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Printable version of APA Documentation Style

General Guidelines

The authors of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020) advise writers to:

  • Cite the work of those individuals whose ideas, theories, or research have directly influenced your work.
  • Provide documentation for all facts and figures that are not common knowledge.
  • Use the author-date system to cite references. This means that works used in a paper have in-text citations and a corresponding reference list entry at the end of the paper. The in-text citation appears in the body of the paper (including a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) and identifies the cited work by its author and publication date. Each reference list entry provides the author, date, title, and source of the work cited in the paper and enables the reader to both identify and retrieve the work.
  • Cite primary sources when possible and secondary sources sparingly.
  • Cite both paraphrases and direct quotations. It is preferable to paraphrase sources rather than directly quoting them because paraphrasing allows you to fit material into the context and style of your paper. Include the author, year, and page number for direct quotations, and the author and year for paraphrasing. 
  • If you reprint or adapt a table or figure, you may also need to seek permission from the copyright holder and provide a copyright attribution. 
  • Avoid over-citation. When paraphrasing a key point in more than one sentence within a paragraph, cite the source in the first sentence in which it is relevant and do not repeat the citation in subsequent sentences as long as the source remains clear and unchanged.  
  • Incorporate a short quotation (fewer than 40 words) into the text and enclose it within double quotation marks. For block quotations (40 words or more), start the quotation on a new line and indent the whole block 0.5 in. from the left margin. Please see section 8.26-8.27 for examples on how to cite short and block quotations respectively.
  • Throughout your paper, use prescribed fonts (such as sans serif 11-point Calibri or serif 12-point Times New Roman) and bias-free language. See APA’s website for guidance on formatting, bias-free language and more, https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles.

For more detailed information, please see Publication manual of the American Psychological Association : the official guide to APA style. (Seventh edition.). (2020). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, Chapters 8-10. 

This guide provides templates as well as examples for citing different types of sources in APAUse the tabs at the top of this guide to find general guidance and examples for:

APA Style (7th ed.) Introduction Videos

Introduction to Citation Styles: APA 7th by CSUDH University Library, is licensed under CC BY.