In this case, the correct format is:

Author Surname, Initial(s). (Year of Production). Title of manuscript [Unpublished manuscript]. Department, University Name.

So, in practice, we could cite an unpublished paper like this:

Clarke, J. (2020). The publication process explained [Unpublished manuscript]. School of Journalism, Media and Performance, University of Central Lancashire.

Referencing a Work Submitted for Publication

If a paper has been submitted for publication but not yet accepted, the reference should state “manuscript submitted for publication.” However, you should not include any other information about the submission, such as where it was submitted, as this information could go out of date quickly.