Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
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Note: This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here .
Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA.
You can also watch our APA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel .
General APA Guidelines
Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides. Include a page header (also known as the “ running head ”) at the top of every page. For a professional paper, this includes your paper title and the page number. For a student paper, this only includes the page number. To create a page header/running head , insert page numbers flush right. Then type "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER" in the header flush left using all capital letters. The running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation.
The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual requires that the chosen font be accessible (i.e., legible) to all readers and that it be used consistently throughout the paper. It acknowledges that many font choices are legitimate, and it advises writers to check with their publishers, instructors, or institutions for guidance in cases of uncertainty.
While the APA Manual does not specify a single font or set of fonts for professional writing, it does recommend a few fonts that are widely available. These include sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, and 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode as well as serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, 10-point Computer Modern.
Major Paper Sections
Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page , Abstract , Main Body , and References .
Note: APA 7 provides slightly different directions for formatting the title pages of professional papers (e.g., those intended for scholarly publication) and student papers (e.g., those turned in for credit in a high school or college course).
The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name , and the institutional affiliation . A professional paper should also include the author note . A student paper should also include the course number and name , instructor name , and assignment due date .
Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. The title should be centered and written in boldface. APA recommends that your title be focused and succinct and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.
Beneath the title, type the author's name : first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Do not use titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD).
Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation , which should indicate the location where the author(s) conducted the research.
A professional paper should include the author note beneath the institutional affiliation, in the bottom half of the title page. This should be divided up into several paragraphs, with any paragraphs that are not relevant omitted. The first paragraph should include the author’s name, the symbol for the ORCID iD, and the URL for the ORCID iD. Any authors who do not have an ORCID iD should be omitted. The second paragraph should show any change in affiliation or any deaths of the authors. The third paragraph should include any disclosures or acknowledgements, such as study registration, open practices and data sharing, disclosure of related reports and conflicts of interest, and acknowledgement of financial support and other assistance. The fourth paragraph should include contact information for the corresponding author.
A student paper should not include an author note.
Note again that page headers/page numbers (described above for professional and student papers) also appear at the top of the title page. In other words, a professional paper's title page will include the title of the paper flush left in all capitals and the page number flush right, while a student paper will only contain the page number flush right.
Student APA title page
Title page for a student paper in APA 7 style.
Professional paper APA title page
Title page for a professional paper in APA 7 style.
Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the abstract page, center and bold the word “Abstract” (no italics, underlining, or quotation marks).
Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph, double-spaced. Your abstract should typically be no more than 250 words.
You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.
Abstracts are common in scholarly journal articles and are not typically required for student papers unless advised by an instructor. If you are unsure whether or not your work requires an abstract, consult your instructor for further guidance.
APA Abstract Page
Abstract page for a student paper in APA 7 style.
Please see our Sample APA Paper resource to see an example of an APA paper. You may also visit our Additional Resources page for more examples of APA papers.
How to Cite the Purdue OWL in APA
The page template for the new OWL site does not include contributors' names or the page's last edited date. However, select pages still include this information.
In the absence of contributor/edit date information, treat the page as a source with a group author and use the abbreviation "n.d." for "no date":
Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). Title of resource. Purdue Online Writing Lab. http://Web address for OWL resource
Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). General Writing FAQs. Purdue Online Writing Lab. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/general_writing_faqs.html
The generic APA citation for OWL pages, which includes author/edit date information, is this:
Contributors' names. (Last edited date). Title of resource . Site Name. http://Web address for OWL resource
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- Knowledge Base
- APA Style 7th edition
- Beginner’s guide to APA in-text citation
APA In-Text Citations (7th Ed.) | Multiple Authors & Missing Info
Published on November 4, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on September 30, 2022.
In-text citations briefly identify the source of information in the body text. They correspond to a full reference entry at the end of your paper.
APA in-text citations consist of the author’s last name and publication year. When citing a specific part of a source, also include a page number or range, for example (Parker, 2020, p. 67) or (Johnson, 2017, pp. 39–41) .
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- APA Style 6th & 7th edition
Table of contents
Apa in-text citations explained in 4 minutes, parenthetical vs. narrative citations, apa in-text citations with multiple authors, no author, date or page number, multiple sources in one parenthesis, avoiding ambiguity in apa in-text citations, citing indirect sources (“as cited in”), citing personal communication, general mentions of websites and software, example paragraph with in-text citations, frequently asked questions.
The in-text citation can be placed in parentheses or naturally integrated into a sentence.
- Parenthetical : There is a correlation between social media usage and anxiety symptoms in teenagers (Parker, 2019) .
- Narrative: Parker (2019) found a correlation between social media usage and anxiety symptoms in teenagers.
The publication year appears directly after the author’s name when using the narrative format. The parenthetical citation can be placed within or at the end of a sentence, just before the period. Check out a full example paragraph with in-text citations .
If a work has two authors, separate their names with an ampersand (&) in a parenthetical citation or “and” in a narrative citation. If there are three or more authors, only include the first author’s last name followed by “et al.”, meaning “and others”.
Group authors known by their abbreviations (e.g., CDC) are written in full the first time and are abbreviated in subsequent citations.
If the author of a source is unknown, try to determine if there is an organization or government responsible for creating the content. If so, include its name in the in-text citation (and reference entry).
Alternatively, use the source title in place of the author. Italicize the title if it’s italicized in the reference entry (except for court cases , which are italicized in the in-text citation but not the reference entry). Otherwise, enclose it in double quotation marks.
Apply title case capitalization, and shorten long titles. The first word of the title should always be included so readers can easily locate the corresponding reference entry.
- (“U.S. Flood Risk,” 2015)
- ( Thinking, Fast and Slow , 2017)
No publication date
If the publication date is unknown, write “n.d.” (no date) in the in-text citation.
No page number (alternative locators)
Page numbers are only required with direct quotes in APA . If you are quoting from a work that does not have page numbers (e.g., webpages or YouTube videos ), you can use an alternative locator, such as:
- (Liu, 2020, 03:26 )
- (Johnson, 2019, Chapter 3 )
- (McCombes, 2016, para. 4 )
- (Davis, 2016, Slide 15 )
- (Flores, 2020, Table 5 )
- (Streefkerk, 2020, “No page number” section )
Note that Bible citations always use chapter and verse numbers, even when page numbers are available:
If a statement is supported by multiple sources, the in-text citations can be combined in one parenthesis. Order the sources alphabetically, and separate them with a semicolon.
When citing multiple works from the same author, list the years of publication separated by a comma.
When in-text citations are ambiguous because they correspond to multiple reference entries, apply the solutions outlined in the table below.
If you want to refer to a source that you have found in another source, you should always try to access the original or primary source .
However, if you cannot find the original source , you should cite it through the secondary source that led you to it, using the phrase “as cited in”.
If the publication date of the primary source is unknown, include only the year of publication of the secondary source.
Only include a reference entry for the secondary source, not the primary source.
Personal communications , such as phone calls, emails, and interviews, are not included in the reference list because readers can’t access them. The in-text citation is also formatted slightly differently.
Include the initials and last name of the person you communicated with, the words “personal communication,” and the exact date in parentheses.
General mentions of a website or software don’t have to be cited with an in-text citation or entry in the reference list. Instead, incorporate relevant information into the running text.
- The website of Scribbr (www.scribbr.com) contains various useful resources.
- Statistical software SPSS (version 25) was used to analyze the data.
When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).
If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:
- Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
- Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
- Abbreviated heading: ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)
Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.
If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).
The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:
Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
Always include page numbers in the APA in-text citation when quoting a source . Don’t include page numbers when referring to a work as a whole – for example, an entire book or journal article.
If your source does not have page numbers, you can use an alternative locator such as a timestamp, chapter heading or paragraph number.
If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you’ll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.
If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point , you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021).
To distinguish between sources with the same author(s) and the same publication year, add a different lowercase letter after the year for each source, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021a, 2021b). Add the same letters to the corresponding reference entries .
In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).
Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…
On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).
An APA in-text citation is placed before the final punctuation mark in a sentence.
- The company invested over 40,000 hours in optimizing its algorithm (Davis, 2011) .
- A recent poll suggests that EU membership “would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters” in a referendum (Levring, 2018) .
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Streefkerk, R. (2022, September 30). APA In-Text Citations (7th Ed.) | Multiple Authors & Missing Info. Scribbr. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/in-text-citation/
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APA Citation Style, 7th edition: Three to Five Authors or Editors
- General Style Guidelines
- One Author or Editor
- Two Authors or Editors
- Three to Five Authors or Editors
- Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
- Article in a Reference Book
- Edition other than the First
- Government Publication
- Journal Article with One Author
- Journal Article with 2 Authors
- Journal Article with 3-7 Authors
- Journal Article 7 or more Authors
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Basic Web Page
- Web page from a University site
- Web Page with No Author
- Entry in a Reference Work
- Government Document
- Film and Television
- Youtube Video
- Audio Podcast
- Electronic Image
- Secondary Sources
- Citation Support
- Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting Your Paper
About Citing Books
For each type of source in this guide, both the general form and an example will be provided.
The following format will be used:
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase) - entry that appears in the body of your paper when you express the ideas of a researcher or author using your own words. For more tips on paraphrasing check out The OWL at Purdue .
In-Text Citation (Quotation) - entry that appears in the body of your paper after a direct quote.
References - entry that appears at the end of your paper.
Information on citing and several of the examples were drawn from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).
Book with Three to Five Authors or Editors
The general format below refers to a book with three or more authors.
If you are dealing with a book that has three to five editors instead of authors, you would simply insert the names of the editors into the place where the authors' names are now, followed by "(Eds.)" without the quotation marks (as per the example). The rest of the format would remain the same.
In-Text Citation (Paraphrase):
(Author Surname et al., Year)
NOTE: The in-text citation for works with three or more authors is shortened to the first author's name followed by et al. and the year.
In-Text Citation (Direct Quote):
(Author Surname et al., Year, page number)
Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial., Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial., & Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Book title: Subtitle . Publisher.
(Johnson et al., 1999)
(Johnson et al., 1999, p. 72)
Johnson, N. G., Roberts, M. C., & Worell, J. (Eds.). (1999). Beyond appearance: A new look at adolescent girls . American Psychological Association.
- << Previous: Two Authors or Editors
- Next: Article or Chapter in an Edited Book >>
- Last Updated: Jan 11, 2023 12:39 PM
- URL: https://guides.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/APA
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Name both authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the
A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names
List by last names and initials; commas separate author names. After the first 19 authors' names, use an ellipsis in place of the remaining author names. Then
For joint authors, give both last names. ... For three authors, give all last names in the first citation in the text; in subsequent citations, use the first name
When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source
Citing a work by multiple authors ... For a source with two authors, list the authors' last names in the text or in the parenthetical citation: Best and Marcus
Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced. Beneath the title, type the author's
APA in-text citations with multiple authors ... If a work has two authors, separate their names with an ampersand (&) in a parenthetical citation
APA style contains multiple rules for formatting your citations of paraphrased information: ○ Remember, the rules for authors remain the same for quoted
NOTE: The in-text citation for works with three or more authors is shortened to the first author's name followed by et al. and the year. In-Text