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Phillips School of Nursing Information Commons: APA

APA Style 7th Edition

American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in science and social science courses, such as Nursing, Psychology, Education, and Social Work.

This guide is based on the APA Manual (7th ed.), published in 2020. To see additional changes made to the 7th edition you can view them on Purdue Owl or APA Style

In APA, you must avoid plagiarism by citing sources that you have paraphrased, quoted, or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places. 

  1. In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation

  2. In the reference list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source

Follow these four steps to ensure your paper is free from plagiarism:

  • Keep track of the sources you use in your research.
  • Paraphrase or quote from your sources (and add your own ideas).
  • Credit the original author in an in-text citation and reference list.
  • Use a plagiarism checker before you submit.

General Guidelines: 

  • Double-space your entire paper, including the references list and any block quotes

  • Options for APA font is include Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans Unicode 10, Times New Roman 12, and Georgia 11

  • The running head on the title page no longer includes the words “Running head:”. It now contains only a page number and the (shortened) paper title

  • The running head is omitted in student papers (unless your instructor tells you otherwise)

  • Do not double space after periods 

Major Changes in the 7th Edition:

  • The Publisher location is no longer included in the reference 
  • The in-text citation for works with three or more authors is now shortened right from the first citation. You only include the first author’s name and “et al.”.
  • Surnames and initials for up to 20 authors (instead of 7) should be provided in the reference list. 
  • DOIs are formatted the same as URLs. The label “DOI:” is no longer necessary
  • URLs are no longer preceded by “Retrieved from,” unless a retrieval date is needed. The website name is included (unless it’s the same as the author), and web page titles are italicized
  • For ebooks, the format, platform, or device (e.g. Kindle) is no longer included in the reference, and the publisher is included.
  • Clear guidelines are provided for including contributors other than authors and editors. For example, when citing a podcast episode, the host of the episode should be included; for a TV series episode, the writer and director of that episode are cited.
  • Dozens of examples are included for online source types such as podcast episodes, social media posts, and YouTube videos. The use of emojis and hashtags is also explained.

Writing Inclusively & Without Bias: 

The guidelines provided by APA help authors reduce bias around topics such as gender, age, disability, racial and ethnic identity, and sexual orientation, as well as being sensitive to labels and describing individuals at the appropriate level of specificity. Some examples include:

  • The singular “they” or “their” is endorsed as a gender-neutral pronoun 
  • Instead of using adjectives as nouns to label groups of people, descriptive phrases are preferred (i.e. "people in poverty," not poor people). 
  • Instead of broad categories, you should use exact age ranges that are more relevant and specific 

Academic Journal Articles

Electronic articles usually come from online journals that you find the full-text of online. To write a citation for an electronic article you need the following pieces of information:

There is no period at the end of the citation and the URL should not be hyperlinked. 

Example In-Text Journal Article Citation from APA Style: 

Grady, J. S., Her, M., Moreno, G., Perez, C., & Yelinek, J. (2019). Emotions in storybooks: A comparison of storybooks that represent ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Psychology of Popular Media Culture8(3), 207–217.

Information on  Parenthetical vs. Narrative Citations is linked here and listed below: 

  • Parenthetical citation: (Rein et al., 2019)
  • Narrative citation: Rein et al. (2019)

Note: If a journal article has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) listed, include this identifier in your reference; do not include the URL of the journal's home page or of the database from which you retrieved the article

  1. If you viewed a journal article in an online database and it does not have a DOI, end the reference after the page range

In-Text Citations

The author–date citation system is covered in Sections 8.10–8.36 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

Parenthetical Citation:

Both the author and the date, separated by a comma, appear in parentheses for a parenthetical citation. A parenthetical citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.


  • Falsely balanced news coverage can distort the public’s perception of expert consensus on an issue (Koehler, 2016).
  • In the study of developmental psychology in education, it was found that children have different stages of development in their early childhood (Johnson et al., 1999).
  • In Good Omens, a demon and an angel try to work together to save the world from an apocalypse (Gaiman & Pratchett, 1990).

Note: 7th Edition In-Text Citations - any citation with more than 3 authors will be written as the FIRST AUTHOR et al. All authors (up to 20) will be included in the reference page. 

Narrative Citation:

The author’s surname appears in running text, and the date appears in parentheses immediately after the author’s name for a narrative citation. The author’s name can be included in the sentence in any place it makes sense.


  • Black's (2019) novel Wicked King made a debut at number one on the New York Times Bestseller's List last year. 
  • As stated by the author's Gaiman and Pratchett (1990), the plot of the book Good Omens focuses primarily on the attempts of Heaven and Hell to bring about the Apocalypse and the efforts of two characters - an angel named Aziraphale and a demon named Crowley to thwart such attempts (p. 215).
  • Johnson et al. (1999) is concerned with childhood development and goes into instruction methods on the matter. 

Reference Examples

In your references page, these would all be double-spaced and the second line would be indented. Book and journal titles are italicized, as well as volume numbers. 


Single author:
Rowling, J.K. (1997). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic.

Two or three authors:
Gaiman, N. & Pratchett, T. (1990). Good Omens: Gollancz.

Editor or compiler as an author:
Colby, T. (Ed.). (2000). Heights of the Marvelous: A New York Anthology. St. Martin’s Griffin.

Journal Article: one author: 

Rosefield, P. (2005) Women in green: the contributions Hadassah nursing to immigrant and refugee health in pre-state and the early years of the State of Israel. Nursing History Review, 13(1), 101-119. 

Journal Article: Multiple Authors: 

Grady, J. S., Her, M., Moreno, G., Perez, C., & Yelinek, J. (2019). Emotions in storybooks: A comparison of storybooks that represent ethnic and racial groups in the United States. Psychology of Popular Media Culture8(3), 207 217.

Report by a Government Agency:

National Cancer Institute. (2019). Taking time: Support for people with cancer (NIH Publication No. 18-2059). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Webpage on a Website with an Organizational Group Author: 

World Health Organization. (2018, May 24). The top 10 causes of death

Mobile App Reference Work:

Vallerand, A. H., & Sanoski, C. A. (2019). Davis’s drug guide (16th ed.) (Version 1.31) [Mobile app]. F. A. Davis Company.

Note: Clinical Practice References Guide 

Adapted from:

Myers, M., Paiz, J., Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M.,…Keck, R. (2019, December 20). General format. Purdue Online Writing Lab. 

Long Quotes

If the quotation comprises of 40 or more words, display it in freestanding blocks of text and omit the quotation marks. Start such a block quotation on a new line and indent the block about a half-inch (5 spaces)  from the left margin and double space. The parenthetical citation should come after the punctuation mark.