APA citations are most commonly used within the social sciences. College professors within these fields may prefer students to use this style in papers. Formatting these citations can be confusing and tedious at first, but with practice they become easier to understand. Formatting an APA citation should only take three to five minutes depending on familiarity.

Before you start, you’ll need to have an article to site. Above is an example of a peer reviewed scholarly article that can be cited.

Step 1:

Start your citation off with the names of the author(s). If there’s more than one, go in the order listed on the article rather than alphabetical. Generally, the order of the authors is decided by the amount each author contributed to the article which is why it is important to recognize the order when creating the citation.

1. Start with the last name of the first author

2. Follow with a comma

3. Add their first and middle initial

4. Add another comma and repeat steps with next author

5. Conclude this part with a period

Step 2:

After the author(s) comes the year the article was published.

1. Put the year the article was published in parenthesis

2. After the parenthesis, put another period.


Step 3:

Once you have the author(s) and the year down, you’ll add the title of the article. Make sure to capitalize the title. You’ll want to include the entire title of the article. You do not need to add quotation marks or italicize the title.

1. Add the title of the article in its entirety

2. End this part with a period

Step 4:

After the title of the article is the name of the journal the article was published in. The journal will be in italics and capitalized.

1. Add the journal that published the article in italics

2. Follow this with a comma

Step 5:

After the journal is the journal’s volume number and issue number. The volume number will be in italics. The issue number will follow that in parenthesis and will not be in italics.

1. Add the volume number in italics

2. Follow with the issue number in parenthesis

3. End this section with a comma

Step 6:

You’ll end the citation with the page number(s) of the article. If citing a single page, add the page number. If citing multiple pages, separate the first and last page numbers with a hyphen.

1. Add the page number(s) of the article.

2. End the citation with a period

Step 7:

Make sure to indent after the first line if your citation is two or more lines long. In the end, your citation should resemble the example above.

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