APA Referencing Guide

APA (American Psychological Association) referencing is a style which shares several similarities with Harvard referencing; it is predominantly used in the social sciences.

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While the majority of the formatting is highly similar to Harvard, there are some crucial differences in APA style which will be discussed here.

  1. Books
  2. Articles
  3. Online sources
  4. Images/visual mediums
  5. Other source types

Key things to remember

In an APA reference list, all listed sources should be indented from the second line onwards. In a reference list, sources are listed alphabetically by author's surname. Where there are multiple citations by the same author, these would be listed chronologically by year of publication.

You can cite a source directly (e.g. quoting verbatim from it) or indirectly (citing a source to show that you have used an author's ideas, but not quoted them). Examples of both are provided here:

Direct: '"Chocolate has an infinite variety of uses" (Davis, 2013, p.8).'

Indirect: 'As Davis (2013) notes, chocolate can be used in many different ways.'

There are two types of citation in APA referencing: in-text citations, which are found in the main body of the work and contain a fraction of the full bibliographical information, and reference lists, which are located at the end of the main work and list full information for all sources mentioned within the work. In APA, in-text citations should be rendered the same way as Harvard references, except:

For sources with three or more authors, all should be named on the first in-text citation. Subsequently, et al. can be used.

First citation: Dern, Geller and Lerner (2005)

Subsequent citations: Dern et al. (2005)

In the main body of the text, authors' names should be joined with the word 'and'. However, within parenthesis, an ampersand (&) should be used:

Main body: Dern, Geller and Lerner (2005) state that food is a source of great comfort to people.

Within parenthesis: Food can be considered a great source of comfort (Dern, Geller & Lerner, 2005).

1. Books

Citations for books with one or two authors:

Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Davis, B. (2013). A History of Chocolate. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Davis, B. (2013). A History of Chocolate. 3rd ed. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Jones, F. and Hughes, S. (2006). Eating Out: A Definitive Restaurant Handbook. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Citations for books with three or more authors:

If a book has three or more authors, the rules of in-text citation outlined previously apply: on first citation, all authors' names should be listed, and subsequently, only the first author's name should be listed in-text followed by 'et al.', meaning 'and others'. However, all authors should be listed in the reference list in the order they are credited in the original work.

Last name, first initial., Last name, first initial., and Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Evans, D., McDonald, F. and Jackson, T. (2008). Getting the best service. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

James, P., Croft, D., Levin, S. and Doe, A. (1998). How to Succeed in the Restaurant Industry. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Citations for a chapter in an edited book:

When citing a single chapter in a larger book, it is important to ensure that you add the page range (pp.) that the chapter spans. When citing an individual chapter, you should also always include the edition of the book in the citation (you do not have to do this for other books unless it is notthe first edition).

Last name, first initial. (Year). Chapter title. In: Book Title. Edition. City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

King, S. (2010). The best wines and where to find them. In: Loftus, E., ed., Fine Wine: A Guide, 1st ed. Nottingham: Delectable Publications, pp. 28-46.

Citations for multiple books by the same author:

In text, the author's texts can usually be differentiated by year. They should be listed in chronological order of publication. Where you are citing two works by the same author which were published in the same year, these should be labelled with 'a', 'b', 'c' and so on directly after the year.

Last name, first initial. (Year). Title. Edition (if not the first edition of the book). City of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Brown, G. (2011). Mexican Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Brown, G. (2014). Japanese Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Brown, G. (2015a). Chinese Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Brown, G. (2015b). Italian Food. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Tools for creating APA Book references:

Reference a Book Reference a Book Chapter


2. Articles

Citations for Print Journals

The same rule applies here regarding number of authors as with books: if there are three or more, all authors' names should be listed on first citation, and subsequently, only the first author's name should be listed in-text followed by 'et al.' However, all authors should be listed in the reference list in the order they are credited in the original work, unless there are eight or more authors: in that case, they should be formatted as below and listed in full in the 'notes' section.

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s.

Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, Last name, First initial, … Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s.

For example:

Jenkins, O. (1996). Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine. Culinary Research, Volume 5 (8), pp. 47-59.

Eight or more:

Solei, H. R., Wein, M., Barnes, J., Bates, A., Ferta, R., Treat, D., … Martins, R. N. (2011). The provenance of noodles. Culinary Research, 10(4), 299-300.

Complete author list: Solei, H. R., Wein, M., Barnes, J., Bates, A., Ferta, R., Treat, D., Verdile, G., Sutton, T., Lenzo, N. P., Gandy, S. E., Martins, R. N.

Citations for Journal Articles accessed on a website or database

In-text citations for an online journal article remain unchanged from the way you would cite a print article. The citation in the reference list does have a few differences, however. The main difference is that in APA referencing, wherever possible you should supply the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the source you accessed. If no DOI is available, you should cite the URL of the source.

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s. DOI: DOI link

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Journal name, Volume (Issue), Page/s. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Jenkins, O. (1996). Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine. Culinary Research, Volume 5 (8), pp. 47-59. DOI: http://doi.org/ojenkinscantonesecuisine

Jenkins, O. (1996). Unusual Recipes and Cantonese Cuisine. Culinary Research, Volume 5 (8), pp. 47-59. Retrieved from: www.culinaryresearchjournal.com/ojenkinscantonesecuisine

Citations for Newspaper and Magazine Articles – Print or Online:

Newspaper and magazine citations are rendered similarly to journal articles when they are found online; the same differences in formatting occur, as the example below illustrates.

Last name, first initial. (Year). Article title. Newspaper name, Page/s.

Last name, First initial. (Year). Article Title. Newspaper name, Page/s. Retrieved from:

For example:

Bell, Y. (2016). Man with unusual tastes eats chalk for breakfast. Healthy Lifestyles Magazine, p. 4.

Lees, P. (2015). Freaky eaters. The Weekly Herald, p.21. Retrieved from: www.theweeklyheraldonline.com/freakyeaters2015

Tools for creating APA Journal references:

Reference a Journal Article


3. Online sources

Citations for websites:

When citing a website, it is important to ascertain authorship of the website – if it's an article on website which is not a newspaper/magazine site or online journal, there may be an individual author; if not, the organisation or website name would be credited with authorship. If no date is available, supply 'n.d.' instead of the year.

Author/Source if no specific author (Year). Title of web document/page. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

HealthTips (2015). Superfoods and where to find them. Retrieved from: www.healthtipsarticles.com/superfoodsandwheretofindthem

Citations for Social Media:

You should provide a retrieval date if the content you are citing is likely to change dramatically (e.g. a live feed). If the post has a set date, you do not need to do this.

Last name of author, First initial. (Year, Day Month). Title of page/ up to the first 40 words of post [Social media format]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Proud, F. (2014, June 5). Food lovers group [Facebook]. Retrieved from: www.facebook.com/foodloversgroupproudf2014

Tools for referencing online sources:

Reference a Website Reference a Wiki Reference a Blog


4. Images/visual mediums

Citations for films/videos/DVDs:

Director's last name, first initial (Director). (Year). Film/video/DVD title [format]. Country of origin: Film studio or maker.

For example:

Hertz, J. (Director). (2011). The World's Best Curries [film]. U.K.: Foodie Studios.

Citations for YouTube videos:

Username of contributor. (Year, Day Month). Video Title, Series Title (if relevant). [type of medium]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Yummydishes. (2012, 30 January). Egg custard – simple recipe!, Baking 101. [YouTube video]. Available at: www.youtube.com/yummydisheseggcustard[Accessed 13 June 2016].

Citations for broadcasts:

Executive Producer's last name, first initial (Executive Producer). (Year, Day Month). Name of programme [Medium]. City of recording: Network.

For example:

Bailey, F. (executive producer). (2011, 12 March). World Kitchen: Nigeria [Television Broadcast]. London: BBC.

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

Last name of artist/photographer, first initial). (Year of production). Title of image. [type of medium] City where image original can be found: Place/institution where image can be found.

Last name of artist/photographer, first initial). (Year of production). Title of image. [type of medium]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Hewer, D. (1995). Women enjoying a cup of tea. [Photograph]. London: Food Photography Library.

Hewer, D. (1995). Women enjoying a cup of tea. [Photograph]. Retrieved from: www.foodiephotos.com/dhewerwomencupoftea

Citations for podcasts:

Broadcaster/author's name. (Year, Day Month). Programme title, series title (if relevant). [type of medium]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Yummydishes. (2015, 16 October). Innovative Baking, Innovative Food. [Podcast]. Retrieved from: www.foodiepodcasts.com/yummydishesinnovativebaking


5. Other source types

Citations for reports – Online or Print:

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Place of publication: Publisher.

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Marks and Spencers. (2014). A report on the sales of '2 Dine for £10'. London: M&S Publications.

Marks and Spencers. (2014). A report on the sales of '2 Dine for £10'. Retrieved from: www.mandspub2dinefor10report.com

Citations for dissertations:

Last name of author, first initial. (Year). Title of dissertation. Level. Official name of university.

For example:

Neath, G. (1998). An examination of Mexican food in popular culture. Masters level. Oxford Brookes University.

Citations for government/official publications:

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Place of publication: Publisher.

Organisation/author. (Year). Full title of report. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

UK Government. (2013). Nutrition and Young People. London: Government Publications.

Citations for presentations/lectures:

Last name of author, first initial. (Year). Presentation/lecture title [file format]. Retrieved from: URL (if accessed online).

For example:

Yates, R. (2008). The benefits of herbs [PowerPoint presentation].

Citations for music:

Performer/writer's last name, first initial. (Year). Recording title. [Medium]. City published: music label.

For example:

Luce, F. (1996). Delicious. [CD Recording]. Nottingham: Delectable Music.

Citations for dictionaries:

Publisher. (Year). Full title of dictionary. Place of publication: Publisher.

For example:

Wordy. (2010). Wordy's modern dictionary. Nottingham: Delectable Publications.

Citations for computer programs/software:

Name of software/program. (Year). Company which made software (Version if applicable). [type of software]. Retrieved from: URL if applicable.

For example:

RecipeGen. (2008). Delectable Software (V.8) [mobile software].

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