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APA Citation Style

Getting Started

Getting StartedReferences TemplatesRunning Header "How To"

The Basics

12 pt font (Arial or Times New Roman) • double space everything (except blockquotes) • 1" margins

Formatting your Paper

APA style requires that your paper be sectioned off into distinct parts:


What's on Each Part/Page? (see the example below this grid):

Title Page

Page Header: In the upper right hand corner, number each page flush with the right margin & 1/2" from the top.
Running Header: Type a shortened version of your paper's title in full capitals after the words "Running head:", flush with the left hand margin. This running head is also 1/2" from the top. The Running header will appear on every page of your paper.
Paper Title, Your Name, Course, Instructor, and Date: Center the full title of your paper, your name, your course/instructor, and date on the first page.

Hit Ctrl+Enter to start the next page.


The abstract is where you summarize your entire paper (more or less) into 150-250 words. You should include the thesis of your paper as well as the essential points of your paper. Do not indent this section of your paper.  The abstract sits on its own page (page 2).  Your full paper begins on page 3. 

Hit Ctrl+Enter to start the next page.


Title: The full title appears on the first page of your paper.
Blockquotes: see the example below.
Parenthetical Citations: see a quick example below. Parenthetical citations are used every time you cite or paraphrase from a source. If the words and ideas did not come directly from you, you must give credit. Even if you re-write something in your own words, you must still cite the original source.

Hit Ctrl+Enter to start the next page.

References This list is in alphabetical order, and should contain one reference for every source you used for your paper. The list should be titled "References".

In Text Citations

Also known as "parenthetical citations", these serve as markers for your reader, so that they know you are giving due credit for something you've just cited, paraphrased, quoted, etc. Every source that appears in your References list must link up to a parenthetical citation, and every parenthetical citation must link up to a full reference in your Reference list.

In-text citations can be done a few ways...

What to do:

How it should look:

Mention the author directly in the text of your paragraph According to Wilkerson (2013), today's smart-cars are dangerous.
Author & Year According to experts, today's smart-cars are dangerous (Wilkerson, 2013).
Author, Year, and page(s) According to Wilkerson (2013), today's smart-cars are dangerous, "accident-prone and not trustworthy" (p. 188).

Tricky Sources


You should:


A source has two authors list both authors.

(Fullenberg & Rozencrantz, 2012).

A source has 3-5 authors list all authors for the first reference, then the first author's last name only, plus et al.

First: (Rullenberg, Rosencrantz, & Riley, 2012)

Then: (Rullenberg, et al, 2012)

A source has no page numbers Use paragraph numbers or page sections (Dusenberg, 2015, para. 7) or (Dusenberg, 2015, Abstract)


  • bulleta page number is needed when directly quoting

Example paper

Here's an example of how things should look. Note that this example is highly simplified! Please see the OWL at Purdue, the APA handbook or the Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers (both books are located at the library reference desk).

Running head: APA FORMATTING


Formatting matters in APA:
The ins, outs, and inbetweens of editorial style

Stew Dius
Professor Fullenberg
June 12, 2013

APA formatting



This is where you briefly summarize the entirety of your paper. This paragraph should be double spaced, without an indentation at the beginning. You should include the thesis of your paper as well as the essential points of your paper. The abstract should be around 120-150 words long.

APA formatting


Formatting matters in APA:
The ins, outs, and inbetweens of editorial style

As you write your paper, you'll use data, quotes, ideas, and paraphrasing to support your own ideas and statements. Every time you do this, you need to cite the original source using a parenthetical citation. Here's a quick look at a parenthetical citation - note that it lists the author's last name and the publication date of the source being cited, separated by a comma (Grem, 2006).

Every time you quote/cite/paraphrase an author or source, you need to include a parenthetical citation (Evangelista, 2011, E1) which links up to a full reference on your References page.

A blockquote is:

a chunk of text, 40 words or more, that you are citing directly, word for word. It gets indented even further from your regular 1" margin and is SINGLE spaced. Do not use quotation marks around the blockquote. Do use quotation marks if your blockquote "quotes" certain words or phrases in the original source. Include a parenthetical citation as you normally would (Stern, 2013).

After citing your blockquote, you continue to write your paper in the format you used before the blockquote (We [finally] salute AC/DC, 2008).

APA formatting



Evangelista, B. (2011, June 5) . Hot stars revolve around Facebook. San Francisco Chronicle, E1.

Grem, D. (2006). 'The South got something to say': Atlanta's dirty south and the southernization of Hip-Hop America. Southern Cultures, 12(4), 55-73.

Stern, J. (2013, June 14). Facebook hashtags: Time to go over those privacy settings again. ABC News: Tech this out . Retrieved from

We (finally) salute AC/DC. (2008, November 13) . Rolling Stone, 16.

(note: The colors above are meant to show the similarities and differences of each part of these three citations.)

References - Templates and Other Helpful Resources

The last page of your paper, the References page, seems to be one of the hardest. But if you follow some basic guidelines, you'll be fine. Some templates are available here, but the best place to find a full list of the source type you are using and its template will be the OWL at Purdue, the APA handbook or the Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers (both books are located at the library reference desk).