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APA 7 Style Guide: Home

A guide to using APA style in writing research papers

APA 7 Style

APA style is designed by the American Psychological Association and is usually used for research papers in the social sciences.  You'll notice that dates are always featured prominently in APA style, so that readers can easily see the age of the research being cited. 

You will need to use in-text citations in the body of your paper to give basic information every time you use an outside source, whether you are quoting from it, or using an idea to help in your argument.  Check the "In-Text Citation" tab for examples.  

The final page of your paper will be a References page, in which you list complete information for all of the sources you used.  You can find specific examples of different kinds of citations in this guide at the other tabs.   Always use the hanging indent format for your References page; this distinguishes a citation from other text.  

For more information, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition, coming soon to the reference desk and in the circulating collection at BF76.7 .P83 2019.  You can also see guidelines at APA Style Central or the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University.

Using APA Style

For a quick rundown of APA style, check out this video.

Most of the time, you won't have to write your own citations.  This video shows you how to get them from databases and the library catalog:


APA Reference List Guidelines

Formatting the Reference List: General Rules

See specific examples for books, articles, and more at the relevant tabs.

  1. Reference list starts on a new page. Type the word “References” centered at the top of the page.
  2. Double-space all reference list entries.
  3. Use hanging indent form. The first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented 1/2 inch.
  4. Arrange alphabetically, not by format of publication: book, journal, etc.
  5. The author should be the first element, even for web pages. If no author is present, use editor name. If no editor is present, start with book title or article title.  Only use "Anonymous" if the author is actually listed as "Anonymous."
  6. List author’s last name, followed by a comma then initials for first and middle name. Do not spell out author’s first or middle name.  List ALL the authors, up to and including 20 authors (this is a new rule, as APA 6 only required the first six authors). Separate each author’s initials from the next author in the list with a comma. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name. If there are 21 or more authors, use an ellipsis (but no ampersand) after the 19th author, and then add the final author’s name.
  7. Use "&" instead of "and" when listing multiple authors of a single work.
  8. The date is always the second element and is contained in parentheses.  If there is more than one work by the same author in the same year, put a more specific date in if possible, or assign letters (1996a, 1996b).
  9. Book and periodical titles should be in italics. Volume numbers of periodicals should be in italics.
  10. If a journal has both a volume and an issue number, write the volume number followed by the issue number in parenthesis. There is no space between the volume number and the open parenthesis.
  11. Article titles are plain text. No quotes or italics.
  12. Capitalize only the first word of the title and the subtitle for books, book chapters, and article titles.
  13. Capitalize the first letter of each word in a periodical title except articles (a, an, the).
  14. Each element (author, date, title, etc.) of a citation is separated by a period and one space.
  15. If a URL (Web address) is needed for a citation, do not underline the URL or place a period after it.


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APA Handbook

Find more help!

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) has an excellent online style guide.  Take a look for more help!

Want to try a new, free software tool to build your bibliography?  MyBib is the best tool we've seen for building and keeping a list of citations.  It's easy to use and lets you switch between several styles.  Try it out at

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