How to Meet APA Citation Formatting Requirements | Clever Writings


APA Citation Formatting

Great. You'd just gotten used to MLA and now your professor is springing APA on you.

Why bother using APA? What's wrong with MLA?

We get it - using certain formats and citation styles can be confusing. To help make it easier, we've gone ahead and made this handy guide for you to become a pro at APA citation papers.

APA Citation Formatting 101

Believe it or not, APA citation isn't all that tricky.

The reason why it probably looks so scary is because of all those proper, professional articles you may see in scholarly journals when you're researching a topic.

It's the paper standards for scientific papers. After all, APA stands for American Psychological Association.

But the citation part is actually relatively easy. When using APA citation, you need:

  • The name of the author
  • The year the publication was published
  • The name of the publication
  • Where the publication was published

All in that order.

Name. (Publication Year). Publication name. Publication city/state/country.

Formatting the Name

You'll begin your APA citation process with the name of the author(s).

The last name is fully written out and comes first. The first name is shortened to the first letter and comes after the last name and a comma.

Example: Collier, R.

If there are two authors, you'll just include an ampersand.

Example: Collier, R. & Murphy, R.

Are there more than two authors? Use commas with the last author following the ampersand.

Example: Collier, R., Murphy, R., Andrews, T., & Smith, M.

Formatting the Year

As you might have guessed, formatting the year is a cinch. It comes after the author's name and goes in parentheses.

Example: Collier, R. (2015).

Formatting the Name of the Publication

After the year of publication comes the actual title of the article or book you are referencing. Note that if you're citing a book, the name of the book has to be written in italics.

If it's not a book and is a magazine or newspaper, don't worry about italicization. Only capitalize the first letter of the publication.

Example: Collier, R. (2015). How to teach your pet zen.

Formatting Where the Publication Was Published

Finally, comes the tail end of your citation - the location of where your publication was published.

This part is also straightforward.

Example: Collier, R. (2015). How to teach your pet zen. New York, New York.

If the publication is from outside the U.S., you just adapt it like so:

Example: Collier, R. (2015). How to teach your pet zen. London, England.

In-Text APA Citation

Of course, if you're listing citations, you're probably using them in-text, too.

So, when you cite them in-text, you just need to use parentheses, the last name(s), a comma, and year.

Example: (Collier & Murphy, 2015)

This should be followed by your statement of something like:

"According to Collier and Murphy, (2015) ..."

If there are more than three authors, you'll use "et al." after the first author and the year.

Example: (Collier et. al, 2015)

APA Citation Wrap Up

And that's it! Not too bad, right?

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