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APA Citation Guide - Learn How to Cite Anything in APA Format

Due to the nature of academic assignments sometimes we find ourselves looking for an APA citation guide. With that in mind, the Essay Service has broken down how to use the APA citation style for you. Overcome such fears and use the APA citation format with confidence!


What is the APA citation style?

Ever wondered how to write an APA citation format bibliography? Before getting into the technicalities of it, let us go through a basic definition of what the APA citation format stands for. This notion was initially established in 1929 by a group of anthropologistspsychologists, and business managers. The goal of creating the APA citation style was to set up a straightforward system which would simplify the numerous components of scientific writing ultimately reducing the difficulty of examining these articles.

Thus, when using the APA citation style in an essay, one should stick to the guidelines regarding all its inherent technicalities. These elements are defined as:

  • The students use of headings
  • Consistent tonality
  • Appropriate essay length
  • Correct use of grammar, punctuation, abbreviations, page numbers, etc.
  • Display tables and figures where necessary
  • Combine paraphrasing and in text citations, while also doing them according to the rules

Regardless of the types of sources used consistency and clarity are always the top priorities. The APA citation format is encompassed around all the elements being in sync. Doing so allows the examiners to go back and have a look at the sources if necessary. With that in mind, it becomes quite apparent why being able to execute this referencing style well reduces the amount of time it takes to write the actual essay. Throughout our APA citation guide, we will explore some of the fastest ways to learn it as well as apply it.

Let’s learn how to write an APA citation free of charge!

Related Formatting Guide: Harvard Referencing Style

First off before we check out an APA formatting example, we will elaborate where this style is encountered the most and why. In most cases, the APA citation style will be assigned to courses which are relevant to social sciences and behavioral sciences. Overall these two encompass topics surrounding:

  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Human Geography
  • Political Science
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Archeology
  • Anthropology

Regardless of what subject will require you to create an APA formatting bibliography remember that all of the essential elements remain the same. Each topic may bring forth a unique set of requirements such as displaying the references in order of appearance or perhaps alphabetically.

If you need to learn How To Write An Essay follow the link provided.

APA Citation Format Guidelines

So far so good, but it’s time to get our hands dirty. Now let us cover a bunch of fantastic tips and tricks to help you get through by using our APA citation guide. First off let us acquaint ourselves with the necessary requirements of tackling an APA format 6th edition.

The essay itself should contain four significant sections namely: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, References. Each primary part must be started off on a new page. This rule also applies to visual aids which cannot be easily incorporated into the text due to it’s size such as graphs that are used to indicate a particular correlation.

Any APA formatting research paper requires the assignment to be typed up no matter what.

Make use of double-spaced lines on a standard size A4 paper that has a 1-inch margin on all sides.

As far as fonts go it is required students stick to the recommended 12 point size Times New Roman font.

Page numbers are to be placed in the top right-hand corner.

Create a page header/running head which will be included at the top of every page. The header must contain the title of the paper using all capital letters. It is not to be centered according to the APA citation style requirements but simply start from the left-hand side with no indent. Nonetheless, if it exceeds 50 characters including spaces and punctuations, then it must be transformed into a shorter version.

APA Formatting Title Page

To help you get a better understanding of what such a task should look like, this APA citation guide will include visual aids to hastened the process. Below is an example of what the title page has to look like for it to be considered appropriate followed up by a detailed explanation of why the elements are used in such a manner.

APA Formatting Title Page Example (Template)

This section of the APA citation style needs an entirely blank page on its own, do not add any other information on it except what will be mentioned below or indicated by the lecturer. Visibly now is the time to introduce our audience to the essay. Thus, in our APA formatting example, we can see the running header and page number at the top of the page. All of the elements needed here have to be centered as a requirement of the APA citation style. Following the title page, the APA citation format regarding the running header remains just the simplified title of the paper.

It is recommended that an APA citation style title does not exceed 12 words in length, and should not be typed in all capital letters like the header while also avoiding senseless information or abbreviations. In most cases, the APA citation style title uses one or two lines of physical space on the page. The next step in the APA citation format is to write up the author’s namefollowed up by the university or institution the paper is affiliated with.

Abstract APA Formatting Template

Since it is another primary element, it will require the student to start a fresh new page. Do not forget to include the essay’s running header as indicated by our APA citation guide. The title, namely “Abstract” has to centered however it is vital not to bold, underline, use italics, format or edit the word in any shape or form.

Abstract APA Formatting Template (Example)

Then the students must begin a new line of text where the description starts. In essence, what it means is creating a compelling summary of the key points highlighted by one’s research on the topic. Generally, the word limits for it range from 150 words to a maximum of 250. In some cases, due to the highly technical nature of the topic, the APA citation format dictates we make use of a particular list of keywords specific to an academic sphere. To do so, the student must indent and italicize the word Keywords: followed by a list highlight what they are.

Overall the APA citation format helps structure all the elements into place. What most researchers look to see in this section as far as the APA citation style is concerned from the author entails giving out some information on their research question(s), research topic, methods of data analysis, methods of data collection, participants if any, results and lastly conclusion.

APA Formatting Samples

As for the final significant section of our APA citation guide, we will explore how to display references correctly. It involves accurately presenting one’s APA citation in-text as well as listing them at the end in the required manner. So without any further adieu let us take a look at some of the most popular resources being done according to the APA format 6th edition guidelines.

APA Formatting Samples

• Books

The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business by Charles Duhigg.

Duhigg, C. (2012). Power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

• Magazines

Edwards, C. N., & Webb, M. (2006, April 1). A review of research in the social scientific study of religion, volume 15. Counseling and Values205(3).

• Newspapers

Thompson, P. (2015, January 31). Welcome to New York; with Better Runs Than Broadway and More High-Fliers Than Wall Street, Upstate New York Is an Undiscovered Ski Gem. Coventry Evening Telegraph (England). Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-399574340.html

• Websites

Scientific American at the Google Science Fair by Marietta DiChristina

DiChristina, M. (2015, September 23). SA at the Google Science Fair. Retrieved October 2, 2017, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/education/sa-at-the-google-science-fair/

 • Journals

Taplin, N. (2017). Commodities Find Support From Just About Everyone. Wall Street Journal,509(1), 11-14. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/commodities-find-support-from-just-about-everyone-1483590868

• Films/Videos

Tarantino, Q. (Director), & Bender, L., & Miramax (Producers). (1995). Pulp Fiction [Motion picture on DVD]. United States of America: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

How to make in text citations correctly

It is not surprising that just being able to use the APA citation style in a bibliography is not enough to live up to the expectations of this referencing style. Having compiled and edited the list of your sources successfully now it is time to understand how to mention them following the rules highlighted by our APA citation guide. Below we will explore the most encountered questions by students when trying to incorporate their references as APA in-text citations.

  • Citing one or multiple authors using the APA citation style

In this case, the APA citation format changes according to the number of authors as well as how the student wishes to display them.

One Author:

According to the research done by Taplin (2017) we can see the difference in…

Two To Five Authors:

For the first in-text citation we must mention all the authors involved. The following mentions only include the main/first author’s name followed by et al.

The studies conducted by Bernes, Kerry, Smith, Peterson, & Kellerman (2007) indicates…

Bernes et al., (2007)

Six Authors:

Smith et al. (2012) sought to prove…

  • Paraphrasing and summarizing

As stated by Kellerman (2004), mastering the APA citation format is a difficult task for first-timers.


The art of mastering the APA citation format is always a demanding task for young academics ( Kellerman, 2004, p. 214)

Providing the page number in the second example is optional.

  • Short and long quotations

Any quotations having more than 40 words are considered long according to the APA citation style. Nonetheless, the more extended version does not make use of parentheses but instead makes use of a free-standing block of typewritten lines. Both require the author and year of publication to be mentioned. If you still confused feel free to use our essay service online features (contact authors directly, or just use support).


Check quick video – APA Citation Guide (for lazy students) 😄

What is the difference between using a APA citation guide vs a APA citation website?

As for upcoming future world leaders, it is only instinctual to ask such questions. Nonetheless, as appealing as using a direct APA citation website sounds it is not all it’s cracked up to be. In essence, despite providing a much faster approach to organizing one’s sources, the result produced by an APA citation website is not always correct. Most of them will require a simple online link or the ISBN of the book to create it. However, the student still has to double check the APA citation style for mistakes or omissions. As funny as it might sound a number of these APA citation websites are unable to find dates or authors despite them being explicitly listed on the web page.

Having been a student myself, it is quite frustrating to go through such a process when pressed for time since there are a lot of small details requiring careful consideration to come out perfect. Thus, an APA citation guide provides one with the confidence needed to be confident in the result and its quality. However, it is important to note that trying to make use of an APA citation website to ease the workload is not all doom and gloom. The one aspect they do shine in is helping students structure their online resources faster, but it has to be taken with a pinch of salt due to the small errors which can occur.

Want to learn more about tricky tips about Essay Writing? Check our General Essay Writing Guide.

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