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Citing Sources

Everything about citing sources

APA 7 Updates - 5 minute video

APA Quick Reference Guide

APA Citations Explained

Citing a source means that you show, within the body of your text, that you took words, ideas, figures, images, etc. from another place.

Citations are a short way to uniquely identify a published work (e.g. book, article, chapter, web site).  They are found in bibliographies and reference lists and are also collected in article and book databases. 

Citations consist of standard elements, and contain all the information necessary to identify and track down publications, including:

  • author name(s)
  • source title 
  • date of publication
  • page numbers
  • volume and issue numbers (for articles)
  • DOI (and sometimes the "Retrieved from..." URL)

Here is an example of an article citation using APA citation style.  Notice the common elements as mentioned above:

Author - William D. Nordhaus

Article Title - Global Warming Economics

Source Title / Container 1 - Science

Volume and Issue - volume 294, number 5545

Publication Date - 2001

Page numbers - 1283 - 84

DOI - 10.1126/science.1065007

American Psychological Association (APA) style:​

What do I add to the end of my citation? 

  • If there is a DOI number (see more info on DOI numbers below), add it to the end of the citation. Do not put a period after the DOI.
  • If there is no DOI, cite the homepage URL: Retrieved from www. … .
  • APA Style does not require database information in its citations. For articles found in a library database with no DOI, it is the preference of most college instructors that you cite the database homepage URL: Retrieved from

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Citing References In-Text

The Basics:

  • APA Style uses the author-date citation system. This system allows readers to find the sources cited in text in the reference list, where each source is listed alphabetically.
  • To insert a citation in text, include the author’s surname and year of publication.
  • For a direct quotation, include the page number or specific location, or the phrase or sentences in the original work.
  • Here are some examples of using the author-date in-text citation when paraphrasing (look here for direct quote examples):

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Helpful chart on citing authors from APA Publication Manual:Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 11.41.10 AM.png

  • When you need to cite two or more works together, arrange the in-text citations alphabetically in the same order in which they appear in the reference list:


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    To learn more, Purdue Owl Writing Lab has a good tutorial on APA in-text citation basics. ​

APA Citation Manuals

Consult these print and online style guides for examples of citing sources in the text of your paper and in a reference list.  

APA: American Psychological Association [6th edition]

APA Assistant