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APA Citation Style Guide (6th Ed.): Overview

This guide contains examples of common citation formats in APA (American Psychological Association) Style

7th Edition

For information on the 7th edition of APA, visit the new guide at  USC'sThomas Cooper Library:

7th Edition Guide

About APA Style

American Psychological Association (APA) style is commonly used for citing references in science and social science courses, such as Nursing, Psychology, Education, and Social Work.  This guide is based on the 6th edition published in 2010.

This edition is shelved in the Ready Reference area behind the Library's Circulation Desk and may be used in the library (it can't be checked out). 

The call number is READY REF WZ 345 P976 2010

New Content in the 6th Edition

Some of the changes in the new edition include:

  • the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) in references to print and electronic sources (when available).  See pages 188 to 192 in the APA Manual for more information.
  • expanded coverage of online resources

To learn more about the changes made in the new edition, check out the "What's New" section on the official APA Website.

You may also want to check out the APA blog to learn more about such topics as using DOIs and citing specific sources.


Portions of this LibGuide have been copied, with permission, from the following institutions:

  • Jamestown Community College Hultquist Library
  • Penn State University Libraries
  • Red Deer College Library

General Guidelines

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in the APA 6th Edition manual.

Author-Date Citation System in Text (p. 174)

  • In the text of the paper, references are cited using an author-date citation system, and then are listed alphabetically in the reference list at the end of the paper.


In Text: 

The conquest of pellagra is commonly associated with a single name: Joseph Goldberger (Bryan, 2014).

This entry in Reference list: 

Bryan, C.S. (2014).  Asylum Doctor: James Woods Babcock and the Red Plague of Pellagra.  Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press.

Double-space your entire paper, including the References list and any block quotes (pp. 229, 171, 180)

Recommended Typeface:  The preferred APA typeface, or font, is 12-point Times New Roman. (p. 228)

Page Numbers and Running Head (p. 230)

  • Once your paper is complete, number the pages consecutively, beginning with the title page.
  • Include a "running head" on each page (p. 229). On the title page, use the format "Running head: EXAMPLE OF TITLE" (without the quotation marks). On all subsequent pages, use the format "EXAMPLE OF TITLE" (without quotation marks). See the sample paper on p. 41 of the Manual.

Tip: Use the "header" function on your word processor to set up the page numbers and running head. Since the running head format is different on the title page than the subsequent pages, you will need to choose "different first page" within your word processor header function.

Learn more about APA Style

About Plagiarism

Give credit to all sources from which you have taken information, whether you have directly quoted, paraphrased, or summarized the author’s words.   Failing to document your sources constitutes plagiarism. 

See page 170 of the manual for more information about plagiarism.