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APA Style - Quick Guide - 6th edition: APA Style

A brief guide to citing common sources according to the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.


This guide covers the 6th edition of APA Style. The 7th edition came out in October 2019. For information on the 7th edition, please visit The OWL at Purdue until this guide is updated.

About References

"The references of your paper are the foundation on which your work is built. They provide the scientific background that justifies the research you have undertaken and the methods you have used. They provide the context in which your research should be interpreted. They should not be collected as an afterthought when your research project is complete. A literature search and reading of the relevant references should be the starting points of any research project."
- Howell, Simon. "References." How to write a paper. Ed. George M. Hall. 3rd ed. London: BMJ Books, 2003. 51.

Academic Integrity

"As a community of students and scholars, The University strives to set and maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. All members of the university community are expected to exhibit honesty and competence in academic work. This responsibility can be met only through earnest and continuing good faith effort on the part of all students and faculty."

The Lowdown, "Student Academic Conduct Policy"

APA Style Manual - 6th edition

APA (American Psychological Association) style is commonly used in the social sciences. The APA released a 6th edition of their publication manual in 2010, which contains many updates from the previous edition.

APA Examples - Books

Page numbers refer to the relevant page in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.

Book (p. 203):

Takahashi, S. (2009). The manga guide to statistics. San Francisco, CA: No Starch Press.

Book chapter in an anthology (p. 204):

Vessey, D. (2001). Hey-diddley-ho neighboreenos: Ned Flanders and neighborly love. In W. Irwin, M. T. Conrad,  & A. J. Skoble (Eds.),
     The Simpsons and philosophy (pp. 202-214). Chicago, IL: Open Court.

Article in a reference book (p. 203):

Chapman, R. (2000). GI Joe. In T. Pendergast & S. Pendergast (Eds.), St. James encyclopedia of popular culture (Vol. 2, pp. 229-230).
     Detroit, MI: St. James Press.

APA Examples - Periodicals

Journal article with DOI (p. 198):

Shepherd, L. & Kuczynski, A. (2009). The use of emotive imagery and behavioral techniques for a 10-year-old  boy's nocturnal fear
     of ghosts and zombies. Clinical Case Studies, 8(2), 99-112. doi:10.1177/1534650108329664

Journal article with no DOI listed (p. 199):

  • If article was retrieved from a print journal:

Mabry, R., & Deiermann, P. (2009). Of cheese and crust: A proof of the pizza conjecture and other tasty results.
     American Mathematical Monthly, 116(5), 423-438.

  • If article was retrieved in electronic format:
    • Check CrossRef for DOI
      • If DOI is found, cite using DOI.
      • "If no DOI has been assigned to the content, provide the home page URL of the journal or of the book or report publisher. If you are accessing the article from a private database, you may need to do a quick web search to locate this URL... In general, it is not necessary to include database information." (pp. 191-192)
        Deno, S. (1985). Curriculum-based measurement: The emerging alternative.
              Exceptional Children,52(3), 219-232. Retrieved from
      • Your instructor may ask you to use a modified version of APA style, in which you include the name of the database instead of the journal home page or cite articles without a DOI in the print journal format. Check your assignment or ask the professor.

Magazine article - accessed online (p. 200):

Kushner, D. (2009, September). Tricked-out golf carts swarm Florida communities. Wired 17(10). Retrieved from

Magazine article - accessed in print (p. 200):

Reyes, P. (2010, August). Paradise swamped: The boom and bust of the middle-class dream. Harper's Magazine, 321(1923), 39-48.

Newspaper article - accessed online (p. 200):

Kepner, T. (2004, October 21). Back from dead, Red Sox bury Yanks and go to series. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Newspaper article - accessed in print (p. 200):

Itzkoff, D. (2010, July 20). Banned TV episode has its day on DVD. The New York Times, pp. C1, C5.

APA Examples - Websites

Entire website (ref.):

To cite an entire website, give the URL of the site in the text of your paper.  It is not necessary to put cite it in the references section. Only include retrieval dates for sites that change frequently, such as wikis.

Example: The APA style website gives examples of references (

Article on a website (ref.):

Welch, C. (2009, September 9). Web goes nuts for 'crasher squirrel.' Retrieved from

Article from an online reference work (p. 205):

Boondoggle. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. Retrieved from