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Nursing: Citing Sources in APA 7th

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The APA citation style is typically used by scholars in fields such as Psychology, Nursing, Education, Criminal Justice, and Business.

The 7th edition (2020) of the APA Manual is the most current edition in use.

APA Style Examples

Basic Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title of the article. Title of the Periodical, xx, pp-


  • List author's last names in order of appearance on the article. Only list the authors initials for first and middle names.

  • Use a comma to separate each author's name. Even if there are only two authors, include a comma before the "&".

  • With articles that contain 21 or more authors, include the first 19 names, insert an ellipsis "..." instead of the "&", and then add the final author's name. Do not use et. al in the reference list, but do use it in the in-text citation (see Chapter 10, Example 4).

  • All words in the title of the article are lowercase except for proper nouns and the first word of the sentence and the first word after a colon.

  • The title of the periodical and the volume should be in italics and written in title case. If an issue number is available, add it after the volume and in parenthesis. The issue number is not in italics.

  • The second and subsequent lines are indented, or "hanging" indentation. Present DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks - do not break them to make them fit neatly on the page with hanging indentation (as we did in some of these examples). Consider using an online tool (such as shortDOIs or tinyurl) to shorten lengthy hyperlinks.

With DOI

Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival
      times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 225-229.

Without DOI (e.g. published in print or as .pdf)

Light, M. A., & Light, I. H. (2008). The geographic expansion of Mexican immigration in the
      United States and its implications for local law enforcement. Law Enforcement Executive
      Forum Journal, 8
(1), 73-82.

Print magazine article

Chamberlin, J., Novotney, A., Packard, E., & Price, M. (2008, May). Enhancing worker well-being:
       Occupational health psychologists convene to share their research on work, stress, and
      health. Monitor on Psychology, 39(5), 26-29.

Online magazine article

Clay, R. (2008, June). Science vs. ideology: Psychologists fight back about the misuse of
       research. Monitor on Psychology, 39(6).

Newspaper article

Schwartz, J. (1993, September 30). Obesity affects economic, social status. The Washington
, A1, A4.

Basic Format

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of the book. Publisher Name.

  • List author's last names in order of appearance on the book cover or title page. Only list the authors initials for first and middle names.

  • Use a comma to separate each author's name. Even if there are only two authors, include a comma before the "&".

  • Use only an "&", no comma, to separate two group authors.

  • For suffixes, use a comma to separate initials and the suffix (e.g. Author, A. A., Sr., & Author, B.).

  • All words in the book title are lowercase except for the first word of the sentence, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns (see pp. 165-169 for more on capitalization).

  • Include only the publisher name, not the location. Do not include business structure designations (e.g. Inc., LLC).

  • Always include the DOI if one is available. Double check using

  • The second and subsequent lines are indented, or "hanging" indentation (see pp. 321-328 for more details on citing various types of books)..

Book that is an edition

Peters, G., & Woolley, J. T. (2013). The presidency A to Z (5th ed.). CQ Press.

Edited Book

Henley, G., & McMullen, A. J. (Eds.). (2018). Gerald of Wales: New perspectives on a medieval

     writer and critic. University of Wales Press.

Chapter in an Edited Book

Kallock, S. (2018). Sex work. In J. Elias, & A. Roberts (Eds.). Handbook on the international

     political economy of gender (pp. 392-410). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Authored ebook or audiobook w/out DOI

Genova, L. (2015). Inside the O'Briens. (S. Sudduth, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Simon & Schuster.

  • It is not necessary to indicate an audiobook versus an ebook versus a print book when the content is the same, even if the format is different. However, if the content is different (e.g. abridged), there is something unique about the format, or you wish to quote it, then the format should be included after the title/narrator elements.
  • If the audiobook or ebook has a different publication year than the text version, then reference it as a republished work (pp.321-322).

Entry in a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, with group author

American Psychology Association. (n.d.). Factorial analysis of variance. In APA dictionary of

     psychology. Retrieved January 22, 2019, from


  • In online reference works that are not archived and can be continually updated, use "n.d." as the publication date and include a retrieval date.

Basic Format

  • Audiovisual media should be cited as you would cite other types of work with the author, date, title, and source.

  • Consider if the work stands alone (e.g. film, artwork, music album) or if it is one part of a bigger whole (e.g. episode in a TV series, song from a music album, picture in a book).

  • In-text citations follow the same pattern of author name and year (e.g. Roberts, 2019).

  • After the name of the creator(s), you may need to include a description of who they are in relation to the material (e.g. Spielberg, S. (Director), Thompson, C. (Writer)). In the case of a work of art or painting, you do not need to include the word 'artist' or 'painter'.

  • After the title of the piece, include in brackets a description of the material (e.g. [Film], [TV series], [Audiobook], [Painting], [Digital image], etc).

  • Present URLs as hyperlinks - do not break them to make them fit neatly on the page with hanging indentation. Consider using an online tool such as to shorten a lengthy URL..

  • For the most part, Fair Use guidelines allow you to lawfully cite materials that are strictly for classwork. But if you wish to reproduce audiovisual work, you may need to seek permission from the copyright owner and/or provide copyright attribution according to image/audio license terms (see Section 12.15 of the APA Manual for further details)..

Works that Stand Alone

Audiovisual Author, A. A., (date). Title of the visual work or a description of it. [Description]. Name

     of the Source or Publisher. https://xxxxxxx

  • For untitled works, include a description of it in square brackets in place of the title.
  • For online images of artwork, include the URL after listing the institution and its location.


Stanmeyer, J. (2019). Djibouti 2013 [Photograph]. National


Artwork in a Museum or Museum Website

Leutze, E. (1851). Washington crossing the Delaware [Painting]. Metropolitan Museum of Art,

     New York City, NY, United States.

Online Video (YouTube, TED Talks, Vimeo, etc.)

LifesBiggestQuestions. (2017, September 25). How do hurricanes form? [Video].


  • Cite as author whoever uploaded the video, with some exceptions.
  • If the video comes from the TED's website, cite the speaker as the author.
  • If the username includes an @ symbol at the beginning of the name, include the symbol and name in brackets after the author's real name (e.g. New York Public Library [@nypl].)

Film or Video

Demme, J. (Director). (1991). Silence of the lambs [Film]. Orion Pictures.

Materials Within a Larger Work

Audiovisual Author, A. A.(Role). (date). Title of the specific work [Description]. In A. A. LastName,

     & B. B. LastName (Contributor's Role) Title of the Encompassing Work. Production Company.


TV Episode or Webisode

Bright, K. (Director), & Malins, G. (Writer). (1998). The one with all the Thankgivings (Season 5,

     Episode 8) [TV series episode]. In D. Crane & M. Kauffman (Creators), Friends

     Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions; Warner Bros. Television.

  • For works within a larger work that include individuals such as producers, include their names as initials first, then last name, and include a description of who they are (e.g. In G. W. Lucas (Director), & G. Kurtz (Producer).
  • If two or more publishers, producers, or production companies are listed on the copyright page or the credits, include all of them in the order shown and separate each with a semicolon. 

Podcast Episode

Sagal, P., & Kurtis, B. (Hosts). (2020, January 18). Alison Roman [Audio podcast episode].

     In Wait, wait...don't tell me! NPR & WBEZ Chicago.

  • If the podcast provides numbers for each episode, include that in parentheses after the title but before the bracket description (e.g. Alison Roman (No. 234) [Audio podcast].).

Single Song or Track

Simon, P. (1986). You can call me Al [Song]. On Graceland. Warner Bros.

  • Only include a URL if that is the only method for retrieving the material (e.g. artists who only publish online).
  • You do not need to specify how you listened to a song or album (e.g. iTunes, Amazon Music, etc.).

See pages 341-347 for more examples of Audiovisual references.

Google Images

When citing an image taken from Google Images, you must click onto the image and go to the website from which it has originated. This is where you will find the information needed to cite the image.

The University of Vermont Libraries have a Guide on the finding, using (copyrights), and citing of images from Google and other places. It can help you properly attribute the images in your work.

Webpages and Websites

Author, A. A. (date, if one). Title of the work. Site Name. https://xxxxxxx

  • If you are just mentioning a website in your text, use the name of the site and provide the (URL) in parentheses. Do not create a reference or use in-text citations for general mentions of a particular site.

  • If the author of a website or webpage is not immediately evident, check the "about us" or acknowledgement sections of the website. If you are still unable to locate an author, use the group/site name as the author.

  • Be as specific as possible with the date, including month, day and year. If you know the site/page is designed to have changing content, include "Retrieved month day, year," before the URL. If the page is archived and will not change, do not include a retrieval date.

Webpage on a website with individual author

Aiken, K. (2020, January 29). The best vegetarian Instant Pot recipes. HuffPost.


Webpage on a website with group author

  • If the author and site name are the same, do not include the site name in the source element. Use only the URL.

American Psychological Association. (2020, January). Five ways to view coverage of the 



Social Media

Author, A. A. [username]. (date, if one). Content of the post up to the first 20 words. Site Name.


  • This format is for references to posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

  • If there are audiovisuals that go along with the post, include a description of them in brackets after the title.

  • Do not change the spelling or capitalization of the author or post title, and retain all hashtags, @ symbols, and links. Include emojis if possible, otherwise provide a description of the emoji in squared brackets where it would have appeared.

  • Present URLs as hyperlinks - do not break them to make them fit neatly on the page with hanging indentation. Consider using an online tool such as to shorten a lengthy URL.


Ben & Jerry's [@benandjerrys]. (2020, January 26). The perfect accompaniment to new Netflix &

     Chilll'd: The Chilll'd-tini! Get the recipe here (for those 21+ only): 

     [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. post

New Hampshire State Parks. (2020, January 15). Yesterday was a pretty special day at

     Mt Washington State Park. Scroll through the images and see why [Images attached] [News

     feed post]. Facebook.

‚ÄčInstagram photo or video

Zylinski, M. [@thelittlecookiebarn]. (2019, December 25). Merry Christmas! [Christmas tree emoji]

     I seriously love this little door and wreath! Thanks @maddiescookieco for the inspiration [three

     heart emjois] [Photograph]. Instagram.

Some examples taken directly from the APA manual 6th ed. and modified for the 7th ed. rules.

One Work by One Author

  • When paraphrasing, both the author's last name and the date either need to appear in the body of the sentence, or in the parenthesis at the end. The date always appears in parenthesis after the author/s' name. No page number is required when paraphrasing.

Kessler (2003) found that among epidemiological samples... (narrative)

In 2003, Kessler's study of epidemiological samples showed that... (narrative)

Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course (Kessler, 2003). (parenthetical)

  • When quoting directly, be sure to follow this same format, but add a page number after the date.

Kessler (2003) found that "among epidemiological samples..." (p. 15). (narrative)

"Early onset results in a more persistent and severe course" (Kessler, 2003, p. 15). (parenthetical)

One Work by Multiple Authors

  • Same rules apply as above except that for two authors, in the parenthetical citation you separate the names with an ampersand, while in the narrative you connect them with "and".
  • For three or more authors you list the first author and then et al. both in the parenthetical and in the narrative. [NOTE: See the chart on pg 266 for additional rules and examples of formatting in-text citations with one or more authors.]

as Kurtines and Szapocznik (2003) demonstrated... (narrative) has been shown (Joreskog & Sorbom, 2007)  (parenthetical)

Kissangau, et al. (2007) found...  (narrative)

...studies revealed differences (Kissangau, et al., 2007) (parenthetical)

Citing Multiple Works

  • When citing multiple works at the same time parenthetically, list them in alphabetical order, separated by semicolons. If there are multiple works by the same author, include the last name once followed by the publication dates in chronological order. Citations with no date should come first, and those still in publication should come last.

(Davis 2012; Kirkpatrick & Phillips 2013, 2014; Reynolds 2010, in press; Sharpton n.d., 2013, 2015)  (parenthetical)

  • When citing multiple works at the same time in the narrative, you can place them in any order.

Sharpton (n.d., 2013, 2015), Davis (2012), and Reynolds (2010) noted changes in the samples....  (narrative)

Secondary Sources

  • As a general rule, try to limit the frequency with which you cite sources from another source. Instead, try to use the original source. For example, if in a text the author refers to a quote of another author that you want to use, first try to obtain the original source of that author to confirm the accuracy of the quote.
  • If you are unable to obtain the original source, use the quote and cite it using the phrase "as cited in."

Allport's diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003). (narrative)

Personal Communications

  • Personal communications such as personal letters and emails, are generally only cited in-text and not in the reference list and include the author's name and the date.

T.K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001)  (narrative)

(V.-G. Nguyen, personal communication, September 28, 1998)  (parenthetical)

What if some of the information is missing?

Use the following table to create a reference when one or more information elements are missing. This table is reprinted from:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American

     Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association.

     ( Reprinted with permission.


APA Style Guide

Important Changes in APA 7th Edition‚Äč

  • Only one space should be used after a period (p. 154).

  • For the first in-text citation with 3 or more authors, you can list just the first author followed by "et al." (p. 266).

  • References may include up to 20 names of authors for a single work (p. 286).

  • Book references should no longer include publisher location (p. 295).

  • APA style requires the use of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) for all resources that have one, regardless of whether the work was found and used online or in print (p. 299).

  • DOIs and URLs should be presented as hyperlinks, and "doi:" and "Retrieved from" are unnecessary prior to a DOI or URL (p. 299). 

  • DOIs should be presented in the following format: with no period at the end. If a source utilizes a different format (e.g. change it to the preferred format above. It serves as a direct link to the material and provides consistency throughout the reference list. Long DOIs and URLs can be shortened using an online service (e.g. shortDOI or tinyurl) (pp. 299-300).

  • The 7th edition provides many more examples of citations and references for online sources. Examples of parenthetical and narrative citations are included with each reference example (See Chapter 10).

  • This edition provides greater instruction on how to cite digital media, with a section dedicated to Audiovisual Media (e.g. Film, TV series, Podcasts, Photographs etc.) (pp. 341-347) and another section covering many different types of Online Media (Twitter, Facebook, websites, online forums, etc.) (pp. 348-352).

  • Table 9.1 provides a useful guide on how to correctly format a reference even when important information may be missing (p. 284).

Getting Started

Here are some resources to provide you with the basics of how to use APA Style to correctly organize and attribute credit in your academic papers.

The Introduction video was uploaded October 29th, 2019 by the CSUDH Library.

Online Guides

In addition to the official APA manual and the examples to the right, several institutions have created helpful online guides. 

* Be aware! The 7th Edition is still quite new. Some sites may not have updated their guides from the 6th Edition, so always check what edition is being referenced before using their examples! *


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA style of citing requires the use of DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) for all resources that have one regardless of whether the work was found and used online or in print. Many databases will provide the DOI for you along with the rest of an article's citation information (title, author, etc.). However, if you cannot find a DOI for your article, or if you have a DOI, but don't know what article it is for, use the following online DOI Resolver: If you are unable to determine the DOI of a work online, you may provide the URL address of the website at the end of the citation. "Retrieved/Accessed from" is no longer used. If the work without a DOI is from an academic database, do not include the URL. Instead leave the reference as you would for the print version.

DOIs were first introduced in 2010. Most articles published before 2010 will not have DOIs assigned to them. However, some publishers are starting to assign DOIs to older articles. You should check to ensure you have the most accurate information.