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CCC Citing & Using Sources

Information on citation formats, tips, links, and more.

APA Basics

The citation style of the American Psychological Association is widely used in the fields of psychology, sociology, business, economics, nursing, social work, criminology, and other social sciences. 

All APA citations (the ones you list on your reference page) contain the same basic information, in this order:


Once you find the Who, When, What, and Where, use the guides below to figure out exactly what the citation would look like. 

In-Text Citation

Remember that whenever you quote, summarize, or paraphrase someone else's work, you must provide a citation. A short citation goes right after the sentence where you used a source, like this (Author, year, p. number). 

Here's an example:

Carlson's article deals largely with how narcissists think others perceive them, but it is also "a comprehensive look at the interpersonal dynamics of narcissism through the eyes of a narcissist and through the eyes of those who interact with a narcissist" (Carlson, E.N., 2011). 

I left out the page number in the parentheses because I accessed the article online and no page numbers were given.

Have more questions about APA citation, paper format, and references? Contact your librarian or try these resources:

Purdue Online Writing Lab

UCLA Citing & Documenting Sources

APA References Format

APA style uses an author's last name first, then initials. Article titles don't get quotation marks, and you capitalize the first word, proper nouns, and the first word after a colon(:). Journal names get italicized (Journal of Neuropathy, The New York Times), as do book, movie, and web site titles. If an article includes a DOI (document object identifier), include it. Otherwise, include the URL if you found the article online or in a database.

McLastname, I., Author, A., Author B. (2016). Title: Don't capitalize everything. Italicized Journal title, volume(issue number), pages.

Here are two with real information plugged in:

Carlson, E.N., Vazire, S., Oltmanns, T.F. (2011). You probably think this paper's about you: narcissists' perceptions of their personality and reputation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101(1):185-201. doi: 10.1037/a0023781. 

Meuldijk, D., McCarthy, A., Bourke, M. E., & Grenyer, B. S. (2017). The value of psychological treatment for borderline personality disorder: Systematic review and cost offset analysis of economic evaluations. Plos ONE, 12(3), 1-19. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171592

Follow the same Who-When-What-Where procedure to make citations for unusual sources, like a Ted talk. Just add a note on the [Format] in brackets:  

Browning, Richard. (April 2017). How I built a jet suit [Video file]. Retrieved from

How to Format Word for APA

Setting up APA format a document in Word or some other word processor can be challenging the first time around. Here's a video that walks you through the process; of course, there are other ways to do it and other videos and online resources out there.