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APA 6th Referencing Style Guide

This guide introduces the APA referencing style with examples of citation styles for different types of resources.

General rules

Author and date are the key components in the in-text citation of the APA referencing style. 

   No author: when author information is not available, use the source title to replace the author's position.


  • give the month for monthlies
  • give the month and day for weeklies
  • if the journal or magazine gives a season, not a month, include that: e.g. (2008, Spring)

Page range:

Use an en dash, NOT a hyphen, for page ranges: e.g. 21–27. An en dash (–) is wider than a hyphen (-). No gaps between the page numbers and the en dash

How to add an en dash in Microsoft Word if you are using a full PC keyboard: hold the Control key and type the minus sign on the small numeric keypad.


NB: If your keyboard will not produce an en dash, it is acceptable to use a hyphen instead.  See the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (2010, p. 97) for more detail on the use of hyphens and dashes in APA style.

In-text citations - Author and date

No author

Use the first few words of the title, or the complete title if short.  

Put the title in quotation marks:

  This research highlights the debate around nuclear weapons ("Nuke Test Inquiry," 2009).

  This definition ("Collins Concise New Zealand Dictionary," 2008) shows ...

If it is the title of a publication put it in italics in the text:

  This definition from the Collins Concise New Zealand Dictionary (2008) shows ...

One author

Crothers (2016) found that...


... (Crothers, 2016).

Two authors

Use "and" between two authors in the text:
  Walker and Allen (2004) said ...
Use "&" between two authors in the citation:
  ... to stop smoking (Walker & Allen, 2004) ...

Three, four or five authors

First citation include all authors:
  ... as the findings suggested (Alred, Brusaw, & Oliu, 2009).
Subsequent citations include the first author and et al.:
  .... in the same study (Alred et al., 2009)...

Six or more authors

Cite only the surname of the first author, et al. and the year:
  Kosslyn et al. (1996) found that...

With an Anonymous author

(Anonymous, 2016).

Corporate authors

Well known corporate author:

First citation:
  The research indicates (Inland Revenue Department [IRD], 2007)...

Subsequent citation:
  ... suggested by recent statistics (IRD, 2010).

Unabbreviated corporate authors - write the corporate author in full every time if it is not well known by abbreviation:
  ... on student retention (The University of Auckland, 2010)...

One author, multiple works published in the same year

If the year of publication is the same for both add 'a' and 'b' after the year.
  ... as research has shown (Rush, 2015a, 2015b).  
For references that are in press or that have no date (n.d.)  
  (in press-a) and (in press-b)
  (n.d.-a) and (n.d.-b)

Two or more works by the same author

... Past research (Gogel, 1990, 2006, in press)

Two or more works by different authors

... Several studies (Derryberry & Reed, 2005a, 2005b, in press-a; Rothbart, 2003)

  • List authors alphabetically

Authors with the same surname


F. Kelly (2010) and A. Kelly (2016) described that...


(F. Kelly, 2010; A. Kelly, 2016)....


  • If lead authors share the same surname, include author's initials in all in-text citations even if the year of publication differs.


Authors with the same surname and first initial


(Paul, Janet, 1876), (Pierre Janet,1906)


  • If lead authors share the same surname and first initial, full first name should be included in all in-text citations even if the year of publication differs.


Authors - summary

Authors - in-text citations

in brackets use & between authors:

(Walker & Allen, 2004)

in a sentence use and between authors:     

Walker and Allen (2004) argue that ....



First citation 
in text

Subsequent citations
in text

Reference list


Both authors

Both authors

Both authors


All authors

First author et al.

All authors


First author et al.

First author et al.

All authors


First author et al.

First author et al.

First 6 authors ... last author

Corporate author
(if abbreviated)

in a sentence:
Ministry of Health (MoH, 2009)

in brackets:
(Ministry of Health [MoH], 2009)

in a sentence:
MoH (2009)

in brackets:
(MoH, 2009)

Ministry of Health

Two or more references in in-text citation

If you need to cite two or more references in an in-text citation, order the citations alphabetically.

(Allen, 2004; Smith 1999; Tsvetkova, 2018 )

Direct quotes

When you include a sentence or words reproduced from a text (book, article, etc.) in your writing, you should follow the APA style for direct quotations. Your in-text citation for direct quotations should include author, date, and page numbers.

Short direct quotes (fewer than 40 words)

He argued for what he called "a new intellectual framework" (Smith, 2001, p. 378).

Smith (2001) argued that "..." (p. 378).

As she postulated, "..." (Jones, 2010, pp. 111–112).

  • When a direct quotation is incorporated into your text, enclose in "..." and give the exact page number in your citation preceded by p.
  • For quotes across more than one page, use pp.


Quotes in the middle of a sentence

Smith (2001) found that "..." (p. 378), which contributed to the final negative outcome.


Long direct quotes (40 words or more)

In 2001, Smith found the following:

          Many young people can be encouraged to stop smoking by
          introducing specific measures including . . . dependence upon
          tobacco. (pp. 378–379)

  • Introduce the quotation first with a colon
  • Quotation should start on a new line
  • Indent the block of the quotation 1/2 inch from the left margin (in the same position you would start a new paragraph)
  • No quotation marks
  • Use three spaced ellipsis points (. . .) for missing words in a sentence
  • Exact page number, in brackets, after the full stop at the end of the quote


Direct quote but no page numbers

Generally, in order of preference, give Author/s, year, plus:

  1. page numbers
  2. or paragraph numbers (e.g. para. 4).
  3. or headings (e.g. Discussion section, para. 1).
  4. or shortened headings (e.g."Mandatory Labelling Has Targeted," para. 4).
  • Reference List - reference this article as usual but without page numbers


Quotes with mistakes

"Sickness occurred even when reel [sic] drugs were administered" (Miele, 1993).

  • Insert [sic] after the misspelled word. Sic should be italicised and in brackets


Adding emphasis

"Futhermore, the behaviours were never exhibited again [emphasis added], even when the correct dosage was given." (Miele, 1993).

  • When you, not the author, are adding emphasis to the words in a quotation, italicise the words and follow by [emphasis added].

See sections 6.03 - 6.09 and 4.08 in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.



When you rewrite someone else's ideas in your own words you must acknowledge them with an in text citation. The citation should fit smoothly within your sentence.

McFeely (2001) argues that young people can be encouraged to stop smoking by ...

... are proven methods to encourage young people to stop smoking (McFeely, 2001).


Two or more citations

(Read, 2007; Smith, 2009)

(Edeline & Weinberger, 1991, 1993)

  • Same alphabetical order as in your reference list
  • Separated by a semi colon ;
  • Give the authors' surnames once only


Repeated citations in the same paragraph

Among epidemiological samples, Kessler (2003) found that early onset social anxiety disorder . . . results in a more potent and severe discourse. Kessler also found brain damage . . . . The study also showed that there was a high rate of comorbidity with alcohol abuse or dependence and major depression (Kessler, 2003).

  • When the author's name is part of the narrative, only cite the year of publication in brackets. Otherwise, always give both the name and the year in brackets.
  • Use three spaced ellipsis points (. . .) for missing words in a sentence;
  • Use four for an entire missing sentence (the first . indicates the full stop at the end of the first quoted sentence)

When to include the year in citations appearing more than once in a paragraph

See section 6.11, p. 174 in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.

See section 6.08, p. 172 in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.


No author

Article, chapter or web page:

.... on free care ("Study Finds Care," 2007)

  • Use the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year
  • Put double quotation marks around the title of an article or a website; use capitals

Periodical, book, brochure or report:

.... in the book College Bound Seniors (2008)

  • Use italics and capitals

See sections 6.15 in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition.

Secondary citations

A secondary citation is where you are citing information or quotes the author of your reference has taken from source that you have not read.

In-text citation:

Seidenberg and McClelland’s study, conducted in 1990 (as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993), shows that ...
... as some studies show (Seidenberg & McClelland, as cited in Coltheart, Curtis, Atkins, & Haller, 1993).
  • Name the author of the original work in your text, cite the secondary source in in-text citation: (as cited in ..., 1993)

Reference list entry: 

Coltheart, M., Curtis, B. Atkins, P., & Haller, M. (1993). Models of reading aloud: Dual-route and parallel-distributed-processing approaches. Psychological Review, 100, 589–608.

  • Give the secondary source in the reference list.