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APA Citation Guide: How Do I Cite?

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (7th edition) APA style


Hanging Indents:

All citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent in a Reference List.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.


It is acceptable for hyperlinks to be blue and underlined (live) or black without underlining.

All hyperlinks must include https://

Do not put a period after DOIs or hyperlinks.

Why Cite?

Citation isn't just about doing the right thing, it's about making your writing stronger and improving the quality of all research performed.

Here's three good reasons why we cite:

  1. Giving credit. The idea is fairly straightforward: great writing of all types is built at least in part on the work of others. We honor and acknowledge the ideas that give birth to our own.
  2. Strengthening our position. A large percentage of writing is persuasive in nature. Citing authoritative sources helps to support our key ideas and arguments. By attributing original works, we place our own ideas in a broader, ever-expanding context.
  3. Showing diligence. Without citation, every word, fact, and idea is attributed to you by default. If some of that information turns out to be wrong, it is on you. Citations show our research and our processes. Without them, any error is an error of negligence. In this way, citation isn't just about providing credit, it's about protecting yourself if mistakes are made in your research.

Source: Bailey, J. (2017, May 16). "Why cite? Three reasons to cite your sources." Plagiarism Today. 

Commonly Used Terms

Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

DOI (doi): Some electronic content, such as online journal articles, are assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI or doi). Digital references can be located using their unique identifiers.

In-Text Citation: A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is provided in the Reference List.

Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.

Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.

Reference: Details about one cited source.

Reference List: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

Retrieval Date: Used for websites where content is likely to change over time (e.g. Wikis), the retrieval date refers to the date you last visited the website. Most website citations in APA 7th Edition do not require a retrieval date. However, determining which situations require this date can be challenging. If you use a stable, archived version of a web page, no retrieval date is needed.