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APA Citation & Formatting: About APA Style

Useful information to help you create a well-formatted document in APA 7th edition style

About APA Style

APA Style originated in 1929 in an effort to provide structure and guidelines for scholarly communication and to facilitate reading comprehension of scientific writing. It has evolved and grown in response to changing needs but continues to provide the essential guidance that allows readers to focus on the content of a scholarly work without the distractions of style and formatting inconsistencies. It is used primarily in the social sciences, but may also be the preferred style for other academic disciplines. Always ask your instructor's preference about which formatting and citation style to use for your research papers.

The APA Style website is a comprehensive source for guidelines, tips, and examples of APA citation and formatting.

Resources for APA Citation and Formatting

APA Style Citation Tutorial

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-

APA Style Citation Tutorial, 7th Edition

Open Educational Resource created by staff at the University of Alberta Library to support students and faculty. Importance of citations, elements of common source types, and how to create reference and in-text citations based on the 7th edition APA guidelines. This tutorial can also be used a reference resource.

Freely available and fully accessible online. Sections include:

  • Exploring Source Types
  • Why Do We Cite?
  • Reference List Citations
  • In-Text Citations
  • How It All Works Together

Updates in APA 7th Edition

Formatting: New Guidelines for Student Papers

  • Title Page
    • format for student papers differs from that of professional papers
    • new guidelines for author information
    • title is bolded and separated from other information by an extra line
  • Header
    • no running head for student papers unless requested by instructor
    • header contains only page number flush with right margin


  • Use the singular "they" for persons whose gender is unknown or irrelevant, or who use "they" as their personal pronoun
  • Use "person-first" language (ex: student with autism as opposed to autistic student)
  • Use appropriate level of specificity when describing people - if race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. isn't relevant, don't mention it


In-Text Citations

  • For one or two authors, list both authors by last name (Strunk & White, 2019)
  • For more than two authors use et al. after first author name (Strunk et al., 2019)

Reference List

  • Include up to 20 author names in a reference entry
  • Book Citations
    • Format eBooks the same as print books
    • Don't include publication location for books
  • Article Citations
    • Include a DOI (digital object identifier) at the end, formatted as a hyperlink (ex:
    • If no DOI is listed, end the citation after the page numbers and do not include a URL
    • Don't include a database name unless the source can only be found in that database
  • Web Page Citations
    • Don't use "Retrieved from" before a URL unless a date is included in the citation
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License