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How to Reference Articles in APA Format

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Journal, magazine, and newspaper articles should all be in APA format.

APA format specifies rules for how articles should appear in references.

Image: Gabriel Doyle

APA format details a set of clear rules for referencing articles that appear in academic journals and other periodicals. Article references will vary somewhat based on where the article appears and who authored the content. While many articles you will use in your references probably appear in academic and professional journals, you might also find articles in magazines, newspapers, and online publications.

The reference section is one of the easiest places to lose points due to incorrect APA format, so always check your references before you hand in your psychology papers. Learning to reference articles in proper APA style can help you throughout your study of psychology. Check out the following rules and guidelines for referencing articles in APA format.

Basic Structure:

Start by listing the authors last name and first initials, followed by the date of publication in parentheses. Provide the title of the article, but only capitalize the first letter of the title. Next, list the journal or periodical and volume number in italics. Finally, provide the page numbers where the article can be found.

For example:

Author, I. N. (Year). Title of the article. Title of the Journal or Periodical, volume number, page numbers.

or

Smith, L. V. (2000). Referencing articles in APA format. APA Format Weekly, 34, 4-10.

Magazine Articles:

The structure for an article appearing in a magazine is similar to that of a journal article. However, the publication date should also include the month and day of publication.

For example:

James, S. A. (2001, June 7). Magazine articles in APA format. Newsweek, 20, 48-52.

Newspaper Articles:

References for newspaper articles follow the basic structure, but use the initials p. or pp. to denote page numbers.

For example:

Tensky, J. A. (2004, January 5). How to cite newspaper articles. The New York Times, pp. 4D, 5D.

Articles with More Than Seven Authors:

When an article has seven or fewer authors, you need to include the last names and first initials of each author in your references. In cases where they are seven or more authors, you should include the first six followed by an ellipsis and the final authors name.

For example:

Jones, H., Smith, P., Kingly, R., Plathford, R. H., Florin, S., Breckherst, P., . . . Lightlen, P. S. (2012). How to reference an article with more than seven authors. APA Format Today, 17, 35-36.

Articles With No Author

If an article does not cite any authors, then start by giving the title of the article, followed by the publication date, source, and URL if you accessed the article electronically.

For example:

Scientists seek source of creativity. (2012, March, 6). Dayton County News. Retrieved from http://www.daytoncountynews.com/news/39756_39275.html

More Tips

  • If possible, include the DOI (digital object identifier) number at the end of your reference.

  • If a DOI number is not available and you accessed the article online, give the URL of the journal's home page.

  • Be sure to check your references using the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

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