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How to Cite a Paper in APA Style

December 01, 2015 How to Write
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The cover page should have a running head which should be capitalized and in twelve points New Times Roman font. In the cover page, the running header is proceeded by “Running head” statement flush left, which is usually not included in the other pages. An example of an illustration would be; “Running head: EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE 1”. The cover page should also have the title of the essay which is aligned at the center. The title should be 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 numbering should be done in the top right corner of each page.

Read more about other citation styles: MLA, Turabian


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. One may choose to include the keywords after the completion of the abstract. The whole text of the paper should have a twelve point New Times Roman font. Another notable consideration is that the abstract should be approximately one hundred and fifty to two hundred words.

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings should always have a different font style from the main title. The mistake of capitalizing titles of theories should be avoided. Notably, the main title should not be underlined, written in italics or bolded. A-B-C level system is the most preferred style of arranging the title, headings, and the 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 it 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 citation

APA style of 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 an illustration would be, “(Edwin, 2016)”. However, when directly quoting work, the page number of the page should be included, which is abbreviated as P. A signal phrase with the author’s last name should be used to introduce the quotation. During instances 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 two or three authors the format is the same but when they exceed three authors “et al.” is used after the name of the first author. For instance, “(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).


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 nor 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. An example of an illustration would be; “Edwin, R. (2015). The importance of Health Information Systems. Journal of evidence-based change. Oxford Press.” These references should have a hanging and an alphabetic chronological format. Below are illustrations of 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


    Edwin, G. B., & Alex, T. A. (2010). Child growth and life assessment [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://
  • Online Journal Article

    Author, C. (Year Published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), page range. doi:# or Retrieved from journal’s homepage URL


    Wiston, 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 http://
  • 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 a Corporate webpage

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

Example of an article in a web page with no author

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

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