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PSYC.2690: Research I: Methods

APA style is a format for academic documents such as journal articles and books. It was developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) "to assist reading comprehension in the social and behavioral sciences, for clarity of communication".

There is a  copy of the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association at the Lydon reference desk. The library also owns an ebook of The Concise APA Handbook, 7th ed.

APA Specified Title Page for Student Papers

The student title page includes:

• paper title
• author names (the byline)
• author affiliation 
• course number and name 
• instructor name
• page number.

APA rule of thumb for citations: write your titles as if they were sentences.  For the article title, that means that the first letter of the first word is capitalized and the rest are lower case unless they are proper nouns.  Also, if there is a colon (":") in the title, you capitalize the next word.  The whole title should also end in punctuation such as a period or a question mark.

Article in an online journal:

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Article in a print journal:

Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(3), 5–13.

Selected Examples of Changes to APA 7th Edition

6th Edition  7th  Edition (Student Papers: follow instructors’ directions with regard to title page formatting.)
Includes Running Head No running head
Level 3 Heading

Flush Left, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading

     Text begins as a new paragraph.

Level 4 Heading    Indented, Boldface Title Case Heading Ending With a Period. Paragraph text continues on the same line and continues as a regular paragraph.        
Level 5 Heading        Indented, Boldface Italic, Title Case Heading Ending With a Period. Paragraph text continues on the same line and continues as a regular paragraph. 
Required fonts So long as the same font is used throughout the text of the paper, a variety of fonts are acceptable.
Pronoun use follows traditional grammar Use of “they” as a singular pronoun is acceptable for a person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant or a person who uses “they” as their personal pronoun.
Use two spaces after a period. Use one space after a period unless instructor or publisher state otherwise.
Italicize examples of words. Use quotation marks around word examples instead of italics. For example: when using the Internet Archive be sure to click the "Return" button rather than the Return button.
In-text citations list all authors  Regardless of the medium of the source, all sources with three authors or more are now attributed using the name of the first author followed by “et al.” unless two papers have different authors with the same surname. Then include as many names as to make it clear which author set is referred to.
In text citation of recorded and oral sources treated the same Recorded and oral sources treated as distinct categories. If the information was not recorded, but resulted from a personal interaction, use a modified form of the personal communication citation. Include the person’s name, the name of the indigenous group or nation to which they belong, their location, any other relevant details, the words “personal communication,” and the date of the communication. If the conversation took place over time, provide a date range or a general date. You do not need to provide a reference list entry.
Reference list: number of author names limited to 7. Up to 20 authors should now be included in a reference list entry. For sources with more than 20 authors, after the 19th listed author, any additional authors' names are replaced with an ellipsis (…) followed by the final listed author's name. Do not place an ampersand before the final author's name.
Digital Object Identifier links presented separately DOI's are formatted the same as URL's, [e.g. as links]. The label “DOI:” is no longer used.
URL's preceded by "Retrieved from". URL's no longer preceded by "Retrieved from" unless the date is needed, (date provided in a citation". The website name is included (unless it’s the same as the author), and web page titles are italicized.
E-book citation requires platform or device information. The format, platform, or device (e.g. Kindle) is no longer included in the reference, and the publisher is included.


Content above adapted from Purdue Owl, Scribbr, and APA Style Manual, 7th ed. Instructional Aids

For complete details on updates to APA style in the 7th edition, see this page.

APA Citation Style for Government Publications

APA Citation Style does not have a separate category for government publications. According to APA, government documents can be considered Books, Technical/Research Reports or Brochures.

Helpful Tips:

  • Treat a government document as a book, report, or brochure.
  • If a person is named on the title page, use her or him as author.
  • If no person is named, use the government agency, department, or branch as a group author.
  • Give the name of the group author exactly as it appears on the title page. If the branch or agency is not well known, include its higher department first.
  • If the group author is also the publisher, just use the word Author after the location.
  • If there is a series or report number, include it after the title.
  • The APA manual refers to the GPO (U.S. Gov. Printing Office). Canadian equivalents may be: Queen’s Printer, Ministry of Supply and Services, Canadian Government Publishing, etc.


Group Authors

Group authors are often government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and task forces. Follow these guidelines to format the names of group authors in the reference list.

Look at the title page or cover of the work to determine whether it has a group author or individual authors.
If the names of individuals are presented on the title page or cover, treat the work as having individual authors.If only the name of the group is presented on the title page or cover, treat the work as having a group author, even if individuals are credited elsewhere in the work (e.g., in an acknowledgments section).
Spell out the full name of a group author in the reference list entry, followed by a period.