The Scribbr Citation Generator automatically generates accurate in-text references and citations for free. The APA style is commonly used by students, researchers, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences.
This citation guide describes the most important citation guidelines from the 7th edition of the Scribbr APA publication manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for APA 6th Edition, MLA Style, and Chicago Style.
Scribbr APA in-text citations
In-text citations are brief in-text references that direct the reader to the reference entry at the end of the article. You add them every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s ideas or words.
A citation in the APA text consists of the author’s last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system). If you cite a specific part of a source, you should also include a locator, such as B. a page number or a time stamp. For example: (Smith, 2020, p. 170).
Parenthetical vs. narrative citation
In-text citation can take two forms: parenthetical and narrative. Both types are automatically generated when citing a source with the Scribbr citation generator.
Parenthetical citation: According to new research … (Smith, 2020).
Narrative citation: Smith (2020) notes that…
Multiple authors and corporate authors
In-text citation changes slightly when a source has multiple authors or an organization as the author. Pay attention to punctuation marks and the use of the ampersand (&) symbol.
|Author type||Parenthetical citation||Narrative citation|
|One author||(Smith, 2020)||Smith (2020)|
|Two authors||(Smith & Jones, 2020)||Smith and Jones (2020)|
|Three or more authors||(Smith et al., 2020)||Smith et al. (2020)|
|Organization||(Scribbr 2020)||Scribbr (2020)|
If the author, publication date, or location is unknown, follow the steps below.
|Missing element||What to do||Parenthetical citation|
|Author||Use the source title.*||(Source Title, 2020)|
|Date||Write “n.d.” for “no date”.||(Smith, n.d.)|
|Page Number||Either use an alternative locator or|
omit the page number.
|(Smith, 2020, Chapter 3) or|
Note: *Format the title the same as in the corresponding reference entry (in italics or, if the title in the reference entry is not in italics, in quotation marks). Use upper and lower case letters in the title. Use italics in in-text citation but not in the reference entry for court cases.
Scribbr APA references
APA references typically include author, publication date, title, and source information. Depending on the font, you may need to add additional information to help the reader find the font.
Citing a source starts with choosing the right reference format. Use the Scribbr Citation Generator example to learn more about the format of the most common fonts. Pay special attention to punctuation, capitalization, and italics.
It is not uncommon for specific information to be unknown or missing, especially from sources found online. In these cases, the reference is slightly adjusted.
|Missing element||What to do||Reference format|
|Author||Start the reference entry with the source title.||Title. (Date). Source.|
|Date||Write “n.d.” for “no date”.||Author. (n.d.). Title. Source.|
|Title||Describe the work in square brackets.||Author. (Date). [Description]. Source.|
Formatting the APA reference page
On the reference page, list all of the sources that you cited in your article. Place the page just after the body and before any attachments.
On the first line of the page, write the section label “References” (bold and centered). On the second line, start listing your references in alphabetical order.
Apply these formatting guidelines to the APA reference page:
- Double spacing (within and between references)
- Hanging indent of ½ inch
- Legible font (e.g. Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11)
- Page number in the header at the top right
What fonts should be included
On the reference page, paste only the sources you have cited in-text (with in-text citation). You may not include references to personal communications your reader does not have access to (e.g., emails, phone calls, or private online material).
Free lecture slides
Are you a teacher or professor and want to introduce the APA style to your students? Download our free introductory lecture slides, available for Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.
Frequently Asked Questions On The Scribbr Citation Generator
How do I cite a source with no author in APA Style?
If individual author names are not listed, but the source can be clearly attributed to a specific organization.
For example, a charity press release, agency report, or corporate website, use the organization’s name as the author in the citation entry and in the citations in the APA body.
If no author can be determined – e.g. a co-edited wiki or an anonymously published online article – use the title instead of the author.
In the in-text citation, place the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the bibliography and in italics if it appears in italics in the bibliography. If necessary, shorten it.
How do I cite a source with no page numbers in APA Style?
If you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you must indicate the location of the passage in your citation in the APA text.
If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website) but the text is long, you can use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of both:
Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in e-book citations as they are unreliable.
When referring to the source as a whole, it is not necessary to include a page number or other bullet points.
When should I use “et al.” in APA in-text citations?
The abbreviation “et al.” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten citations in APA text with three or more authors. See how it works:
For example, include only the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma, and the year of publication (Taylor et al., 2018).
When should I include an access date in an APA citation?
The APA style generally does not require an access date. You never have to provide one when citing articles from journals, e-books, or other stable online sources.
However, if you’re citing a website or online article that you expect to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date.
If yes, please write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved on October 19, 2020, from https://www.uva.nl/en/about-the-uva/about-the-university/about-die- university.html
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