Skip to Main Content
  • Hampton: (757) 825-2877 | Historic Triangle: (757) 258-6500
  • APA - What is it?

    APA is the preferred style format for psychology and other social science disciplines.  When your professor tells you he or she wants you to write in APA format, they are saying that they want your paper to look a very specific way, and they want you to cite your sources in a very specific way.  The best thing you can do when writing in APA is to find correct examples of how a paper is patterned and written, as well as examples of how citations are pattern and apply those correct examples to your own citations and paper.  This guide attempts to help you by provided correct examples in APA format.  

    In 2020, APA updated is style guide to APA 7th edition.  The following examples and explanations adhere to APA standards.  

    APA General Concepts

    APA requires at least FOUR ELEMENTS of every citation:

    • Author of content
    • Date content was published
    • Title of content
    • Publication information. This can be the website you got it from or the journal or book's publication information.Citation illustration

    More often than not, APA citations will have more than four elements.  For example, journals articles have at least 6 elements to citations.  

    Elements to Journal APA citation

    It's essential to cite your sources in order to avoid plagiarism and to be a successful scholar.  

    APA style is a set of rules for how you credit sources by writing citations and references. The rules change depending on the type/format of a source (e.g. an article with two authors or a web page with no date).

    In APA style, there are two ways you must credit sources:

    1. In the text of the paper when a source is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized (in-text citations). In an alphabetical list at the end of the paper (references)
    2. An in-text citation and reference provide information about a source such as author and publication year; like a street address, they help a reader locate the source in its original form.


    Much of this content was adopted, with permission and gratitude, from the following sources:  Bow Valley College, OWL Purdue, and Red Deer College library.