How To Cite A Paper In APA Style: References, In Text Citations

apa style

Mastering APA Style

Apa writing style isn't a basic format for first-time learners. So, pay close attention to everything written down below. First, let's start with explaining what is APA style.

Apa style paper format is a writing style for academic documents. It's commonly used by the American Psychological Association in different disciplines worldwide.

Writers use APA style in text references to have more powerful and concise scholarly communication. Apa format is the preferred style for social science research papers as well.

mla apa

Cover Page

Let's start learning APA format from its cover page with our essay writing service.

APA style cover page should have a running head which should be capitalized and in 12 points New Times Roman font. The cover page should also have the title of the essay, which is aligned at the center. The title should not be underlined, bolded, or written in italics. Also, the title should not exceed approximately fifty words. The name of the author/student and institution affiliations should follow. Page numbers should appear in the top right corner of each page.

What is a running head in APA style? On the cover page, the running header is preceded by the "Running head" statement flush left, which is usually not included on the other pages. An example of an illustration would be; "Running head: EFFECTS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE 1."

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Learn more about another format styles: how to cite a paper in mla style and how to cite a paper in chicago style at EssayHub blog.


In APA writing style, papers exceeding five pages should have an abstract. The abstract conveys the key points discussed in the paper. The word "abstract" should be aligned at the center. The first line of the abstract should not be indented like the first lines of the other paragraphs.

In APA style paper example, one may choose to include the keywords after the completion of the abstract. The whole text of the paper should have a 12-point New Times Roman font.

Another notable consideration is that the abstract should be approximately 150 to 200 words.

Headings and Subheadings

In APA style paper, headings and subheadings should always have a different font style from the main title. The mistake of capitalizing the titles of theories should be avoided. Notably, in APA style title page, the main title should not be underlined, written in italics, or bolded.

In APA style headings A-B-C level system is the most preferred style of arranging the title, headings, and subheadings. For instance, the B-level heading should have a different font style from the title.

More so, the first line of the paragraph following the B-level should not be indented and should be aligned to the left. Level C headings also should have another style to differentiate them from the level B headings. Notably, the paragraph that follows should directly continue from the heading.

In Text Citations

APA style citation has the following chronological format;

  • opening brackets,
  • last name of the author,
  • comma,
  • space,
  • and year, and lastly, the closing brackets.

An example of APA citation would be "(Edwin, 2016)." However, when directly quoting work, the page number of the page should be included, which is abbreviated as P. In addition, a signal phrase with the author's last name should be used to introduce the quotation. Also, if you want to use direct quotations, don't forget to include quotation marks.

When the signal phrase does not include the author's name, an in-text citation with the page number should follow. In the cases of multiple authors, the format is the same, but when they exceed three authors, "et al." is used after the first author's name. For instance, APA style in text citation could be - "(Edwin et al., 2016)."

In other cases, a semicolon is usually used to join two or more citations regarding the same phrase but should follow alphabetically. An example would be (Edwin, 2016; Morgan, 2016).

Check out our another guides: how to write an essay or how to write a case study.


Let's learn how to cite a source APA style in a paper. Even though you can easily create correct citations using text cite web pages, knowing how to reference yourself will always come in handy. In APA style format, the reference list should be on its page, and the heading "References" should be aligned at the center. This heading should not be underlined, bolded, or written in italics.

The format of the references should be as follows: the last name of the author, comma, first name initial, full stop, space, opening brackets, year, closing brackets, full stop, space, the title of the publication, full stop, space, publication press and lastly a full stop. If an author isn't mentioned, put the article title first and capitalize the first letter. The article's title capitalizes only the first word, proper nouns, and the term that comes after a colon.

An example of an illustration in APA style reference page would be; "Edwin, R. (2015). The importance of Health Information Systems. Journal of evidence-based change. Oxford Press."

Apa style reference list should have a hanging and an alphabetic chronological format. Below are illustrations of in text references and how different resources are referenced in the APA style.

Online Textbook

Author, B. (Year published). Title of book: Subtitle of a book (edition) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from URL

Example paragraph:

Edwin, G. B., & Alex, T. A. (2010). Child growth and life assessment [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

Online Journal Article

Author, C. (Year of publication). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), page range. Retrieved from the journal's homepage URL

Examples of apa style guide in online journal articles:

Winston, S. D., & Edwin, B. J. (2013). Practicing what we preach in humanistic and positive psychology. American Psychologist, 69(1), 90-92. doi:10.1037/a0034868

Sandoval, K. (2010). Easing the transition improves grad retention at Trinity U. Women in Higher Education, 17(10), 32. Retrieved from

Online Magazine

Author, F. (Year, Month, Date Published). Article title. Magazine Title. Retrieved from URL


Morris, V. (2013, April 29). Can this woman fix Europe? Time.

Retrieved from

YouTube Video

Author, K. [Screen name]. (Year, Month, Day). Title of video  

[Video file]. Retrieved from URL


Edwin, J. [markapsolon]. (2010, September 12). Real ghost girl caught on videotape 14

[Video file]. Retrieved from

Web Page

Author, M. (Year, Month, Date Published). Article title. Retrieved from URL

Example of how to cite a website in a paper APA style:

U.S. Department of Human and Health Sciences. (2010). Affordable Care Act. Retrieved from

Example of an article on a web page with no author

General Motors. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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