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A guide to resources and research in nursing. See also, for evidence based practice

APA Quick Tutorial!

General Format & Rules

General Format:

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

Beggs, C., Knibbs, L. D., Johnson, G. R., & Morawska, L. (2015). Environmental contamination and hospital-acquired infection: factors that are easily overlooked. Indoor Air, 25(5), 462-474. doi:10.1111/ina.12170

When citing in APA, here are a few rules to guide you:

  • Author names are in last-name-first format. E.x. Smith, J.S., & Fox, H.
  • Article titles: Only the first word of the title is capitalized unless the following words are a proper noun. E.x. Diabetes and the foot.  E.x. 2: Hospitals and the rise of Clara Barton.
  • Journal titles are written in full and are italicized. E.x. Journal of the American Medical Association NOT JAMA
  • All journals will have a volume, but not all journals will have an issue. This information is usually located in the corner of your article. 
  • If the citation takes up more than one line, the second line should be indented. 

APA Format

Many Science disciplines use APA format for citing sources.  The most recent guide is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th Edition.  See our additional page to format in-text or parenthetical citations.  

The following examples of the most commons types of citations are adapted from the 6th edition (2010) of the APA manual.  For additional examples, consult chapter 7 (pages 193-224) of the APA Manual or browse the APA Style online guide at 

Single Author

Ball, P. (2001). Bright earth: Art and the invention of color. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Multiple Authors

Bird, K., & Martin, J. S. (2005). American prometheus: The triumph and tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Silverstein, T. (Ed). (1974). Sir Gawain and the green knight. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Chapter in a Book

Demos, J. (2001). Real lives and other fictions: Reconsidering Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose. In Carnes, M. (Ed.), Novel history: Historians and novelists confront America's past (and each other), (pp. 132-145). New York: Simon and Schuster.

Journal Article

Burns, S. (2005). Ordering the artist's body: Thomas Eakins' acts of self-portrayal. American Art, 19(1), 90-102.

Journal Article with DOI

Murdock, L., & Hobbs, J. (2011, July). Picture me playing: Increasing pretend play dialogue of children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(7), 870-878. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1108-6

Thesis or Disssertation

Erickson, C. (2008). Critical multiculturalism and preservice teacher education (Doctoral dissertation, University of West Florida). Retrieved from


Florida Department of Education. (2010). Next Generation Sunshine State Standards: Grade two, social studies. Retrieved from

Clinical Practice Guidelines 


Diabetes Coalition of California, California Diabetes Program. (2012 June). Basic guidelines for diabetic care. Sacramento, CA: Diabetes Coalition of California, California Diabetes Program. Retrieved from

   Agency. (Year Month). Title in italics. City, State Abbreviation: Agency of publication. Retrieved from URL. 


What About In-Text Citations?

The following examples of the most commons types of in-text citations are adapted from the 6th edition (2010) of the APA manual.  For additional examples, consult chapter 6 (pages 174-179) of the APA Manual or browse the APA Style online guide at  There is a particularly useful chart about in-text citations on page 177.

Single Author

In-text citation rule:  For paraphrasing and quotations, always include the author's last name and the date published.  Paraphrases do not have to include page numbers (and some instructors may prefer this method, so check with them). However, in the new edition of the APA Manual, they are recommended.

Referring the author in the text: According to Ball (2001), the earth contains many bright colors (p.10).

Author not referred to in the text: The earth contains many bright colors (Ball, 2001, p.10).

Multiple Authors

If a work has only two authors, cite both names each time you reference the material.

     EXAMPLE: According to Bird and Martin (2005), Robert Oppenheimer led a tragic life.

If a work has three, four, or five authors, you should cite all of the authors by last name in the first in-text reference.  In a subsequent reference, you would cite the name of the first author listed followed by et al.


Johnson, Lee, and Martin (2010) attempted this experiment. [first in-text citation]

Johnson et al (2010) confirmed the number of participants.

If a work has six or more authors, only cite the first author's last name followed by et al for all in-text citations.

Vidal et al (2010) concluded that working in a library is the best job a student can have.

Works with no author

For an in-text citation for a source with no identified author, your in-text citation will include the first part of your reference, usually the title.

EXAMPLE: When research is completed in a timely manner, student grades are better ("How To Succeed," 2010).

Corporate author (easily identified by acronym)


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 2007), high cholesterol levels are affecting children as well as adults.

In subsequent in-text citations, you should use NIMH (2003).

FAQs & Common Errors

Here are questions about common errors made in APA for online journal articles (such as those from a library database or Google Scholar).

  • Is there a comma after the journal in my citation?  Yes. Write the full name of the journal and put a comma after that. Then you can put the volume and issue number in this format: Volume(issue). Notice how the volume is italicized.
  • How do I say where I got the article from?
    • First look to see if your article has a DOI (usually at the bottom of the first page.)  If there is a doi, then you put that information as the last thing in your citation. You can write it two different ways. For example:Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number, page range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or
    • If there is no DOI, write that you retrieved the article from the journal's homepage. This means you need to Google the journal to get the URL. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE THE URL FROM THE DATABASE.
      Kenneth, I. A. (2000). A Buddhist response to the nature of human rights. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 8. Retrieved from

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