How to Cite in APA Format - Helpful Examples and Samples

Written by

Mark Robert

11 mins read
APA format

If you're working on a research project for college, then you'll likely need to use APA format to cite your sources. Learning how to properly cite your sources is an important skill and one that can be tricky to master.

In this blog post, we provide helpful examples and samples of citations in APA format. We walk you through the steps of creating a citation and explain why it's important to correctly credit your sources.

It is one of the main citation styles and students largely use this format.

By following our simple and easy guidelines, you will be able to accurately cite your sources in any academic paper. So, let’s get this started!

What Is APA Format?

What does the APA format mean?

The APA Publication Manual is the style guide published by the American Psychological Association. It provides guidance on citing sources in psychology, education, and other social science subjects. The APA style originated in a 1929 article published in Psychological Bulletin and has been expanded and updated periodically since then.

Why is the APA format so important in psychology and other social sciences?

APA style allows researchers and students to communicate information about their ideas and experiments in a consistent format. This makes it easier for readers to understand what they are reading.

If you have never taken a psychology or social science class, you might be used to using a different style guide, such as MLA format or Chicago style. However, at the university level, many classes require APA style.

It can be difficult to transition between different styles for different classes. However, if you have a good understanding of the basics and bookmark a few key resources, it will be easier to learn this new format.

This Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is a guide that can help you through your journey to learning the APA Format. This blog is about an APA style guide. The basics of the style are explained below, along with how to use it in your writing.

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How to Format an APA Style Paper?

The assignment format is not difficult to remember once you get into the swing of things. Some students find it hard because they're new at this, but after doing a few assignments, everything will start coming back!

The specific type of papers that may require APA formatting are listed below:

  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Sociology
  • Nursing
  • Criminology

APA formatting is a style of writing that's entirely different from other formats. There are lots of things to take care of when using this format, such as layout and structure for your entire paper. It can be challenging but you'll find yourself improving with time!

Different types of papers like research papers, thesis, and dissertations will require you to include specific information. This includes:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References
  • Figures or Tables (if required)

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APA Format Title Page

The title page of your paper should be perfect and formatted in the APA style. This is very important because the first impression is often the last impression. If there are any mistakes on the title page, it could give a bad first impression to the reader.

Follow these instructions to format the title page:

  • 1-inch margins on each side
  • 12 pt. font size
  • Times New Roman font type

Type the title in the title case, each word should begin with a capital letter, centered and on the upper side of the page. As per the APA suggestion, the title shouldn’t exceed 12 words.

Make sure that the text of your paper has double spacing so it is easier for the reader to go through the content without getting confused.

apa format title page

APA Format 7th Edition

The 7th edition of the APA format has introduced some prominent changes from the 6th edition. The title page must include:

  1. Author’s full name
  2. Educational institute’s name
  3. Course name and code
  4. Course instructor’s name
  5. Paper’s due date
  6. A header with the page number

For more details, refer to the sample below:

APA 7th Edition: APA Style Title Page Guide

APA Format Header

A header is a must on the top of the page. The running head serves as a shorter version of the title and this is why it must not exceed two to three words. To format it, add the page number and title of the paper in it and flush right.

APA Format Headings

Different format styles have different heading structures. For APA, you will follow the below-heading structure:

1st Level: Centered, Bold, and Title Case
2nd Level: Bold, Title Case, Flush Left
3rd Level: Bold, Italic, Title Case, Flush Left
4th Level: Bold, Title Case, Indented, Ending with a Period.
5th Level: Bold, Italic, Title Case, Indented, Ending with a Period.

All of the papers and essays, written in APA style have the following main headings:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References

The levels of the headings mentioned above are structured within the main headings. These headings give your paper a proper structure and form, which makes it easy for the reader to read and understand the content of your work.

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APA Format Citation

A citation is a reference to the used source material in the paper. In-text is the reference that is added within the content and it is followed by a full citation in the references list. Different referencing and paper styles have different citation formats and styles.

Similarly, APA also has a different and its own citation format that is to be followed in the paper. The author-date method of in-text citations is the primary technique used while making your APA in-text citations.

In-Text Citation

In-text citations and references go hand in hand. Mention the complete references of the cited sources in the references section.

Two things must appear in the text:

  • Author’s last name
  • Year of publication

Example: (Andy, 2017)

APA Format Quotes

Adding relevant and credible quotes and paraphrased content strengthens the quality of your paper. However, you should use them to support and prove your research points and not the other way around.

When quoting directly from a source, including author name, year of publication, and the page number.

Example: As per Adams (2017), “Students face difficulty when they cite in APA format in their essays and research papers” (p. 200).

What if a source has two authors?

Name both of them in parenthesis or a single phrase and use ‘and’ between names.

Example: (George and Andrew, 2017)

What if there are multiple writers? Shall I name all the writers in parentheses? No, you do not need to mention all the writers. Instead of mentioning all the names, just mention the first name and add ‘et al’.

(Andy et al., 2017)

Since referencing and adding citations is somewhat difficult, many students try to escape it. But, to prevent plagiarism and to credit the original sources and writers, it is important that you add them. Here, you can learn to format your paper properly.

How to cite a source where the author(s) name is not mentioned? In such cases, cite your sources by the title.

  • Italicize the title of the books.
  • Articles, chapters, and web pages are placed in quotation marks.

When the author is a government agency, cite as:

As per the American Association (2001)……

APA Format Website

Citing websites is the opposite of citing other source types. Mention the site’s address in the paper. The information about the author should be found on the web page. Search at the top or at the very bottom of the page.

Place the last name, follow it by a comma and the date of publication.

Example: (Henriquez, 2018.)

APA Date Format

Mention as many of the dates as you can. Correct APA date format is mandatory to be followed where available. Starting with the year, month, and day

Example: (2018, October 8)

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APA Format References

A reference list highlights the sources used for collecting information. It credits the authors whose works you have used and quoted to support your main topic.

References are listed in alphabetical order by the first author's last name. If the author is unknown, the reference is listed in alphabetical order by the first meaningful word of the title.

APA Citation Generator

Citation tools have become very popular these days. Is it good to use them? Using a citation or reference generator is a quick way of generating references but this does not mean that you should use them blindly.

Some of the common mistakes that these generators could make are:

  • Not including all the details in the reference list.
  • Not mentioning the date.
  • Making a flawed structure of the format.

Nonetheless, these generators can ease the burden and get the work done in a matter of seconds. Just keep a check on the points mentioned above.

APA Format Journals

The referencing format is different for websites, books, articles, and journals. Each format follows a distinct set of rules.

APA references list for journal articles should include:

  • Author(s). The first initials follow the surname.
  • Year of publication
  • Title of the article.
  • Journal title (italics).
  • Journal’s volume (italics)
  • Issue number of the journal.
  • Page number
  • First lines are left adjusted and subsequent lines are indented 5-7 spaces forming a hanging indent.

Example: Ruxton, C. (2016). Tea: Hydration and other health benefits. Primary Health Care, 26(8), 34-42.

APA Format Book

Citing information from books is a common practice in essays and research papers. However, the format is different for it. When citing a book, consider the following things.

  • Author(s). The first initials follow the surname.
  • Publishing year of the book.
  • Book title (Italics).
  • Place of publication.
  • Edition in round brackets (other than 1st edition).
  • Publisher.

Example: Arnold, G. D. (2018). The disability support worker social sciences (2nd edition.). South Melbourne, VIC: College Learning.

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APA Format Tables and Figures

Does your task include making tables and figures? The APA format reference page also supports citations for tables.

A strict checklist needs to be implemented while citing them. Keep the following checklist with you when doing it.

  • All figures and tables should be referenced in the main body of the text.
  • Put numbers, figures, and tables in the same order as they appear in the text.
  • Each figure or table must be accompanied by a description of the contents.
  • If you are producing a figure or table from another source, cite it with a caption and add it to the reference list.
  • Don’t violate the privacy of others if the publisher has refrained from copying. Take permission.

APA Footnotes and Endnotes

Have you made endnotes and footnotes?

They play a key role in every document. Unlike Chicago, the APA format does not include any endnotes or footnotes but they are useful for understanding difficult terms and definitions.

Mention the footnotes at the end of the page in the word document. A number is placed in front of the text to refer to the footnote below.

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APA Appendix Format

The appendix contains information, which may sound too lengthy to be mentioned in the text. Written at the end of the paper, it includes:

  • Detailed descriptions
  • Lengthy lists
  • A category of articles to support data
  • Demographic information for subpopulations studied in the paper

Multiple Appendices

Are you planning on writing multiple appendices? Some papers and works need multiple appendices. However, each appendix must focus on a single topic only. Label them with A, B, and so on.

A title is a must for each appendix. Start the 1st paragraph of text from the left margin and then indent the 1st line of successive paragraphs by ½ inch. Times New Roman (12 pt.) must be the font size and format, typed in double spaces.

Nevertheless, excluding the appendix section from the paper will never affect your paper.

APA Format Abstract

An abstract is a summary of the main points of an essay or research paper. It is important to have an abstract for an APA-style paper, as it provides readers with information about the contents of the paper.

The abstract should be brief, accurate, and cohesive, and it should give readers a sense of what to expect in the coming sections.

The abstract is usually a 150-200 words section, which will do the trick for you. The abstract is written on a separate page and it is added after the cover page and before the introduction.

Related: How to Write an Abstract for a Research Paper

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APA Annotated Bibliography Format

In literal terms, annotated bibliographies offer a critical analysis of a source. It is a challenging task to write a well-detailed and effective annotated bibliography.

How to write an annotated bibliography in APA format? Divide it into the following sections and explain each part accordingly.

  1. Summarize the main idea of the source in 3-4 sentences.
    • Main arguments
    • Point of the article/ book
  2. Sentences to evaluate and assess the source.
    • Comparison with other sources of bibliography
    • Reliability of the source
    • The credibility of the author
    • Discrimination or objectivity in the text
  3. Sentences for personal reflection on the source.
    • Was the source helpful?
    • Has it changed your thinking?
    • The information added about the topic

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources you used for your research paper. It's important to do this well since your teacher will often ask for it before the paper is due. Learning how to write an annotated bibliography will help you better organize and present your research sources.

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A Brief Formatting Checklist

Before submitting the paper, check it with the following checklist.

  • Introduction
  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Body
  • Full Reference
  • In-text Citations
  • Tables and figures
  • Appendix

We know that formatting can be tricky and if you still feel confused, then do not worry; we have got you covered. Below is a sample to help you further.

Sample APA Format Paper

If you need professional help with your paper’s APA format, talk to one of the writers at and get a custom paper done. Our professional paper writers are familiar with all types of student paper formats, and they will make sure to satisfy you in every way possible.

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