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APA Style Guide: Citations

This guide is an all in one source to many resources that can answer any questions you have about APA format.

Introduction to APA

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.
Definition Source: Purdue Owl 

The 6th edition source book can be found at several Ivy Tech campus libraries for your own personal use within the library.  It is located in the Reference collection, which means it can only be used within the library. Check the link below to see if your campus library owns a copy of this useful resource. 

Citation basics

Below are some of the basics to follow when you are creating citations using the APA format. Follow these and you should be able to successfully cite the sources you are using for your research papers. 

  1. Use the author-date method for in-text citations which basically means that you are to list the author's last name and the year of publication.
    Example: (Jones, 1998)
  2. A complete reference must also be included in your reference list at the end of your paper. 
  3. If you are referring to an idea from another work but you do not directly quote it, or are referring to an entire book, article or work, then you only have to reference the author and year of publication, NOT THE PAGE NUMBER in in your in-text citation.
  4. ALL SOURCES that are cited in your paper must appear in your reference list at the end of your paper. 


Need to learn more information about Citing Sources? Check out SUNY- Plattsburgh: Feinberg Library's APA Guides. This library offers different types of APA guides for different areas of study and more. 

APA In-Text Citations

This video provided by M.A. Scott provides a tutorial about APA 6th edition regarding in-text citations, plagiarism issues and the ways to avoid them. 

In-Text Citations

Taken from Purdue Owl, these basic rules apply to in-text citations with regards to capitalization, quotes, italics, and underlining. 

  • Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials:​ 
    Example: D. Jones.
  • If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: 
    Example: Permanence and Change.
  • Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: 
    Example: Writing New MediaThere Is Nothing Left to Lose.

(Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)

  • When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: 
    ExampleNatural-Born Cyborgs.

  • Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon:

Example:"Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo."

  • Italicize or underline the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: 

ExampleThe Closing of the American MindThe Wizard of OzFriends.

  • Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles:

Example: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds"; "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."

Final Tips to remember

  • Be sure to always provide proper credit to the resources that you are using for your research paper or it will be considered plagiarism.
  • Everything that is cited in your text must appear on the Reference page in the back of your paper just like everything on your Reference page must appear within the text of your paper.
  • When you are paraphrasing an author, the punctuation (period) is to be placed AFTER the actual reference citation

    Example: (Robbins, 2008). NOT .(Robbins, 2008)

These final citing tips and more can be found in the book, APA: The Easy Way! You may find this book on Reserve at the Valparaiso campus to be used in the library only. 

APA in Minutes: In-Text citations

In this video provided by Humber Libraries, the topic of in-text citations is covered very quickly in this video. Humber Libraries has a series of APA videos besides this one that are very useful for you as you are going through the process of writing your research paper in the APA format. 

More about in-text citations

Follow the author-date citation method (author's last name, publication year).


  • In a recent study of reaction times (Walker, 2000) . . .
  • Walker (2000) compared reaction times . . .
  • Several studies (Balda, 1980; Kamil, 1988; Pepperberg & Funk, 1990) show that…


For works with 3-5 authors, use all author surnames the 1st time you cite the source in text, then use (1st author’s surname et al., date) each time you cite the source after that.

Personal communications (letters, memos, interviews, phone conversations, E-mail and discussion group messages), cite in text only: (R. A. Smith, personal communication, May 10, 2009).

For further information please refer to Purdue Owl to obtain more examples of citations and the proper way to cite them within your research paper.  Some examples given are when there is a group of authors, unknown authors, use of two or more works, two or more works by the same author, and more. 

Quotations and Paraphrasing


Be sure to enclose words with less than 40 words in "" quotation marks, cite the source immediately after by using this format: (author, year, p.#). Use paragraph numbers (para. #) for material that does not have page numbers. 

For a quote with more than 40 words in a freestanding block, begin with a new line, indent a half inch from the left margin, double space the entire quotation and omit the use of quotation marks. Proceed to cite the source immediately after. Indent the first line of each paragraph of the quote an extra half inch. 

Jones's (1998) study found the following: 
Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time citing  sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the  fact that many students failed to purchase a style  manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)


When you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, simply make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference. APA Guidelines do encourage that you provide the page but it is not required. It is always best to ask your professor which would he or she prefer and follow their directions. 


According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a problem in educational institutions worldwide.  To plagiarize means to steal and pass off ideas or words of another as your own.  

There are two types of plagiarism: intentional or unintentional.

When you knowingly use another author's works, do not give appropriate reference in your citations, and pass it off as your own ideas or thoughts. 

 When you use another's thoughts or ideas and are unaware that you must provide proper credit to that individual.

What happens when you Plagiarize?
Either type can cost you academically in these possible ways:

  • Failed assignments

  • Failed courses

  • Academic Probation

  • Expelled from the educational institution

Final Notes:
Be sure to always be honest when you are using original or existing works. Plagiarism is something that can be avoided by providing proper reference citations to the sources in which you have borrowed ideas or writings from when writing your papers.
Even if you are paraphrasing, be sure to always provide credit to the person who developed the original work. Properly citing helps to acknowledge the fact that material came from someone else. This applies for when you are directly quoting something or someone. Give appropriate credit because it shows that this quote was stated by another individual. If you are quoting verbatim, be sure to put the material in quotations and properly cite it. 

For information on Ivy Tech Community College's stance on Plagiarism, refer to any of the campus libraries for the Student Guide to Plagiarism. 

Heather Ayres

Heather Ayres's picture
Heather Ayres
Director of Library Services - Valparaiso Campus
219-464-8514 ext. 4728