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APA Citation Help: Home

Writing and Citing Sources in APA

American Psychological Association (APA) style is a research paper format used for many social sciences, including nursing, psychology, communications, and education. This guide covers the most requested APA formatting and citation information, but it is not a complete list. Visit the Purdue Owl APA Guide for the full list of APA guidelines, and always refer to your syllabus or assignment sheet to make sure you're following the formatting requested by your professor. Contact the library staff if you need assistance.

To get started, download our APA template paper on the right. 

Formatting the Paper Itself

Formatting the Paper Itself

APA papers have a number of established formatting features throughout the body. There are more rules for APA than MLA, so be very careful with all formatting. Unless otherwise instructed by your professor, follow these basic guidelines, and use the template paper on the right. Double check your work and find additional help from Purdue Owl's APA Guide and Sample Paper. 

  • Include a title page with your paper title, your name, and SUNY Sullivan centered in the middle of the page.
  • Have the pages numbered, with your last name before the number, one the upper right corner of each page. In the upper left of the first page only, write "Running head: [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER]." All following pages should just have the shortened title of the paper, without the phrase "Running head."
  • Use all sections required by your professor. If your professor hasn't told you which sections to use, ask them. Most APA papers include a title page, Abstract, introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References, and Appendices, but if you are not doing your own research study, some sections may not be necessary. At the very least you will need a title page and References page. Use the template paper on the left, which has nearly every possible section as well as an explanation of each one, and just remove any sections your professor doesn't want you to use. 

Formatting Your In-Text Citations

Formatting Your In-Text Citations

We're frequently asked questions about citing books, journal articles, and websites, so those are covered in this guide. If the resource you need to cite isn't listed here, visit the APA In-Text Guide from Purdue Owl.

  • For a Book or Journal Article with Page Numbers:

Information, "Direct Quote" (Author(s) Last Name, Publication Year, Page Number).

Orem's theory of self-care deficit states that health-related limitations for mature individuals "render them... unable to know existent and emerging requisites for regulatory care for themselves or their dependents" (Tomey & Alligood, 2002, p. 195).

Information paraphrased (Author's Last Name, Publication Year).

One study found that positive affect during infancy could contribute to success, well-being, and cognitive ability in adulthood (Coffey, 2019). 

  • For a Website (or other source with no author or page numbers):

Information, "Quote" ("Short Title of Article or Website", n.d.)

If a source has six or more authors, the first author's last name can just be followed by et al. in-text ("APA Style Guide", n.d.). 

Formatting Your References Page

Formatting Your References Page

Your References page should be on a separate page after your Conclusion section. Instead of a first line indent, the References page uses a hanging indent (every consecutive line is indented, but not the first one). The References page should always be kept in alphabetical order, based on the first letter that appears in the entry. Formatting the References page can be very tricky, so double check your work using the APA Reference List Guides from Purdue, and find the resource you want to cite on the left hand side. 

  • For a Book:

Author Last Name, First Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title with only first letter of first word capitalized: Letter of first word after colon also capitalized. Publication City, State Abbreviation: Publisher.

Tomey, A.M. & Alligood, M.R. (2002). Nursing theorists and their work. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

  • For an Online Journal Article:

Author Last Name, First Initial(s). (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number if available), page range. DOI/Permalink URL

Coffey, J. K. (2019). Cascades of infant happiness: Infant positive affect predicts childhood IQ and adult educational attainment. Emotion. Advance online publication, 1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000640

  • For a Web Article with No Author:

Title of Website. (Year if possible or put n.d.). Title of article. Retrieved from URL

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). APA formatting and style guide. Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html

APA Template Paper

Purdue Owl APA Style Guide