What is APA Style?

The guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) specify how to do citations, references, headings, tables, appendices and other elements in an academic document. Citation information is presented in the text in parentheses. Cited sources are listed in a “References” section at the end of the paper.

When and What to Cite in APA

Review the rules of documenting for APA style.

How to Create In-Text Citations in APA

For those who are new to the APA style of documentation, this page clearly explains the basics of creating in-text citations, including information about integrating quotation and other forms of evidence.

How to Create the References List in APA

This page offers general rules of formatting for the references list, including details about line spacing, indenting, punctuation, and font style.

In-Text Citations/References by Source in APA

Organized by five categories (Books, Sections of Books, Periodicals, Electronic Sources, and Other Sources), this page contains links to 28 examples of in-text citations and references, which demonstrate the detailed variance between types of sources often documented in academic work. 

APA Formatting Guidelines and Sample

This page offers useful formatting guidelines about font size, margins, subheadings, line spacing, title pages, and more.  In addition, a pdf sample paper is available as an example of these guidelines.

APA Checklists

Printable Guide to APA Citation - PDF


APA tutorial from American Psychological Association


When to Cite

Academic writing synthesizes original work with the work of others. To avoid plagiarism, give credit for anything taken from other sources.

You must document all sources used in a paper.

Cite the following

  • Cite all paraphrases or summaries of ideas or information that are not your own.
  • Cite all direct quotations of two or more consecutive words. In fact, a single distinctive term taken from a source should be placed in quotation marks and cited.
  • You can use sources that are not simply written words. These need to be cited too (some examples include charts, films, maps, graphs, web pages, photographs, television news reports, lectures, and audio tapes).

Do not cite the following

  • Your ideas, opinions or conclusions
  • Common knowledge in the discipline. Common knowledge in psychology might be that Skinner was a Behaviourist. In sociology, it might be that Durkheim created the academic discipline sociology.

If you are ever confused about whether to cite or not, cite. It is better to err on the side of citing than to neglect to cite and risk plagiarising.