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APA Style: Citing Your Sources

The Generic Reference

References appear at the end of your document and follow a Who, When, What and Where format.  Only include sources you cited within your research document (*exception for personal communications which are excluded from the reference list).

Who:  Identify the creator of the source.  Often this is: a single author; multiple authors; an organization or corporation; editor/s; or the director and producer.  On some occasions when authorship cannot be attributed then you revert to the title entry formatting. 

When:  Identify when the source was published.  For most source types, simply provide a year of publication.  Exceptions as follows: year followed by month for papers and posters presented at conferences; year followed by month and date for blogs, social media, newspaper and magazine publications.  When there is no publication date (common for web documents and other content) use the abbreviation n.d. for "no date."

What: Title of the source.  This is the title identified for the individual source, rather than where the source is published.  For articles, you want to identify the title of the article rather than the Journal name.  The same can be said for the title of a newspaper article vs. the newspaper name or the title of a webpage vs. the website name.  (ex.  "Mission statement" is a page title on the APA website).

Where:  Once you identify the Who, When, and What, the rest of the information provided to complete the reference falls under "Where."  This portion of the reference sees variations in information included based on source type.  For books, Where includes the city and state of publication.  For journal articles, it includes the journal name, volume & issue number, page range and DOI or journal URL.

Visit the individual Reference Type pages to see further formatting and examples for your source type.